Sunday, October 10, 2010

The Media: To Brainwash or not to Brainwash?

By K. Johnson

It was Friday evening, the rain was pouring in Port of Spain. I had one goal that evening and that was to get out of the capital city before it started to flood. As I made my way down Frederick Street I was forced to stop to shelter the rain in front of one of the stores that lined the street. Standing next to me, one of the students shouted “Deuces b***es!!!”  Apparently Chris Brown’s song Deuces has finally started to serve its purpose.  
That incident made me wonder how many of us 'closed-mindedly' absorb what the media feed us and regurgitate some of the nonsense as though its “We ting”. If we look around in our society now we see that the media have started to fold new cultures into our already fading culture. We see evidence of this when we hear Trinbagonians (young people in particular) speak, when we look at their attitudes - just looking at them communicate reeks of international influences through the media. Since when we as Trinbagonians use the term “bumbaclot” – which in Jamaica means "king of curse words”…or phrases like “me afi go pon d bed” which means “ I have to go on the bed.”  And there are numerous other phrases that sometimes makes me feel like I am in ‘little Jamaica’.  
Sometimes it’s even hard to distinguish some of our local artistes from the Jamaican artistes. Language is supposed to be one of the tools that help to define our identity as a society.
The question here is, are we not satisfied with the way we speak? Or do we just copy and speak what we are frequently exposed to and bombarded with by the media?
So for now I am just waiting to see what new slang we are going to adopt…But even with that said I hope we just stick to just the slang and not behaviour such as this…



Plain talk, bad manners

video



What do you think, is the media in fact brainwashing us?

10 comments:

Dwight said...

I think "is the media brainwashing us?" is kind of a silly question to be asking in 2010. I mean my parents had afros in the 70s and I'm sure their parents were dancing to foreign music long before that, but hey, I still managed to learn about pelau and Sparrow. Of course we are going to be influenced by the media, it's nothing new. If you work in the media and u're not influencing people then you're not doing your job.

Just because kids are being influenced by other cultures doesn't mean they are not retaining what is coming from the people around them or that they are not creating their own things.

I think we should be talking/thinking about what is happening here and what we can cultivate rather than whining about how we are being influenced. (If we were brainwashed things like this would not become popular http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fAw0_wiDcd8)

BloggerzinE said...

Thank you for sharing your view with us dwight.We need to keep in mind that the purpose of the blog is to higlight the extent that we are influenced by the media.Being influenced is not the problem, the problem comes in when we forget where we came from and what our own culture is...You were lucky enough to learn about aspects of our culture but there are alot of young people who cant for example name three of our calypsonians but they can name twelve or more reggae singers or rappers...So it's issues like that we are trying to address....

Santo B said...

First of all i like the blog...i totally understand what T&T bloggerzine was tryna say...yes we are influenced but its to what extent and in this case its to a large extent. The media promotes every body else's culture more than ours.What is our true identity? surely its more than pelau and sparrow and machel montano. @dwight "If we were brainwashed things like this would not become popular http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fAw0_wiDcd8)"
how many videos of this sort are there really? 3 or 4 videos does not mean its popular and am glad u found one thing u to add to YOUR identity...

Ian J. said...

Firstly, let me say good job on writing the blog. Now, I would have to agree with Dwight's comment when he said "if you work in media and you're not influencing people then you're not doing your job."
I don't think that the media is SOLELY to blame. I believe that anyone who can make an informed decision in his/her life would not "fall prey" to the influence of foreign culture that is being saturated in our society. Its all about the individual....mostly. What I also believe is that parents AND teachers should work hard (and together) to preserve our culture and try to help our youths in order for them to get a sense of pride in their local culture and not just for all things foreign. Parents should monitor what their children are looking at from their early years so that they won't be totally influenced by foreign culture so that when they become teens they know NOTHING of who they are or where they came from. Parents can also teach them about certain customs and traditions; why do we do certain things? Teachers should play a BIGGER role in this as well. They should place MORE of an emphasis on educating young people FORMALLY on our culture, because from experience I have come to realise that teachers only teach things "once it coming for SEA" and if it isn't....well hard luck fuh dat.
I agree that the media has a role to play in terms of influencing the type of dress our young people wear and music that our young people and listen to, but the onus is on us as responsible citizens to help them by educating them on our culture so that they can get an appreciation for it as well.

Anonymous said...

if i am not mistaken, (which i am not)the role of the media is to inform, educate and entertain. they choice to educate us about select things. e.g. in 1995 2puc sang me against the world, what machel sang, he was out?


in 97, notorious big sang life after death, who won road march?

point is, we are brainwashed because we are informed and educated through entertain which is selective, we only know what is taught( by a person or by self)

in 1994 Machel Montano sang by all means. in 1997 he won road march with big truck. check it on the link below.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5zc4oNyEi8g

Jr. said...

mmmmm, so what solution do you propose? Here is one if you have not already done it. Write a blog on the need for better local programming. No point in repeating points already made but some of the previous repliers are on to something.....

BloggerzinE said...

Wow Thank u guys for your comments they are greatly appreciated! All of you had really good points but I have to agree with Anonymous. The media is suppose to inform educate and entertain. In trinidad it is done selectively, with them hardly ever selecting local aspects of our culture. Yes the onus is on parents teachers etc...but it is clear that the young people adopt what they see on tv...hear on the radio..etc very few listen to parents or teachers...so all i am saying is if we understand this we can use it to our advantage.

Dwight said...

True being influenced is not the problem but the point i was trying to make is that it is also not the cause of the problem. No matter how much we import we can still keep our identity intact and that can only be done by promoting more trininess not by trying to stifle outside influences.

@Santo - by popular i meant lots of Trinis saw it and everybody got it and enjoyed it. So for me that says we are not brainwashed, we still know who we are, there just isn't much that we can point to in a big way and say "that is ours" or "dise we ting". So for me the question is "how can we get more of we ting out there?" not "how can we get less of theirs here?"

Adanna said...

I absolutely love this article and I appreciate the thought process behind it.

The argument will continue as to whether or not the media influences us. The truth is that the media does have a serious role to play in what is happening today in society. We interact with mass media everyday and most of the time we do not recognize it. If anyone takes time out of their day to count the number of adverts (billboards, newspaper,radio,internet & TV ads)

The communications industry is profit driven; that is the first concern and then probably their second concern is what they feed society and the impact. Now, because they are profit driven we are bombarded with a lot of information and the same things repeatedly that they become part of our lives.

Why do we believe that breeze is the best brand to wash our clothes and their are other options?

Why do we believe that Serta is the best brand of mattress?

Why do we believe that CUTEX refers to nail polish without realizing that it is really a BRAND?

Is it probably because we are brainwashed? The question still has to be asked how can we prevent the brainwashing from occurring and that is easier said that done.

To me it starts with awareness; we have to understand the purpose of the media and mass communication (the fact that it is profit driven), Once we understand and accept that we have to be willing to educate ourselves about other options. It will not eliminate the brainwashing but it will help us to make better choices and decisions.

BloggerzinE said...

Thank you adanna...great point! The solution starts with awareness and only when we recognise what is really happening and the seriousness of it...only then we can deal with the issue...