Growing Up in the Age of Technology

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Growing Up in the Age of Technology In a society where it is increasingly common for the perpetrators of violent crimes to cite their favorite movie or song lyrics as the inspiration behind their actions, one has to wonder - are pop culture audiences so mindlessly impressionable that they become victim to any or all media suggestion? Does pop culture have as large an affect on morality as the critics claim, and are current attempts to police pop culture necessary? Not really, says Nick Gillespie, editor of Reason magazine and author of the article "View Masters": "What is on the screen or on the stereo is not irrelevant, of course. But it matters far less than one might suppose." In Gillespie's opinion, viewers are not merely passive receptors of pop culture; instead they use the context of their own lives to create meaning and value in what they watch. Consumers of the pop culture phenomenon have always viewed media technology like the television, the telephone, and the computer as an interactive experience. Through dialogue with friends, station surfing, posting to a show's computerized bulletin board, or even turning off the television, viewers demonstrate the ability to become "what's known in literary studies as 'resisting readers.' " In other words, these reactions demonstrate a mental engagement with what is presented, and not merely an uncomprehending reception of what is offered. "Individuals sitting in a theater, or watching television, or listening to a CD don't always see and hear things the way they're 'supposed' to", says Gillespie, and the variety of human viewpoints are what allow for interpretations and "misinterpretations" of the media's particular message. According to media analysts, most audiences sit passively while, "Hollywood merely projects morality - good, bad, or indifferent - onto us." These proponents of media censorship support the careful supervision of the entertainment industry, chiefly because they do not perceive viewers as intelligent critics, able to form their own opinions or to make independent decisions. To censors, media is capable of only two functions: instilling greater moral and educational ethic in society, or a provoking a craving for chaos and depravity. The government and many skeptics play a key role in this ideology, not only through a belief that good entertainment should be solely didactic, but also by underestimating the viewer's ability to make independent choices, "or to bring his own interpretation to bear on what he sees.
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