changing culture and the restless hearts that fund it

Culture can change. There are plenty of analysts and researchers who can show you the trends of society and how they alter over time. Just looking back to history, one can clearly see that culture fluctuates and changes as the years trudge onward. The question then becomes, how does culture change? What forces alter culture? Specifically, do we, as subjects of our culture, have the ability to become culture makers?

The answer is yes, we, although we are subjects of culture, we do have the power to become culture makers. But, we are not the only force at work on our society. Media takes a leading role changing culture. Hollywood presents ideals and dream worlds in which its viewers live. TV, radio, and books all contribute to the conversation of what’s trendy and holds value to the general population. For those that would claim books don’t hold the same kind of power as TV, I would ask you to think again– this time considering the Twilight  phenomenon. Vampires used to exist as horror stories, with Dracula being the godfather of them all. Today, Twilight has normalized vampires into a safe and somewhat erotic genre. Albeit, good ol’ Buffy appeared in the early 90s, but still, vampires are no longer the scary monsters they used to be. Now there are entire sub-cultures devoted to these “heavenly creatures” and their “special gifts” (i.e. lightening fast speed and the drinking of blood). Media really sets the stage for culture trends and changes.

Media isn’t the only player, although it is a powerful one. Technology is an ever-present, ever-growing facet of culture that consistently morphs the ways in which we think and process information. With the invention of the telegraph, telephone, and television, culture has grown and experienced a metamorphosis that can only be described as incredible. The introduction of computers and the internet is another force at work on the values of society. Music used to be valued at its quality. One would purchase records because the quality of the music was the best. Today, CDs and MP3s are poorer quality than records, but they are easy to access. iTunes makes its millions on the millions that demand availability over quality. Technology undoubtedly effects culture.

Media and technology are important players on the scene of culture and change, but they are not the only ones. Those in authority roles do have some say. Culture has changed as different world leaders change, not all of these leaders are responsible for that change, but the general populace elects new and different leaders, who in turn do new and different things (sometimes). Their leadership does help shape the way culture flows.

Interestingly, media, technology, and governmental systems are all powered by one thing: money. As Fred Ebb says in Cabaret: Money makes the world go round. Money also makes culture change possible. The restless hearts that move from one thing to another, endlessly searching for the next best thing spend their money and change the culture. Each dollar that is spent changes the way culture moves, whether its spent in support of a politician, a new mp3, or a new book on sale. Each of these effect the way culture is changed and they all have one things in common: a restless heart searching for fulfillment.

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