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Popular Culture

By shainatiger Jun 24, 2013 1227 Words
Popular Culture

Under the concept of popular culture that is discussed in the texts of Martin & Nakayama, the populist is seen in forms of borrowing or mixing of other cultures. Popular is created and maintained not only through mass consumption, but by the active process of generating and circulating meanings and pleasures within a social group (2011, pg.202). It’s everywhere and it fills my life. Even though I was raised a certain way according to my parents culture and beliefs, but I was born in American Pop Culture. The popular culture in America is all about products and commodities, industry and imports, media and merchandising. According to Martin and Nakayama, “Television serves as a cultural forum for discussing and working out our ideas on a variety of topics, including those that emerge from television programs” (2011, pg.204). Growing up my mom tried to cut out as much of what she considers pop culture as she could. I wasn’t allowed to watch anything secular on TV, the same with music. Now that I am older I watch a lot of movies and shows that my mom refuses to watch. But never being exposed as a child to all the popular media trends actually did influence how I raise my son. I try to cut out as much violence and language as I can. My son is two and he is repeating and imitating everything. My husband was raised very different from me, he was the other extreme, and he loves watching gore, scary, sick, you name it. He only gets to own a few movies that he likes, so then we have the agreement that he only watches them when he is alone or everyone is asleep. How we view one another in relation to the cultures we belong, it is ultimately our choice to consume or resist (2011, pg.219). In Popular Culture cultural aggression seems to be something that we have plenty of and we are blessed with the difficult task of controlling or preventing its causes and effects of such holding powers. According to Martin and Nakayama, I need to be a smart consumer and to be more conscious of the decisions that I make that tie into popular culture (2011, pg.220). There are two different forms of this cultural aggression to look out for in this media imperialistic culture of ours, hostile and instrumental. Whether displayed in a physical or verbal sense though communication or exposure, hostile aggressive actions have the potential to inflict cultural harm on social groups and come from relaying emotions of anger. Communicating instrumental aggression comes from a desire to end something. There are many popular and diverse examples of the major roots of cultural aggression, responses of inequality and frustration in our culture. There is a controversial issue on whether these forms of cultural aggression are influenced by exposure to violent video games and media.

There are three elements of aggression that can predict and determine the power in our reaction tendencies. Looking at our heritage, we can understand that there also is a strong history of aggression in our culture. It is in our nature, the more frustration that we experience results in an increase of those natural reactions of emotionally aggressive behavior. The stronger the response and the more popular, the more we lead to more socialized aggression. The terms and conditions of our developed popular culture have established these results as a learned social behavior. Thus environment and observational learning can either reward or discourage the now popular aggressive behavior in pop culture settings. The cues of deprivation and social orientation, such as family and culture, can act as the strongest catalyst towards a chronic development of aggressive behavior in our society.

Repetition is a fundamental way of learning. Drilling something to memory establishes and reinforces an idea in our heads. Unless, you know someone that can perform inception, our ideas are still our own. The exposure effect of the pop culture industry describes how repeated exposure to a stimulus results in the enhancement of our attitude towards it. There is a strong parallel link between our frequency of exposure and our favorability towards someone or something. These learned preferences and attractions affect how we perceive the unfamiliar in other cultures, and unfortunately are over looked in the consumption of pop culture. It is reasonable to assume that the more we immerse ourselves in new and unfamiliar activities and surroundings, the more flexible and tolerant we are likely to become. I believe that this concept is not a common practice in imperialism where the power is in marketing and product dominance through the majority of social groups. This leads not only to inaccurate personal evaluations, but also impacts our preexisting beliefs and responsive attitudes. Every day influences factor into whether we will behave in cultural contexts. Even the climate such as popular exposure to violent games and media is strong influence. Just about anything can be the trigger that arouses our anger or frustration. Common mild aggressive arousal can become uncontrollable when there is strong exposure to such stimulation or even physical interpretation. Being raised with social violence in a neighborhood, in a family with a history of violence and abuse, or with an exposure to an excessive use of violent video games and media increases the likelihood and opportunity of similar hostile behavior to be the popular response.

The common statement that evil begets evil is true regarding exposure of negative popular culture to giving power to those social ills. Today there is an epidemic of exposure to more cultural integration of violence which desensitizes us and our perceptions of the way that we view reality and our community. The media and games are permeating our contact and communication with an increasing daily dose of violence, killing, crime, fear, and aggressive sexual behavior. It is hard to ignore the correlation between the powers in negative media imperialism, and the powers of exposures that increase the popularity of aggressive behavior in our culture. The cultural domination develops a model in our thinking, priming it for either strengthening this behavior or conditioning it for permanent development. We role play, rehearse, repeat and reward this reaction without intent, thus effecting every aspect of our life in result.

There are complicated dynamics to exactly how popular culture can affect my family and what my son will internalize as he learns and grows. According to Martin and Nakayama, “We can see that these popular culture images are often influential in constructing particular ways of understanding cultural groups other than our own. To understand other cultures and groups, and their experiences, we can investigate their representations in popular culture” (2011, pg. 215). My reflection on how popular culture has integrated into my daily life is more deeply rooted than I would ever care to admit. I am relieved that I have the strength and understanding to identify and resist harmful practices of popular culture. That could influence my perceptions and feelings about my own culture. We must be aware of how we communicate and absorb culture, and the assumptions we make about what we don’t understand. Leave room for every culture to be practiced and passed on.

Martin, J., & Nakayama, T. (2011). Experiencing intercultural communication: An introduction. New York (4th edition): McGraw-Hill Companies.

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