Sample Research Paper on Entertainment and Culture

Entertainment and Culture

Culture encompasses the behavioral patterns, arts, beliefs, institutions, and other factors that characterize humans thus categorizing a specific community in the society. Similarly, culture refers to an organization of beliefs and practices that are widely shared by a group of people, which may include religion, rites of passage, and entertainment. Entertainment has incorporated various activities that entice the intended audience and it can be related to a particular culture. For a better understanding of culture, it is important to answer the following questions which explain the intersection of culture on entertainment.

  1. Define convergence and the effect it has on the entertainment industry

Generally, convergence refers to the clustering of two or more things to a commonplace or point. Similarly, it can be viewed as merging or coming together of different types of equipment with a common role of distributing the end products as a single unit. Therefore, entertainment convergence, which is popularly known as media convergence, is the collaboration between computing, communications, and content. It is the interaction of new media and old media within a single platform in relation to culture and technology. Traditionally, entertainment was viewed as an activity that brought people together either to celebrate or to honor a specific cultural event. For instance, people could be entertained during preparation or while celebrating triumph in war, rites of passage, or during holidays. However, the situation changed in the 19th century when entertainment has been viewed as a day-to-day activity. Entertainment development also was triggered by technological advancement where an individual can be entertained in the comfort of his or her house.

The traditional forms of entertainment were modified, and not changed, and then they were aired on a digital platform to conform to media convergence where public participation in improving media content was converted. For example, wrestling is an ancient sport since the era of the Roman Empire, but it has been converging to modernized sporting events such as WWE which an individual can enjoy without being physically present on the scene. The last notion on media convergence is about media ownership. Previously, media corporate focused on one line of entertainment but they have evolved into incorporating several aspects of entertainment. For example, Warner Bros focused only on the film industry, but it has converged to books, magazines, websites, video games, and many others. In this regard, media owners have shifted focus from one line in the industry and have engaged in a series of productive activities which is now generally referred to as convergence.

  1. Define the “hypodermic needle” theory of mass media and how it has been used and abused by those wishing to control culture.

A hypodermic needle is used together with a syringe to inject substances in the body in an immediate reaction so that the body can respond fast compared to taking medications. In this understanding, the “hypodermic needle” theory was invented and it confirmed that the media had a direct, immediate, and powerful effect on its audience. The theory was developed under the assumption that media can be used as a tool of change that can exercise control over a large number of people and influence their behavioral aspects towards practicing positivity in society. The theory implied that people were directly influenced by the content they extracted from the media and it immediately influenced their human nature.  According to the theory which was invented in the radicalization of the radio and television, viewers and listeners could respond uniformly to whatever stimuli came from the media. This meant that the media would interfere with the traditional culture that was rooted within the people. The theory was put to test in 1930 when Mercury Theater and Orson wells created fake news about an intended American invasion by aliens that created a lot of panic and chaos within the residents. Ten years later, the theory was disapproved and modified because it was believed people are influenced by a vast scope of factors to make decisions rather than what they watch solely. Those people who want to control culture base this study as their point of reference to subject the revolution associated with the development of mass media. They argue that everything associated with the media corrupts the morality of society and its independent state of mind. For instance, they argue that politics are sharply influenced by the media, hence people will usually vote depending on what side the media lies. However, these arguments were discredited and it was reported that culture started to revolutionize in the wake of civilization and nothing can stop it.

  1. What were the Payne Fund Studies? What were the effects of these studies?

Early in the 1920s, the Motion Picture Research Council was mandated to work on developing national policies regarding motion pictures and their effect on children. A private foundation known as The Payne Fund offered to support the research on financial matters, hence it was commonly referred to as the Payne Fund Studies. It was the first argument that directly laid its focus on the impact of media on children and the nature of cultural power in relation to media content. The research resulted in a chronology of thirteen studies, which sort to formulate the effects of media among the youth in five specific scopes which included information, attitudes, emotions, health, and behavior.

These studies culminated with the introduction of The Motion Picture Production Code or the Hays Code that was set to govern the moral censorship regulations to protect the viewers from consuming immoral content.  This was as a result of the findings indicated in the study; for instance, the study found out that in a case of an 8-year-old child, he or she will retain three out of five scenes observed on the television. In other words, if the child viewed 20 murder scenes on television, there is a probability that he or she will be recalling 12 scenes. As a result, the government formulated rules to regulate the content of motion pictures due to the findings in the study.

  1. How does Marxist theory critique capitalism on exchange value versus use value? Be specific in your answer.

Economists define capitalism as the process of organizing the economy in a way that will grant ownership of resources to individual people or groups as opposed to communal ownership and it is characterized by competition among the stakeholders. However, Marxist differs from this explanation and refers to capitalism as a social system that allows specific individuals to safeguard their interests by exploiting others. In regard to this, he coined the ideology of “use value” which states that a commodity use-value is realized when that commodity is being consumed or used. For example, when a commodity like wheat is used to make food its “use value” is being realized. Consequently, Marx blamed capitalism for abusing the term “use value”; for instance, he wondered why a commodity such as a diamond could be regarded as a usable commodity and cost so much compared to wheat. Diamond serves an aesthetic purpose and it is not a necessity for human beings, but it is regarded as an important commodity because it portrays success and superiority. According to Marx, “exchange value” should be reflected by the use of a commodity and the utility. In simpler terms, a commodity that is useless should not be tagged a use-value and exchange value when being transferred to another person. Marx eventually regarded capitalism as an extremely unsatisfactory social system that only promoted selfish interests and individualism and he was keen to campaign for its removal.

  1. In what ways does the provided advert mystify the commodity it represents

The advertisement is meant to popularize the use of Nike commodities in sports such as athletics and soccer. However, the title accorded to the advert, I HAVE THUNDER THIGHS, bewilders the mentality of the consumer of the product. Generally, women are associated with their love for slender and curved body features, but the advert contradicts that implication. Secondly, sportsmen’s bodies are characterized by an unpleasant and unattractive look. The commodity on the advert is a small woman short that when worn will display the better part of the legs to the public. Women are believed to consider showing off “sexy” body parts which are virtually admired by other people. On the contrary, thunder thighs are not considered as admirable and many women will do anything to get rid of thunder thighs. Therefore, marketing the pants with the title thunder thighs is quite contradicting with the intended purpose of the advertisement.