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Rabu, September 12, 2007

Media and Culture

Media is one best way for promotion. Many companies use media to promote their products or services to public, both via printed and electronic media. Media is also best way to promote ideologies that will influence people’s way of life, one of them is ‘culture’. Therefore, media is also oftentimes considered as the scapegoat of the changing in lifestyle, habits, behaviour, etc.

Colonialism era—where many western countries, usually referred to ‘white’ people colonized eastern countries, usually referred to ‘coloured’ people—created gap between the white and the coloured. This gap engendered inferiority to the coloured—the colonized—toward the white—the colonizers. This phenomenon is easily understood if until now the inferior feeling still dominates the coloured. This resulted in view that everything from the west is more interesting, more appreciated, and more modern than the east.

The emergence of internet and television has bridged between the west and the east so that the spread of culture takes a shorter time more easily, and even more thorough. The absorption of one aspect of culture from the “superior” countries to the “inferior” countries happened ‘somewhat naturally’ and people seemed not to realize that. In television business, people behind the screen, such as the owner of production houses, the directors, the producers, and the owner of television stations, only think about their own profit, so that they air programs that refer to the superior countries, to attract more audience, to increase the rating, that means to attract more advertisers, without caring whether what they have done will decrease their own cultures.

Should we blame the next generation that probably feel more proud to be called, “MTV generations”? Should we blame them who don’t really know their own traditional dances, languages, performances, and some other aspects of Indonesian cultures? Should we blame them who prefer spending their free time hanging around shopping malls and enjoying meals in fast-food restaurant having foreign franchise? Aren’t they products of the egotism of capital owners, and older generations that bombard media with foreign products?

Gramsci with his famous hegemony theory proposed an idea to involve the ‘organic intellectuals’ (such as academicians) participation to get rid of foreign cultures. The academicians are encouraged to make the young generations realize the dangers of foreign cultures to abolish the local cultures; not the traditional intellectuals (people who have money) that even seem to legitimate the power of foreign cultures.

However, I believe it is not as easy as turning our palms down. The academicians do not have as much money as the capital owners—behind the screen of media. It is difficult for these organic intellectuals to produce programs to compete with the programs proposed by those who only think of profit for their own pocket. As far as I observe, the number of these organic intellectuals is not comparable to those traditional intellectuals. Therefore, it is not wise to give the burden to watch the bad impacts of globalisation on the next generations’ lives to the organic intellectuals only.

What can we do now?

As a mother of a teenage daughter, I just have one suggestion to all of us: to have open communication and harmonious relationship with our children. Good and open communication will enable us to guide our children without making them feel led forcibly. One generation gap between our children with us sometimes make them consider us old-fashioned if we do not follow their ‘world’. We always have to follow and accompany them when undergoing something new, discus it together, while look for solution together too. Not all values and ideology coming from the west are bad. This is our duty as parents to choose and select which is positive which is negative, based on our discussion together with our children.

Let us start from home.

PT56 13.47 110907

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