The mass media have a crucial role in every society as the major channel of communication. The majority of the community depends on the media news to gain the information and make their opinions or decisions about the society. The information from the mass media has a profound effect on the society as stated by the cultural selection theory. Mass media over the past years has influenced the American culture in several aspects (Perse and Jennifer, 126-248). Mass media as a form of socialization has created a long-term effect on the people of America even though the target may be short term; the influence is long term.
From its inception as essential part of American life in the year 1950s, the mass media has both reflected and nourished cultural morals and values. Starting from the escapist dramas in the 1960s which were majorly concerned with the idealized portrayal instead of controversial and harsh issues that were affecting life by then, has changed over the years and recently, participants discuss several critical issues even the considered personal or taboo issues in the community. In short, the media has become a mirror to the community. It might appear that the relationship between the media and the social attitudes are at times reciprocal as most of the presenters insist on influencing their audience through slanted politics or at times controversial relationships such as single parenthood, same sex marriages or interracial marriages as ethical and socially recognized. The symbiotic way of mass media and culture is illustrated in every broadcast, ranging from family sitcoms to more serious news of the world.
Cultural Influences on Television
In the begging around the 1950s, most of the television shows avoided the current issues and political activities. Majorly the three recognized networks, the ABC, NBC, and CBS, created prime-time entrainment that would attract the general family viewing. The mostly aired programs were domestic comedies such as the Donna Reed show, leave it to beaver among others were the most recognized television shows of the 1950s. The show resembled the white middle-class family of suburban life portraying the conservative values of the idealized American life. The shows avoided the serious issues such as civil rights movements and racial discriminations to major on the white middle-class issues such as the mother in the house while the father is on the job, majorly the nuclear family activities (Perse and Jennifer, 126-248). The shows were concerned with the solutions to the domestic problems and creation of serious moral teachings.
The shows indicated what was happening or what was expected to happen in most of the American families since most of them wanted a break and a freedom of peace after the wars. The general viewing was concerned with the making families happy but to some level, it was not reflecting the actual trends of the entire America based on the fact that by 1950s, only about 25% of the population in America were poor and over 50% of the Africa-America were also poor and could not share the same opinion with the white middle-class families. It is an indication that the media has been trying from the very beginning to make our society a better places by encouraging good morals among the people. It might seem that it did not cover for the whole American society, but it was a good start for the people to understand what is required in the society. The moral values inculcated in the people were majorly gained from different cultures watched from the media. The impact of media currently has gone beyond the first and middle-class families to cover the entire country and reach every individual regardless of his status in the community. The various television programs have great influence on individual’s life.
Impact of SpongeBob Square Pants television show on people’s culture
The SpongeBob movie is American 3D animated comedy usually watched in the Nickelodeon television programs. The television series was intended for the young audience between the age of 2-11 years, but surprisingly over 20% of the viewers in America are 18-40s years of age while in the UK, approximately over 40% of the viewers are adults. It is one of the often watched cartoons in the Nickelodeon television series. It has influenced the viewers in some ways:
Always makeup to your mistakes and prepare to face the consequences
In most cases, American citizens like to put blames on one another on some issues affecting the country. It has been witnessed in the in some cases such as gun shooting and licensing, deteriorating economy, lack of job opportunities among others. The always blames on the government and the other few individuals who are directly linked to the processes of such consequences while we forget that it is individual’s responsibility to make their means of survival and face the challenges of life. It is seen in the SpongeBob Square pants when SpongeBob who was in charge of guarding the secret Krabby Patty formula from Plankton, and Plankton who came to steal the formula replacing. He replaced it with a fake the fake version allowing the Burger-Beard to steal it from them in their struggle, works so hard to find the formula back from Burger-Beard and saving the city of the bikini atoll from collapsing.
The ability of the SpongeBob and Plankton to fight for their mistakes has helped to solve out the consequences they caused. The consequences such as the city were about to collapse since the only business that kept the town moving was the Krabby Patties burgers, and since SpongeBob who was the cook, had lost the formula, he could not bake the burgers anymore. The customers in the city are moving away hence leaving the city at the stake of collapsing. It is the same scenario whereby every individual depends on the government to take responsibility of safeguarding everyone in the society even when the citizens are making silly mistakes such as owning guns and shooting others intentionally. The economy of the country is deteriorating, but individuals still wait for the government to create jobs instead of finding solutions and creating their means of survival.
The community is currently rotten with the lack of manners from the younger generation compared to past generations. It mostly influenced by the television shows that we watch in our homes today. Most of the shows lack ethical teachings to the young children who happen to copy paste every action in the shows. In the case of the SpongeBob, there is positivity of cultural mannerism in some scenes. SpongeBob himself is heard saying, “excuses me, sir, you are sitting on the body which forms part of my face too.” It is a request that shows the etiquettes required from the young generation of today (Rice, 1092-1114).
In the past years, the young children were expected to respect their elders in the society but things have drastically changed with most of the children no longer cares of what they speak out and even whom they are talking to in the society. It is great to see SpongeBob trying to respond with dignity to the problem he is facing. The movie also indicates the job ethics whereby SpongeBob is an individual who likes his job and hard working employee. In most cases in our society, individuals are not contented with the jobs they do in the community. The SpongeBob tells us what is required to make the economy grow to the level that is required to make every individual comfortable. The hard work pays, and it has helped the SpongeBob maintain his duty. The American Society can also learn to respect the employers as the movie indicates with SpongeBob respecting Mr. Krab even to the point of digging the health officers in the cemetery to protect the boss.
Positivity is the greatest challenge in the American culture. Every individual wants immediate change in every aspect. It can be witnessed that lack of positivity was the cause of the militant phase of the civil rights movement during the Africa America struggle for their rights and freedom. They never believed that the change would reach and everything will be fine. It was also witnessed in the attack on Vietnam and Iraq when the government never believed that these countries could make their progress.
In the movie SpongeBob, Patrick is concerned about the laughter while SpongeBob only thinks about life positively. In his reply to Patrick’s question, SpongeBob says that they are laughing next to us (Rice, 1092-1114). It is an indication of ignoring the negative people and remaining positive to achieve the objective. It is also seen from the SpongeBob that he is always in a good mood no matter what the challenges he faces, even if Mr. Krabs is in crabby mood or unwell, he always looks at the brighter side of the life. It also determined by the level of determination that SpongeBob has shown through the movie. He failed several times to secure the boat license, but he never gave up. Several occasions, Squidward brushed him off as a friend, but he still makes it back to be friends again. The family viewers can also benefit from this positive outlook that whatever the situation, there is always a way out.
Forgiveness is one major requirement for the success of the society. It is not easily managed among the older people but quite often with children. Some children are in families where the parents failed to agree on some issues leading to separations. The SpongeBob has several scenes that motivate forgiveness among the viewers. For instance, SpongeBob himself has friends such as Squidward, Patrick the pink starfish and lastly Sandy, the Texan Squirrel. The friendship between the SpongeBob and the others is to build upon understanding. Most often they quarrel but never failed to make up and find a solution to their conflicts by the end of the day. It is a lesson to the viewers especially the kids that are normal for people to argue and have different opinions but as friends, we forgive one another and understand their points of view.
The point of forgiveness is also a challenge to the entire country. In the opinion of the public, the last inversion of Iraq by the America over the humanitarian point of view could also be seen as a conflict between the Bush family and the Saddam. It might be seen like there was never forgiveness between the two countries and the conflict escalated to another level such as death sentence to Saddam.
In the television series SpongeBob square pants, the individual viewers have the opportunity to learn on how to show kindness to others. The Squidward appears to be out of moods, but SpongeBob continues to show kindness. The movie shows that kindness is always better than hatred. Squidward was always bogged down by his negative attitude while SpongeBob applies his positive attitude to change the environment for the friends around him. It shows what kindness is worth in the society (Rice, 1092-1114). In another perspective, through the movie, individuals can learn that teamwork helps than staying as enemies. It indicates that jealousy is a nasty habit instead we should be supportive and happy with others achievement in the community to motivate good cultural practices.
Kindness also means being loyal to your friends, understanding them and sharing their problems. In most cases, in our society, we tend to consider individual’s problem as their while in the of SpongeBob Square pants, it is different. SpongeBob himself takes the risk of helping in the burying of the health officers in the cemetery so as to save Mr. Krab from being caught. It is illegal to bury someone illegally as they did but it was in the name of saving the friendship which he considered as a family. The people in the society require the kindness instead of backbiting friends in the community.
Union is strength
The people of the America are known to unite in the time of crisis and emerge stronger. It is the motto of the country as a source of strength. In the movie, the power of the union is seen in several scenes. The struggle between the SpongeBob and Plankton leads to the loss of the formula. The combined force between them help in retrieving the fake copy, but as that was not enough, they combine the power to find the original copy from Burger-Beard finally pays. They are almost outweighed by the Burger-Beard, but additional effort of the plankton help the group to overpower the opponent and retrieve the original formula that changes the city backs to its normal trends (Rice, 1092-1114).
The movie indicates to the people what a community with united culture can achieve in the fight against any threat to the society. The children can learn about the importance of union while they are still young such that they develop with such culture making the community more united in the future. It is, therefore, possible to conclude that the television shows have an impact on the American culture. The changes in the society are majorly influenced by the mass media programs, some of which we appreciate with others disgracing the society.
Rice, Jonah Lee. “SpongeBob SquarePants: pop culture tsunami or more?.” The Journal of
Popular Culture 42.6 (2009): 1092-1114.
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