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Media And Music A Form Of Entertainment Media Essay

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Media
Wordcount: 1536 words Published: 1st Jan 2015

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The world is for thousands a freak show; the images flicker past and vanish; the impressions remain flat and unconnected in the soul. Thus they are easily led by the opinions of others, are content to let their impressions be shuffled and rearranged and evaluated differently.

–Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

Music, as an art form has existed for thousands of years as a form of entertainment and has in this respect served its purpose well. People create different types of music for their own pleasure or as an attempt to instill some type of symbolism into melody, and in this way music flourishes. But as music has developed, its ambiguous nature has made it a candidate for interpretation and debate. Throughout the last hundred years particularly, the media has been attributing the effects of any number of cultural phenomena to current music. This stereotyping and inconclusive incrimination of music is a wrong in American culture.

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Music is an extremely expressionistic and variable art form, constantly changing listener’s views of society. Therefore new generations shape their views of society differently than others, in accordance with the music that they enjoy (in addition to many other factors). From this understanding, it is reasonable to deduce that the older generation involved with the media has a different understanding of current music than the younger generation for which the music was designed. Because of this and the fact that many common social problems such as violence, sex, and substance abuse have no directly understood cause, many news organizations and publishers may look towards popular music as the culprit.

The genre of music most commonly attacked by the media is rap/hip hop. All too often teenagers are seen by the media listening to this type of music, and if they were to commit some type of crime, violent desensitizations found within rap and hip hop music are deemed responsible. Some songs like 30H!3’s “Don’t Trust Me” objectifies women, promotes violence, and includes these lyrics:

“Shush girl, shut your lips.

Do the Helen Keller and talk with your hips. “

Also, the third verse of the popular 50 Cent song “Gunz Come Out” contains the following lyrics which are considered violent and disrespectful:

“AR-15, co-exist to make the shell case muffle

Scope, infrared, run you’re still dead

Hit your calf, hit you’re a**, hit ya back, then your head

Contract killa, murder for the scrilla

Search, find a n****, run up behind a n****

Shoot car windows out to flatline a n****

Gun pop, heart stop, homie this is heavy

You on your way to meet your maker, n**** are you ready

No exception to the rule, death is promised

Plus I just bought my n***** new macs and llamas

Got respect for human life but will accommodate you.

One phone call and n***** will exterminate you…”

Lyrics like the one just mentioned, which portray gang violence and sexuality may be considered to cause violence by an ignorant observer, but a complete understanding of the lyrics may contribute to a better overall understanding of the music. Much of these lyrics are the spawn of a world where kids are beaten and murdered for the little money that they possess or because they were attacked, accidentally wearing the wrong colors into a gang affiliated neighborhood. By viewing rap lyrics in this way, one could consider the lyrics to be a narration, simply telling the troubled truths of gang life in the world. On the other hand, a rapper named Lichelle was unable to tell a story correctly, and was cited in a Wall Street Journal article to have been forced by her record company to change her lyrics to include profanity because the original lyrics were considered “too soft” and not hardcore enough. This alludes to the fact that the listeners may actually want to hear the profane and violent ideas. Still, repeated lyrics referencing violence and sex have been proven by many individuals to desensitize its listeners, but not necessarily to force them to partake in violent actions. In fact, the results of a poll of rap-listening Jesuit students revealed that the majority of the listeners (86%) don’t think that the violent lyrics contribute to increased personal hostility, while many (78%) allowed that it likely led to their desensitization.

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Rock music is a popular genre that is also being attributed to societal problems by the media. Now, because of some of the messages in the lyrics being negative and even suicidal, the media blames the Rock genre for depression and suicide. As an example, the lyrics from “Adam’s Song” by the alternative artist “Blink 182” reference depression and suicide and are highlighted in the following excerpt:

“The choice was mine, I didn’t think enough

I’m too depressed, to go on

you’ll be sorry when I’m gone. “

In addition, the song by the popular rock artist “Eyes set to Kill” called “Bitter Pill” contains the following lyrics:

“This bitter pill he swallows takes the tension

He’s lost control of his hands

Control of steps

Somewhere he fears

Was almost sure

Could never happen to him

When this pill is dissolved in his suffering body

He’ll lay there stiff and shamefully. “

Clearly both of these songs, in addition to many others, sing of suicide and depression, but is it not the same issue of desensitization discussed earlier in the rap genre? The media would respond, “No, there is proof that many teenagers who have committed suicide, were found to be listening to this type of music. ” This is true, however, in the same respect that humans befriend others with similar problems and traits, teenagers will listener to music which preaches parallel life problems, such as depression and the thoughts of suicide. Then, by simple linear progression, one can conclude that it wasn’t the music that led the teen to suicidal behavior, but rather was acquired with the suicidal ideas and developed in accordance with them. This same principle may also be said about the pop music genre, which is alleged to cause sexual activity in younger peoples. It appears that the media relentlessly attacks most popular musical genres.

Stereotypes associated with people and genres of music have proven themselves to be virtually boundless, but not necessarily very accurate. I, myself, am involved in the “rock scene. ” I often journey to concerts involving bands and fans that are stereotyped as angry and scary people, but throughout my time at concerts I have only found the opposite to be true. I have met members of many bands, talked to band members and concert-goers, and immersed myself into the atmosphere, and have found not the anger that is stereotyped. I have not found the depression. Nor have I found antisociality. Friendship, respect, kindness, and mutual love and respect for music were what I found however. I think this may just be an example of the common idiom “You can’t judge a book by its cover,” since the lyrics of some of the songs in which a rock artist sings may seem angry or satanic, does not mean that the person is a angry person. On the other hand when Mr. Shakely says, “The thing about stereotypes is they’re often true,” he says the truth. The flipside of the stereotypical rock fan is his appearance, which the stereotypes fill completely. One could compare me to another metal concert-goer and find almost no similarities. My short blonde hair curls and covers some of my forehead, while the metal fan’s dyed, straightened, and long hair shields half of his face from the public eye. My face is rather normal, while his is anything but it. His battle scars tattered about the visible portion of face in addition to the fresh bruise by his eye tells that he is a hardcore “mosher.” My relatively clean jeans and band shirt look formal compared to his stark contrast of chains, ripped jeans, and various piercings. In this respect stereotypes about music or at least some fans show their validity.

As sexual and violent crimes are being committed at increasingly younger ages and the media progressively tries to be more intolerant with the musicians and genres that they believe to be causing the problem, little can be done by teenagers to stop the progression. The media will not be dissuaded, nor will they admit they are ignorant to the reality of the problem. The question is thus raised: “What is the best option for teenagers then?” Passive-aggressive behavior seems to be the most effective way that one could stop or at least slow the media and their unrightfully justified war against music. Put on your headphones. Blast the radio. Express yourself and live.


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