Thursday, October 12, 2006

Andy Warhol the Philosopher

Andy Warhol once said, "It's the movies that have really been running things in America ever since they were invented. They show you what to do, how to do it, when to do it, how to feel about it, and how to look how you feel about it."

Does Hollywood reflect society or does society reflect Hollywood? Here are a couple of articles that are very interesting in this regards. They are both a little bit older, but they are still very relevant.

Entertainment Media - does it lead or follow society? from makes an excellent point. Dr. Michael Suman, coordinator of The Center for Communications Policy at the University of California at Los Angeles makes an excellent point that it is more than just what we see in the media:
The media in Japan is more violent that it is in the United States. But notice the factor such as the structure of the family. In the United States, 30% of children are born out of wedlock. Among African Americans the figure is up to 70%. Compare that with Japan where the figure is about 1%. Teenage pregnancy rates are directly related to that. In the United States, the teenage pregnancy rates are 16 times what they are in Japan. And if you look at Japanese society, the rates of violent crime are much lower than they are in the United States. Murder rates and rates of rape are 1/10th to 1/20th of what they are in the United States. Just blaming film and television for all these problems is much too simplistic if we look at other cultures.

The article goes on to point out that it is not just what children see on TV that is important. What is also important is a stable family support unit that discusses and sets the standard as to what is appropriate to be watched.

According to Does TV Really Reflect Culture? on the Catholic Exchange website society says it does not care for what Hollywood shows.
Despite Hollywood's argument that television merely reflects the lives of most Americans, all evidence points to a different reality: most Americans are sick of all the sex on TV.

One survey, for example, found that 77% of respondents said there was too much sexual content on television, while another poll revealed that 71% of people thought that the more explicit portrayal of sex and nudity on television encouraged immorality.

Yet, despite the consistently high opposition to so much sexual content on television, networks are showing sex more often, not less. According to a study released by the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, between 1997 and 2002 the percentage of shows with sexual content rose from 56% to 64%, and the percentage of shows depicting or strongly implying sexual intercourse doubled.

While people may say they are sick of what is shown, it's my opinion that society and Hollywood are walking hand in hand. Hollywood is always pushing the limits and society is right there encouraging and allowing them to do so. Hollywood would not be going down this path if people were not supporting it all with their money and time.

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