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Exam Essay Question (Bob Dylan)

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SOCY 122
Rob Beamish

Part One: A number of scholars have feared the negative impact that mass culture will have upon people’s critical capacities. Briefly outline what those concerns are. (200-300) - how mainstream media and culture is bad, - from the perspective that it dilutes individualism with consumerism, ultimately leading to a "culture industry" that is simplistic. - This is bad for the individual and the society. - Mass culture creates passive internalization of banal mass culture, seduces into accepting banal entertainment - Hoggart: questions tolerance to cultural debasement - a “clever man's paradise” failing to recognizing the assault of mass culture on human sensibility - Nietzsche: Modern man "has got lost”; "this modernity was our sickness: lazy peace, cowardly compromise, the whole virtuous uncleanliness of the modern Yes and No" - The herd instinct -- abandoned desire for freedom and action; succumbing to greed - Goethe - strong, highly educated, skilful, self-controlled, reverent towards himself, tolerant, from weakness but from strength, whom nothing is forbidden -- except weakness - F.R. Leavis and Denys Thompson: with growth of urbanization culture has been cut off from its organic roots within the community; genuine culture being overshadowed by mass culture - lost the organize community in which living culture is embodied – mass culture is a substitute - "the machine has brought us many advantages, but it has destroyed the old ways of life, the old forms, and by reason of the continual rapid change it involves, prevented the growth of new. Moreover, the advantage it brings us in mass-production has turned out to involved standardization and leveling-down outside the realm of mere material goods” - Adorno, Horkheimer and Marcuse: The entertainment industry is the vehicle of mass deception, production of mass culture is focused on perfecting the techniques that will entertain and amuse rather than challenge people. Marcuse – one dimensional man. - Postman: focused on television, there is never the time or depth of coverage that would stimulate real reflection and critical thinking on issues. Age of entertainment. - Gabler: Argues entertainment has become the universe within which all media exerts their influence. Entertainment as cosmology. - Huxleyan: state controls through pleasure and entertainment. Postman would argue we now live in a world in which life is replicating art. - Orwell: Culture becomes a prison. Ministry of Truth controls culture through “prolefeed”, sensational novelettes, overly sexed films and sentimental songs mechanically produced. - Sam: - "the negative impact that mass culture will have upon people’s critical capacities" as "Mass culture is making people dumber and more s
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