Influence of Entertainment Media

9 September 2016

Entertainment media has had a profound effect on the way American culture has evolved. It has at times brought people together and equally torn them apart. Music, television, and film provide an incomparable outlet for expression. They allow individuals (and groups) to inform, to share what is important to them, to be creative and innovative. With all of the different types of entertainment media in America, society is exposed to so much more than would have been possible without these mediums. Music in America has changed and grown over the years to accommodate a changing culture.

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Not only does music provide an emotional outlet for the musician but also for their audience. It gives the listener a creative outlet in the form of dance as well as bringing like-minded people together. With the emergence of film, however, Americans had an exciting new form of visual entertainment. “Because they showed silent films that transcended language barriers, nickelodeons flourished during the great European immigration at the turn of the twentieth century” (Campbell, Martin & Fabos, 2012, p. 192). Film provided (and continues to provide) an “anything is possible” attitude.

Walt Disney once said, “If you can dream it, you can do it” and that idea pushes people to think about what else might be out there. It has made society want to learn more, do more, and be more. Television changed everything, in that Americans did not have to leave their homes to have access to visual media. Whereas film showed fantasy and fictional events, television provided a window into real life with local, national, and eventually global news. Families gathered around their televisions at night, just as they used to do with radio.

It was the TV that exposed us to Civil Rights violations in the South, to the shared pain and healing rituals after the Kennedy and King assassinations in the 1960s, and to the political turmoil of Watergate in the 1970s” (Campbell, Martin & Fabos, 2012, p. 145). Although some may not have had access to or opinions about these events otherwise, seeing them on television brought a certain reality and awareness to the public. Americans have gone from a society of “yes men” to a society that questions everything and wonders how it will benefit them.

With today’s technology, Americans can listen to music and view film and television programs on smartphones and iPads, commonly referred to as a “third screen” (Campbell, Martin & Fabos, 2012, p. 169) which only helps to reinforce the instant gratification that people in this country have come to expect. The social influences of entertainment media can be both positive and negative. On the one hand, entertainment media serves to educate, enrich, and, of course, entertain. Without music, film, and television the world would be a much narrower place.

However, that exposure can be viewed as a negative as well. Parents and other close family used to be a child’s main form of guidance, so it was easy to control what influences the child was exposed to. With the evolution of entertainment media, children are exposed to so much more, and some contend that has had a negative impact on society as a whole; promoting and encouraging less than ideal behavior. It is hard to say whether explicit lyrics and violent images have made Americans the way they are because people emulate what they see on television and film, or if in fact, art imitates life.

It is safe to say that perhaps a little bit of both are true. Society takes its cues from the media and the entertainment industry gets ideas from real life experiences. Either way, there is no turning back the clock, but Americans need to be aware of what is available and the possible impact these new technologies bring to society. References Campbell, R. , Martin, C. R. , & Fabos, B. (2012). Media and Culture (8th ed. ). Retrieved From the University of Phoenix eBook Collection database.

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