Ferocious Ladoos- Undone

Ferocious Ladoos
                                                     The Melodies Crash Over Me!
There were only two occasions in the last 20 years or so when I have been really moved by an album as a completely new listener- not as a fan (please note). The first one that did that to me was Radiohead’s ‘OK Computer’ and then it is this album- ‘Undone’ by the trio from West London called The Ferocious Ladoos.

The band comprises of Bob Loyal (chief songwriter and multi-instrumentalist), Huck Auluck (guitarist) and Faisal Malik (bassist). ‘Undone’ was undertaken as a 90-day project in which I heard the band members, took a break from their regular jobs to focus completely on the making of the album. Such is the dedication of the band members and the results show very clearly on this record. It just shows why making of this album must have been so important for them. It is a conceptual piece of work. On listening repeatedly, I can sense a romantic but a tragic sentiment to the album. There are various aspects of love and personal outlook on life expressed here – betrayal, new discovery and a promise of unrequited love. All this when conveyed through Bob’s soothing and passionate vocals create a picture in my mind of a movie where the central character is intoxicated but is opening up everything about his experiences and feelings.

The sounds are all very skillfully treated and arranged. Nothing sounds rushed here yet at the same time there are some infectious rhythms that blend both organic and electronic styles. The music is adventurous and takes one on a journey. The album starts aptly with dramatic ‘Bring on the Rain’, unleashing that background and atmosphere for the story to commence. There is a lilting xylophone/vibraphone motif that extends that overall tension in the song. Imagine standing on a beach with rocks all around and waves crashing, rain falling and thunderstorms erupting in the sky. My favourites on this album are the hauntingly beautiful pop perfection in the form of a song called ‘Your Melody’, the uplifting but surprisingly twisted ‘Free My Mind’, the harmonium-electronic drum driven duet with a female singer called Julieta Luca on ‘The Girl with the Broken Smile’ and ‘Heart of Me’ (a track written by Huck that is full of brilliant rhythmic ideas countered with a dazzlingly hypnotic guitar work). Faisal’s bass work is very tight on the whole album and it sits so perfectly in the mix. It is not overplayed at all. All the songs are individually special in my opinion.

The instrumentation is rich but well layered. So, you would find ethnic instruments such as dilruba, harmonium, tabla and tambura co-existing with guitars, vibraphones, keyboards, bass and other electronic instruments. The arrangements are all phenomenal here and everything is painstakingly woven to create such emotional landscapes. It may sound simple and it is easy to take this for granted. However, there is a real art involved here. It is a fusion of various styles- from Indian classical to Indian film music and from pristine electronic music to stripped down electro-acoustic pop. But all work as a cohesive, singular unit which is hard to pull off convincingly. Every song is arranged, written and recorded by the band members themselves. I also recently heard that even the meticulous production work was carried out by Bob, the band’s front-man! Joe Sowery mastered the album. It is top-notch work in every regard.

Good, interesting and deeply moving music is still being made, folks. So, if you are truly a lover of pure music albums, you should own this one in your collection. I can’t recommend it enough. To say ‘Undone’ is a great album would be an understatement because the impact it leaves is unforgettable. This album is very much likely to stay with you forever.

 

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Tears for Fears- Everybody Loves a Happy Ending

                                                   TFF- Everybody Loves...
                                                     Don’t Steal Just Borrow
When Roland Orzabal and Curt Smith patched up their issues of nearly 10 years and re-united as Tears for Fears in 2000, I was one of the many hardcore fans on Cloud No.9! My dreams came true. I remember promoting Tears for Fans on Fanbase web site and even getting in touch with radio stations in India to spread the news. At the time and even now, their music means a lot to me. Then I remember listening to Roland’s interview on BBC about the reunion and he was talking about the song titles for this new album and a working title- ‘Everybody Loves a Happy Ending’. The first single that was released turned out to be ‘Closest Thing to Heaven’ which initially to my surprise was something quite ordinary and middle-of-the-road stuff. It didn’t sound bad but for a band that has made songs like ‘Listen’ and ‘Working Hour’… to be promoting a song like that as a comeback single was a bit off-putting.

I finally bought the album in late 2005. The album on the surface sounds good but on repeated listening, one would discover that this is more of a Beatles-Wings-PinkFloyd-other 60s-70s music pastiche. Maybe there is nothing wrong with it. But there is definitely a problem when anyone uses literal samples from ‘A Day in the Life of…’ (check out the title track), ‘Come Together’ ( on ‘Who Killed Tangerine’), ‘There She Goes’ or a classic Monkees track (on ‘Call Me Mellow’), ‘. There is nothing great about it and it is not something to be applauded if they think it is clever to do it. ‘Seeds of Love’ at least had some character to it although it was a Beatles pastiche. But here, it is like “We want to show that we can make a music album reminiscent of the late 60s and 70s if you think we are an 80s band”. As it is, to even re-create 80s music would probably have not been a good option for them (although in hindsight, that would have been far more welcome than using samples from other people’s music). There was no need for Tears for Fears to do something like that given that they are talented and technically gifted musicians. They work best when they are themselves. This does shine through on great overlooked numbers such as ‘The Devil’, ‘The Quiet Ones’, ‘Last Days on Earth’ and the Curt Smith-Charlton Pettus penned song ‘Who You Are’. Those songs are the true highlights.

The other problem is that the arrangements for all its prog-rock ‘cleverness’ is predictable here. On majority of the songs, you have Roland singing the lead on main verses and then Curt Smith singing the lead on choruses. Again, nothing wrong with that but for some reason because of this stolen 60s-70s psychedelia, it just becomes uninteresting. It was almost like a plan to do this rather than acting by instincts.

The album, nevertheless, is good. There are no fillers as such and many fans would find it appealing. But this is not a ground-breaking work by any means and it could so easily have been one had they followed something in the vein of Roland Orzabal’s amazing solo work- ‘Tomcats Screaming Outside’ (released three years prior to this album) or even kind of mixed their 80s sound with something brash and new. Sadly, they didn’t and I have been owning a copy of this album for nearly 10 years but I barely listen to it, these days. I love this band and have a soft spot for them. But they are much better than playing like an act with no fresh ideas and stealing- not borrowing- structures and samples of music from other bands. Ironically, on the track- ‘Size of Sorrow’, there is a line Curt Smith sings- ‘Don’t steal just borrow’. That would be befitting title to sum up my feeling about this album.
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The Danse Society- Seduction (The Society Collection)

Danse Society- Seduction

I ordered ‘The Seduction’ album on the second day of New Year 2010. The order and delivery process of the CD from Amazon was very smooth. I got the CD within three or four days.


I discovered the music of Danse Society in 2008 although I had vaguely heard about the band a few years earlier. It was the live performances of their early 80s shows and some songs that were uploaded on You Tube that got me interested. There was a certain rawness and naivety combined with desire to be different in their overall music and image that I found appealing.

There are some really good songs on this collection. Danse Society’s forte is two players in the band- Paul Gilmartin, the drummer and Lyndon Scarfe, the keyboardist. The drumming is one of the most innovative and powerful ones that you will ever experience. Lyndon Scarfe’s keyboard work is very astute and excellent.

This collection is reflection of a band trying to find their sound and style. Some of the tracks in that process tend to be amateurish; some hit the right nerve such as ‘Hide’, ‘Belief’ and ‘Ambition’. A few tracks such as ‘Danse/Move’ and ‘Godsend’ are excellent mainly because of the powerful drum and bass rhythm mixed with some eastern sounding atmospheres. I think the band’s songs deal a lot with spirituality and a higher force- in both a spiritual and worldly sense (‘Continents’ is about the tensions between powerful nations at the time, The Arms Race, the Cold War, etc).

However, the highlights on this album are ‘Somewhere’ and ‘In Heaven (Everything is fine)’. I think ‘Somewhere’ is about understanding and discovering the contradictions of life. Tim Wright’s bass work is pretty much the highlight on this track along with memorable keyboard lines from Lyndon Scarfe. I can’t stop praising about what an astounding track ‘In Heaven’ is. It is music for the subconscious and it really takes you to a place that is fantastic and dreamy but somewhat eerie as well. It conjures up all sorts of images- the snow capped terrains and two lovers enjoying their time together. All this mixed with fantastic piano work from Lyndon Scarfe and the repetitive but effectively atmospheric guitar lines from Paul Nash, dazed out vocals from Steve Rawlings, almost single note keyboard work, simple bass lines and robotic but ambient drum sounds make this song a strong candidate for a suspense/ horror movie soundtrack. At least for this one track, I think it is worth owning the album. I say this because the track is that astounding. Any artist or a band that writes such a song deserves some level of respect.

‘Seduction (The Society Collection)’ is a very interesting collection especially for fans of early post-punk music which some would call Goth in hindsight. The music does appeal to the Goth sensibilities although the band themselves would deny that (note Lyndon Scarfe, the keyboard player’s remark in the liner notes of the album). It is worth buying for fans of Goth, Punk, Post-punk and Avant-garde Music. Also, this collection is introduced by Lyndon Scarfe. He did a great job of sharing the band’s experiences during their early days of touring, recording albums, the music culture and the world they were living in before the internet days.

Danse Society is not an extraordinary band of any sort but I think they were far more refreshing than most of the so called Goth/Punk bands of the time that just seemed to copy David Bowie, Iggy Pop and Jim Morrison’s vocal styles and the instrumentation of The Cure or Joy Division. Maybe those bands and artists had an influence on Danse Society’s music as well but their music is at least not so obvious to instantly make such comparisons. This collection is clearly of a band trying to find their special sound and style.

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Universal Remote Control

Universal Remote Control

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Low Noise Amplifier

Low Noise Amplifier                                 

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Aesthetics of Punk Music

 

 

CONTENTS Page No.
AESTHETICS OF PUNK MUSIC
 
1. Introduction ………………………………………………………………… 2
2. Sex Pistols…Anarchy in the UK

……….……………………………………………………

3
3. The Punk Era- Cultural and Social Associations………. 4
……………. ……………. ……………………..
4. Reference List 6

 

INTRODUCTION

Music is sound that is arranged in interesting patterns. The concept of Popular Music started in the 1940s when music broke loose from the clutches of  the so called“authentic” music such as pure classical music (although over a period of  time there used to several examples of classical forms in popular music). It is considered to be the soundtrack of the general common public and hence considered more accessible. It belongs to the ordinary people and is expressive of their needs and concerns.

Music seems to create another world which makes us belong. This is not just in terms of reference to music but also a part of our everyday life. It is allows us or motivates us to break free from the generally prejudicial society and its shallow expectations. This transcendence in popular music is as an alternative experience of social forces. According to the aesthetics of popular music, it becomes special because it defines a space without boundaries.  It breaks all barriers of classes, nations and races. Most of us find ourselves in definite places such as concert halls, clubs, pubs, listening to radio or on headphones. We are where the music takes us. (Frith, 1996)

Music has travelled through several paths since the latter part of the last century. Right from the Broadway, big band bebop, cool jazz and rhythm and blues in the 1940s, to the advent of Rock ‘n’ Roll in the 1950s,  then folk rock, Mersey beat and later psychedelic rock of the 1960s. Then it passed through progressive and glam rock phase of the early 1970s. However, music reached a  historical status in terms of a social unrest and artistic movement in  the UK in the mid –to- late 1970s with Punk.  Then, there were several genres such as Disco, Art Rock, Post-punk, the synthesiser based pop-rock and alternative scene of the 1980s (which sprung from the punk movement), then both the grunge movement of the 1990s and finally the retro-indie sound of the current decade or the noughties again owes a lot to the punk ideologies of the 1970s.

 

SEX PISTOLS-  ANARCHY IN THE UK

Everyone shouted past melody, then rhyme, then harmony, then rhythm, then beat until the shout became the first principle of speech-sometimes the last. Old Oaths, carrying forgotten curses, which themselves contained buried wishes,  were  pressed  into seven-inch pieces of plastic as a bet that someone would listen, that someone would decipher codes the speaker themselves did not know they were transmitting. (Marcus G., 2001:6)

The year 1976 is marked as a cornerstone in popular music history with the advent of a radical punk group called the Sex Pistols. They were comprised of Jonny Rotten the vocalist and the central character of the band, the guitarist-Steve Jones, drummer Paul Cook and bassist Glenn Matlock (who would eventually be replaced by Sid Vicious). ‘Anarchy in the UK’ is a song from their debut album- ‘Never Mind the Bollocks, Here’sthe Sex Pistols’.

The music was fast, ferocious and totally uncompromising in its onslaught both in terms of sound and lyrics. It is a reflective song of  the closed society that people were living in- on many levels in terms of the general lifestyle, the elitist inaccessible music scene (in particular progressive rock), etc. It was about the need to change this boring situation. It was rock music against itself. The guitarist played with a loud feedback from his amplifier to backup the singer and his lyrics churning out of his mouth in sheer lunacy. The rhythm section on the other hand put in a fierce momentum . This music was nihilistic and anarchic. It was a new sound and an art. They stripped down the essentials of speed by discordant chaotic sounds and a fury that would burn down anything along its path. It was an anti-thesis to what popular music was construed in the first place.

Their performances were bordering on total madness and mayhem to the point that anything was possible. Insults used to be exchanged, the music gear was smashed. It was truly art against art kind of movement. Audiences used to invade the stage and hurl insults at each other . Their performances were a total mayhem which was considered  a 1970s equivalent of the Futurists fifty years before. (Worby, 2000)

     

                THE PUNK ERA- CULTURAL AND SOCIAL ASSOCIATIONS

 The spirit or the essence of tracks like ‘Anarchy in the UK’ is  basically the desire to live as a subject and not as an object of history. It is a direct reaction when we realise that the world we are often made to believe and accept, is  ultimately a fallacy and a product of one-track minded idealogical constructs.  It was this need- the primal need to break down the walls of a farcical society- that makes a track like ‘Anarchy in the UK’ so relevant. It can also be seen as angry music which stemmed from basic frustration with not only  the wrong things taking place in a nation but which can also be seen from a global point of view. (Marcus, 2001)

The Sex Pistols, Siouxsie and the Banshees , The Clash and other bands along with people like Malcolm McLaren and Jamie Reid  (who both  had punk sensibilities and mixed with radical politics and art history that targeted college students and analytical thinkers alike) played a major role and were pioneers of this punk movement. It also soon had an impact around the world.

The word punk  in  American slang stands for a worthless person or thing (Worby, 2000). However, it could also be seen as exposing everything that is worthless. In that sense,  punk could be viewed as an attitude more than anything else. It enables us to have our voices heard and gives scope for something new to come in. It acts like a recycle bin of the music world. When there was a need for change, it played a pivotal role. Due to its revolution, it opened the doors for many acts to express their musical ideas and talents. It is also contradictory due to the fact that punk’s ideology was that of  “No Future” and what happened in the aftermath was a bright future, particularly from 1977- 1983/84 with post-punk, art-rock and new wave scene. Phenomenal bands such as The Cure, Depeche Mode and The Human League were all part of this development. They had an element of Do-it-Yourself Punk attitude but had more artistic values.

Punk had a really charged up idealism that was more realistic and focussed. Punk was really for the people and there were no distinctions between an artist and its audience or even between the sexes. It also had a Do-it-yourself ethic and shunned any following that was centered around mass marketing and music for commercial purposes. It was an attack on the establishment and this included the sentiments of women in music long left unaddressed by the recording industry. Punk gave female artists an exposure and showed the world the true potential they possessed unlike anything before it.

Even to this day the impact of punk is felt in some ways. Notably, for instance, as far as internet related to music is concerned, it is an extension of the punk revolution. Punk gave even a musically inclined common man who can just barely play an instrument or sing, the opportunity to approach a recording company which was considered next to impossible at one point of time. The internet has made it even more easier for anyone to send their songs to a record label via electronic mail (e-mail), upload their songs on their own web site, convey the information to literally anyone in the world, including recording companies, both major and independent record labels. Its effectiveness is understood to such an extent that we now even have online record labels such as Caff Corporation in England and C-Sharp Productions in America.The music world has become more colourful due to the punk revolution.

 

                                                     REFERENCES

  • Frith S. (1996) ‘Performing Rites Evaluating popular Music’ (First Edition), Oxford University Press
  • Marcus G. (2001) ‘Lipstick Traces: A Secret History of the Twentieth Century’ (2001 Edition), Faber and Faber Limited
  • Worby R. (2000) ‘Cacophony’ in Emmerson S. (ed.) Music, Electronic Media    and Culture, Hants, England: Ashgate Publishing Limited, pp138-163

 

 

 

 

 

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Hegemonic Effects of the Mass Media Apparatus

CONTENTS Page No.
 
HEGEMONIC EFFECTS OF THE MASS MEDIA APPARATUS
1. Introduction ………………………………………………………………… 2
2. Global Communications…………….…………………………………………………… 4
3. Social Impact of Mobile Technology………. 7
……………. ……………. ……………………..
4. Jouissance, Interpellation and Hegemony of the Mass Media

A)    Modernisation Theory

B)    Cultural Media Imperialism

C)    Globalisation…………….

9

11

12

13

5. Reference List 14
 

                                              INTRODUCTION

There have been many revolutions that have taken place around the world. The Industrial revolution which stemmed from the discovery of metals such as cast iron and steel and energy sources such as coal and steam. Electric Revolution enhanced this even further with the discovery of electricity. Morse’s Telegraph, the telephone, phonograph, radio,  et al are some good examples. The latter part of the last century- the 20th century-  saw yet another revolution in the form of information technology. This technology refers to the ways and the speed with which information can be exchanged respective or irrespective of the distances. This information could be in the form of sound (speech), data and video. This enabled industries such as telecommunications, electronics and computing industries to come together or converge into a synergistic medium known as Information Technology (IT).  The computerised devices are interlinked physically and non-physically (through wireless means). These devices have occupied both work-place and home to the extent that now it is known as the Information Age.

New information and communication technologies have changed the way we work, allowing greater control over the processes of production and distribution. Our ways of work have also changed in that regard. The economic importance of both media and communication is obvious through the impact of film and the television industries and it is less significant. However, the actual significance is that as a result of the convergence between computers and telecommunications, there are corporations that attempt to control both the infrastructure of delivery (telephone lines, fibre-optic cable, terrestrial and satellite television signals) and the content delivered materials such as films, programs, texts, Web pages, databases, educational materials or even data on corporations, governments and individuals. The merger between America Online and Time Warner is an apt example. The economic, social and cultural importance of the content remains the same. The change in the medium of delivery is of more than incidental importance. The first form of person-to-person communication, namely the telephone used to be confined only to the technology related media sector. However, It truly brings forth the telephone at the forefront in the present scenario. The mobile phone is a perfect example of this kind of change.

Mobile phone communications enable people across distances to communicate with a greater ease than normal telephones. Photographs and videos could be taken. The internet can be accessed through mobile handset, exchange photographs, movies, games and text messages. Mobile companies have even tied up with music record labels to market and even create contents (by compressing the file size without comprising on quality) to finally distribute these files to target these files to the artist’s fan base.

Nevertheless, we can see how right from Industrial Revolution through Electric and Information Revolution, the world has been shrinking and people are coming closer through communication and advancements in technology.

                                    GLOBAL COMMUNICATIONS

The internet’s promised universal access is only possible with a telephone line or a cable or wireless connection. Until the 1980s, telecoms were traditionally provided by a single operator holding a national monopoly such as Post Office (GPO), until British Telecom (BT) was created. But by post-1980s there were reforms to the telecom regulation. This involved making telecom services accessible to the whole population at constant prices. This eventually led from just holding a monopolistic network to duopoly to 3 operators to 4 operators  and finally multiple operators that spanned the entire globe.

However, so far, it is seen that instant global communications show few signs of producing  an economically more equitable global society. In fact, the stock trading centres that were linked together in the 1970s have created a global financial market that is increasingly detached from the actual performance of the national economies. The efficiency and the control made possible by IT, contributed to the growth of multinational corporations.

In advanced industrialised countries, the growth of the wireless telecom services have been used by the governments  to provoke greater competition. Although the established players have remained dominant in national telephone networks and competitive pressures have driven up the quality of services. At the same time, the growing number of cell-phone subscribers and the narrowing cost differentials between cell phone subscribers and the narrowing cost differentials between cell phones and fixed-line network have intensified the pressure to reduce prices.

New possibilities opened up the telecom companies tied with media based companies such as the merger between Hollywood studios, telecom and software companies. The experience of the USA and UK encouraged others to mix market competition with public regulation. In 1997, the World Trade Organisation started the Global Telecommunications Agreement that was signed by 60 nations. The agreement was designed to end state monopolies and to open the global market to international competition by allowing foreign investment in domestic telecoms. The pact accelerated the pace of mergers and acquisitions on a global scale. It put forth the likely domination of the world’s telecoms market by telecommunication giants.

As far as the social impact of the Information Revolution is concerned, there are some exaggerated predictions that Internet will destroy all educational institutions and traditional jobs. The manner in which they operate is changing for sure. Distance education was originally in the form of various correspondence courses through postal mails that enabled students who were in one part of the world to study without travelling to another (usually) distant place. Perhaps the situation of some people- job or financial status were reasons behind their choice for such a study and fundamentally the target of the “distant” institute. The books for a particular course used to be sent to the student who would then study and prepare for examinations.

However, now with advancements in technology, it has become more internet/web oriented means of reaching out to the student. It might be construed that distance education is actually a drawback because there is no direct, student-teacher interaction and there is no classroom environment. Although this view has some weight in the original scenario, as far as the internet based education is concerned, it is not entirely true or it is just having some preconceived ideas about the same.

The whole idea of virtual campus was that there is a central university in a particular place- say in the capital of a country. Then this institute has a tie-up with some other institutes or colleges- known as tele-learning centres. The tele-learning centres were connected to this university through satellite and through Wide Area Based Network. The lectures in a virtual distant learning programme are held via live satellite broadcast or teachers used to be allocated in all these centres where they conduct lectures or practicals. Students are free to attend these sessions at their own convenience. There are multiple sessions so that the students would not necessarily miss out on any class. The lecture notes are downloadable in electronic format. Here even the concept of distance is lost and is more traditional but then again it was cutting edge technology. Some exams are computer based and posted in electronic format. The students get the marks for their subjects through the institute’s home page. The students can communicate with the teachers through a chat page on the institute’s web site at a particular time decided by the University. This  web based concept is very useful, especially for those who are working and like to take higher qualifications without sacrificing their job. Also, the much sensationalised phenomenon of telecommuting using computers and online facilities to work from home is a new way of working being adopted mainly by some large organisations. The proportion of companies using them is rising.

In terms of culture, the industrial significance of the media and of entertainment is growing. The home has almost become a hub for entertainment based activities. There is an increase in the use of  video games, online shopping, Bluetooth technology. Mobile phones or cell phones allow people to connect to the digital world without the traditional telephone lines and terrestrial infrastructure. China and India have large number of subscribers of mobile phones. In fact, China has more subscribers than anywhere else in the world except for USA and this is despite the fact that China has got fewer telephone lines. The average Chinese subscriber chats for over 400 minutes a month-three times longer than the average American.

Competition and liberalisation affect cell-phone adoption. In 1999, Lebanon had the lowest prices at 7 cents a minute against a North African and Middle East regional average of 40-50 cents; charges in Norway dropped by 60 % and in Germany by 70%. On the other hand, in most of Latin America, where governments maintain monopolies on networks, prices stayed high- as much as ten times the cost of the local call. Despite this, the market there was buoyant. (Balnaves, Donald, Donald, 2001)

SOCIAL IMPACT OF  MOBILE TECHNOLOGY

There was a time when working with technology provided an outlet for brilliant but anti-social people who found something in their machines that provided them with what they wanted in ways that people did not. Now, it is just the reverse. Apple’s iTunes, listening to music on one’s mobile handset and exchanging multi-media files are just part of the social trend as opposed to the anti-social and individualistic function that technology was initially thought to serve.

There is a marketing strategy and a number of sociologists that tell the common public A-list of things that one should know in the next five to ten years. So, spotting a trend has in itself become a trend. A trend does not merely denote a “shift” in the way people do things or on “development”. It is not just an evolving “preference”. Penn (2007) makes a very thoughtful remark that reaches the core of the actual demand for the mass media apparatus from a socialistic point of view:

A microtrend is an intense identity group, that is growing, which has needs and wants unmet by the current crop of companies, marketers, policy makers, and others who would influence society’s behaviour (Penn M.J., 2007: xx)

The implications for technology marketing are stunning. The technology based companies used to target their products to a niche market, now it it is being sold as a common necessity. Computers and mobile phones are the obvious examples. There are people who read about advances in consumer electronics and digital devices. They are into latest technology, particularly up to date with computer software and new versions of operating systems.  There are also people who are the most busy juggling family, work and school, and who are living the most active and engaged lifestyles. They go for movies, concerts, exercise and play outdoor games and listen to downloaded music far more than those on the other side who buy and use technology only when they really need. These people come under the moniker of “Social Geeks”. Thus it is seen that technology which was once at one end of the socially cut-off is now the centre-piece of a network of social gathering. (Penn, 2007)

JOUISSANCE, INTERPELLATION AND HEGEMONY OF THE MASS MEDIA

There are people who take a conscious stand against gadgets such as mobile phones and computers because of the fear of invasion of privacy or simply lack of interest. There is a general unrest amongst a certain section of people that technology takes away the life of any traditionally known way of communicating or they take away jobs. There was a period of unrest similar to this in 1800s group of English workers who smashed textile machines to protest the changes- especially the loss of their jobs- that were brought about by the Industrial Revolution. They eventually lost and have been termed “Luddites” or the mythic members. They were those who fought for artistry over automation and humanity over productivity. The scene is quite similar in the present day of microchips and integrated circuitry although less aggressive.

There are people who reject such a change could be due to factors such as age,Geography and income. In other words, they are those who find the technology too intimidating or who can’t use it because of their location and those who find it expensive. So, they either reject technology or are ignorant about it due to their circumstances. However, there are many younger, urban and employed, the so called- “New Luddites”. One in four people in a survey mentioned that they stopped using the Internet because they did not find it useful and was not a good use of their time.

These New Luddites are exactly polar opposite to the aforementioned people in the previous topic who uses it in daily part of their lives. In contrast to the Social Geeks who use technology to advance their outgoing approach to the world, the New Luddites are more pessimistic, guarded and perhaps more lonelier. Over half of them believe that most people would take advantage of others when given an opportunity and there will no-one to eventually get support and help from when they really need. Internet and mobile savvy people and Social Geeks generally tend to believe that they have control over their lives. Whereas New Luddites reject technology because they suspect that technology would control them. However, they do have reasonably valid points that technology has only made life more stressed and busier. There is also too much of communication because of the availability of instant communication. This is not reflected in the way, in a modern and affluent place like the United States of America where people in general do not take time out for vacation or even work lesser despite the fact that knowledge and communication are readily available. They are more interested in the natural social aspect than the more robotic passionless form of communication.

Also  concerns of safety has led cell phones to be banned in aeroplanes because they interfere with the navigation equipment and on-the-ground calls. Also, people generally object to conversations – sometimes lengthy in a plane. This sentiment is carried out in places of worship, study, concerts, museums and libraries where a certain sanctity needs to be maintained. Then there are unwanted commercial aspects that need to be really checked if we actually need those “trendy” or extra features.

There is a subgroup of Social Geeks knowns as “Tech Fatales” that consist of the female section of the society. They just do not use the technology but drive, shape and decide the majority of consumer purchases in Amercia.  Given their inborn nature, they could sense the user-friendliness and the image of a gadget much more than males. According to a survey conducted by the Consumer Electronics Association, girls are more likely than boys to use mobile phones. They are the heavy users of technology and who love to communicate all the time. The mobile and in general computer based companies cannot ignore their needs. They prefer gadgets that are light, durable and effective. They have specific preferences for keypad or looks of the phone. So, generally there is a tendency for females to be open to technology because of the image and the possibilities of communication. (Penn, 2007)

  1.        A)  MODERNISATION THEORY

The growth and the influence of global media and communication  was shaped by the modernisation theory. It plays a huge role in the process of economic and social development. After the second world war, there was a period of de-colonisation. Many countries in Africa and Asia got their independence from their former colonial masters.

The main goals during the initial phase of independence was development. It was seen that some of these countries would have to break down certain ways of thinking and embrace change by imparting modern values. The media played a key role in communicating the modern values, skills, attitudes and structures needed for development. However, modernisation theory has been found to be insensitive to the needs of these African and Asian societies sometimes even pointing out that dependency on these Western societies as a reason for their underdevelopment. (Williams, 2003)

  1. B) CULTURAL MEDIA IMPERIALISM

There is a dependency theory to explain the gap between the West and the rest of the world. The theory highlights that they cannot develop because they continue to be held back by their dependence on their former colonial powers despite gaining political independence. If colonialism is a form of imperialism wherein one nation is controlled by another, neo-colonialism is cultural imperialism which has got media at its centre. The global television music channel MTV, Hollywood films and soap operas can be seen as “westernisation” are said to be a part of this trend. It is often believed that this contributes to the erosion and moral decay of local values. It is believed to be a part of the American military-industrial conspiracy.

However, there are some reasonably valid points, the short-sightedness of this theory is also exposed. For instance, the seemingly US global media dominance is due to natural advantages. This is sometimes due to aesthetic terms. American television programmes are watched in greater number because they are better made, characters are more appealing, plots are interesting, they are presented well, production values are higher and the economic advantages (low cost). The Cultural resistance can also take several forms. (Williams, 2003)

  1. GLOBALISATION

Globalisation undermines national culture and identity in a variety of ways. People in nearly every nation are open to cultural experiences from around the world. National borders are no longer a barrier to the influx of alien ideas and values. Satellites above and the Internet below have played a crucial part in making the modern nation porous. (Williams K. 2003:226)

Globalisation is the process by which economic activity, political values and culture have ceased to be constrained by Geography and territory. It strongly emphasis the role of the media. New media technologies such as satellites, mobile telephony and Internet represent a giant step in the capacity of the media to bring people closer together. Whereas cultural imperialists see the flow of information as one-way, globalisation embraces the capacity to audiences to engage in a two-way communication with the help of the e-mail and the World Wide Web and gadgets such as mobile phones. It is seen as both embracing cultures from around the world yet keeping their original natural traditions intact. It also addresses world issues through different media to create an awareness and to initiate a helping hand. It is definitely a hybrid and healthy concept.

The vast atrocities and dominating dictatorial regimes that suppress the growth of a nation have also been exposed due to the input of global media technology and the quick conveyance of information. The prime examples are overthrowing of former communist regimes in Eastern Europe. So, the media has given a sense of universal or collective identity which gives the feeling of “belonging” or something that can be relied on. Information is the defining feature of the modern world and an authentic ideology of our time. There is more information than ever before and there are more media devices such as computers and mobile phones that connects individuals irrespective of any form of boundaries. Thus we have really entered the information society as a result of information transmitting devices. (Williams, 2003)

                                          REFERENCE LIST

  • Balnaves M., Donald J. and Donald S. H. (2001) ‘The Global Media Atlas’ (First Edition), Myriad Editions Limited, Brighton, UK
  • Penn M.J. and Zalesne E.K. (2007) ‘The Small Forces Behind Today’s Big Changes- Microtrends’ (First Editon), Penguin Group (USA) Inc., 375 Hudson Street, New York 10014, USA
  • Williams K. (2003) ‘Understanding Media Theory’ (First Edition), HodderHeadline Group, 338 Esuton Road, London NW1 3BH, UK
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