The Connection Between Art and Influence
Updated: Dec 14, 2019
There’s this idea between logic-driven brains that art is a waste of time. As someone who studied art in college, I can tell you for certain that there are many people who think it’s a waste of time, that there is no value to art, and that anyone who spends their time on art as opposed to STEM subjects is a joke. However, these people aren’t taking into consideration the massive effects art has on the influences of our societies.
STEM occupations offer technical and logical advancements in society, but art-related occupations build and influence social structure and culture. They inform opinions, confirm or deny behavior, and normalize beliefs. It is often said that art imitates life, but far more often it appears life imitates art.
Let’s start off with something that happened centuries ago: the rise of approval for interracial pairings.
In 1959, the general approval rate for interracial couples was only 4%, almost one hundred years after the emancipation proclamation that freed the slaves. Despite that, marrying outside of one’s own race was seen as strange, uncommon, and in some cases wrong. After almost 100 years of freedom and almost 200 years of the country being in existence, you might think that there’d be a much larger change in the opinion of the people–but the massive increase in normalized behavior didn’t start to happen until about the mid-sixties.
Graph from Gallup.com
As you can tell from the graph, a major increase in interracial relationship approval happened at the beginning of the sixties. Why?
In the 1960s, blacks began to appear on regular television programs. In 1961, the John F. Kennedy administration entered the white house and began working on racial work including the creation of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and beginning affirmative action. The effectiveness of these in society is another argument altogether.
Through the early 1960s there was a focus on creating legal paperwork to block discrimination based on skin color and I believe this has something to do with the increase in interracial approval, but I think what was happening in the media mattered more. The increase of blacks on television made them seem less alien, as America, at the time, was almost 90% white. That meant that people could live their whole lives and probably never run into a single black person (considering blacks weren’t the only other race in America making up that other 10%).
That’s a 26% difference in just 10 years. How could that happen when in almost 200 years of being an established the interracial approval had never been that high nor increased by that amount? I think it had everything to do with television, movies, and media. America began to develop mainstream shows with majority or all black casts such as The Cosby Show, Family Matters, Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Kenan and Kel, and the continued acceptance of interracial approval continued–like due to the normalization of America being able to see blacks on a regular basis and associate them with familiar situations.
It’s thanks to television, books, and other forms of broad media and art. People look to media, art, and Hollywood for what’s acceptable behavior. They look to Hollywood and art instruct them on how to interpret the world. After the Kickstarter of racial relationships in the 60s, if you go back to the graph, you can see the approval rate continues to grow and I bet if you look into the television and media at the time, you will see the continual exposure of interracial couples through media and art and if you look closely, the acceptance of homosexual relationships has done the very same thing. At the start of the 1970s, the approval rating for same-sex couples was roughly 10% and it didn’t change much until the mid-90s when it just began to move upward.
Graph from The Atlantic
If you look at examples of media and television at the time, survey the stray gay male who started out as a guest BFF for the leading female and would never be seen actually with anyone. The appearances of gay characters can be traced back to single occurrences in various productions overtime, but they’ve taken longer to become normalized (partially because the media focused on interracial couples first).
How about something a little less controversial: 50 Shades of Grey’s normalization of domestic abuse. The book dressed a controlling, abusive relationship as a fetish-lifestyle and one hailed as romantic, and many of those in its target audience took the relationship as sincerely romantic. There’s nothing romantic about yelling at your spouse, taking control of what she/he is allowed to do, or own, or who he/she is allowed to be friends with. There’s nothing romantic about stalking your ex and convincing them to come back to you or harming your spouse and then giving them gifts later because that “makes up for it.” You see countless culture magazines and individuals defending the selfish, destructive behaviors of the people in the book or they acknowledge what’s bad while simultaneously dismissing it.
This is how you destroy relationships. This is how you destroy the family. This is how you normalize domestic abuse as part of normal relations. I have literally seen the argument, “Well, that happens in all relationships. So why bother arguing about it?” No one should ever be excusing and accepting legitimate abuse from partners. No one should be saying it’s okay and no one should assume that it’s normal to be abused.
Instead of defending garbage with, “It’s just a book” or “It’s just a movie,” think of the real consequences continual exposures has to the mind and also consider what devaluing something does.
Aside from flooding the market with echoing ideas that support a one-sided agenda, there are also those flooding the market with complete garbage with no other purpose than to distract that art has meaning. If you look at things like a red dot on a white wall and how that’s considered ‘art,’ it can be easy to say there’s no value in art. A red dot on a white wall is nothing. A book of just poorly written smut is nothing. A television show with recycled dumb jokes is just nothing. By flooding consumers with meaningless, poorly constructed garbage, it not only buries real art, but it fools the general population that there is any meaning behind art at all because all they see regularly is meaningless.
With my final example, I point to the parents on kid’s televisions shows who have perpetually become dumber and/or more absent from their children’s lives. This indoctrinates children to think that their families are unimportant. That when they are adults, they do not need to be with their families because 1) their families weren’t there and 2) no one on TV had families around and when they did, they were retarded. I point you to the growing list of movies and television shows where all of the bad guys are white men, such as the new Star Wars and Imperium and the media reflects the idea that white men are the center of evil and they must die.
Political and social narratives are controlled by the arts. Education, culture, social interaction–all of it is controlled by those who control and dictate the arts which is why most of what is seen on TV and in MSM platforms is leftists. It’s not just a conspiracy that they are major players in entertainment.
Whoever controls the media and art, controls the opinions of the majority of society. Look at what the media is saying and the subtle ways the pop culture is reflecting it. Those in control don’t want you to analyze or question, they want to groom you to echo their thoughts rather than have your own.
What’s important is to stop accepting what we’re being told ‘just to accept’ and analyze why it’s happening and what benefits it offers to our societies. By not asking questions, we lose our ability to stand up for what is right. We lose our ability to hold or voice an opinion, and we allow someone else to dominate our minds.
And as worn out as this sounds, people need to stop looking to Hollywood for approval. We have so many groups of people saying, “I don’t need your approval” and then go and bitch about there not being enough “fat/gay/trans/etc representation on TV.” If you didn’t need someone’s approval, then why do you need to see a reflection of yourself in movies and televisions? Don’t base your value on what you see on TV. Don’t base your character on what you see on TV or a stereotype/identity you’re told to play. Base it off what’s right and true.