WARNING: You are entering an age of technology; a world where communication is instant; where information availability is endless; where technological growth is exponential; where gratification is immediate; where the spread of news is rapid; where entertainment is pervasive: where an english teacher will make you do an assignment online...



With the explosion of mankind's ability to control the world and to harness intelligence, the dream of the instant transfer of ideas, news and information has finally been realized. While opening an infinite number of doors for innovation, expression and intelligence, the burst of technology onto the scene has likewise solidified the media as a centerpiece of Western culture and thought. In recent years the media has defined America collectively as well as in terms of the individual. Music, movies and the news effectively dictate whose story is expressed and how specific lives should be interpreted. While this can be a positive channel for the understanding of certain societal groups, it can also deter the expression of factions with less resources. In short, the media today has limited the expression of the poor, weak and "different" groups in exchange for the rich, the the influential and "acceptable " people of society.

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One must only walk through the check out isle at the grocery store, flip through the channels on tv, or glance at the ads on the internet to get a visual of the people whose story are told by the media. From a stirring sex scandal between two celebrities, to a story about a model becoming overweight, the media provides us with an endless diatribe on the lifestyles of the rich and famous. Coined as an actual disorder, celebrity worship syndrome is taking over our country. You find less and less people reading news magazines and more and more indulging in celebrity life among the pages of People or Entertainment (Porter). Celebrities are no longer idols, but rather gods through the media's fixation on their riches and fame.

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A perfect example of the media glorifying the celebrity life is evident in the TV show "Jersey Shore". MTV basically gives a group of people thousands of dollars to spend on themselves and their primordial lusts while documenting the whole process. According to Wikipedia, Jersey Shore was the most watched cable television show of the season.



The obsession with the "good life" doesn't stop with TV, but is equally prevalent in the modern music industry. Singers glorify their fame and renown through their music, making the lure of riches even more appealing to the audience. In pop music today songs are never sung about ugly girls, poor people, or or those who go to bed early on saturday night so that they can make it to church on Sunday. Rather we hear the tale of rappers hitting the clubs looking for love, and chicks hitting on dudes because they are good looking and rich. The song "billionare" by Travie McCoy perfectly embodies the message and pursuit of the media today.





Not only does the media allow people to become famous, it is a perfect means for people to gain power. In America today many of the people who hold positions of authority have assumed their role through their previous riches and fame. This form of expression is often limited by economic status as those who are not as privileged have a more difficult time of paying for college and prestigious grad schools that pave the way to political success. The Kennedy family is a perfect example of this as their renowned family name allowed the younger generation sons to have their tickets punched for a successful political career. Arnold Schwarzenegger is another example of a person who wields his fame as a tool for political gain. After a successful acting stint he became governor of California, not because of his aptitude but rather his fame.

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The idea of one group dominating another in terms of wealth and power is no new idea. In almost every historical account we hear the the tale of the victor; the tale of the people with superior technology, ability or resources that allowed them to suppress another group. This is not limited to the scope of the media today, but goes back even to the times of African colonization. As the narrarator expresses inside the head of the district commissioner at the end of Things Fall Apart, "one could almost write a whole tale on it. Perhaps not a whole chapter but a reasonable paragraph at any rate... one must be firm in cutting out details" (Achebe 128). In this proposed book, The Pacification of the Primitive Lower Tribes of the Nile, we would be sure to hear a brief one sided account of African society that would likely pit the glorious, righteous Europeans against the animalistic and backwards Africans. It is this very censorship of the defeated's lifestyle, culture and story that has left certain groups underrepresented and misconstrued throughout history. From the Africans, to the Native Americans, to the poor and even "different" of today's society, it is the battle to better understand people that we wage everyday. To know one's background and to discover their history effectively allows the future of that group to be determined. By understanding how groups have been violated in the past it allows us to avoid making the same mistakes in the future. If nothing is done soon, society's fixation on celebrities, and the media's role in cementing cultural ideals and norms, will potentially fragment society and debilitate the unity and cohesion of our nation.

Works Cited:

Achebe, Chinua. Things Fall Apart. Columbus, OH: Glencoe/McGraw-Hill, 1959. Print.

"Arnold-schwarzenegger." Web. 12 Dec 2010. <http://images.smh.com.au/2009/10/28/819897/420-arnold-schwarzenegger-420x0.jpg >.

"Billionaire (Clean)." YouTube. Web. 12 Dec 2010. <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3p1Je0MOG-o>.

"Daft Punk- Technologic." YouTube. Web. 12 Dec 2010. <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UoPplpBPQxQ>

"Jersey Shore Cast." realitytvmagazine.sheknows.com. Web. 12 Dec 2010.

"Jersey Shore (TV Series)." Wikipedia. N.p., 10 12 2010. Web. 12 Dec 2010. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jersey_Shore_(TV_series).

Porter, David. "Celebrity Worship Syndrome: The New Religion for Many People." suite101.com. N.p., 3 05 2010. Web. 12 Dec 2010. <http://www.suite101.com/content/celebrity-worship-syndrome-the-new-religion-for-many-people-a232935>.