Tuesday, December 20, 2016

A Shift in Values

Further to my last post about the current values and the boundaries of the social imaginary that prevent us from making any significant and necessary changes in the world, George Monbiot has data to show that actual shift in pervasive attitudes:
A study published in the journal Cyberpsychology reveals that an extraordinary shift appears to have taken place between 1997 and 2007 in the US. In 1997, the dominant values (as judged by an adult audience) expressed by the shows most popular among nine- to 11 year-olds were community feeling, followed by benevolence. Fame came 15th out of the 16 values tested. By 2007, when shows such as Hannah Montana prevailed, fame came first, followed by achievement, image, popularity and financial success. Community feeling had fallen to 11th, benevolence to 12th.
He relates the link between corporate capital and celebrity. Adam Curtis explained how that was orchestrated by Edward Bernays in the Century of the Self as I recapped in an earlier post:
There was a growing concern with industrial overproduction, so Bernays helped the US shift from a culture focused on satisfying needs to one obsessed with fulfilling desires. He promoted the idea of regular citizens buying shares in companies, and he got film stars to come to parties at the White House, forever after linking politics with celebrity right up to today when Americans are choosing between Meryl Streep and Scott Baio.

The study Monbiot cites also shows that actors get four times the publicity of scientists today: "those who have least to say are granted the greatest number of platforms on which to say it. This helps to explain the mass delusion among young people that they have a reasonable chance of becoming famous."

There was a time that I thought a wealthy celebrity would make the best politician because they couldn't be swayed by lobbyists. But I forgot that there's never enough for anyone caught up in a drive for excess.


No comments:

Post a Comment

Thoughts? It's easiest to comment with the Name/URL option - then you can pick any name and leave the URL blank if you prefer.