Sunday, April 18, 2010

Game Changers.

The Nazi's and the Communists understood the vital importance of propaganda in the shaping average man's mind. Once taking control of the government, the first job of the totalitarians was to gain control of the press and media and feed the proletariat the intellectual pabulum that they felt was appropriate. Men, whose business it is to wrest power and govern society effectively have no illusions with regard to human nature.

The fact is that most men are influenced by their surroundings and particularly by individuals that they perceive as role models. As a doctor, this was best evidenced by the phenomena of "Sex in the City". Doing gynaecological examinations is part and parcel of my work. I can't remember any woman presenting for an examination a la Brazillian. Things changed of course with Sex in the City. Initially the the women would be a bit embarrassed and offer non convincing explanations, now no explanation or embarrassment is seen at all. What really impressed me was how rapidly the change occurred. No one was really unhappy with the previous state of affairs, though admittedly the younger women were more trimmed than the older, so why the change.

Although I regard Sex and the City as one of the most intellectually vapid series out there, it clearly was highly regarded by women, especially young women. Episodes were eagerly awaited, newspaper columns devoted to the antics of the women and the media presented the women in a positive light. Most of the heroines were pretty, carefree fashionably dressed and fun. Women felt that they could "connect" in some way with the heroines and the heroines became agents of influence.

In reality it wasn't the women at all who were the agents of influence at all, but the scriptwriters and producers who using actors were able to produce a fairy tale with no connection with reality.
Whether the scriptwriters wanted to deliberately push the idea of the Brazillian onto women I don't know, but that's what happened. People copy their ideals. The media is an agent of influence.

Sex and the City could not have gained the enormous influence it did without the centralisation of the Media. Whilst the media is not in control by one individual, the individuals that control the media are broadly speaking of the same mindset and ideals. The Western world's media is predominantly run and funded by Left wing individuals and its no surprise that Left wing ideas get shown in a positive light. White Religious men are presented as cruel and boring, Left wing "rebels" as exciting, handsome and just. A movie like Hitchcock's I Confess could not be made in Hollywood today. The huge capital cost required to compete against these established corporations effectively ensured their monopoly and suppressed dissenting voices and opinions, .........till now.

Ferdinand wrote an interesting post on how the newspaper publishing industry is being hit hard by the Internet. People don't want to buy the paper when the news is available for free on the Internet. The importance of this is not with regard to the viability of the newspapers but with regard to the loss of control of information dissemination by the owners of the newspapers. The newspaper editors have lost control of the news. The recent "Climategate" scandal a case in point. Here is Australia, scant coverage was made with regard to the matter, YET IT WAS ALL OVER THE INTERNET. Here, an issue of vital importance for the community was deliberately ignored by the media who were interested in pushing a global warming agenda at the expense of the truth. The newspapers cannot censor whom they want anymore through "editorial discretion".

Whilst I'm not predicting the death of newspapers (though a lot will die, hopefully the local broadshite will) what has happened is that the mainstream media has lost its stranglehold on information dissemination, and as an agent of influence, its power is waning: The Internet has broken its stranglehold. Still, it's my opinion that the newspapers are of far less influence than the music industry and the image media. The Internet is decimating the profitability of the music industry and until now the only industry that seems to have weathered the storm is the movie business.

Until now.

Recently I was in the business of purchasing a digital camera. Video on a digital camera was never a "big deal" for me as I always saw it as a gimmick to boost sales.................. Till I saw the videos. For a sub $1000 dollar camera like the GH1 or the Canon EOS 550D near cinematographic quality picture. Check out Vimeo to see what these relatively cheap cameras can do.This technology and broadband will decimate Hollywood. This is not hype on my part. This interview over at EOS HD lays it out:
"Hollywood has always been number 2 in innovation, reluctant to change... the truth is nobody needs them anymore. Anyone can go out and make a movie."

"It's a democracy, with these cameras all you need is talent"
The capital cost which effectively prohibited entry into the movie business has been slashed. The other area of control, the distribution channels, which were also tightly controlled, have also been by passed. Anyone can be a producer and/or a star.

Hollywood is a dead man walking.


Hughman said...

See, I'd say the Internet has influenced far more than you realise.

Want to know why? Pornography.
My esteemed teacher of English told me last year about the internet: "It [the internet] is good for two things: Cheating on your homework, and porn"

I have a preference for girls to be well trimmed (though full Brazilian is not my thing) and to wear high heels, both when socialising and in the sack.

When I expressed this view to my closest friends, the females present had a fit. Lots of shaming language about me expecting to have a pornstar that is completely shallow about her looks for -my pleasure, and me watching too many films.

I simply retorted: I have to shave daily, sometimes twice if I woke up early for a ward-round (I'm a medical student btw)and then going out on the night. I also maintain my sideburns, armpit hair and lower hair. I expect my girlfriend to do the same.

They had no comeback.

Also, the ever improving cameras annoy me. They always catch my scars (faceplanting as a kid into a glass table, and some acne scars) and my lazy eye. But yes, they are game changing to a certain extent. Not that Hollywood will die, but it's going to reduce its output, ie cut the crud. People expect photo-realistic SFX now. The ante is going to have to be raised with good scripts and actors at all times.

The Social Pathologist said...

I agree that the porn/internet influence on culture has been quite significant, but perhaps not as significant as the porn/DVD effect. Both the internet and DVD have contributed to the pornification of mainstream culture.

Still what's really interesting is the uptake of habits once the prole models start promoting them. Culture is influenced more by fashion than argument.

Scars add character, embrace them

Hughman said...

They aren't 'good' scars if you catch my drift. The ones from the glass are only visible under intense light and are mainly placed over bony landmarks, so they just look like nasty skin imperfections. The acne scars are just pits.

I see what you mean now though. Once it gets promoted in the media, it's going to catch on much quicker and with more likely longevity.

My personal gripe is with the UK's obsession over drugs and its inability to understand statistics. A whole wave of 'synthetic' stimulants just got banned after the media caught on and had a fit over 27 'deaths' (in fact only 7 have these stims in their toxicology reports, and 6 had been mixing heavily with alcohol, cannabis and other depressants. The 7th was an old guy with a weak heart)

The 'scientific' press here (New Scientist, the Guardian, a few commentators in the Times [though not the editorial]) actually reported it well. But they are ignored for fear-mongers. MDMA, the granddaddy of narcotic stims, has about a 1 in 10000 adverse event risk. Alcohol is in the 1 in 3-figure bracket. And yet -every- MDMA death is reported. Only 10% of alcohol deaths are.