Can someone tell me, in what way does modern mass culture show emptiness? The main focus should be on today.Can someone tell me, in what way does modern mass culture show emptiness? The main...

Can someone tell me, in what way does modern mass culture show emptiness? The main focus should be on today.

Can someone tell me, in what way does modern mass culture show emptiness? The main focus should be on today.

Expert Answers
luannw eNotes educator| Certified Educator

One way emptiness is shown in today's modern mass culture is through communication.  People used to communicate either through hand-written letters or in face to face conversation.  Then came the telephone allowing people to talk to one another without being face to face.  People could be continents apart, but they still heard one another's voice and a response was as instant and emotional as the responder wanted it to be. Now, people send text messages to communicate.  Rather than use phones to speak with another person, people use their phones for texting - even the word "texting" is a new addition to the language because it has become so prevalent.  We send a "text" or we "text" to communicate rather than speak.  Emotions come through with another new language addition, "emoticons".  We hope that if we add a little smiley face emoticon to our text, that the receiver will hear the smile on our faces or the laughter in our voices and the receiver will know we mean no offense.  Why do people text rather than talk?  One reason we do it is because it is often faster and like Bradbury described in the futuristic society in "Fahrenheit 451", people want things faster.  When Beatty speaks to Montag the day that Montag decides to stay home from work and Beatty explains how and why their society is the way it is, he says that people didn't want to take the time for much of anything; they want everything condensed for them.  It's much the same idea.  Clarisse, the first time she speaks with Montag, says that people are moving so fast that billboards along highways are 200 feet long because people go by them so quickly.  We live in such a hurry-up age that we don't want to take time for one another.  That leads to a pretty empty existence for our mass culture.

frizzyperm | Student

I suppose by 'modern mass culture' you mean consumerism. Consumerism often makes people feel empty because it is ultimately based on shallow materialistic values, external beauty, unlikely promises of sex and complete lies.

The propaganda wing of consumerism is the advertising industry. We are surrounded by adverts for our entire lives. They are designed to affect you on a subconcious, emotional level. Advertising constantly promises you that products will give you deep satisfaction, love, sex, happiness etc. In the wonderful world of advertising, everyone is beautiful, happy, sexy, excited etc because they have the product. And adverts always try to imply that you are not happy because you don't have the product.

"L'Oreal, because you're worth it." Wrong. It's only a stupid shampoo... you're worth far more than boring, expensive, shampoo. But not according to consumerism. According to consumerism, your most meaningful life moments will happen when you find the right shampoo. Or the right breakfast cereal. Or car. Or laptop. Or coffee. Or toilet paper. According to consumerism you are defined by what you can own (and what you can't afford). You are your shoes and if they are not Nike, you're a loser. This lie has been repeated to us (and our kids) millions of times.

Basically, consumerism takes the most truly beautiful moments in life (friendship, love, children, personal wellbeing, laughter etc) and with-holds them from the consumer and says,

1) "If you love your kids, come down to Wendy's and stuff your faces with our delicious food (aka heart-attack sludge that'll make you fat like a bus and dead before you're fifty.) And there's fizzy drinks and pizzas and tacos and candy mmmm.... go on, enjoy all these lovely tasty things."

then consumerism says,

2) ,"God, look at you, you look like a family of hippos, you can't have any sex or love until you are young, thin and beautiful and you haven't a hope without all these beauty products and diets and gym memberships and plastic surgery. Look at Jennifer Aniston, she's thin and she's happy. Get your credit card out, fatso."

Consumerism is full of false promises and repeatedly brainwashes us with the idea that unless we are young, thin, beautiful and shopping, we are not allowed to be happy.

The biggest lie is that consumerism loves us. Every big company hops and skips about pretending that they love us and would do anything for us. They use every method possible to make you believe that they are your friend. Corporations don't love us. They don't even like us. They've never met us. They'd wreck a kid's health for $0.99. They'd wreck the planet for a quick dollar.

This is why modern mass culture is empty, because ultimately it makes us feel impersonal, ugly, lonely, lied-to and dissapointed.

:-) So don't shop... be!

Read the study guide:
Fahrenheit 451

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