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Music Compare & Contrast Essay

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Throughout history, the media has played a major role in society. Among those in society studies have proven that young people are most impacted than any other group. Having greatly influenced youths by means of music, Internet, etc., violence has skyrocketed far beyond what it once was. Since its beginning, music has had a major impact on society. Whether the drums of African tribes signaling war or the sounds of the opera, music has always seemed to have a way of touching on issues in society. When it first emerged in 1970s New York, hip-hop was utilized as a form of expression for youth within the African American community. Pediatrics(2009) stated,” As with popular music the perception and the effect of music-video messages are important, because research has reported that exposure to violence, sexual messages, sexual stereotypes, and use of substances of abuse in music videos might produce significant changes in behaviors and attitudes of young viewers.” As the years posted and tensions worsened within the society, hip hop began to take a more violent approach to handling situations with artists such as Ice T and groups like NWA, the genre depicted a lifestyle of gun-toting, thugs who had no respect for authority, thugs who had no respect for authority.

With lyrics such as “Ima choke who I wanna choke”, by NWA promoted on “I do what I wanna do” attitude with no regards towards other nor repercussions; therefore sparking violence in the minds of impressionable young people. In recent years, violence among young people and children has taken to a new platform. With Internet sites such as YouTube and recently created World Star Hip-Hop; the Internet has become a podium for the youth of today to showcase their violent tendencies. Allowing users to upload videos of themselves and others engaging in various acts, sites such as these contain a large amount of videos depicting violent acts. In most cases, those in the video range between the ages of 13 through 21 years of age. If the videos alone were not bad enough, people leaving comments on such videos only add to the problem; ultimately leading to the acts of more violence. Young people tend to imitate what they see, and the Internet is their ultimate source for violent inspiration. If its depiction in music and on the Internet were not enough, violence has made its way into an increasingly popular field of entertainment—video games.

Lieberman (2001) stated, “Video games are repetitive, so children experience games thousands of times, and this may amplify the impact of these activities.’’ Games such as Mortal Kombat and Call of Duty portray violent behavior as appropriate means for defeating the “bad guy.” In Mortal Kombat, players engage in hand to hand combat using the characters as well as weapons of their choice such as swords and knives. The thrill of the game comes in violently defeating one’s opponent and emerging the dominant player. A game such as this seems to teach youth that the only way to show that they are superior is by using violent tactics to gain control and fear among others. In the same manner, Call of Duty places players in the role of military men who use weapons like hand grenades and high powered rifles to defeat opposing forces. Once again the aspect of fun comes in the form of using violent methods to overthrow the so-called “bad guys.” The ultimate message that games like these send is that it is okay to use violence if one deems another to be “bad.”

The level of violence depicted has worsened since the 1980-s and 90-s. In recent years, the popularity of reality television has made the presence of violent television even more so among American households. Not only were the personal lives of everyone from the stars of Hollywood to those of average people glamorized, so were the violent behaviors that they engage in. Beresin (1999) stated, “While the causes of violence are multi-factorial and include such variables as individual biological vulnerability; psychiatric disorder; substance abuse; and social conditions such as poverty, poor education, family psychopathology, and child mistreatment, the research literature is quite compelling in showing that among the most important variables is exposure of children to televised violence.” Reality shows such as the Bad Girls Club are influencing young people to use violence as means of handling problems with others.

On every episode, communication seems to take a backseat as viewers witness fight after fight amongst housemates; after all, that’s what makes one bad right? Another violent reality show that is on television today would have to be real world. The real world use to be about showing how people from all over could live under one house hold. Now the real world is all about hooking up with each other or them fighting each other over nonsense. Violence is not restricted to means of reality television. Over the years, movies have begun to depict the increase in violence. Movies such as Scarface and American Gangster, although based upon the lives of actual people, seem to give approval to violent behavior.

The glamorization of the “gangster” lifestyle places violence on a pedestal as the correct way of getting things done in an efficient manner. In a scene from the 2007 movie American Gangster starring Denzel Washington ,Washington playing drug lord Frank Lucas, is seen walking up to a man in broad daylight and shooting him in the head at point blank range. Throughout the movie, he uses violence as a way to control the city of Harlem, New York; ultimately relaying the message that violence ensures power. The 1983 film Scarface, famous for its violent content, relays this exact same message. With massive crowds rushing the theaters to watch these types of films, including audiences of young people, the message further engraves violence into the minds of its impressionable viewers. Regardless of the source, the media holds the key to the way that young people behave in society. The images depicted through the Internet, television, music, etc. combined with the impressionable minds of youth often lead to violent outcomes. Such results are what we witness in society on a daily basis.

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