Sociology Essay

1284 words - 5 pages

Values, Society and Talk Shows In America today it is hard to find someone that hasn?t seen a talk show such as Jerry Springer or Ricki Lake. Talk shows like these have been extremely successful at catching the attention of the public. Even if someone is not a regular viewer, there are more likely than not very aware of what takes place on these shows. At first glance, these talk shows seem like ridiculous mockeries set up to make fun of people with dysfunctional families or various personal problems but most of these shows attempt to portray that they are attacking real issues among Americans. Whatever their true intentions are true intentions are, talk shows display a high amount of people admitting to acts that are far less than commendable. It is possible that this popular display is effecting the values of people in our society. In this essay I plan to ask and answer the question ?Are popular talk shows lowering the values and expectations of people in our society today?? First, I would like to discuss the likely hood that people are affected by what they see on television. How much of an affect does television have on the way people feel and act? In ?The Psychology of Television?, John Condry states that ?The overall conclusion of these and of many other reviewers is unequivocal. Viewing violent drama on television makes people more violent than they would have been if they had not been exposed to such material.? (pg 88) He also states that ?There is a strong positive relationship between viewing violence on television and, at sometime later, acting violently? (115) Condry later states that ?Television not only influences how we feel and act -what we do- it also influences what we think and understand about the world.?(119) If the statements that Condry made are in fact true, it is very likely that people all over the Nation are being in some way affected by what they are watching on television. The statements that Condry made about violence could very well also be applied to other societal values such as sexual relationships and crime, both of which I plan to be discussing in more detail. Condry?s statement about television?s influence on people means that, not only are our actions affected, our feelings, our understanding and quite possibly our expectations of others are also affected. Towards the end of the book Condry explains that seeing dramatic events over and over again on television makes these events less and less likely to arouse intense emotion. (112)0 This means that after seeing talk show guests admit to appalling acts over and over again the viewing audience becomes desensitized. If viewers are becoming desensitized then they are more likely to accept other people committing these acts without feeling like they are particularly wrong and thus lowering their expectations of other Americans. People may also think that so many others are committing...

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