Watch that Apple across the Pond

The worm that eats the Apple from within is Drama and its nutrition source, Capitalism.

Growing up, I was exposed to American media. Heck, I grew up speaking English with an American accent until I moved to London. That is not a surprising story since most of the world have been and are still influenced by America in some way or another.

I had a lot of fun on my trip to New York last week, mostly from being with good friends and family, but also through quiet explorations on my own. Since my husband was working throughout the trip, evenings were quiet, generally spent in front of the telly. I loved the trip as it felt like I was spending time like how I would if we lived there. Now, that changes your perception of things on a trip when you’re not running around trying to squeeze in more sights than time would allow. It gave me the opportunity to have a peek into what living would be like there.

Now, telly in America is a curious thing. Even from decades ago, I’ve always remembered that it was impossible to navigate through all the zillions of channels available. This trip, it felt like the rest of the world has finally caught up with them. The thing that I found most entertaining on telly there was not so much the programmes (as most of them are available in the UK anyway), but the advertisements. In the country that is the epitome of capitalism, advertising, as you can understand is a very big deal.

From observing adverts on TV, I would summarise that the biggest industry in America is pharmaceuticals. And the drugs that are most heavily pushed are for pain management, sinus problems and erectile dysfunction. (OMG, some1 needs to make Viagra that cures back ache n clears sinuses! U heard it here 1st! LOL)

Another observation that was more disturbing was that news had to be sold to viewers. They were advertised with cliffhangers. “A man was found at a train station today with only his pants on and a gun in his hand, find out what happened at the 11 o’clock news.” I know that this is somewhat done in the UK too, but I have to say that it is not as distasteful. In the UK, we get told the summary of the event, and that the full coverage will be available on the news. This explains a lot about why American entertainment is more dramatic, as if their facts are dramatised, can you imagine the level of drama needed for their fiction?

I spoke about this with a friend who now lives there and it turns out that many New Yorkers turn to foreign news channels like Al Jazeera or BBC World for reliable, more neutral information. Also, I was told that news channels in America have to be subscribed to, or requires payment for viewing, and that the only free news is from Fox. Wow, right?

In a world where media is a big influence in creating our philosophies and influencing our way of life, education is key in giving us the right tools to be able to view media in its subjective, mediated state so that we can make the right judgements on what it really represents. I am curious then, about the American education system, as it would need to be an exceptionally good system to be able to balance out the biased dramatised media it produces.

Perhaps my next trip over could be for education?

If you’re from New York or live in New York, I would love to hear your thoughts and to have more facts on this.


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