A marketplace of ideas can be defined as freedom granted to individuals to express their views, under the umbrella of liberty. It is rising beyond the analogy of economic barriers and other legislative restrictions in order to make known one’s ideas. The concept is said to influence truth and accountability, since it generates a competitive environment whence perceptions and personal ideologies can be expressed.
The concept is however not ideally viable, due to the countless constraints that are present at any one given place and time. The nature of the marketplace of ideas has been marred by commercial quests, and for this reason, the fundamental definition has long been forgotten. The media determinism theory holds that changes in media influence the whole culture. This is due to the relationship and the attachment of these two aspects. The media has a great influence on culture, and so does culture on the media. The commercial influence that has affected the media and culture makes both aspects diverted from their intended purposes.
This has generated misuse of media by some groups, who develop a certain culture, with the media serving as an advert for their status quo. Media determinism therefore deals with the enclosure of some media subjects within its own apparatus. There is therefore a great influence of media on culture, and this is mainly due to the commercialization priorities that have been formed. Cult value of artistic materials can be defined as the underlying reason behind the creation of certain concepts, but not on its ability to be viewed by the concerned individuals.
The exhibition value illustrates the aspects that arise after the concept, which hitherto existed in the cult value, is brought into the full view of the audience. Its authenticity as well as its aesthetic value is then perceived in a more exaggerated manner and other issues are appreciated. The two concepts have had a great influence on the marketplace of ideas today. Firstly, many of the industry players have claimed of many restrictions being present to block the reality of a marketplace of ideas. While the government claims of media determinism from the industry, the industry is claiming of the presence of a determined media, and that their actions are derived by the principles and values that define culture.
Television battles have also risen, and many of the players are finding it hard to penetrate into the industry. For example, in Smothered: The Censorship Struggles of the Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour, the documentary illustrates about the disrespectful nature of a comedy, and the struggles it had to go through with the television network. The differences that have been created in the media, have spread in not only music and film industry, but also to television and radio. Journalism has also had its share in the fight to end the constraints to attaining marketplace ideas.
An emerging culture, defined by exhibition value, has been slowly taking over the industry. To start with, many of the musicians, for example, have shifted focus from the traditional, theme-centered compositions, to the contemporary, entertainment and culturally undefined performances. These are some of the characteristics common among the exhibition-oriented industries. Losing the cultural connection between the industry, through the media influence, has been long standing and hence the constraints being enacted by different institutions to prevent media determinism from taking over.
Taking the documentary on Shut Up and Sing, it can be found that the Dixie chicks, one of the popular country music groups, went beyond their exhibitive values, and redressed their cult value, and from this, they had to pay dearly for it. By talking the truth about the issues in their country, the music group attracted massive opposition back home. The industry can therefore be said to have been corrupted by the exhibitive values, rather than the cult value, within which it was established. By looking at the early reasons behind the development of musical compositions, there were great cult values, which defined the songs. Music was done for various reasons, but with the onset of media frenzy, there has been a change in the cultural definitions, and this has caused many individuals to lose track of the ideal purposes of performances. The issues which are present in the media, have been affected by the increasing number of legal constraints, that have been initiated in order to control all the features passing through it.
The exhibition value has taken root within the industry, and the call for the marketplace of ideas can only apply, if there was a change from the industry. The initial purposes that defined different compositions and genres have been toppled by media influence for this reason, the expected marketplace of ideas cannot be achieved. Commercialization and economic purposes have been the greatest influence, to the decadence of cultural and media priorities.
To start with, many of the industry players have been very vibrant in their quest for increased profits. This has in turn influenced changes to the entire industry. Economic constrains operate, not from external sources, but rather from within the industry (Kairys 8). Many of the issues being created and composed have been under the effects of economic constraints. The documentary on the origin and development of punk music, illustrates how the cult values have been lost, and replaced by exhibition values (Deflem 6). The punk community started during the 60’s Garage era, has been outlined as having been influenced by various aspects.
Firstly, the community was pessimistic about the positive attributes from their parents. They wanted to define their own culture and express their feelings about the society, social life, and community expectations of them. There was therefore the cult value, initiated among the pioneers of the community. The Punk Attitude documentaries associate different reasons and beliefs into their principles, in order to define their own self. This was therefore taken as an emerging community, seeking audience with the rest of the world. However, the cult value was lost, as the community started adopting the commercial value of their activities. From these commercial gains, the exhibition value set in and since then, defining the punk community cannot be fully possible, seeing that even some of the current punk musicians do not realize the cult values associated with the community. The commercialization of the different media subjects and the intervention by various legal and non-legal institutions has led to the change in the actual definition of the industry (Deflem 17).
The riots and the protests that were initiated after the Chicks came out open with their ideas can be regarded as some of the present constrains to the formation of a marketplace of ideas. The industry has not had the freedom it deserves in order to illustrate its views as expected of it. According to the cult value requirements, the truth and unhidden issues have to be brought out into the open, as this is the main purpose of the industry. The constraints on the marketplace of ideas, from the government or from the economic fronts, have influenced a change in the manner in which the industry operates. The former culture has been replaced by that of making profits and increasing market command.
The cult value has therefore lacked and this has led people to re-illustrate the industry in terms of commercial gains. For this reason, most of the things that have been done are subject to making people feel entertained, but with minimal focus on the cult value. The industry has therefore been slowly changing from its initial priorities and shifting to the current commercially oriented industry, with less cult values. Looking at the movies, the Punk Attitude and Shut Up and Sing, there can be seen great changes between the expected reactions and the exact reactions from the society.
While the Punk Attitude required that society take note of their ideologies, the society soon developed a liking for their compositions and thus regulated their freedom, through commercializing the music and generating some regulations from the government. The interventions and the regulations that were enacted on these groups inhibited the actual developments that were projected, to influence public perceptions and change in certain policies. The documentary, Shut Up and Sing, which consisted of the huge oppositions from society when marketplace ideas are applied, serve as indications to the huge shift from cult value-inspired industry, to one dominated by exhibition value.
There has developed need to indulge in various activities within the industry in order to generate income. Through these changes, the media has contributed a great deal, seeing that the society has had to embrace the media, as an ad for stating and maintaining the status quo. When the marketplace of ideas principle is called for, opposition, in form of constraints set in to re-define the priorities set within the industry. Rather than perceive the activities within, in their ideal form, the commercial constraints as well as legal constraints influence a shift from cult value to exhibition value.
The influence of music to the society has been greatly rooted, in that individuals could rely on music alone to make out the about the issues happening in the society. Some music like rock and rap were developed as ways of bringing together persons with common interest and who wanted the freedom, which hitherto never existed (Deflem 20). From these initial compositions, individuals could relate to different genres and compositions. This has however changed, taking into consideration that the government started to enact laws, governing the contents within the song. The former cult values, or the original purposes, within which the music was founded started to lose meaning and judging by the ignorance of the current punk musicians on their true identities, the cult value is gone.
The intended purposes of these musical; compositions have been greatly altered by the restrictions to marketplace ideas. Music, such as rhythm and blues, has also encountered constraints during its development. This is as illustrated in Record Row: Cradle of Rhythm and Blues. The need for media freedom, as well as the need for self-expression space for the players in the industry, has influenced major changes to the manner in which the industry currently operates. If the Dixie Chicks were greatly condemned by their focus on political issues, which later came to be the focus of Americans some years later, then it becomes hard to attain the marketplace of ideas. Freedom of expression, as well as observing the cult values within which the industry once stood, can only illustrate, why media determinism is speedily catching up with the society.
The culture is speedily changing and the former, free-expressing and unmonitored media is no longer present. There have been major changes, most of which focus on increasing revenue from the industry, rather than doing what the industry has always been mandated to do; operate in a free manner and speak out, with no fear of control, or rebuke. There should be a diverse approach to information rather than the narrowed approach, reflecting the exhibition value. Journalism have turned their approach from the social expectations and changed it from its cult value to exhibition value. There is less information, which is being released, due to either legal constraints, or changing the mandates in order to increase the profits. This exhibition value has been created even in the public relations and advertising.
According to the documentaries, the music has had different changes, based on pressure from both legal and non-legal groups. While the public came against the Dixie Chicks, the law came against rock music, especially after a teenager committed suicide influenced by the music. With these constraints, achieving a marketplace of ideas has been very hard, and unless the constraints are reduced, the media will continue to adopt the exhibition values.
Deflem, Mathieu. Rap, Rock, and Censorship: Popular Culture and the Technologies of Justice. 1993. Web. 3 Jun. 2011.
Kairys, David. A Brief History of Race and the Supreme Court. 2006. Web. 4 June 2011.
Punk Attitude. Dir. Letts Don. Perf. Rollins, Henry, Sensible, Jarmusch and Jim, Jones. 2005. Film.
Record Row: Cradle of Rhythm and Blues. Dir. Geoffrey, Baer and Michael, McAlpin. Perf. Abner, Ewart, Butler, Jerry and Chandler, Gene. 1997. Film.
Shut Up and Sing. Dir. Kopple, Barbara and Cecilia Peck. Perf. Maguire Martie, Maines Natalie, and Robinson Emily. 2006. Film.
Smothered: The Censorship Struggles of the Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour. Dir. Muldaur, Maureen. Perf. Baez Joan, Jack Benny and David Bianculli. 2002. Film.