Reflections and Conclusions
I cannot say that I have many conclusions to draw from this information. There is little that I can do to assess the panoptic relationship between American media and my own life because I feel as though I know too little about it to make any true judgments about it. The principles and circumstances perpetuating the feedback loop are very strong and seem to require a slow and steady change in order to remove this panopticism from within the structures of the industry. I do not believe that any of the players in the industry, from the DJ to the head of a corporation, are bad people with a plot to destroy American art forms. These corporations are capitalist driven and cannot be blamed for doing what they are supposed to do, making money. They happen to be very proficient businesses and are good at what they do. Panoptic structures do govern their practices, but I cannot bring myself to try and blame the media companies for that. When asked about Hip-Hop culture, DJ Experience said that it had gone corporate and is about making money. When asked about whether or not he believes that it should be different in any way, he talked about how it would be foolish for him to make that type of judgment call because the “people collectively create the culture,” he alone could not make the assessment of what needs to change. He referred to a Gandhi quote to say that he feels he should simply “be the change he wants to see in the world” because “[i]t is up to the people to not support the direction it’s going in” (DJ Experience, personal communication, July 25, 2009). His words were resounding and related directly to the words of DJ He-Man when asked about his views on Hip Hop music. He said that it is all about making money now. He emphasized the point that, “[p]eople like to blame radio, but it’s really they gotta blame themselves” (DJ He-Man, personal communication, July 23, 2009). Upon conducting this research, his words seem very prevalent and make a substantial point.
The social panopticism in media structures results from a blurred line between culture and advertisements coupled with the deceit of some industry companies. The DJs, who see both sides of the dynamic between the industry and the people, believe that the community made the culture that way. They see the state of entertainment culture and Hip-Hop music, what is ultimately a result of the panopticism, as self-inflicted situation for the consumer population. If this is truly the case and consumers are significantly responsible for the relationship developing in this way, then they too have the ability to change it if so desired. My research has revealed that there are a lot of hidden and manipulative tactics used by the industry companies to gain information about us, but the panoptic situation is mostly perpetuated because consumers never know when we are being advertised to. Consumers seem to not know for several reasons: the blending of society and commercialism, lack of media education, and lack of general knowledge about how the media companies operate. If this is the case, then a way to rid of media panopticism and create media that is truly reflective rather than deceptive might be to simply take note and question media intentions. Gramsci asks individuals to take norms to be neither natural nor inevitable and to always question the status quo. This project has brought me to believe that his ideas are very true in certain situations. In my opinion, this panoptic relationship between the media companies and the consumers is one of those situations. A lot of information about the media is available for the public to access. I would not have been able to do this project if that were not the case. There are many people in the general public who seem to just not know about much of this information; else the companies would not be able to continue to control the situation. I believe that the population needs to constantly try to observe and analyze the media as they do to us, else this relationship will continue to remain as a form of panopticism. The prisoners of the Panopticon were held captive by their cell walls. The “prison” that the consumers are in is that of a society they themselves have seemed to create. If so, the consumers have the ability to change that building’s shape and structure for the better, simply by the taking time to look and learn what needs to be changed.