Who rules the nation? To the keen observer, it’s easy to see that those who rule the media rule the nation. On this week’s episode of The Axiom Amnesia Theory, Heit & Cheri delve into all aspects of the media and its effects on our lives.

Topics discussed include, the desire to be ruled, how we come by our ideas and views, how marketing and the media reinforce gender roles, The Disney Channel as one big advertisement, branding of celebrities, the movement from highly segmented products to broader ones, missing white woman syndrome, people reenacting/mimicking events on film and TV in real life, sympathetic characters on film, political pundits shaping public opinion, role of the media in the Afghan and Iraq wars post 9/11, Sheryl Underwood backing George W. Bush, Michael Moore and The Dixie Chicks criticism of Bush for wars, Internet and net neutrality, and more!

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Segment 1

  • Heit & Cheri introduce a show that they originally recorded back in December 2011, which never aired.
  • Discussion of a Voltairine de Cleyre quote that Cheri posted on Facebook. The subject is people who are condemned for denying this system of injustice:
    “If this is the price to be paid for an idea, then let us pay. There is no need of being troubled about it, afraid, or ashamed. This is the time to boldly say, “Yes, I believe in the displacement of this system of injustice by a just one; I believe in the end of starvation, exposure, and the crimes caused by them; I believe in the human soul regnant over all laws which man has made or will make; I believe there is no peace now, and there will never be peace, so long as one rules over another; I believe in the total disintegration and dissolution of the principle and practice of authority; I am an Anarchist, and if for this you condemn me, I stand ready to receive your condemnation.”
  • We should do away with this system, and challenge ourselves to come up with something better. There is no point in trying to tweak B.S. because it is still B.S. in the end.
  • Discussion about people’s desire to be ruled.
  • We come into the world without beliefs, and we are molded into the beliefs of society. These things are given to us from birth. Some of these things become so ingrained in who we are that it is difficult to challenge or let some of these ideas go.
  • Discussion about gender roles and children’s toys and the color of clothes.
  • Discussion on masculinity in society and how it’s played out in the media, movies, magazines, etc.
  • Discussion about historical male domination and its connection with the media–how they turned this into a way to segment and target different groups. The trend now seems to be to move toward having one product that can satisfy more people.
  • Continued discussion about market segmentation along gender, age, and other demographic lines.
  • Discussion of hair weaves, and the proliferation of fake hair across racial lines. Because it has crossed racial lines, the manufacturers are able to sell more weave across the board–rather than just to certain races of women.

Segment 2

  • The media is in the business of advertising, selling entertainment, and shaping public opinion.
  • Discussion of products targeted at specific cultures using greeting cards as an example.
  • There are only about five media companies right now.
  • Discussion of the Disney media company, and the Disney Channel. It’s supposed to be a channel for children. They put child stars on their network and brand the person. They are using the channel to sell things by having the children become obsessed with the Disney stars, which makes them want their products.
  • Discussion of the Olsen Twins and Raven Symone as other branded child stars.
  • Young people tend to make the bulk of these types of entertainment purchases. Their parents tend to buy them.
  • Discussion of products targeted toward children. Instead of having a special product just for children, the marketers are now marketing the mainstream items, like iPhones, directly to children.
  • Mention of a woman who killed her children in Laredo, Texas because she was denied welfare.
  • Discussion of how people reenact the situations they’ve seen on TV–murders, ect.
  • Discussion of the movie “Falling Down,” staring Michael Douglas. People sympathize with these unfortunate characters.
  • Discussion of “missing white woman syndrome,” in which people become enthralled with missing white women.
  • Discussion of the movie “Law Abiding Citizen” as an example of characters with which we have sympathy.
  • The effects of the media are far reaching. It touches every aspect of our lives. It advertises not only products, but ideas. For instance, we see a lot more pundits on news channels. The people are here to tell the viewers what they should think about any subject or any topic.
  • The media presented recent wars–Afghanistan and Iraq–in ways that the two major political parties would go for it. Mention of the saying that “The enemy of my enemy is my friend.”
  • Discussion of how the media positioned going into Iraq after 9/11.
  • Mention of how Sheryl Underwood discussed being a Republican, and how people should be on the side of George W. Bush. She was allowing herself to be used by the media to push the government’s agenda. She took it a step further by relating it to the Black experience in America.
  • Discussion of Michael Moore’s Oscar speech and how they booed him off the stage because they didn’t like what he was saying–that we are living in ficticious times.
  • Discussion of the Dixie Chicks and the repercussions for them speaking out against George W. Bush and the wars he started.
  • Discussion about the fact that TV and radio corporations broadcast whatever messages that they want.
  • Discussion of how aspiring recording artists used to be able to take their products to consumers, but eventually the big corporations come in and take it over.
  • Discussion of Google and how they are the gatekeeper in a lot of ways because they have the ability to block access to certain sites.
  • The beauty of the Internet when it first became popular is that it leveled the playing field between the individual and large corporations.
  • Discussion on net neutrality.
  • Discussion of Internet service providers and the ability to access the internet. Mention of censorship by companies and countries.
  • Discussion of how the majority of space in the New York Times is used for ads.
  • Some channels are just one big advertisement for different products. Products are placed strategically for different reasons. This happens in movies, TV shows, commercials and other programming. It’s all advertisement.
  • A corporation is in the business of whatever brings them the bulk of their revenue. For instance, a newspaper is in the business of advertising, and the news is secondary.
  • The major media outlets also own other types of businesses, and they use media to get people to purchase products. They use psychology to their advantage when it comes to influencing people to make purchases.
  • What can we do to mitigate the effect of the media on our own lives? First, cut yourself off from the mainstream media. It’s also important to see the connection between our consumption and its effect on other people in the world. If nobody was buying the clothes, then there’d be no need for an 8-year-old to work in a sweatshop.
  • When you see a finished product, you should ask what you’re not being sold. Where did all of it come from? Who had to suffer to make it? Who didn’t get educated in order to manufacture that item.
  • We need to get out of our fixation with the mainstream outlets and find other places where we can get a real view of what’s really going on in the world. It would be good to have a real understanding of what capitalism is and its effects on the world.
  • Just being a U.S. citizen allows you to be privileged in other places in the world. The problem is that it’s simply based on being born in a specific location–nothing more. This is similar to the way people see celebrities. They are viewed as being greater than the “regular” people. In many parts of the world, this is the way that they view Americans.
  • Any kid between the age of 9 and 12 can be referred to as a “tween.”–especially girls.

Audio Credits:

“Television, the Drug of the Nation” – The Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy
“Jamie Foxx Presents Laffapalooza! 3” – Sheryl Underwood
Michael Moore Oscar Awards” – via YouTube
“Television Rules The Nation” – Daft Punk