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Restore America? The Entertainment Industry Must Fall

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posted on Apr, 7 2010 @ 06:45 PM
Good evening, ATS. I present a thread to you in an attempt to help you see things the way I see them. To get quite personal rather quick, this is a topic that is very dear to my heart, and I believe the importance of it is under stressed. I firmly believe that the very topic I am about to discuss plays a crucial role in the situation of the United States of America, and thus the entire rest of the world. Please take what you will, and feel free to discuss.

I will never forgot one of the most useful things that my English teacher made us do in one of my Grade 12 English classes. He made us watch a PBS Frontline Documentary called "Merchants of Cool". In summary, it was an entertaining yet depressing peek into the corporate world of American and global media. I will post an online link to it later. However, I will never forget how well it solidified my deepest beliefs: The American consumerist attitude must stop, and it must stop at the top.

Now, this statement may sound harsh, especially to those proponents of Laissez-faire capitalism and you minimalist-government libertarians, but the point of this thread is to maybe help you see otherwise (despite my aspirations to become an Economist). Let me get to my argument.

Putting things in perspective: The teenager's market

According to a Teens Market Report done by Packaged facts, American teenagers will make up an estimated market of $208.7 billion USD in 2011. In comparison with the United States' 2008 estimate of Gross Domestic Product, teenagers make up 1.4493% of the entire American Gross Domestic Product. That may not sound like a lot initially, but just think about it for a minute: Even one percent of the world's largest economy is a lot of capital and wealth. A LOT.
The estimated 2011 expenditure of American teenagers is bigger than the entire nominal GDP's of Nigeria, Israel, and 137 other countries in the rest of the world.
It is also about the equivalent of 14% of Canada's GDP.

As you can see, this is a massive market to say the least. Think about it. You are a teenager or a preteen. You most likely go to school and have a part time job or parents who hand you money. You have next to no bills. You have next to know autonomous expenditure, and no incentive to save. You have some of the largest disposable income in the nation.

Any Capitalist would be smart to tap into this gold mine of disposable income, and thus any initial investment and startup cost for the sake of tapping into this market is worth it's weight in eventual returns, multiple by one-hundred. Indeed, we see this happening, and for good reason.

The fight for market control
If you look straight at the very tip of corporate America, you will see seven monster corporations. It would be safe to assume that since these corporations dominate the mass media, they dominate what ever you see and hear that is on the television, any advertising, the radio, etc. These seven corporations may very well rule your life (I use "you" in an arbitrary form):
AOL Time Warner
Vivendi Universal
Walt Disney

Now, I do not want to bore you with going in depth into each of these companies, and I will even admit that I do not have sufficient knowledge to scrutinize all of them thoroughly, but I will say this: These are the best of the best. They influence your daily lives more than you could ever imagine.

But I would like to go indepth with Viacom, and more specifically, MTV. I am sure many of you have heard of the music, drama, and video channel, but if you have not, you can find it's website here: MTV. Essentially, it is a television channel that started off with playing music videos back in the 1980's, and eventually evolved into what I would classify (subjectively of course) as the pinnacle of American teenage culture. No longer does music dominate it's programming, but teenage dramas taking place in fantasy lands, documentaries on 16 year olds being pregnant, and a slew of other defining and what some may call degenerative teenage cultural promotion.

Indeed, some may disagree, but some may also agree that this channel correctly displays just want teenagers want. Sex, drugs, drama, ideal females, ideal males, over-saturated material objectification, freedom from parents, tropical destinations, alcohol, and other "feel good" and objectified desires. Of course, one may bring down that last statement with flak by emphasizing my negative connotation regarding teenagers preference, and that is your own opinion. However, in the end, morales are not subjective. Extensive promiscuity, over-indulgence, and over-consumption are not healthy for anyone.

Although seemingly simple, displaying these concepts to teenagers on television and through other media is not as easy as simply choosing materialism as your primary advertising concept. These large firms do extensive research on the populations they monitor and wish to reach. They do surveys, host contests in all shapes and forms, throw parties, invite teenagers to private meetings with material incentives, have executives talk to teenagers directly, sponsor events, and in general, invade the teenagers life in every media medium possible.

Through this extensive and in-your-face research, corporations are able to develop and create exactly what teenagers want based on their input. In return, they produce it, and teenagers buy it. With so many corporations involved, and with the concepts of modern economics, it's a massive battle to say the least to stay on-top of the current culture to gobble up America's massive disposable income of teenagers.

Defining the culture
Teenagers are your future. There is no doubt about that. Teenagers will eventually replace all your CEO's, Politicians, White collar workers, blue collar workers, unemployed, and homeless. This is basic logic.

Because teenagers are so vulnerable to finding their sense of self, they are easy to manipulate. They are a perfectly unstable market for a large corporation that has the ability to make them stable through self-definition. Because corporations have such vast amounts of assets, resources, and research divisions, such as the seven above, they can target these vulnerable masses and make them their own.

When this is successfully done, teenagers become associated with brands, products, and ultimately, a mass of people. What a teenager wants more than anything in the world is to fit in. If a corporation can give a teenager this very status in social society, the ability to fit in, it can profit off of it.

Influence the masses, give them what they want. They buy it, they fit in. They fit in, they go along with you, they love you. You keep giving them what they want, they keep fitting in, everyone wins.

If you can recognize this cycle, the cycle that states that large corporations have the power to make teenagers stable within their own products, it is not a stretch to say that corporations can define and build a culture. When corporations have this ability, they define a people. People become simply consumers because it feels good, they become selfish. They strive to buy "the next best thing" because they can, because they are told what they want, and that is what they want.

The key: Nobody is forcing anyone to do anything. People consume out of their own free will. However, people, specifically teenagers, are easily manipulated into being told what they wanted.

Continued next post:

posted on Apr, 7 2010 @ 07:07 PM
Glorious consumption

If you can agree the above statement, you will realize that the nation is in peril. The masses are the by-products of corporations. People consume because they want to consume, especially when they are fed what they like. But in doing that, they fuel the corporations to continue what they are doing until it is so deeply ingrained in the culture, that consumption is a way of definition and life, that it is impossible to stop.

"How do you know these things?" you may ask. Indeed, that is a valid question. But I believe I have much experience with today's culture. I am in my last year of being a "teenager", and now attend University. I do not wish to elevate myself above any of my peers, but I was never persuaded by the corporations to be as consumptuous as they would like. Instead, I eagerly observed the teenagers around me and how the media effected their lives. I found that some of the most effective media was music.

Music is a great tool, no doubt. It can be used for good and bad. Unfortunately, today's teenage culture is fueled by terrible music. Good music does exist, and in abundance. Unfortunately, what fills the radio stations teenagers like are songs about the very things corporations want: consumption.
Cars, females, money, sex, all the cliche things. They all allude to one concept: Getting what you want, when you want. Once you have that ability, you are living *the* life, the life everyone else wants to live

If the fuel can be added to the fire of consumption, there will always be money to be made in this massive market.

Some may protest and say "they will grow out of it". Would it be safe to say, without any evidence to support this statement, that teenagers are not maturing as fast? Perhaps it is true that the age in which teenagers (or adults) move out from their home is increasing, or the age at which people are getting married is increasing, or perhaps the lack of marriages is increasing? Is this due to a lack of maturity? Or is it due to marriage becoming obsolete?

If it is a case of the latter, then we have concrete proof of the corporations at work. Indeed marriage once provided young couples with excitement and perks such as marital sex, living together, etc. However, I would assert my idea that the "microwave age" (getting what you want whenever you want) has undoubtedly made marriage obsolete. With pre-marital sex ok'd by the mass media and common-law living the norm, why spend money on weddings, rings, and all the other stuff? (I do not wish to pick a side here, merely elaborate on a point)

Consuming is what they give us and consuming is what we do. We do it because we like it, and they make money off of us because we like it.

Changing the future
Many will also argue that this is just a product of freedom, culture, and open capitalism. Many Libertarians will be on-board with the fact that "it's their choice". However, I think if you want to restore America, you need to look further than that.

Our choice or not, over-consumption fuels selfishness. It exhibits taking more than what you need because you can, because you want to, and thus because you do not have the ability to deny yourself something you don't need. We so eagerly criticize the corporations who take massive bailouts only to give out massive bonuses, or politicians who take bribes, listen and cater to lobbyists, and other ideals that are "corrupt". However, we don't take a look at our own actions. We consume because we like to, which is healthy to a certain extent. But the very corporations that get tax payers dollars are the very corporations that give us what we want.

It is a paradox, one that we don't recognize. We are so quick to judge those above us because they over-consume on such a large scale. Yet, we don't see ourselves doing it. We are prone to mass media and are easily manipulated. The teenagers are easily manipulated, and they in-turn give their massive disposable income to these corporations who multiply it and carry out their deeds.

We must overcome the entertainment industry! Without doing so, we will forever be overrun with passion for consumption. We will always be driven to buy because we are told that's what we want. It is a sick cycle, and if we continue to give in, it will never end.

The sad truth is that we will forever give in. So as long as people believe in "doing what you want so long as it doesn't harm others", we will not think two steps ahead. Consuming doesn't hurt anyone else. But it adds to the corporations who hurt others. It drives them to do more, to make us more selfish. It is sick, but it will never stop.

So there is my long and futile argument. If you read the whole thing, thank you so much and I appreciate it.
I'm sure people would have a lot to debate, and please do so.
Thank you for reading. If you wish to see the documentary that influenced my thinking so much, you can find it here: Merchants of Cool Documentary from PBS
Thanks for your time!

[edit on 073030p://333 by For(Home)Country]

posted on Apr, 7 2010 @ 07:37 PM
Great post! I agree, teens are manipulated heavily today by all types of media but they're not the only ones. The problem lies in the parents of those teens. Teens will follow and do just about anything to get acceptance from their peers. If todays parents would stop putting themselves 1st before their children the manipulation wouldn't be nearly as effective.

The entertainment and media industry is here to stay. America is going to be the hollywood for the world. We are the grand manipulators but there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Production of all media as dropped significantly, especially in the last 5 years. This allows more independence and competition in the market to combat the harmful manipulation. The entertainment industry will never fall, ever. But at least the draconian power structure of it is. We don't need less entertainment, we need more independents to step up.

posted on Apr, 7 2010 @ 07:39 PM
S&F Id have to agree with this 100% , It is so true about how things are now adays .

and yes i read the whole post and found it interesting to say the least ..

posted on Apr, 7 2010 @ 07:40 PM
Great post.

Media is a is aimed at your children.

[edit on 7-4-2010 by Mr Mask]

posted on Apr, 7 2010 @ 07:57 PM
reply to post by DarkStar86

Thank you everyone for your replies and reading! I am glad to see some like-minded people here on ATS. The media is definitely a machine, and is almost as powerful as war. In fact, they do wage a war, and that is the war against self control.

So as long as the masses dance to the tune of the entertainment industry, American's will forever hold their sense of individuality within materialism dear, and will never be able to overthrow the capitalist oppressors that feed you.

posted on Apr, 7 2010 @ 08:11 PM
Very good topic and in my opinion very accurate.

I agree with the premise almost 100 percent, although I see the entertainment industry as just an extension of pop-culture---which is what I personally label the true dividing and disruptive force at work. But thats just semantics, I suppose.

Overall, nice post, thank you.

posted on Apr, 7 2010 @ 09:01 PM
Nice thread - well presented

Welcome to the spin zone

We're able to see it as it happens, from Miley's little sister to Hannity's hair.
Keep on promoting awareness and be vigilant.


posted on Apr, 8 2010 @ 01:58 PM
reply to post by ganjoa

Thank you. Indeed it is a problem that needs to be addressed, yet so many people are willing to believe in the notion that "we're allowed to do what we want so as long as it doesn't harm others". In theory, it sounds good, but in reality, what constitutes as "not harming"? Everything influences people, and when people are influenced they do things.

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