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Thursday,October 22,2020
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"I know what you want even before you know it."
When you decide to buy new clothes, do you think it is your choice? Or do you think the movie you choose to see is your choice? If you say yes, then you are under illusion. The things that you think you decide to do may not be what you really want, but what mass culture wants you to do.
   I remember I saw a commercial for Home Shopping Network, saying a catch phrase, "we know what you want even before you know it." You may not recognize how scary this is, but when I heard that phrase it sent chills up my back. Just imagine how frightening it would be if someone already knows what you are thinking even before you begin to think. They already know what kinds of clothes or accessaries you want even before you begin to want them. This means they are controlling your mind and consciousness; they control you into wanting a particular kind of things and you do not realize their controlling. You may think it is you who decide but in fact it is not your choice but their choice.
   We are living in mass culture, which is commercial culture, mass produced for a mass market. The key determinant of mass culture is the profit its production can make from its mass market. For example, if most people want to be sexy, all the producers have to do is make products that will make people look sexy. Another example is that people buy chocolate sticks on November 11th. When everyone is open to manipulation, standardization is a useful tool to sell things which would appeal to everyone. When you go to a multiplex movie theater, you may think you have many choices to choose from but it is an illusion. All the movies playing in the theater are not other than the ones full of fairy, suspenseful, violent or sexual elements. Mass culture is a process of standardization whereby the products acquire the form common to all commodities; it makes people welcome it insofar as they do not realize it is an imposition.
  You may think you are living in a real world but it can be an illusion, too. Jean Baudrillard argues that there is no reality in this world but a hyperreal. Not only clothes, movies or TV shows but also all the tastes or values you cherish can be manipulated by mass culture. You are not free, autonomous, independent human beings, consciously thinking for yourselves. Mass culture wants you to be simple-minded; it just wants you to follow what other people would do. It would not be happy, if you are sophisticated enough to realize that you are being manipulated. Therefore, next time when you want to go to see a movie, or to buy something, you should be on guard. Think deeply and ask yourself seriously, "is it really I that decide to do such a thing or is it mass culture?" Otherwise, you will be manipulated by it even when you do not realize it.

Sung-Joong Kim  faculty advisor

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  • Ryan 2015-12-01 22:58:41

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