A Cross-Cultural Catalyst

The following was written, 20 April 2005.

In 21st century American society, there seems to be a growing infatuation with technology and mass media in the midst of natural disaster and terrorist attacks. Especially, Americans look to be inundated by so considerably television that they no longer have the capacity to believe outdoors the box, and would rather be immersed in the ‘idiot box’ than in a excellent book or a news paper. Mr. Murray, “Washington bureau chief for CNBC and the Wall Street Journal columnist” (Hess 275), remarked on his frustration with television and its impact on the public for the duration of a heated debate among numerous of today’s authorities, in the book The Media and the War on Terrorism.

I am continuously amazed at how little depth you can obtain even with a complete hour of television to play with each and every evening and with a pretty sophisticated and intelligent audience relative to the average Television audience. I am amazed and frustrated and shocked at how a lot additional I can do with an 835-word column. (Hess 289)

Is it the medium of tv which lacks the capacity to transmit understanding, or is it the viewer’s inability to constructively comprehend what is getting interjected into their intellect? In his report, “To Analyze a Video Text,” Robert Scholes invites and challenges his readers to critically analyze video text and to appear beyond the pleasure and surrender produced by these cultural narratives. Scholes warns that it is “very tough to resist the pleasure of this text, and we can’t accept the pleasure without the need of, for the bewildering minute at least, also accepting the ideology that is so richly and closely entangled the story that we construct from the video” (622). The ideology presented in television is entrenched by the cultural values of American society (Scholes 620). These “video texts confirm viewers in their ideological positions and reassure them as to their membership in a collective cultural physique. This function, which operates in the ethical-political realm, is an extremely critical element of video textuality and, indeed, an extremely vital dimension of all the mass media” (Scholes 620). He further explains that “we are dealing with and archetypal narrative that has been adjusted for maximum effect within a certain political and social context” (Scholes 622) and that “by ‘getting’ the story, we prove our competence and demonstrate our membership in a cultural community” (Scholes 621). All the meaning that…

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