Saturday, January 14, 2012

TOXIC MEMES - Media and identity

So anyway, as I was thinking about upcoming topics to post about, I came to a little realisation: at some point in just about every topic I'm going to be referring to the way the media represents a topic in some way. Now, there are a few reasons for this -

Now, it must be said, I am a media student - I'm basically trained to look at the world through this lens. Whenever I see a production, whether it be film, literature, news media, or so on, my brain automatically kicks into a certain gear: what is this production saying? What is it trying to say? What is it trying to avoid? Furthermore, what is it saying without even meaning to? It's not really conscious - I don't literally ask myself those questions - but those gears are always working away in the background every time I watch something. And as hard as it may be for some to understand, this does, in fact, increase my enjoyment of a lot of things - not only because understanding the process behind a work can give you a heightened level of appreciation for how everything fits together, but when you're watching a production where the creator KNOWS your brain is working this way, they'll deliberately play little games with you, fulfilling and subverting your expectations, playing mind games, and in short, exploiting view psychology to achieve a desired response. When it all fits together, it's exhilarating. When it doesn't... it's kind of like trying to drive a car where the wheels have fallen off. It doesn't matter what steps you're taking, the whole thing just isn't really going to work. In short, this is your brain on Media Studies.

Another primary reason for my media focus in this blog is, quite simply, I love stories. I love comics, movies, novels, video games, new media, and any other medium that's likely to pop up in the next few decades - I find immersing myself in other worlds, other perspectives, exhilarating. I find talking about these things endlessly fascinating. I live and breathe the things, and thus, a lot of my responses are going to be towards media simply because that's where I get a lot of my input.

Finally - and this is where things get a bit hazy - I believe there is a definite link between what people see in the media, and what they believe (which informs how they behave). The degree to which this affects people is going to vary wildly - depending on how much media they ingest, how psychologically susceptible they are, and how much they know about what's being portrayed. I haven't actually done any serious research into these effects (though it's something I might get around to these days) - but I don't believe there's any such thing as total mental immunity to the messages we receive from the media we consume. Whether it's obvious or not, whether we want to acknowledge it or not, some part of our brain takes these things on board. Thus, in either a direct or indirect way, what we consume will inform how we behave. This is an occasionally controversial arena, and I'm probably going to get a little bit of flack for it, but there it is.

So there you have it. A minor explanation of why I'm going to be harping on about TV shows when I'm covering a seemingly unrelated topic. Huzzah!


1735099 said...

Well written. Direct, clear and concise - every word counts. It also speaks directly to the reader. Great stuff....

Uriel 235 said...

A vacuum is the best insulator. The only way to be completely uninfluenced is to be completely isolated from influence.