Sunday, May 22, 2016

The Effect of Media in Gaining Attention and Creating "Role Models"

          One of the subtle but serious roles media plays in the world today is influencing who we look up to and how we view them. Certain celebrities and other recognized faces can either have their image glorified or weakened through the way they are portrayed in the various media outlets. This  commonly occurs with memes, parody accounts, and award shows. All three of the aformentioned means of changing ones image grant the person they depict one thing whether the person is praised or criticized: attention. The funny thing about attention is that people will intentionally be absurd or dramatic just to gain attention because regardless of whether attention is negative or positive, you still get attention.
          As of late, I have noticed that political memes have had large popularity in media, most notably twitter. There have been memes for Hillary, Bernie, and Trump that have all used their influence to depict a candidate as being a certain way. The memes for Hillary and Bernie contrasted the two, with Bernie being regarded as more hip and humorous and Hillary being shown as more of an outdated and serious person. In that sense, the memes glorify Bernie for his "cool factor" and poke at Hillary for being more of a "lame and outdated" candidate. These type of memes were extremely popular for quite some time, yet its interesting to note that Hillary has done much better than Bernie and is in position to claim the Democratic nod. To me this emphasizes the idea that even negative attention can help get a person gain popularity, as attention often correlates with popularity. This is also emphasized through the depiction of Donald Trump in media. From what Ive seen, memes and parody accounts have attacked his reputation for being not all that intelligent, being racist, and his appearance. All these things one would say are negative depictions of Trump, and because they are shown in a way that is open to all people who use such media sites, you might expect they may have a large affect on how other view Trump. These sites have not really seemed to have an effect, and if anything they have done something to gain him popularity. The only way I can understand this is that by making humor and giving a lot of attention to Trump, his name has been spread farther and people have associated humor with Trump. If not that, people have been able to identify with his message because it has been spread so far through people attempting to make fun of him or criticize him. Trump often uses this technique of being overly absorb or dramatic to gain attention because he knows that that will crate a buzz around his name, its just kind of ridiculous to me that even a negative buzz can produce positive results.
         In a similar way, awards are given to certain people and that award can influence the way they are perceived. The most notable example of this Caitlyn Jenner, a recipient of of 2015 Arthur Ashe Courage Award. Jenner was praised for her bold transition from a male to a female, and the courage she displayed in doing so. Although i have the upmost respect for Caitlyn and her decision to do what made her most comfortable, I do not believe we should be giving out awards to those for a single decision regarding their life. Its things like this that show people to glorify big names and celebrities even if they are undeserving of such an award. The only difference between Jenner and all the other people who have the courage to do what she did is that Jenner is a celebrity and may face a bit more criticism. But I guess thats grounds for a major award now a days. These type of instances take away from those who have worked hard to become recognized for the award without having the benefit of being a well known. What ends up happening is the same names keep circulating around and people learn to look to those people, even if there are much better people we could be recognizing. Oh well.

1 comment:

  1. haha this is a great example of photoshop art