Thursday, August 9, 2012

Popular Culture and Violence

How harmful is our popular culture today? Some Koreans believe it to be so detrimental to their children that they will only turn on the TV to view certain programs, and strictly monitor its use by their children. This is one way of dealing with the excesses of  popular culture; the wise of all cultures have reminded us to be ever watchful and critical about what we see and hear, but critical thinking is not easily achieved. Most of us will need help in making the right judgements on how to interact with our culture.

In deciding what our children can properly hear and see, we can be either too credulous or too cynical. There are other ways than just restricting TV viewing to keep the worst of popular culture from doing harm to the young.

A columnist in the Korean Times brings up the pop song "She's Gone," made famous by an older generation rock group and reintroduced recently by a popular Korean rap combo. The lyrics are about a man who loses his girl to another man and then kills the girl. The song was heard at a concert attended by 12,000 young people, including middle school children. Along with the music and the words, they saw the images of the violence and the killing.

What was even more shocking was the 'bed performance'. And the majority of the school girls, the columnist alleges, were following  all of this with enthusiastic cheers. A woman was being abused and then killed, and yet the young women in the audience, judging by their response, were enjoying it.

How culpable is the media in spreading this culture of violence? he wonders. Violence in our society is continually being given extensive coverage by the media. Very impressionable young people, dissatisfied and exasperated with their lives, can easily use what they see in the media to justify their own turn to violence to solve personal problems. When a romantic relationship goes sour, there is no reason why it has to end in violence. The ever present and sensationalizing  coverage of violence in the media, the columnist believes, gives our young people a reason to resort to violent measures to achieve their desires, including, he suggests, the increase of date violence.

Freedom of speech is an important right, but we should not be oblivious of its negative aspects, and the harm it can do to our society. In trying to change popular culture, it will serve us well to know what we we are faced with and, with the help of public opinion, try to minimize its harmful effects as much as possible.

He ends the column by telling us to go to his blog, if anyone is interested in seeing the video of "Girl's Gone," to see first-hand what he is talking about:

No comments:

Post a Comment