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Media: a Fictional Reality Essay

Introduction We increasingly move from one kind of reality to another. As spectacles are created with our own lives we are vastly becoming the characters we once saw on television. In media, the producing and promotion of these realities encourage people to misinterpret false depictions into reality. Advertisements When we examine media advertising we find art and technology being used to create a false reality through stories in an effort to evoke desired reactions from audiences.

We see a production of characters playing physicians, housewives, used car salesmen, and everyday people with plots and quick resolutions of conflict in which the characters overcome obstacles and fulfill their desires in record time with the help of their product. For example media display products that are cosmetically altered to seem more appealing to viewers. Raw turkeys are made to look baked and delicious with food coloring, burgers are big and juicy, water drops slide down fresh vegetables, even the sizzle from cooking food turns out to be a sound effect added during editing.

These sensory deceptions are supplemented by exaggerated claims, to create a false identity for the product. Commercials also include another kind of falsity in the form of digitally manipulated images. They convey a sense of life as celebration, full of people who can’t help but sing out because they love their Skittles or who emerge from swimming pools, all luminescent, with magnificent hair and wonderful lives, surrounded by bright colors, upbeat music and dancing friends, in which everything is in motion to convey a sense of what life can be if we buy the product.

They invent “worlds” based on fantasy and desire. “To achieve these effects, media engage in the new production process of high-tech capitalism, which is to turn everything into an image. This process is very evident in what happens to actors — they are turned into simplified human images. Their role is to become characters in false utopias so they can act as living sales pitches for products” (Boorstin 1961).

They are all false promises that make everything seem better than it is. Cities City landscapes increasingly resemble places all around the world. These false depictions serve as attractions for millions of people, as well as a pseudo reality that the media likes to make into a spectacle. For example, sin city is becoming sim city; the city of simulation. Through varies attractions people are given a misrepresented idea on how media interprets the world.

“One of the city’s monuments is Luxor, a $375 million hotel and casino that is a fantasy version of ancient Egypt, presenting visitors with material images of mystery, mysticism and splendor in one of the greatest monstrosities ever built: a 36-story, pyramid-shaped hotel with a ten-story replica of the Sphinx as an entrance for valet parking. The hollow core of the pyramid is a 27-story atrium that started out with a fake river Nile at the bottom, which took visitors on a barge ride passed tableaus of ancient Egypt.

Meanwhile, “inclinators” — elevators that travel diagonally, following the pitch of the pyramid — take guests to their rooms in the upper floors. ” (Kens 1997) They aim at representing an ideal experience, as if you really were visiting the great monuments of Egypt, but these manipulated visions are forced onto people as true depictions of reality. “Luxor is themed, offering a story line that is intended to give the visitor’s experience a meaning and coherence. But Luxor, like many similar attractions, appears to suffer from an identity crisis: it can’t seem to keep its theme together.

In place of presenting one idea or trying to show one kind of place, it has jumbled together all kinds of times and places, which are removed from any sense of context or relation to each other”. (Kens 1997) Thus, the Sphinx is the entrance to a pyramid, which contains an ancient-looking temple, which takes visitors to a dig of a fictional civilization, while a talk show goes on next door and celebrity impersonators play Michael Jackson, Madonna and the Blues Brothers, or other Vegas-style shows go on nearby in Nefertiti’s Lounge.

Las Vegas thrives on having the best attractions of the world on one famous street; the Vegas strip, but they’re all attractions focused on historical allusions. Media creates a spectacle of historical information in which gets misinformed to the public. Zoos Many zoos are beginning to offer “educational” exhibits through fictional realities. Resembling scenes out of movies or Disney related themes, parks and zoos are increasingly using fictional characters and ideals to promote their parks.

“They are imitations that are intended to be better than the originals. To the degree that visitors think of them as accurate representations, they will come away with an image of a rain forest as a place crowded with large animals, where one can get good vistas of peaceful surroundings full of impressive landscapes and gigantic trees. ” (Eco 1990) These false depictions are being represented as an educational experience by the media and leave them with a tainted view of reality.

“An increasing number of exhibits portray something that is unlike nature in another sense: under constant pressure to be entertaining, they are incorporating themed environments based on fantasy that have little to do with the natural world. In essence, these attractions, even though they are the handiwork of nonprofit institutions, have to attract an audience that will help keep the enterprise afloat financially and justify its existence. They are trying to win that audience with ever more spectacular displays and excursions into fantasy.

The result is the growing numbers of those simulated ruins, suspension bridges, vines that hang over pathways and other popular fantasy elements commonly found in television and movies, which are, supposedly, the sugar that coats the pill of educational value. ”(Eco 1990) The act of displaying a rainforest is for entertainment purposes but it should not tarnish the educational responsibility by providing false depictions as reality. Media provides a distorted image of rain forest by the India Jones themed movies.

We come to believe that every jungle, rain forest, safari is going to have hidden civilizations, cities of gold, and ancient Mayan ruins. The reality is, that these places are not so exciting. The media raises your hopes for reality at the cost of your educational experience. “Non-Fiction” Television Newscasts are beginning to foster a type of reality that entertains a viewer as if they were watching the latest episode of Law and Order. Providing their audience with a “fictional” reality of news highly made into spectacles for entertainment rather than newsworthy purposes.

“These programs are well known for reciting the daily litany of crimes, and personal and community disasters, with all the potential that has for evoking sympathy, fear and anger in audiences. ” (Kens 1997) The media publishes a compelling story each with a happy ending. They are more about the storyline then the actual “factuality” and newsworthiness. Newscasts are no longer an avenue for the “need-to-know” news but rather the “want-to-know” news. It is a civil duty that we get provided with accurate information, but that sometimes gets tarnished following a new update from the Octomom.

“In forms of fiction; both evoke anger, fear and sympathy in an audience and then convert these emotions into reassurance and hope. Fiction accomplishes this primarily with a happy ending. Local news does it by placing stories about danger and suffering in a program that overflows with benevolence and camaraderie. Each, in a different way, is designed to provide a satisfying emotional experience to audiences. ” (Kens 2007) The experience is the most important aspect newscasts are aiming for.

Kens relates newscasts as “Back to The Future… the ride” because it takes viewers on a journey of images and computer generated graphics meant to serve as an entertaining attraction rather than a trusted source with direct information about the world. Conclusion “Art and technology masquerading as life. ” This is medias lens on reality and how many of us perceive much of today’s world. We believe that the beautiful life portrayed in a commercial is obtainable by the simple act of buying their product. At least if we can’t look like a celebrity we can smell like one, in relation to cologne commercial.

People are increasingly becoming less satisfied with their own lives and believe they can just jump into an alternative reality forever. Where there are no problems and like the actors in “Friends” seem to spend their whole lives together in a coffee shop with no relation to work or any responsibility for that matter. Being the monuments in Vegas or the story lines in “rainforests,” now days, this exposure of entertainment is increasingly becoming a pseudo reality. They are masquerading real life experiences into a huge spectacle.

Media has transformed our lives and everyone in it to the characters and drama series we love to see on television. We live in fiction and are entertained by “reality. ” Work Cited 1. Vick, Roger. “Story Line as Ideology. ” (1989): Print. 2. Robert J. Stoller, Observing the Erotic Imagination (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1985) pp. 58-61. 3. Sans, Ken. “A Culture Based on Fantasy and Acting Out. ” (1997): Print. 4. Sans, Ken. “Advertising and the Invention of Postmodernity. ” (1997): Print. 5. Sans, Ken. “Las Vegas: Postmodern City of Casinos and Simulation. ” (1997): Print. 6. Boornstin, Daniel. The Image: A Guide to Pseudo-Events in America. Vintage, 1992. 200-320. Print.


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