Table of contents:

Report: "How to change the situation in popular culture?"
Report: "How to change the situation in popular culture?"

Other lectures of the Teach good project can be found here. Report of the editor-in-chief of the projects Teach Good and CinemaCensor Dmitry Raevsky on the influence of mass culture and the mechanisms of its transformation. The report was presented at the Northern Business Forum "Livadia-2019", its main provisions were also announced during the conversation on the "Tomorrow" TV channel with the child psychologist, publicist Irina Medvedeva and teacher, writer Tatyana Shishova.

What is "popular culture"?

The topic of the report is "How to change the situation in modern mass culture?" I will try to answer this question by proposing working mechanisms in this important area. But before you start to change something, you need to understand what exactly it is about, and in what state it is now. This is necessary in order to holistically assess the situation and outline more competent steps. Contemporary popular culture - this is various information in the format of video, audio and text materials, which is broadcast through the media to a large audience and thereby influences the behavior and formation of the worldview, both of an individual and of the whole society. The slide shows the main information flows that serve as channels for delivering content to the general public:

  • The television
  • Cinema
  • Music industry
  • Computer games
  • Advertising sphere
  • Other (radio, glossy magazines …)
  • Internet (combines all of the above)

Popular culture is part of the concept of "media environment", which unites the entire information sphere, and not just its popular part. At the same time, the factor of the media environment, in terms of its importance in the upbringing of new generations and the management of society, begins to play an increasingly significant role every year. The reason is simple: the amount of time that children, adolescents and adults spend in front of the screens of gadgets is growing, which means that the amount of information entering their psyche through the listed channels is growing. This information takes a certain place in the worldview of people and begins to influence their behavior.

What is the state of mass culture today?

Now let's answer the question, what is the state of mass culture today, and why should it be changed? This is a very voluminous topic that you can devote more than one hour of time to. But since we all do not live in a vacuum and roughly imagine the content that dominates today on television, in the music industry, in cinema and other spheres, I will allow myself to immediately introduce you to the conclusions based on 5 years of work on the project "Teach good." The slide shows the main patterns of behavior formed by modern television:

  • Being vulgar, cheeky, ready for a show-off life is the norm.
  • Selfish, "major" lifestyle is the norm.
  • Mercantile spirit and obsession with money is the norm.
  • The image of a stupid / "fatal", accessible woman is the norm.
  • The image of a reveler seeking a fickle relationship is the norm.
  • The propaganda of vulgarity, shamelessness, perversion is the norm.
  • The promotion of alcohol and tobacco is the norm.
  • The situation in other areas is similar in terms of content.

On the slides, you can also see examples of demotivators designed to explain the message of modern television to a wide audience. Let me give you a few examples to prove it. According to statistics, the most popular TV channel among the youth audience is TNT, which publishes such sitcoms as Interns, Fizruk, Univer, numerous comedy programs and reality shows like Dom 2. If you watch any series of the listed serials, then there will certainly be scenes of drunkenness, vulgarity, betrayal. Prostitution will be portrayed in a neutral or positive light. Thirst for knowledge will be ridiculed and positioned as "boring". According to the plot, the main character sleeps with several girls before finally finding his "love" and so on. At the same time, the scenery and actors will change in different series, but the broadcast models of behavior will be the same everywhere, which indicates the consistency in the presentation of information and its target orientation towards the formation of certain views of the audience.

If this is accidental or allegedly without malicious intent, then please answer the question: how would you organize a systematic propaganda of alcohol and base behavior patterns if you had a TV channel in your hands, and there was such a task? You are unlikely to be able to come up with something more effective.

Someone, of course, can call everything demonstrated on TNT "satire", but it should be remembered that "the ridiculed evil does not disappear from life, but becomes familiar, mundane and is more easily accepted by people." Nevertheless, many will say: “Well, you, I watched the Comedy Club! Issue! I laughed at their obscene jokes, but after that I did not go to the pub and did not cheat on my wife. It turns out that your propaganda does not work for me? " Firstly, the fact that you did not go straight to pick up the bottle does not mean that the TV show did not affect you in any way. For example, after watching content like TNT, a person at least becomes more tolerant of vice, because the natural feeling of indignation and disgust is gradually replaced by humor and the positive emotions associated with it. In addition, information poisoning occurs gradually and imperceptibly. The same ad must be shown to the person multiple times for the person to finally make a decision. Likewise, the effect of television in imposing patterns of behavior may not manifest itself immediately and with its own specificity, inherent in an individual, because television always works with a mass audience. He is not interested in you personally, he is interested in the impact on society as a whole.

To better understand this, the process of watching a movie, TV series, show or any other media product can be compared to the process of eating food. No one doubts that food is one of the main factors affecting human health. This influence does not appear immediately - you will not die from one hamburger and will not even notice the harmful effect, but it is worth introducing fast food into your regular diet, as diseases will not keep you waiting

The principle of influence is absolutely similar in the case of information that a person consumes. If food affects physical health, then the information directly affects his mental and spiritual state. But the point, of course, is not only about TNT. In general, almost all TV shows are made using Trojan Horse technology. This means that they have constructive publicized goals and destructive ones that are not publicized. In this case, in practice, the latter are achieved, as evidenced by the analysis performed.

For example, Channel One has been running the Let's Get Married project for many years. Officially, this program is aimed at improving the demographic situation, increasing the number of happy families and reducing divorce. It's called “Let's get married”, and people come to it to start a family. But when we start evaluating the internal transmission algorithm, we see a slightly different picture. The leaders were women with unsettled personal lives, who had several husbands, while their husbands beat them, drank themselves to death, and ended up with suicide. That is, the role of matchmakers and teachers of life was assigned to women who, by their own example, demonstrated their complete incapacity in the sphere of personal relationships with the opposite sex. This means that everything that they sincerely voice on the program will contribute to the fact that similar misfortunes will occur in the lives of viewers who believe them. And they say a lot on these programs. There is also a second aspect. To come to central television to look for a wife or husband and reveal to the whole country some peculiarities of their personal life can either people who are not entirely adequate or, at least, do not feel the abnormalities of this action, or those who simply want to be promoted at any cost. As a result, the behavior of the participants in the TV show contributes to the achievement of these most unreported destructive goals, namely:

  • reduction in the number of happy families;
  • an increase in the number of divorces;
  • population decline.

As another example, consider the TV show Let Them Talk, another long-liver of Channel One. The program is devoted to different topics, but the classical manipulation technology is as follows. For example, LGBT issues are being discussed. It is clear that 99 percent of our society has an extremely negative attitude to this phenomenon, realizing its danger and harmfulness. At the same time, guests in the studio and experts will be invited to the program “Let them talk” to discuss this topic in the following ratio: a third of the participants will speak out sharply negatively towards LGBT people, a third of the participants will vehemently defend all perverts, calling for tolerance and respect for rights, gay pride parades and other "democratic patterns", and another third - will take a neutral position in the style "you have to live peacefully with everyone, they are people too." It is in the direction of this opinion that the audience will be persuaded in front of the screens. And even if our viewer, until recently, had a persistent negative perception of this phenomenon, then with the help of such informational influence, he is highly likely to change his attitude to the problem. [gallery link = "file" ids = "24640, 24641, 24642"] Let's reveal another important point - not all TV channel employees or participants and performers of this or that TV show are aware of the full range of its influence on the mass audience. In practice, three levels can usually be distinguished:

Who sees the activities of a TV show and how

  1. For crowds and crowds, glossy wrappers in the style of "we are just entertaining" or "we are helping people solve their problems" are intended, as is the case with programs like "Let them talk." STATED PURPOSES
  2. The middle tier of the performers who directly create the TV show: screenwriters, editors, costume designers, cameramen, and so on, are focused on the pursuit of ratings, whose indicators are directly reflected in their salaries. They either don’t think about the impact of their labor on society, or they muffle their conscience with excuses like “people like to watch this dirt”. Naturally, they do not know how the rating mechanism is structured, or they know at the level of the crowd that believes in the objectivity of the so-called "people meters". SPECIFIED GOALS + RATINGS + MONEY
  3. But the top tier of performers - talk show hosts, producers, chief editors, owners of film studios, TV channels, and so on - these guys are well aware of all the goals that the content they create works to achieve: both publicized and unpublished, and they act quite deliberately, harming society and receiving very large salaries for this. MISSING GOALS + UNSPECIFIED GOALS + BIG MONEY

If someone is interested in the influence of a popular TV series or TV show, just type in the phrase “what it teaches” on the Internet or on the Teach Good website and add the name of the program. For most of the media content, you can already find similar analytics, presented in the form of visual videos or articles.

How can the situation be changed?

But let's move on. Anyone can say "how bad everything is," but suggesting solutions to the problem is a more important topic. Therefore, we are smoothly moving on to the answer to the question put forward in the title of today's report - "how to change the situation in mass culture?" First of all, you need to understand that the current situation was formed as such not in a random or chaotic way, but is the result of a purposeful management process,implemented through specific mechanisms. The next slide presents the tools for managing trends in popular culture: these are the institutions of awards, financial flows and control over the central media.

All these mechanisms have become quite obvious today. For example, for several years in a row the main film award of the world "Oscar" in the nomination for the best film has been awarded to films about perverts. In particular, such paintings as: "Moonlight", "The Shape of Water", "Green Book" and others. The same films receive the maximum positive publicity in major media, on the pages of which such terms as "propaganda of perversion" do not sound. On the contrary, the rhetoric is carried out purely in the plane of admiration for the acting of the actors, the scenery, the talent of the director and other secondary moments. Seeing all this from the outside, a person, even absolutely far from the sphere of cinema, must either draw an absurd conclusion that it is films with an LGBT agenda that are shot in the most aesthetic way, or admit the fact that the motive for awarding the prize is clearly political and has nothing. society with the concept of art. The system of major television, music and all other awards, including Russian ones, is built in a similar way. The majority of Internet resources devoted to movie evaluation, such as KinoPoisk, Film. Ru, Kinoteatr. Ru and others, are included in a similar matrix, since in them the evaluation of films in most cases is reduced to assessing their emotional impact (an alternative is presented on the KinoCensor website). All this together creates favorable conditions for constant manipulation through the sphere of mass culture. [gallery columns = "2" link = "file" ids = "24643, 24644"]

The myth of the existence of "entertainment content"

And this process is based on one big, but very significant myth that there is so-called "entertainment content", the task of which is simply to bring positive emotions, to help a person relax and unwind. As long as a person believes that he is simply having fun, and this does not entail any consequences for his psyche and behavior, then he does not evaluate the information critically coming to him. By the way, this is especially noticeable in the music. It often happens that a person knows the text of a song by heart, but he never thought about the meaning of the words imprinted in his memory and even the words he uttered, precisely because he refers to this whole area without due attention, not evaluating the message of the composition.

That is, the real goals of managing mass culture are hidden behind a false signboard of “entertainment”, thanks to which it is possible to avoid discussing really significant and primary issues: “what ideas and values the work promotes”, “what attitudes does it form”, “how does it affect the mass audience”, “what does he teach? " etc

It is these questions that are afraid of dishonest scriptwriters, musicians, producers who want to hide their true goals and take advantage of the illiteracy of the population in matters of government. An honest person will happily tell you what his work teaches, what it inspires, what it calls the audience to. And the one who does everything just for the sake of money or fame, or who deliberately harms society, will have to twist, dodge, lie, use meaningless words about “high art for the elite” or that creativity should be “free”. You can often also hear the phrase about "reflection of reality" - they say, it's just that life is like this, and we show the truth in our films or programs. But you can put a TV camera in a trash heap and broadcast footage with homeless people around the clock (a good example is the TV show "House 2", which gathers various marginal individuals), or you can interview and shoot programs about strong families, about outstanding people, and the country's achievements. In both cases, the video sequence will reflect reality, but the effect and impact on society will be completely different. That is, if you reflect reality, this does not mean that you are doing a useful job. Thus, the answer to the question "How to change the situation in popular culture?" sounds like this: it is necessary to translate as much of the public debate as possible about art, creativity and the evaluation of any work aimed at a wide audience, from the entertainment sphere to the management one. And as the discussion shifts to this plane, the field for all sorts of manipulations will constantly decrease, and the possibility of promoting a creative agenda will increase.

Although the voiced recipe for the transformation of mass culture, at first glance, is quite simple, but its implementation requires, on the one hand, long-term systematic work, and on the other, a high level of training of those who enter into such discussions. The ability to ask the right question is only half of the solution to the problem, but you also need to be able to find the answer yourself. That is, to be able to recognize the promoted ideas and technologies for their implementation, to correctly assess the impact of a work on society and the consequences of its dissemination, to be able to competently substantiate their conclusions. It is this activity that we are engaged in within the framework of the projects "KinoCensor" and "Teach good" and we invite you to participate in it as much as possible.

Dmitry Raevsky