The importance of a dominant culture- regardless of whether it is morally justifiyed

Music is one of many liberal art forms that shapes our perceptions of a socially constructed world in which we co-exist. Over time, paying particular attention to technological advancement increasing, the industry undertook changes in production, engineering and creation. Charles Ronsen, first a pianist whose concert career spans decades and continents, then a professor of music and social thought at the University of Chicago, stated “understanding music is simply means not being irritated or puzzled by it” (Ronsen. C, 1998:3). I’m sure everyone knows some music that they didn’t actually ‘like’ from the first listen and it has ‘grown’ on them. He empathises this through explaining how his “lack of familiarity with the style meant that everything I expected of the music was frustrated and thwarted”(1998:3)In his book ‘The Frontiers of Meaning, Three Informal Lectures on Music’, understanding of music, he even goes as far as to describe a, later favourite, piece of music as “nauseating”on the first listen, because of how dramatically different and “repulsive” it was compared to other pieces heard before.

I would not goes as far as to say that it is completely impossible to dislike a piece of music because that would be an absurd narrow-minded view of perceptions and opinions. Also may I draw attention to the fact I am human and also have likes and dislikes, such as what is now informally referred to as ‘chart music’ or ‘pop-music’, which rather ironically is in fact originally ‘popular-music’. Originating from when early American music culture was spilt in half, much like it’s population. The R ‘n’ B charts was the voice ‘Black-America’ and ‘Pop charts’ was ‘White-America’. The transition for the term ‘pop’ begun with the desegregation of the two with artist breaking away from these forced stereotypes such as ‘Elvis Presley’. However when speaking about Elvis, although a great singer and entertainer, made his career being a puppet for the sell-out, money-making and newly industrialised show-business monster that founded Elvis’ fortune on Big Mama Thornton’s ‘Ain’t nothing but a Hound-dog’. Sadly, the music industry isn’t built up on hard-work, unique and raw talent and musical ability. This business just seems to be of dolls that a purpose built, that are spat out into society to sell themselves like prostitutes. I know this may seem harsh imagery. Yet, that doesn’t mean I mean it any less. Think about it. In reality, I gaurantee if you were to pick at random any pop song it would consist of: sexually suggestive lyrics with no emotive meaning or depth just pure lustful dross; the vox would have copious auto-tune; the videos are an extortionate waste of production. In my opinion just film a porn video, you’d get more watches and fans with penetration than just dry-humping each other whilst still equally objectifying yourself for money. (I suppose then at least everybody can get something out it!)

We live in a raunch-culture that since the 90’s has normalised ‘lad-ette’ culture with ‘FHM Magazine’. They realised very quickly that by using nude girls for photo-shoots, naturally, the articles about up-and-coming music and fashion also gained a large following. With speaking about this I think it is important to see were I am coming from. I grew up in the 90’s with the influx of ‘girl power’ which, in essence, teaches girls to ’empower’ themselves through sexualising themselves, basically reinforcing the idea that they will be judged on their appearance first and foremost.

My worries are echoed amongst other young female writers, “There’s this thing that happens whenever I speak about or write about women’s issues. Things like dress codes, rape culture and sexism. I get the comments: Aren’t there more important things to worry about? Is this really that big of a deal? Aren’t you being overly sensitive? Are you sure you’re being rational about this?”(the things women do men don’t know about). How is anyone meant to actually understand fully when you don’t know all of the answer. That is not to say men don’t have their own separate issues and both also have a lot of the same issues too! But the fundamental fact is they are not separate issues. It is one big underlying issue that if addressed all the other issues can then begin to be socially debated.

 

Capitalism. Capitalism, where everything is for sale at the right price. All of the previous issues all stem for this. Consumerism figures soar when using sexually suggestive advertisements. That is fact. The music industry falls into this because, like all great product advertisement, ‘sex sells’. Linking back to ‘pop’ video and lyrical content, important businessmen have clearly strategised how they can squeeze more money out of the music-industry. Remember kids, it’s not the product that is important. It is the way which it is sold…I’m sure this is resembles a declaration…oh, wait. Jordan Belford, ‘Wolf of Wall Street‘, 2013. The reality of this is scary. Sharon Osbourne’s father, Don Arden, is just one example. He earned many negative nicknames for his aggressive and sometimes illegal business tactics in the British music industry.

With that said another negative impact capitalism has on society is the increased need to compete for success. This competition encourages us to subconsciously tie success to money. Thus leading to skewed views on values, norms and a hierarchy heavily revolving around materialism. This also introduces an all time hated quote embodying ‘consumerism pacification’ is, “At Least…”. For example “at least we own our own home”, “at least you can vote”, “at least you have more opportunities”. This is justification. Why do we continually justify not quite being fair to all humanity by comparing separate problems to other issues. I firmly believe total equality should be global regardless of any factor. The ignorance of comparing one person’s struggle from a more ‘developed’ country to that of another in a less ‘developed’ country is wrong. They live in totally different world in terms of having things like culture-pluralism and diversity. I also accept I am a luckier individual in some cases. However, does this mean I should accept being regarded as an object to be obtained because I am a woman in England and not having acid thrown in my face? Each country is completely different with a different background of culture, norms and values. I question the transition into the 21st century. How can we be so advanced yet so completely blind to what can be classified as human rights? Am I not human? Is Nadia not human? It would be ridiculous to state there are no an influential woman in power, but in reality we still live in a very much male dominated world. Each separate culture caters to it’s demands, and the worst perpetrators are not necessarily men- it is older women. In English Literature there is usually some form of symbolism to represent this, Angela Carter is renowned for her feminist magic realism. In the ‘Bloody Chamber’ she writes about Little Red Riding Hood defying the stereotypical normal behaviour of a young lady, but also significantly kills off the granny representing killing off older ideologies.

The importance of the hegemony of art forms is that it reflects perceptions of reality. What is important is money. Clearly it more important to sell the product than the quality itself. And what sells? “Sex Sells!” This is then repeated by every-day consumers with things like ‘valentines day’ and ‘christmas’ which not only associates money directly with love, but stretches advertising campaigns way further than just that ‘holiday’. But, lastly it is important to have a dominant culture, because for those of us choose not to participate in the mind-numbing conformation, it encourages rebellion. It encourages independent thought. Each generation  has always had a counter-culture. The Mods vs The Rockers. The Hippies vs The Punks. The Grunge kids vs The Ravers. What do we have? Hipsters?

We live in a highly individualistic, interpretive and yet modern society still has flaws.

What are we, subdued? Or simply, are we just not bothered- out if sight, out of mind. Can this ever possibly be explained through consumer pacification? Every day terms such as ‘retail therapy’ or ‘shop-aholic’ etc, suggests this behaviour has in fact been normalised amongst ‘civil society’. The dominant culture represents what is ‘popular’.

Remember, Hitler was popular at one moment in time. Do we just sit back and purchase something to make us temporarily happy or should we strive for a better future.it-is-ironic-but-true-the-one-reality-science-cannot-reduce-is-the-only-reality-we-will-ever-know-quote-1

 

Should we leagalise cannabis in Britain?

big benWritten by Jamiee Madden.

 

The aim is to draw a conclusion on the subject of whether or not Cannabis should be legalised inside the U.K. To legalise, is “the action of making something that was previously illegal permissible by law” (Oxford University Press, 2016). In order to do this successfully society must be willing and able to decriminalise the public consumption of marijuana, to decriminalise something is to “Cease to treat (something) as illegal or as a criminal offence” (Oxford University Press, 2016). Society will then normalise consumption, which is to “the process of bringing or returning something to a normal condition or state”. (Oxford University Press, 2016). Cannabis contains cannabinoids which are naturally occurring compounds found in the Cannabis Sativa plant. With 480 present compounds, roughly 85 are officially cannabinoids. Their job is to replicate ‘endocannabinoid’ compounds which every human being naturally produces. They activate and preserve internal stability and health and where there is deficiency in our endocannabinoid system, negative symptoms and physical difficulties occur. (medicalmarijuana.co.uk, 2016) When speaking about this particular subject, it is assumed that the majority of people are against legalisation. The generation/environment in which a person grew up around, how media portrayed consumption and political ploys are all factors as to why a person may choose to argue for and against. However, living in the age science and technology- this adds layers of objectivity to subject in much need of serious debate and reasoning. Like many myths today, because of the lack of communication and knowledge, surprisingly are still believed by the many, e.g. tobacco is not a drug. A drug is “medicine or other substance which has a physiological effect when ingested or otherwise introduced into the body” (Oxford University Press, 2016).

Persons against legalisation debate that it: Leads to further experimentation; It causes schizophrenia; Legalisation sends the wrong message to young people. Intending to scare students ‘straight’, unproven myths were taught and are still ingrained in society- such as ‘Reefer Madness’, a film ‘educating’ young people about cannabis (Gasnier, 1936). There is some truth being of cannabis being a ‘gateway drug’, but could be eradicated with legalisation (Douglas, 2016). Alcohol and tobacco are both highly addictive drugs yet are detrimental to health, costing the NHS millions. If everyone was to openly discuss cannabis, dispelling myths would be easy with the amount of research that exists. Research shows that THC molecules and other compounds of cannabis have been tested proving to actively destroy cancerous cells (Cancer Research UK, 2016) and lower intraocular pressure in people with glaucoma (Glaucoma Research Organisation, 2016). Even pro-campaigners like Cannon Hill Park Protest organiser, Matt Towers said, “certain people are better off not smoking it in the same way some people should not eat nuts, it doesn’t mean we should make nuts illegal” (Hallam, 2013).

Pro-legalisation activists recognises: public perception and a lack of an objective education on the matter correlates reasons why public opinion has taken so long to evolve. Most argue the true answer lies in politics. Hemp, although resembles cannabis, does not contain the chemicals required for altering minds. Economically, environmentally and sustainability are all reasons for a change as uses include: food and nutrition, body-care, paper, fabric and textiles, fuel, plastic alternatives and building materials! Historically hemp was a major income revenue for America, U.S former President Thomas Jefferson said “Hemp is of the first necessity to the wealth and protection of this country”. Farmers were legally required to grow cannabis during WW2 in America in attempt to encourage help aid the war effort (Collins, 2004). In the 1930’s, the previously mentioned ‘reefer madness’ took over the media, later escalating U.S former President Richard Nixon’s ‘war on drugs’. Both were exerting ideological control and morality control attempting to distract the population’s attention, rather than focusing on what was happening, such as the war in Vietnam. Newspaper, cotton and petroleum industries all grew financially from hemp prohibition. It is only the consumption of pure cannabis, ‘blunts’, that is beneficial as tobacco affects physical health (CLEAR Cannabis Law Reform, 2016). It is assumed you just get schizophrenia from smoking weed, yet you would have to have chemical unbalances already present in your endocannabinoid system to develop the condition (Psych Central, 2016). A rational and objective education in the science of the plant would combat the stigma around mental health issues. There already are plans on how to tax and regulate in the U.K: Three tones of cannabis is consumed in Britain daily; Regular user’s average 10grammes per week; Cannabis inspectorate plans include 2060 staff, 100+ officials and £200 million annual budget; Plans to enforce a custodial sentence for supplying to minors; 2004 downgrading led to decline in consumption; 2009 upgrading saw an increase in consumption; UK economy to gain £6.7 billion from cannabis tax and regulation (CLEAR Cannabis Law Reform, 2016).

Over all, considering examples such as the Netherlands and the passive aggressive approach in retrospect was a negative as it does not prevent illegal activity or drug tourism, more importantly quasi-legalising something leaves entry-points for criminal organisations to infiltrate. America looks to have learnt from Hollands mistakes. In summary this essay may conclude that, yes we should legalise cannabis in Britain because: crime rates would drop and also free up man-power to pursue more heinous crimes, the country can profit through taxation and justice systems will save masses of expenditures, regulation ensures safety, correct information with clear dialogues opening up about drugs and mental illness will allow stigma to dissolve. Britain wants to address mental health issues which are treated by pharmaceutical drugs and U.K. citizens should have the right to choose how to medicate themselves. Not only should there be less pressure to medicate, more resources should be put into therapy to resolve underlying problems used alongside medication due to regulation giving a healthier and safer environment for independent choice regarding drug use.

References: (CLEAR Cannabis Law Reform, 2016) (Cancer Research UK, 2016) (Collins, 2004) (Douglas, 2016) (Gasnier, 1936) (Glaucoma Research Organisation, 2016) (Hallam, 2013) (Leland, 2012) (Oxford University Press, 2016) (Psych Central, 2016) (medicalmarijuana.co.uk, 2016)

 

 

 

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