. . . your mama used to say
My boy is gonna grow up and be
Some kind of leader some day . . .
But you’re a legend in your own time
A hero in the footlights . . .
—Carly Simon, Legend in Your Own Time
Do media influence us?
This is a question that has been debated for a couple of generations. It is one that, despite thousands of academic studies, directed at a variety of communication forms, has not yet been satisfactorily resolved.
Do media make us: more violent? More sexual? More prone to bend the truth? To seek out the gray in life? To disbelieve? To trust? To think in terms of permanence? Or evanescence?
Well, the jury is still out, as it has been since work on media effects began right after the second Great War. Yet, despite the inconclusive results, one thing that is certain (at least, if you ask me, based on my study and experience): media has been quite effective in getting in our heads, providing models of behavior, impelling us to respond by example under certain situations.
Well, how about telling us what to do when we are being stalked by a crazed driver late at night on the open streets of our home towns?