Mass Media and Brainwashing

Michael Kim '10, English 65, The Cyborg Self, Brown University (Fall 2006)

With modern media and the internet, people are always jacked into some form of information source. Controlling this sea of information makes it possible to influence people’s emotions and ideas. In Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 and Orwell’s 1984, the television is used to brainwash and control people, and thinking is disapproved of. Even in today’s world, certain news stations are known as biased, but they nevertheless still influence the way that many people view political and national issues. The world of the television show Max Headroom is a place where mass media corporations battle for television ratings. In the episode Whacketts, the main character Edison Carter discovers that people are sifting through the wreckage of a building to save their television sets. After this strange occurrence, he finds that the television show that everyone is watching contains a video narcotic that releases endorphins when watched. The creators of this technology attempt to sell it to a television channel corporation, which would allow that corporation to rule the ratings and control the viewers. Eventually, it could become a despotic entity with an army of people addicted to its shows.

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Last modified 31 October 2006