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The influence of mass media on the social life.

1. Nowadays it is very hard to overestimate the influence of mass media on the social life. It provides us with big quantity of information- movies, news, informative and educational TV-programs and for sure there is a lot of commercial information- advertising. In order to pick needed information from the flow of differently-oriented information, it is necessary to outline the general principles of its ‘consumption’ and to understand the principles of its work.

According to the Stuart Hall “Encoding and Decoding”, it is possible to say that people get all needed information, especially commercial on the subliminal level. In other words, advertising and propagandistic films influence human mind indirectly, with the help of specially-developed psychological tools. Stuart Hall outlines the four staged theory of communication, which includes the following steps: production, circulation, use and reproduction. [1]

According to the “Encoding and Decoding”, it is possible to outline three following hypothetical reader/viewer positions: first of all, the sender never determines the meaning of the message; secondly, it is very hard to understand the essence of the message for the audience, because the message is not transparent; and finally, the audience is not a passive recipient of meaning[2]

According to the Halls concept, it is possible to say that sender never makes a strict determination of the message, because each viewer would make those conclusions, which are supported by his own moral standards and attitude towards some subject matter.

In the Ang’s "Dallas and the Ideology of Mass Culture" we have found the following interpretation of mass culture: it makes its great impact on the social, life, while the mass serials like Dallas are widely watched and discussed by wide auditory; some of people like that serial, others do not, but it is still discussed, watched and it does not lose its popularity. It has become being the part of the social life. People live together with the main characters and they are waiting for watching the new episode in order to get the information, concerning the plot development.

There is such an attitude towards mass consumption serials: some people feel comfortable and do not consider their life problems, while watching serial, such people live together with their heroes and do not care about their own and global problems. Mass culture serials development allows stage director (or letter-writer) to outline new ideas in the current culture and to create new mass culture – they include into the plot of the serial those issues and aspects, which would make significant influence on the social life: beginning from the fashions and accomplishing with the behaviour ideas. People would follow their beloved characters of serials and in such manner they would be trying to be alike to the serials’ main heroes.[3]

According to the David Morley THE NATIONWIDE AUDIENCE, it is possible to make conclusions about the influence of the mass culture on different aspects of human lives. In such manner it is possible to create public opinion the desired way- to involve public opinion polls in order to ‘outline’ the general attitude towards some event. In such manner those people, who are not involved directly into the problematic, would be influenced by such ‘mass’ opinion. That allows preventing panic and at the same case such mass media tools mislead people, concerning current situation in the country.[4]

Finally, Jacqueline Bobo has outlined in her THE COLOR PURPLE the possibility of using mass media tool for paying additional attention on the situation (in Jacquelines’ Bobo case - with the racial discrimination.  To conclude, we would like to stress that getting the message from the author means understanding all ideas, which laid the foundations of the movie or serial or advertising. The quality of such message could be measured by the number of those people, who have made conclusions, alike to the authors’ ones.[5]

2. Currently, is possible to outline one of the most powerful cultural moving today- fun clubs. They were developed and created in order to integrate different people with the same attitudes towards life values, towards some popular persons or towards some works of art.

These people are usually very friendly and they are integrated by the common idea about development the mass culture tool- promoting, supporting and admiration with some person or group of people. Different actions, participants meetings and future actions consideration are the main directions of the fan clubs activities.

To our opinion, it is possible to consider fan clubs as extension of audiences for some cultural activities. In order to prove the above said, we would like to consider the Star Trek fans, who have tried to achieve the social understanding if the homosexual relations and to prevent wide judgement this movement.

They have considered the homosexual relations as a normal social event, which should be understood and supported by their society. They have achieved that level with the help of the following tools: they have proclaimed the slogan 'Out of the closet and into the universe’ – tending to be visual and ordinary and by mass national letter-writing campaign organisation. As a result, both these tolls have attracted mass attention towards that issue and that has made its influence of the situation improvement in the whole country. [6]

Talking about the Titanic and DiCaprio funs, we would like to pay additional attention that the majority of its fans are young females (more that 60 percents of the general quantity) and their age does not exceed 25 y.o. in majority of cases.

Titanic with DiCaprio is the blockbuster, which is based on the real historical events. It concerns such topics as welfare, love and human relations. Also such philosophical issue as the sense of life is outlined indirectly, because it is up to the audience to decide whether hero has made right decision of it would have been better to act another way to prevent such misfortune.

The fun clubs have supported the popularity of this movie  for durable period of time and have significantly increased the revenue from its screening - majority of young ladies have watched it for several times- from 2 to 14 and that has attracted additional interest towards that issue from another female representatives of young age.

In order to defend the favourite movie from the different negative journalistic and star discourse its fans have marginalized their desires, the fan club representatives have widely involved press into that process and there they have printed different articled, supported with DiCaprio photos and some desired of personal meetings, love and devotion towards main hero of this movie. In such manner young fans have constantly attracted some interest towards the Titanic and they have saved its popularity and the interest towards this movie for a durable period of time. [7]

To conclude, we would like to stress that mass media and fun clubs create the populations’ attitude towards some social events, works of art and persons. It is very important to support such movements and to direct their activities into the positive course. Only in such manner it is possible to achieve the highest results and to combine the fan club legal activity and mass culture creation, support and development.

Reference list:

1.      Ang, Ien. "Dallas and the Ideology of Mass Culture." The Cultural Studies Reader. Ed. Simon During. New York: Routledge, 1993. 403-420.

2.      Bobo, Jacqueline (1988 ) Black women's responses to The Colour Purple. Jump Cut, no. 33, Feb. 1988, pp. 43-51

3.      Hall, S. (1973) Encoding and Decoding in the Television Discourse Birmingham: CCS

4.      Henry Jenkins (2001) OUT OF THE CLOSET AND INTO THE UNIVERSE' Queers and Star Trek

5.      MELANIE NASH AND MARTTI LAHTI (2001) "Utmost Ashamed to Say I am the One of Those Girls " Titanic, Leonardo Dicaprio, and the paradoxes of girls' fandom

      Morley, David (1980) The 'Nationwide' Audience: Structure and Decoding. London: BFI. ISBN 0-85170-097-7
      Procter, James. (2004) Stuart Hall, Routledge critical thinkers.


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