If It's on TV It Must Be True | TeenInk

If It's on TV It Must Be True

April 1, 2014
By ThatOneWritingGirl PLATINUM, Greenwood Village, Colorado
ThatOneWritingGirl PLATINUM, Greenwood Village, Colorado
21 articles 0 photos 41 comments

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Popular culture is a fickle and fleeting, yet unavoidable force that acts as both an escape from reality and a portrayal of the world around us. Its accuracy, however, is questionable. In depicting the world and relatable facets of life, pop culture tends to discard authenticity for the sake of entertainment, thus presenting a warped representation to the public, which in turn absorbs the information as if it’s the truth and adopts these skewed mentalities as the new normal.

Popular culture romanticizes its portrayal of life in order to provide an outlet to its audience; and therefore, it is not a faithful representation of reality or society’s actual values. Films compromise their accuracy by relying on grossly oversimplified stereotypes, as seen in countless “high school” movies. Genre films such as these distort their reflections of reality by dramatizing characters and emotions for the sake of entertainment. Everyone is familiar with the archetypes used—the popular yet horrific blond cheerleader, the unpopular science geek—yet, they generally aren’t seen in real life. Watching dozens of films that use these characters, however, distorts the perceptions of the viewers, so then if they see a blond cheerleader, they automatically assume she is unpleasant and ditzy soled based on this generalized stereotype. Despite the questionable authenticity, this idea becomes the new normal because as, as Mark Twain said, “outside influences pour upon us”, we “simply obey their orders” and accept their verdicts. Society eagerly conforms to these false mentalities as the through until their fake nature is forgotten.

Pop culture doesn’t reflect society’s values; it creates new ones. And these new mentalities aren’t only artificial; they’re also dangerous, because audiences carry these assumptions with them into the outside world. And now the subjects they’re applying them to aren’t fictional characters; they’re real people. Minority groups constantly suffer by ridiculous characterizations of themselves created by pop culture. The inaccurate stereotypes incorrectly and often negatively shape the beliefs and perspectives of viewers toward a certain group. Vine Deloria Jr. explains how movies in particular “block out” how “real Indians have real problems”. By portraying people certain ways—like “Mexicans lacking redeeming qualities” or “Indians being devoid of any English”—pop culture sets up harmful opinions in people who are not in those groups because they’re ignorant to the reality and gather their information from sources that produce misleading representations.

Pop culture’s intentions may be innocent enough—to provide an escape from reality for its audience or to make money, but the repercussions to its unfaithful portrayals of life and people are severe. People suffer and are discriminated against based off the stereotypes that have continually blown up and been exaggerated to the point where there’s little to no truth in them. But as long as people continue to conform to the values provided and believe in what pop culture romanticizes, the lies distributed might as well be the truth.



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This article has 1 comment.


on May. 3 2016 at 5:41 pm
MarkRuff SILVER, Allen, South Dakota
5 articles 3 photos 14 comments
I love Vine Deloria Jr, we grew up in Martin South Dakota together and he was a big mentor for me. He told me that technology will be the death of us. There are all these machines that can mechanically extend our capabilities and we begin adding all these artificial extensions to ourselves we become so abstract. It pries us loose from relating with mother earth, and the earth is ultimately what renews and refreshes.