response paper 2
by Tom Wheat
summer session
poli. 5
Pro. Gaberial Brahm

"Show me a man who isn't a slave. One is a slave to sex, another money, another ambition." -Seneca-

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The ideal function of media in a free society is to present a diverse and open point of view, as to what constitutes a reference point for arriving at informed choice. Free media is the essential expression of that ideal of pluralism for it follows as the prerequisite of the civil society, of free persons, of informed choice and that is which the utopian ideal of American freedom solely rests upon. The question that exists today is whether or not media truly provides the consumer with an informed choice of options?

According to the film, "Storytellers of Society," media as it is exercised today more or less appeals to our most innate, base and biological instincts, in order to sell us a product not on the basis of its utilitarian value, but on the secondary principle of human satisfaction derived from instant gratification, and the object oriented pursuit of happiness. Philosophically speaking this creates a matrix of an artificial simulation of consciousness being derived from the mind of a machine that dispenses such satisfactions rendering the consumer's free will to automaton status and deriving the social conscience from deterministic notions of the market's propensity for greed, and cunning deceptions of relative truth.

In reality then media has created its own culture, a subset of industrialism and assembly line production, and hence the value of instant capital acquisition has replaced the value of individual moral and collective ethical achievement along with actual long-term material worth.

In all civilizations the mysteries of life were explained through magical tales evoking the later rational response to search for a parable and common thematic link to the nature of life. Yet the notion of magical thinking has not left the age of science rather it has evolved in parallel to it, i.e., through the use of media ad driven campaigns. Essentially a beer, toaster or a diamond ring is a love potion that will make one's significant other happy and fulfilled. No doubt the complex and arduous process of discerning the meaning or truth to life has been replaced with the comforting modalities of hedonist thought and a power elite that favors the market as a means of social control, and its ultimate ideal that production and consumption are the ultimate realities of life, ideals as constant as eternal faith, and in reality much more practical to contemplate.

Historically, Capitalism was a revolutionary transition from the royal merchant monopolies of the mercantile system, in terms of its production capabilities. According to Sut Jally, Capitalism created an ordered triad of production, distribution and consumption. It is the last factor consumption, that Sut Jally argues created its own virtual subset, i.e., the advertising industry, as the rationalizer of the values of the marketplace, and its chief indoctrinare. To some extent he argues that the media is not really an objectively free enterprise since it has driven out other ideas from existing in the commercial discourse. Rather the media has become an instrument of the market, and not the instrument of free informed choice. This follows since the market is more or less framed by the reality of "Social Darwinism," and that economic might makes economic right. This last factor he argues has led to the commercialization of American culture, where tradition has been replaced by short term fashions, intended to correspond with marketing aims propagated by media executives.

The theology of consumerism has the congregations of capitalism's churches flock to the store malls and, and deliverance comes in the form of sale prices on capitalism's high holidays, a flickering reminder of the indissoluble nature of man.

So is the market really the creator of free will or is man's conscience more or less a creation of the marketplace? It follows that market is the ultimate instructor of man and furnishes him with character impressions, the figurative slate upon which his preconceived notions are furnished and dictated to him by the market at the moment of the inception of desire to fill the mundane earthly void of existence, constrained by mortality.

The film argues that the market media ad campaign affects how we think about the world, and ourselves including our most intimate relations. The film cites the example of the 1947 De beers ad in which the now famous slogan "Diamonds are Forever," was first coined and how this example shows how media influences our conceptions about rites of passage. Media executives will argue that commercials alone do not sell a product. However, every marketing executive is aware of the nature of hype, a inflationary abstract concept that attaches magical thinking to material objects, and assigns them an ulterior measure of worth, that such things cannot possibly fill, other than the tedium of assembly driven consumerist disposable culture.

Since media is the ultimate imparter of values it so follows, so then just what are those values, and to whose aim and to whose conscience do they seem to import other than Paine's axiom that, "Society is produced by our wants, and government is produced by our vices," and never shall the two meet or such a matter or fashion we can care with ease to recollect.