7 the power of media in everyday life the earliest

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Chapter 7 / Exercise 4
Purchasing & Supply Chain Management
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relating our situations—and the test of our evolution may lie in getting the story right.” 7 The Power of Media in Everyday Life The earliest debates, at least in Western society, about the impact of cultural narratives on daily life date back to the ancient Greeks. Socrates, himself accused of corrupting young minds, wor- ried that children exposed to popular art forms and stories “without distinction” would “take into their souls teachings that are wholly opposite to those we wish them to be possessed of when they are grown up.” 8 He believed art should uplift us from the ordinary routines of our lives. The playwright Euripides, however, believed that art should imitate life, that characters should be real, and that artistic works should reflect the actual world—even when that reality is sordid. In The Republic , Plato developed the classical view of art: It should aim to instruct and uplift. He worried that some staged performances glorified evil and that common folk watching might not be able to distinguish between art and reality. Aristotle, Plato’s student, occupied a middle ground in these debates, arguing that art and stories should provide insight into the hu- man condition but should entertain as well. The cultural concerns of classical philosophers are still with us. At the turn of the twentieth century, for example, newly arrived immigrants to the United States who spoke little English gravitated toward cultural events (such as boxing, vaudeville, and the emerging medium of silent film) whose enjoyment did not depend solely on understanding English. Consequently, these popular events occasionally became a flash point for some groups, including the Daugh- ters of the American Revolution, local politicians, religious leaders, and police vice squads, who not only resented the commercial success of immigrant culture but also feared that these “low” cultural forms would undermine what they saw as traditional American values and interests. In the United States in the 1950s, the emergence of television and rock and roll generated several points of contention. For instance, the phenomenal popularity of Elvis Presley set the stage for many of today’s debates over hip-hop lyrics and television’s negative influence, espe- cially on young people. In 1956 and 1957, Presley made three appearances on the Ed Sullivan Show . The public outcry against Presley’s “lascivious” hip movements was so great that by the third show the camera operators were instructed to shoot the singer only from the waist up. In some communities, objections to Presley were motivated by class bias and racism. Many white adults believed that this “poor white trash” singer from Mississippi was spreading rhythm and blues, a “dangerous” form of black popular culture. Today, with the reach of print, electronic, and digital communications and the amount of time people spend consuming them (see Table 1.1), mass media play an even more controversial role in society. Many of us have become increasingly critical of the quality of much contempo- rary culture and are concerned about the overwhelming amount of information now available.
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Purchasing & Supply Chain Management
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Chapter 7 / Exercise 4
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