The Truman Show is a culmination and a perfect example of art work that can be used to explain what is happening in the media across the world in the 21st century. The story resonates to explain how the media is filling up the world with myriads of false beliefs and illusions. The media is portrayed as a very influential instrument in the modern society that has immense capacity of stage events and build unimaginable illusions about anything. Some of the scripts that the media creates expose the society to surmountable dangers in the name of dynamics of a modern world. This can be attributed to the changes that American society and culture have undergone in the past.
According to the movie, American society has undergone significant changes. In the past, criticisms of the media where made undercover and rarely did they reach the public domain on such issues like unethical business practices and conservatives. The media controlled almost every aspect of communication and had power to modify and shape information to its interest. Interesting enough, now the public can get information easily and understand how media modifies and manipulates situations in their favor while creating illusions and introducing them as facts. Social change has been so dramatic that the world can no longer conceal facts further. The media has grown momentarily and became powerful and out of control.
The Truman Show presents to us a ‘true man’ character that resists and challenges fake aspects of media politics and ideally eludes from a world that is enslaved by media rhetoric and invention. This movie has a clear message that modern society can only save itself from being engulfed in illusion and media-manipulated news and falsehoods by being critical of all the material that the media presents. Absurdity in the media industry is quite synonymous to what The Truman Show paints as celebrities trying to take on anxious photographers, who follow them everywhere to create headline stories. Those who took time to watch this movie know for a fact that it conveys this aspect by artistically depicting a number of fascinating events in the life of Truman as he grows up. Truman is brought up in a society that is a vague heaven for actors and media celebrities. A magnificent dome stands out in the town. It is built with a help of modern technology and is complex. Truman is unaware that he is a TV star as the rest of people keenly follow him from one situation to another in a series of television-programmed reality shows, which gives the audience a vicarious emotional trending. As events unfold and media personalities make a goof out of Truman, time ripens and the worst happens when Truman realizes the long hidden secret in the dome. In his conscious analysis of the environment, Truman realizes that the place he has been living in for many years is a sequence of staged scenes and events. This is the point where he makes his first attempt to escape only to bounce on his own worries, which hold him back from escaping. This is the hurdle created by the director of the play, who has invested so much in keeping Truman on stage.
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The movie presents a real scenario of the society we are living in today. The fake world that Truman lives in is a manifestation of our own media platform where everything is spiced and brewed to perfectness to correspond to transient interest of media big wigs. Think about every kind of news of politics, advertising, or public interests information. Everything is overly configured to drama illusions. A lot of people entirely depend on the media as a sole source of information because it is convincing in reality, especially when it tries to bring solutions to social problems that are hyped in headlines. Look at how high technology facsimile of a sun is modified to produce beams on Truman and the honesty of an actor he mistakes for a good friend (Ravelli & Webber, 2012, p. 63). Everything is well-staged until things start to fall apart. It appears uneasy for Truman to leave this modest utopia when he realizes its fake nature. It is the same with the media that introduces us to life-addicting behaviors that seem difficult for people to break away from. However, Ravelli, & Webber (2012) claim that the consequence of borrowing behaviors hurt moral standards and norms of our culture (p. 54). Moreover, the generation of the 21st is reluctant to refrain from them. It appears near to palace for folks to let go of the strong attachment they have to media illusions despite social derivatives it implicates. Truman’s growing suspicion that what he is experiencing at the dome is all staged is an illustration of our own suspicions that the media has created false beliefs and introduced them to the society. The producer of this movie prepares the instruments that prevent Truman from enslaving himself from the cage and escaping from the media. According to Ravelli & Webber (2012), “Media companies, news corporations, and media organizations affiliated with politicians play the central role in keeping our minds thrilled by falsehood” (p. 37). The media is eager to lure the audience with rewards as they hedge against reforming the poor system in place.
The movie describes a symbolic life that presents to us two analogous aspects, which the society picks from the media. The aspect of using symbols painted all over the place in the dome is an advancement of the symbolic interactionism theory, which is a modern sociological theory that is frequently used in this movie. Tools and paintings used in this movie display a lot of information about the social structure and organization of American society in the context of a movie. On one hand, the society is engulfed by the media and, on the other hand, the society subjectively accepts everything that the media has to offer: good or bad. The opinion of the society is the opinion of the media. It seems like the society is being reinvented and modeled again by incumbent media reporters. This seamless socialization is enhanced by the fact that the media is entertaining and appealing to many. Ravelli & Webber (2012) affirm that the media carries with it fangs that are dangerous and able to cause social revolution like the one that happened in France in 1800s (p.71). The only way that the mankind can free itself according to this movie is by distancing itself from media sentiments and by internalizing all information it obtains from it either from the Dailies, broadcast, or even the fast growing social media. By critiquing media reports, the society, our generation, and next generations to come will be freer. This psychological interpretation of things is what goes through the mind of Truman when he starts making advances to escape from traps of familial and social environment that he tries to adapt and which is difficult to conform and identify with. Eventually, Truman gains identity and conforms to the condition as he becomes a more mature man without identity crisis. This helps his childish personality grow into a more mature man.
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The movie is extremely successful in communicating the view that the society should flee from media-coined illusions of ethnocentrism and popular cultures. The movie plays the critic to us. It displays the critics who help us see through media-hyped illusions in form of characters, who try to warn Truman that he is on television. A case at point is the woman who breaks the ice to Truman that he is on television before she is mysteriously expunged from the set. His dream to find that lady is the dream of many societies trying to find out what is happening out there if they borrow many social behaviors that have the potential to hurt the society they have grown in. Truman wants to find out the truth about what happens in the outside world, where there are relationships in lieu of saccharin marriages he opted legitimate given his environment of socialization. Of course, with all other media in place, the society is enriched with a variety of themes and information. However, the society has the sole mandate to internalize and create a deviation stay away from the ideal world created by the media and postulate about its meaning and effect on the society. This can be used as a tool to enhance a media view point instead of letting it impact the society. Every other media, including this movie, seeks to bring attention of readers and viewers to the ideas of the author. However, Ravelli & Webber (2012) caution that it is up to the audience to structure their own perceptions to avoid the protracted illusion embedded in media artistry (p. 68). This work is about contemporary society. It focuses attention on how the society should free itself from oppressive social instruments. The family is given the ultimate responsibility to educate the child on how to break out of these oppressive social systems. The Truman Show presents an example of the family in which the dynamics and nature of the world is socialized to a child as he grows. Here, the society that he lives in, his family, and the only culture known to him is all created by the media. The whole domain contains a lot of fantasy and psychoanalytic effect, which makes Truman believe that he comes from a different family, different parents, and a good place with good people. This is what Truman takes for himself throughout the movie. Psychoanalytic effects and trauma that Truman experiences in the dome is a justification of Sigmund Freud’s theory of social structure and human development. T his is a classical theory that postulates the development and growth of structures in society. It is tool that has been used widely by the author of this movie to explain how Truman transitions himself from a caged world to a more modern world of self actualization immediately he gets to know how he has featured in the press without his knowledge.
This movie is influenced by American culture and does not act in reservation. It brings to light social injustices that result from a misuse of power and its connection to utopian substitutes of reality. This aspect takes features of the media and weaves them together to make sense. It uses a lot of concepts of symbolic interactions theory to explain ideas about birth, the mind, growth, deities, and contemporary societies. The images are used to depict illusions and false perceptions that societies are offered especially by the political class. Truman believes that he lives in a world of freedom. He does not know that the dome is fitted with surveillance cameras that watch him day and night. Like other aspects of the movie, this is based on the view that the contemporary society suffers disturbing problems that come from the outside. Due to globalization, world societies everywhere are being watched. Behind the shades society does not realize that there is a lot of surveillance, modification, and social control. From another angle it appears uneasy to imagine that the whole cultural setting is watched by domineering media agents that collect information from critics, competitors, and members of the public. It is not surprising that even Internet providers do not ensure ultimate privacy of traffickers and bloggers. Some of them may even monitor clients to record and know what people do on the Internet.
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In conclusion, the message to developed modern societies is that there is a danger of being monitored and controlled from elsewhere in the world. This is because the media and most of the tools of communication are becoming assets of those who are in power to manipulate and use them as they wish. The Truman Show is a sociological work of art created in a modern society to warn it about the dangers that technology and media can bring to its members.