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June 24, 2014

Movie-Made America

According to several historians, the Information Revolution is the third revolution in the history of the world after agricultural and industrial revolutions. Information age is the time, which brought fundamental changes in intellectual, social, philosophical and cultural aspects of the world.
Some historians are of the opinion that actually information revolution was the first revolution ever occurred and the agricultural and industrial revolutions were caused due to information revolution. To prove their claim they said that when civilization started, travelers and traders traveled from one place to another, as they have access to many cultures and traditions, they shared information and this information was actually the beginning of civilization as well as led the humanity towards the agricultural and industrial revolutions.  
The Information Society can be determined as the large group of people within a country or a region wherein most workers generate or depend upon information for performance of their jobs. Today information is the largest export of most News services, banks, insurance companies, television stations etc. these all organizations collect data, process it into information, distribute it, and store it as a major part of their business. 
Culture may be defined as behavior peculiar to human beings, together with material objects used. Culture consists of language, ideas, beliefs, customs, codes, institutions, tools, techniques, work of arts, rituals, ceremonies and so on. The existence and use of culture depends upon ability possessed by men alone. This ability has been called variously the capacity for rational or abstract thought. Although many social scientists define culture with different point of views, the Psychologists define culture as developing system of individuals, relationships, material and social contexts, and institutions. 
            The book ‘Movie-Made America’ was written by Robert Sklar. He had argued that media and especially the film media have great impact on society and it is actually the media, which shapes the culture of the society. He said that American culture was shaped in the present form by the movies.
The question is, does life imitate art? Some times it seems that way. No one can ever prove that a specific fictional depiction was the primary cause of a specific act of violence. There are always other possibilities. With control, comes artificiality and doubts have been expressed about whether what is found in the lab will also occur in the real world. Thus his arguments look quite appealing when he says that it is actually the movies, which had shaped the present Culture of United States.
This book gives the detailed account of the days when most Americans get influenced by the movies and modeled themselves as famous movie characters. The book also discuses many milestones in the history of American movies like Silent Comedies by Charlie Chaplin and others, golden ages of 1930’s movies, Cartoons by Walt Disney and social comedies by Frank Capra etc. 
Sklar discuss in detail the aesthetics, economics and culture portrayed in Hollywood movies. He described the downfall of Hollywood in 1950 and explores some of its causes. According to him, the rise of television is not the only cause of the collapse of Hollywood movies. 
Sklar also describe the importance of censorship to make a film good or bad, and how leniency in censorship affects the society. For many people, viewing soft-focus attractive nudes elicits a pleasure emotional response and low levels of sexual arousal. Such materials usually reduce retaliatory aggression against a same-sex confederate. However, most people are shocked and disgusted by crude displays of sexual activities. Their emotional response is negative, and their arousal is heightened by alarm, sexual feelings, or both. Pornographic scenes in movies usually increase aggression towards a same-sex confederate.
The author has outlined the book very intelligently. Chapters are categorized in such a manner that it clearly depicts the viewpoint of author. He clearly presents his point of view that films has shaped present American culture and change the society as a social body, as a political body and as an economic body.
Thus it can easily be said that it is the book for anyone who wants to know the cinematic history of United States and the effects of Cinema on American society.


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