In the first part of this article, we had examined how the daily life in the past was different from normal daily life. Information flow was slow, people did not have exposure to many things. Mass media was not in existence, so lifestyles were different.
Lifestyles Changed in Modern Days
In the post-agrarian economy, that started first with the industrial economy and then led to the post-industrial economy, many changes have come about. The shifting of good jobs to cities, the development of electricity and quality domestic and industrial lighting system has lead to many changes in lifestyles.
Work has moved into buildings from agricultural fields. Plus, with electricity, fans and lights it is more comfortable to stay indoors rather than outdoors. Earlier only the kings / royalty could comfortably and affordably live indoors. Now even daily wage earners can comfortably and affordably stay indoors throughout the day.
Life is comfortable and there is too much free time
New kinds of businesses came up that made life easier for people – from super markets or neighborhood groceries offering processed food. For example, today most families do not take wheat to the mill to crush, they just buy wheat flour. This was not the case earlier. Rice is sorted in rice mills to separate the broken rice and stones. You do not find broken rice and stones in the rice anymore. Plus grinders and curry / masala powders are readily available. As a result, life is too comfortable today than any other time in the past and there is too much free time.
Mass media connects at least common denominator i.e. Idiot level programs sell
In order to spend this free time and do time pass people buy a TV + cable connection. The moment they do this, it is like an earthquake went off. The Tsunami will follow very soon.
Mass media connects at least common divider level i.e. it needs to lower the standards in order to appeal to more people. As they seek to widen the base, they need to reach out to less intelligent, less educated, less disciplined people. Since people with such characteristics are more, the programming needs to appeal to them for the mass media company to be successful. Remember, companies advertise only when there are a lot of people watching. This creation of low standard TV programs is the second phase of the tsunami.
Low social monitoring and scrutiny makes it easy to become wayward
Also, with the indoor oriented living, it is hard to know anyone how people are spending their leisure time. For example, in the early days when lifestyle was outdoor-oriented, if a 9-year-old kid smokes a cigarette, people around him may prevent him before he gets habituated to it. Whereas it is very easy for the kid to smoke at home, in cellar, or at friends home when no elders are around.
As life becomes more indoor-oriented there is hardly anyone to enforce controls. This led to less scrutiny, as there is no one to watch over what an individual is doing in his/her free time.
In the meantime, the size of mass media and cheap entertainment has increased tremendously and started effecting a common man’s leisure time. Customs, norms, self-controls are decreased while media and entertainment increased multi-fold.
- Widespread and strength of entertainment
Entertainment became widespread that it became available anytime and anywhere. Cheap entertainment became wider and easily accessible even in rural areas. Putting more free time created by the advancements of technology and enough privacy created with the urbanized lifestyle together, there is hardly anyone to enforce customs and norms preventing people to get attracted to the substandard entertainment. This way, the strength of mass entertainment has changed life styles.
- Vivid programs / ads in mass media project self-indulgence as success mantra, while degrading the attitude of moderation
The colorful programs everywhere in the mass media created strong desires and interests. The mass media has become ubiquitous. Self indulgence for the wrong things became the key concept living. Doing what is cool is gradually becoming more important, compared to doing what is right. Moderation and self-control is seen as a loser’s attitude. See the ads for Bajaj XCD 135 and the person seeking moderation (“common type” choices) being castigated by the Genie “in my 300 years never seen such a useless character”. Or see the ads for Set Wet or Axe deodorants, they are crass.
Mass media wrongly projects self-indulgence instead of moderation as success mantra. Expensive lifestyle instead of frugality. Both Alexander the Great and Genghis Khan lived austere lives compared to other Emperors. Though as world conquerors they could indulge themselves they choose achievement and moderation in living over expensive lifestyle.
There is a perception that you are a big spender if you are rich. Nothing could be further from the truth. Even L.N. Mittal was extremely frugal till the time he became an established steel tycoon. In his college days he never went to a restaurant since he could not afford it.
- Classical Artists replaced by Sleaze Artists
A classical artist needs decades of practice and training to gain skill and make masterly performances. However, being a sleaze artiste doe not take much – some crazy costume and some cheap attitude (some drugs could probably help there). Mass media brought the cheap entertainment which created jobs for hundreds of item models/ dancers. They have gained prominence and fame. As the item dancers compete with each other they take the sleaze from bad to worse. With the constant exposure of public to such sleaze artists, it desensitizes the population and unfortunately, makes such behaviors acceptable. Our Tollywood heroes and heroines aren’t any better. Seen any sensible person endorsing any of Tollywood heroes’ attitudes. Imagine Dalai Lama endorses the attitude of XYZ hero in this movie.
- Brings pathogenic outputs
Self-controls and external controls like social norms and customs are weakened in modern life-styles. Weakened self-controls and cheap entertainment are pathogenic in two ways.
Research has proven that constant exposure to anything decreases sensitivity. When a normal human being is consistently exposed to violence or vulgarity, it reduces sensitivity in such a way that any degree of violence or vulgarity looks normal.
And, continuous exposure to strong and vivid visuals, programs, or applications yields to shorten attention span. It means a person gets unfocused, undisciplined, and often lose to track and follow his or her time schedules.
In this way, negative influences of mass media, cheap entertainment have strengthened hundreds of times. And accessibility of tools that lead to negative behaviors and bad habits has become easily and cheaply available. However, enforcing customs or norms, self-control, positive upbringing, and education has not strengthened much.
These negative changes lead to permanent transformation in lifestyles creating a huge impact on everyone in the society.
Sadly, even among most educated families in India parents are not yet aware of the negative influences of low quality television programs. Many families watch 3rd grade TV programs with violence, sleaze, stereotypes extensively along with children. In their formative years this has a lifetime negative impact in the upbringing of the kid.
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