Essay 1

1300 words - 6 pages

There was a period of time in the postmodern world when a considerable number of works being published, broadcasted, or exhibited were demonstrations of humanities’ creative progression and development. A sense of awe and possibility permeated culture, and human beings were inspired to find new arts, new sciences, new voices; however, somewhere along the way the focus on aesthetics, originality, possibility, and intelligence blurred. It seems so anachronistic that, in a world where pluralism, an ability to engage in any culture, is more widely practiced than ever before thanks to technology, mainstream media has become so limited. Such limited depictions of contemporary culture reduce humanity’s ability to identify the constructed nature of their reality and to imagine possibilities outside of this system.
Advancements in technology have made it possible for astonishing inventions such as nearly limitless access to information via the internet, improvements in medical treatments, and a reduction in environmental impact; however, complications have arisen with the way humans interact with digital technology and media. For example, the evolution of visual effects in film and television are making it more difficult for audiences to decipher the images on the screen. In “Special Effects: Simulation in Cinema”, Temengua Trifonova, from the University at Buffalo, says “first, special effects distract the viewer from the supposedly most substantial aspect of the film, narrative; second, special effects present a danger to what is assumed to be the essential realism of film.”(Trifonova, n.p.) Ubiquitous depictions of gender and social roles are reamplified by visual media. Tracy E. Ore of St. Cloud University states that, “mass media operates as a key socialization mechanism.”(pg 7) Making redundant and repeated displays of race, gender, and class an essential part of perpetuating a constructed perception of reality. Arts focused, historical, and education film and television have been replaced by sensationalized reality programming that gives undue glory to the mundane and banal. Chin-Yi Chung states in her essay, “Hyperreality, the Question of Agency, and the Phenomenon of Reality Television.” that, “...it is existential banality and the boredom of our own lives that we desire as spectacle….In elevating the banal to spectacle, we are elevating ourselves as media objects.” (Chung 33) Similarly, news media, which one would expect to be a dose of objective reality, follows the same developments as other media. Mark Peace of Aberystwyth University writes, “This is a telltale sign of construction of reality by news broadcasters in two ways: firstly all the events of the world are obviously not bad (if the news is to be believed, the world is complete hell); the second indicator is the way in which broadcasters structure around the ideological rather than the concrete.”(Peace, n.p.) This further complicates one’s ability to identify the constructed reality...

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