In Practices of Looking the author talks about what can happen to society when images are present. The first reading in our course packet gives six different examples defining the meaning of popular culture. The definition that best describes popular culture and what I am going to be writing about is “mass culture”. For example a popular MTV show called Jersey Shore aired three years ago with eight young Italian men and women all living together in one house for an entire summer. These eight people would not just change the way we watch T.V. but they way their cultural heritage is viewed by society.
I am a strong believer that television can influence the actions and behaviors of the viewers. When young people in America turn on their televisions on Thursday nights a large portion of them tune into Jersey Shore. Jersey Shores first two seasons gave audiences laughable memories from funny sayings from the members of the cast such as GTL (Gym, Tan, Laundry), grenade (someone the cast views as unattractive). As the cast grew in popularity the image they portrayed to viewers seemed degrading to their Italian heritage. The New York Times refers to the casts actions as ?their display of debauchery and self-absorption was so over the top that it quickly drew complaints of ethnic stereotyping?. For people who do not watch the Jersey Shore they hear about it through mass culture such as advertisements and other media outlets.
For many of the young adults that watch the Jersey Shore on a regular basis they believe what they see is what would be considered “in” or “what is happening now in the world”. For those who admirer to be like the cast some viewers will have Jersey Shore themed parties, go tanning, and workout excessively. Because this show is so popular it is advertised to a great extent to increase the ratings and popularity.
I hold the opinion that many young people now look at the Italian race as hip, party animals, excessive drinkers, and fist pumping crazies. Though I have watched Jersey Shore before and have been to a shore themed party I do not view the Italian race by what I see on a television show or advertisement. A major media resource that reaches the mass culture is Facebook, which has a group with over 10 million people who are “fans” of the Jersey Shore. WebPages and advertisements have the ability to reach people in many ways to popularize such things like the Jersey Shore. I do believe that marketers have made wise decisions by advertising to certain age groups because most of the people that watch Jersey Shore will end up having similar thoughts about the show.
Popular culture is always changing the way people look at the world and the things going on in it. The Jersey Shore producers have found something that works and there is nothing wrong with them milking it for all its worth. As long as the dancing and drinking stays in the club I am fine with the way the show projects its popular culture image.
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