Posted on behalf of Marlaina Luciano:
Chapter 27 of McQuail’s Reader in Mass Communication Theory explains that “advertisements are one of the most important cultural factors molding and reflecting our life today. They are ubiquitous and inevitable part of everyone’s lives: even if you do not read a newspaper or watch television, the images posted over our urban surroundings are inescapable” (299). McQuail also explains that the signification of advertising is intentional by saying, “in advertising the signification of the image is undoubtedly intentional; the signifieds of the advertising message are formed a priori by certain attributes of the product and these signifieds have to be transmitted clearly as possible” (290). Advertisements have made a huge impact on each and every one of our lives whether we realize it or not. It is happening every day because we are constantly being surrounded by advertisements even if we do not read newspapers or magazines, or watch television.
I will be connecting ideology, hegemony, and semiotics to the effect of drugs that are being used in the media. Because drugs are constantly being placed in the media everywhere we look, is that making it more socially acceptable for people to be doing drugs more? Can you think of any media outlet that is constantly showing drug usage by celebrities? There are plenty to choose from. Many celebrity gossip websites are constantly making jokes about celebrities who use drugs. For example, Perez Hilton often makes remarks about Lindsay Lohan being too skinny from the fact that she has been doing too much cocaine. The reason why he is on her case is because she has been in and out of rehab before. In the article, http://perezhilton.com/2007-09-27-lohan-stole-my-coke, he talks about how Jackass star Steve-O claims that Lindsay Lohan is a “drug thief” and has stolen his coke before. This may be hard for some to believe but they are many teenagers that look up to Lindsay Lohan as a role model. What kind of effect is this having on those teenagers if Perez Hilton is often writing about Lindsay Lohan and her drug addiction? Is it making them want to experiment new things too?
In the article, http://dragon.soc.qc.cuny.edu/Staff/levine/jmmys%20world.htm, the article discusses a controversial article that was printed in the Washington Post. The reason why it was so controversial was because it talked about an eight year old boy named Jimmy who was a third generation heroin addict. It talked about his home life and what he planned on doing when he grew up. Unfortunately, his home life was not a very good one and it was described as there being drug addicts “casually” buying heroin from his family every day. Jimmy talked about his future drug dealing career which was of concern for many after reading this article.
After this story was printed, the controversy sparked and many people called and wrote letters to the Washington Post and to local officials claiming that something needed to be done in order to find Jimmy. Many people were worried for his well-being, especially because of his young age.
I chose to look at this story also because it was different in the sense that drugs may have had the opposite effect on the reader’s of this media outlet. The people who were reading this outlet were much more concerned about the child’s well-being and took action on trying to find him.
Do you think that all of the media outlets that are covering drugs are having a negative effect on it’s readers or not?