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Thread: Mass Media vs. Independent Thinking

  1. #1
    Super Senior Member CypressDahlia's Avatar
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    Mass Media vs. Independent Thinking

    Now this is an issue that's bothered me for a long time. I absolutely hate--hate--HATE it when people blame the media for things. People seem to think that independent thinking and mass media cannot coexist on many levels. They seem to think one cannot watch movies, play video games, and listen to certain types of music without being some kind of drone or sheep. As if media is this all-powerful mind control device that cannot be overcome. I've always thought that was really stupid. These people are giving the media, which is mostly an entertainment outlet, way too much credit.

    And in thinking this way, these people start trying to hamper or limit the media on the fly, saying shit like "oh, we shouldn't have violence in games", "oh we shouldn't broadcast beauty pageants", etc, etc. Now, don't get me wrong, there are a few things that SHOULDN'T ever be broadcast, but come on really? Are you suggesting that these things affect people on such a level that it will destroy their daily lives? Media is NOT THAT influential or, at least, it isn't if you don't want it to be.

    So these people who pretend like they respect "independent thought" and thus feel they must hamper the media are actually people who cannot think for themselves, or do not believe in thinking for oneself. A person who truly respects independent thought wouldn't give a single crap about "media influence", but would rather be consumed in teaching people how to process the information in a logical and categorically appropriate way. In other words, you don't need to destroy the media in order to have independent thinking. You just need more of the latter. But where are our parents, role models and authority figures to teach such a thing?

    I guess it would be easier to destroy the media than to rely on parents to actually do their job.

  2. #2
    Three Trio Tres Member Rubisko's Avatar
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    It's the Mothers of Invention versus the Mothers of Prevention now and forever, and it's been a fairly balanced battle so far so I've never been to interested in it. However, some years back when Mass Effect was new there where some controversy that wasn't actually a controversy. In the end it turned out that it had been blown out of proportion by journalists and others because they saw it as an opportunity to boost their careers. I'm talking about this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PKzF173GqTU
    And that bothers me, because it means that you can never trust something that media reports so you need to check a lot of different sources all the time, I can't even be sure that the stuff about the mass effect thing above is entirely true.
    As we all know:
    "The problem with quotes found on the internet is that it's almost impossible to determine their authenticity" Abraham Lincoln

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    Super Senior Member Delphinus's Avatar
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    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uses_and_gratifications
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hypodermic_needle_model
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Two-step_flow_model

    It might be popular to blame the media in the media (oh ze irony) and among people who haven't studied a Media Studies or Sociology, but in academia, where it actually matters, there's been an debate between those who believe the media influences people, those who believe it doesn't, and those who are in-between for decades. Though you probably won't like the idea of independent thinking, since it means admitting people are people and not robots.

    Because my intellectual stance is consistent, I think the extent to which people are influenced by the media is variable depending on individual psychology.
    Last edited by Delphinus; 04-11-2012 at 03:35 PM.
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    999 Knights Member AlmanacnamedTime's Avatar
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    I believe that the some people do whatever trend is up on with the media, also there is another group of people that cares only what people they interact with think, and then a third group who doesn't care at all about the media. However because they all exist they effect each other in some way or another.
    Really I believe it depends on how much confidence you have in deciding what to do in anything.
    Also people who blame the media are people who are just to afraid to be afraid, and should pay more attention to their kids.
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  5. #5
    Super Senior Member CypressDahlia's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Delphinus View Post
    Though you probably won't like the idea of independent thinking, since it means admitting people are people and not robots.

    That's exactly it, though. People who constantly blame every fault of society on media influence don't understand that people are people, not just detritivores feeding off any crap the media tells them. If one respects individual thought, one should teach individual thought, not demonize the media. Demonizing the media is to admit that individual thought can easily be subjugated by it.

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    Super Senior Member Delphinus's Avatar
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    ^ I know. It's just that you claiming people are people and not mere products of their environment or culture seems to go against every argument you've made against other things. Drugs are bad, people can't be trusted. Strong government is needed, people need to be controlled.
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  7. #7
    Super Senior Member CypressDahlia's Avatar
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    Unlike the influence of media, the influence of drugs and crime are not so easily dismissed. It takes quite a bit more than independent thinking to cure a drug addiction and a criminal record. Totally different issues. Not to mention media in itself has no real consequences.

  8. #8
    Super Senior Member Delphinus's Avatar
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    But the assumptions that underlie your arguments for strong government and against drug use are the same as those you dismiss in this thread. By saying that people are capable of controlling their behaviour regardless of media intake, or that media shouldn't be restricted because people can recognise the difference between reality and fantasy, you're appealing to the concept of self-rulership and self-regulation, both of which are only effective if people are capable of ruling and regulating themselves without appeal to a higher power. Do you see why I think your stances on this and on drugs/crime are incompatible? By saying we need strong government, you dismiss community policing. By saying we need hard restrictions on drugs, you dismiss drug users as not in control of their consumption or their actions under the influence. Our law courts recognise that even under the influence, people are still in control: being drunk is not a temporary madness defence. And yet you'd have people self-regulate with regards to the media.

    It seems like you make arguments based on your own selfish concerns, then pretend your proposed measures are for the good of society to create a veneer of benevolence.
    Quote Originally Posted by Fenn
    You forgot your F in Modesty.

  9. #9
    Super Senior Member CypressDahlia's Avatar
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    I base my opinions off of two things: severity and direct consequence.

    Media: no direct consequences and general lack of severity.
    Drugs: direct consequences--the influence itself is evident, even chemical--and, for those affected, extreme severity.

    Drugs are at least, in part, a direct cause of their consequences.
    Media is not.

    Also, teaching independent thought is a tenet of good parenting. Parents are expected to teach this as it is well within their power to do. Fighting a drug war, on the other hand, is not. The average parent is not equipped with the necessary tools to fight drug addiction, drug-induced crime, overdose and the irreversible consequence of death.

    So dude you're barking up the wrong tree here. You are comparing two entirely different issues. Yeah the thoughts behind it are conflicting, but that's because the issues are in two entirely different orbits of severity.

    I would let an inexperienced stranger pour water for me. It's a simple task, almost any person is equipped to do it and, even if he spills the water, the consequence is not that huge. You just wipe it up and try again.

    I would not, on the other hand, let an inexperienced stranger change my car battery. It's a complex task, only some people are qualified and equipped to do it and the consequences of putting wrong parts in my car can be extremely severe or even irreversible.

    So in other words: it's not too much to ask for average people to moderate their kids (something they should be doing in the first place). It's a helluva lot to ask for average people to fight a drug war.

  10. #10
    Devilish Member Inksprout's Avatar
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    It just sounds to me like you're saying its not even a problem and people that say it is are crying wolf, but then you go and say that parents should be moderating their kids, so it obviously IS a problem. I guess your intro to the subject just seems a bit conflicting. Far from being easy to avoid I think that mass media has a stron influence on individuals. Kids especially are vulnerable (as you point out). I remember my sister and I were not allowed to watch 'The Simpsons' till we were much older, and that is something I was glad of when I was older and saw young children strangling each other homer and bart style. Once a kid gets a bad idea into their heads it seems harder to correct than if they never had the idea at all. I agree that parents need to play a bigger role in teaching their kids to think beyond mass media, but even if you succeed at that its not going to prevent the influence of mass media. Therefore I believe it is important that we place some restrictions on content in mass media: Even if its just trying to imbue kids shows with morals.

    Even when parents think they are doing a good job and that their kids watch 'moral' cartoons they can fail. For example growing up I literally BELIEVED that when I was a teenager I would undergo some kind of effortless transformation into a gracefull, beautiful, blonde and perfect young woman as per disney movies. I quiet literally believed it. I'm 20 now but I still feel like I am coming to terms with the reality that I will never be anything like I expected to be.

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