Before taking this class, I really never even considered the ideologies of popular culture. What I mean is, I really didn’t think of why or how popular culture came to be. For me pop culture was merely new wave kind of things such as entertainment, fashion and especially music. Now having gone only two weeks into the course, I have a whole new perspective on what pop culture is. Ever since our mentor session last Thursday, I have been looking at all the symbols for icons that are all around us. Like the smiley faced and how the image of a smile can have so many different meanings which is explained on PG 27 in our work book. I was driving down Highway 26 heading towards the coast and saw a billboard advertisement for how many millions of dollars you could win if you played Powerball or Mega millions. I thought to myself, this is a good example of what we had discussed in the mentor class. The sign is the symbol and the lottery with all the material wealth that comes with winning the lottery would be the icon. I also observed a road sign with a large H on it. The H was the symbol and the hospital which represents health and safety is the icon which I am not sure if this constitutes popular culture or not.
I have been affected by many different ideologies throughout my life. During my child hood, I had a sister who was really into the flower child / hippie movement of the sixties. I was with her during some of the protests that she went to in downtown Portland; although, I was pretty young and really do not remember what she was protesting. I am
pretty confident that it was political. I also have a mother who is very religious. She would force her religious ideologies on my sisters and I (I am sure she thought it was the right thing). At the time, I remember asking myself, “Do you really believe in this way of life that is being forced down your throat and crammed into your brain?” I now know that I was too young to make a conscience decision whether god is real or be able to have faith that he is real. This is also true for the protest that I went with my older sister; however, she tried hard to convince me otherwise.
I was also in the military for eight
years. I do not think that I have a good enough grasped on exactly what popular
culture is to say the military is pop culture but it is a culture with extreme
ideologies nonetheless. In the military,
you are taught ideologies that you may or may not agree with; however, if you
want to succeed in the military, you have got to abide by their ideologies that
are forced upon you (do you see a pattern here?).
When you have other`s ideologies / beliefs for a lack of a better term, forced upon you, I think that one cannot help but to be affected by them. For me I believe I have been affected / damaged spiritually by the religious ideologies because of the way they were introduced to me. I didn’t take very well to having my mother`s religious beliefs forced upon me so I rebelled and started hanging out on the mean streets of Portland where I got
into a great deal of trouble. I started thinking that I was worthless and I was ashamed that I wasn’t a good son. I then joined the army. By making that choice, I believe made me a better person. I would even go as far as to say, it saved my life. The military`s ideologies taught me discipline, self respect, and I no longer felt worthless.
I sometimes get angry when I see and hear parents forcing their ideologies on their children because I know firsthand that it can have a lasting effect on the child. If I am correct in assuming that some types of hate are ideologies in popular culture (white power groups as well as any other racial group who hates another racial group) and those beliefs are forced upon children, then the outcome can have a very negative effect. An example would be parents, whose prejudice is past down to their children just continues the vicious circle of prejudice and discrimination our country has been plagued with. In that same breath, I believe that a parent who does not force their own beliefs on their children, but rather explains the ideologies and provides the child guidance, love, (love of fellow man included) and teaches right from wrong until that child has acquired enough maturity to choose for themselves. This will have a very positive effect on many.
As you have read, I have experienced many different ideologies, some positive and some negative but I think that in doing so, I am a better person because of it. In college, I have seen a very diverse group of people with many different cultures and ideologies. I have also taken classes that have introduced me to ideologies in the world that would not have seen before. What is so refreshing to me is that I have never had one of those beliefs forced upon me.
Video games are a text that I have seen change dramatically in my life. As a child we had games like Pac-man, Pong, Asteroids, and many others. These games though slightly violent, are nothing compared to the violence and suggestive content in the games we have today in popular culture. I have not done the research; however, I would not be surprised to find out that some of the war games out there now, subconsciously prepare new soldiers for the horrors of combat. If realistically anything can do that. I have heard that the violence in them can damage children and cause them to be violent. I understand that video games (all types) are mostly for entertainment. I think that some of them are way over the top. When you think about how much time is spent on playing these games, you have to wonder whether or not if they are possibly damaging to children`s metal state and adults for that matter. Also what about the health risk that comes with the lack of exercise caused by the length of playing time.
Ideologies and popular culture is very fascinating to me. I am looking forward to learning more about the subject.