Online Assignment #3
Mickey Mouse Monopoly is an eye-opening documentary into the media systems of today. It shows how a company held so dearly in most American’s hearts, has actually shaped our culture, our perceptions of ourselves, and our perceptions of others. The two most important media perspectives seen in Mickey Mouse Monopoly are the Magic Bullet theory and the Cultivation Research theory.
The Magic Bullet theory is the idea that media effects people like a hypodermic needle, once they see it they are immediately impacted by it. These effects are powerful, direct, and able to incite action. When this theory was first developed, many people feared the consequences of media for children especially. Within the first ten minutes of the film Dr. Justin Lewis addresses this concept and says that the magic bullet is not how the media works. He says that since Disney is so large, they are the dominate story tellers for most children and responsible for shaping children’s imaginations. He thinks the they way the media influences the they way we think is creating a certain environment of images over time, in a non-immediate way, that shapes what we know and what we understand about the world. This description of the way the media shapes our worldviews is much different than the way the magic bullet works. It is important to examine Disney’s effect on people in a long-term sense like De. Lewis describes.
Cultivation Research Theory is based on the concept identified by George Gerbner that Television is increasingly a cultural environment that has small, indirect, cumulative and cultivated effects on culture and society. This theory of media has the potential to create distorted perceptions of the world and certain groups that are cultivated by media representations. In Mickey Mouse Monopoly, Dr. Gale Dines describes this type of cultural cultivation. She says that Disney has had exactly this effect on children and society. Dr. Dines believes that ideologies are encoded in culture and that we develop culture from the media. The media that Disney creates cultivates ideologies through stories for children. These stories create cultural perceptions of class, gender, and ethnicity roles, and according to Dr. Dines, these perceptions are not natural and may not the perceptions children should be making.
After examining these two perceptions of the media based systems we can see that one of them prevails, and one does not. The Magic Bullet perception’s immediate, direct, and powerful effects are not how Disney’s stories effect culture because their stories are subtle representations of society that effect children’s perceptions of themselves and others over an extended period of time. Regardless of how it effects us, Disney’s status as a conglomerate media producer make it a very powerful player in our media system and we must consider what these effects are and what they do to our children’s worldviews.