Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Reinforcement of the Dominant Paradigm

There is a reason governments and corporations want to maintain the status quo. It keeps the populace docile in terms of rebellion and revolution, and keeps it focussed on the mass consumerism paradigm. This is reflected immediately through communications, such as the nature of their advertisements, corporate culture, corporate art, but predominantly in film. Films get their funding through government bodies (such as the military ), rifle associations, tobacco companies, religious organizations and special interest political factions that want to have their ideology perpetuated. I am guessing that there is a certain degree of ideology extortion and ransom that happens in films as well, but I really need to look into that one more closely. More subtly, there is music, school curriculum, and the magic bullet effect of mass media (ie what stories they are choosing to focus on).

Music is an interesting phenomenon. It is very persuasive, and it has the power to rally and unify, as well as subdue and quell. In a time of war, it can be used to instil values of courage, bravery, loyalty, self-sacrifice for a greater good and concept of heroism and treason. It defines the terrorist or the patriot. In times where it is inadvisable to have a nation of warriors, music can be used to promote mass-consumerism (just think of rap and hip hop and the ostentatious materialism it encourages), or internalize anger (like most modern rock) that dwells on issues of self-pity. By fine-tuning songs so that they appeal to youth on a personal level; such as through feelings of insecurity, unchecked hormonal aggression, quests of power and self-identity, self-doubt, anger, and bravado, music can be honed so that the correct reaction is created. While rap and hip-hop can be used as a radical anti-establishment tool, it has been used to created an inequity of power and respect as semiotically represented through material possessions. Rock can have a riotous, mob-mentality effect, but has instead been channelled into guilty self-directed anger hooked on the shame model of existence.

In times of war, the lyrics will change to spawn a more aggressive society. For now, it is in the interest of big business to keep us as docile, bovine consumers. Because the songs on the radio act as a platform for their advertising sales package, it is important to appeal to a readily definable target market. When the songs on the radio speak to you personally, it is because you are familiar with the status quo you are supposed to be cowtowed to, and the music can illustrate your deviation - to uncomfortable effect.


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