Analyzing the Trends in Modern T.V Consumption
In today’s unforgiving and fast-paced world, where unceasing competition (spurned on by a severe capitalist impulse – ever since the late eighteenth century onset of the Industrial Revolution first began to impart its globally transformative effects) is both enshrined and practiced as the unapologetic ethos of the age, there exists a fundamental scarcity of avenues where individuals (beleaguered by the despondent currents of the time) are allowed to vent their frustrations productively. Any semblance of a relief experienced in lieu of the cathartic process is necessary to ensure the continued survival of the species, because there exists a fundamental distinction between man and machine (with the latter automaton not requiring much – if any – respite in the arena of work allotted, or tasks designated to be fulfilled).
An individual continually faced with a cruel and sadistic world, where friend and foe both masquerade around in one corporeal shell (leading to a situation where people are no longer able to trust one another, or to let down their guards for fear of a sudden reprisal from the general, envy-ridden, herd), desperately needs a medium through which he/she may be given sanction to leave behind a fraction of the considerable worries of this world – if even for an instant. Television is a good example of such a ‘medium’, and its new-age successor in particular (the internet-enabled ‘Smart TV’) is responsible for engendering an entire new generation of screen enthusiasts who remain altogether not-too-perturbed by the prospects of being whisked away to a fantasy realm of some motion-picture producer’s tortuous imagination.
Addressing T.V as a Cultural Producer
Nowadays, watching (and internalizing the messaging disseminated through) television is often seen as a rite of passage in the lives of many young people. Is not television the primal source of all information about the world ascertained by most children even before they fully develop their faculties of discriminatory reasoning, speech and writing (through the consumption of such strategic media offerings as symbolically-rich cartoons and ‘age-appropriate’ films)?
The mainstream media, it is not difficult to conjecture on account of this observation, seeks to ‘fix’ the mindsets of people in the more-receptive preteen years of their youth – so that they may be indoctrinated in a premeditated system of cultural mores and thought-process designed to make them potential leads (and willing customers) for commercial enterprises during their more rigid adulthood stage. Many social theorists (primarily those of a Marxist bent) have written extensively about the overt failure of capitalism in hiding its deceptively ‘natural’ footprint from the targeted scrutiny of unabashed critics – a tendency of which the modern behemoth of globalization, and the decadent ‘Hollywood Culture’ in general, are some of the more vivid, yet subtly pervasive, exemplars.
The Commercial Underpinnings of the Media
The contemporary media culture, which encompasses all current modes of communicating digital content – be it through TV shows, movies, news bulletins or weather forecasts – functions on the groundwork laid in accordance with the marketing decisions of a range of MNCs that continue to sponsor almost all of its production endeavors. Today, it is not uncommon to find entire Hollywood blockbusters premised around some product or service that is sold by a popular commercial venture, such as Coca Cola, Apple or Microsoft (among many other prominent business luminaries of the 21st century). Since a majority of people everywhere, as per their innate psychological dispositions, wish to emulate their favorite celebrities (‘heroes’) in whichever way takes their fancy (or is supported by their pocketbook), at a particular point in time – it is not hard to see why some of the leading business corporations around the world choose to invest millions of dollars every year into media production houses (culminating in a cold dialectic of commercial organizations reinforcing their own profits, in the long-run, by channeling money into their adjacent-industry competitors – by way of a spontaneous currency feedback loop).
Some Recent Cases of Media ‘Tampering’
The global fascination with creative media (particularly films) can be admirably discerned in the balance sheets of popular media-sharing companies like Netflix and Hulu – with the former reportedly providing its high-definition Movie/TV Show streaming services to a whopping 100 million customers; as per a 2016 estimate (around half of whom were based within the United States at the time). This ‘fascination’ with the screen also hints at a disturbing trend centered around an increasing number of people who seemingly prefer to escape (rather than face) an often-harsh reality – and particularly concerns those individuals who like to regularly ‘binge’ on TV.
As has already been alluded to above, the mainstream media has been engaged for many decades in the beguiling process of manufacturing culture, and a virulent collective conscience, in line with commercial interests. There is some speculation among scholarly circles that the said thought-instigator might also wield a decidedly more political function as well – since all social realities are intrinsically linked to the mechanizations of individuals (political figures) embroiled in a quest for attaining power and dominance. The ruthless exploitation of subterranean social tensions in the United States (harbored by a primarily Caucasian demographic base) by former U.S presidential candidate Donald J. Trump is a case in point of this tendency.
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