The production and consumption of drugs turn out to be one of the most frequently discussed issues in a society and via the media. In their work, Fraser and Moore (2011) make an attempt to discuss Western nations and their addiction to drugs that is perfectly described through various movies, music, and video and prove that the chosen social spaces may cause rather controversial thoughts about the war on drugs, stereotypes that exist around drug addiction, and the inabilities to define where pleasure from drugs ends and pain with risk begin. Of course, people have to know more about drugs and their ambiguous nature, still, such sources like music, films, and videos should not be treated as the only credible materials to rely on.
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Fraser and Moore’s case study describes a number of complex social processes and relations that usually surround the drug production and consumption like the development of stereotypes, neglect of the existing social norms, and human inabilities to control their passion in regards to pleasure and play that come from the drug use and teaches that people should not trust media all the time but rely on personal opinions.
In the reading, there are several topics discussed: illegal drugs’ representation, a variety of styles (rock’n’roll, funk, blues, pop, hip-hop, reggae, etc.) and their impact on drugs’ understanding, and the unexplained role of music videos on people’s styles of life. Still, the most crucial point of the whole case study is the authors’ possibility to explain how drugs and their impact on humans may be explained by means of movie scenes, words in songs, and even movements in clips.
People cannot get rid of the stereotypes that exist around drug consumption and production; still, they want to believe that such things like movies and music, that are usual in an everyday life, may play a considerable role and send the required message (Borzekowski & Strasburger 2010). This is why such complex social processes like the development of stereotypes, social norms’ neglect, and chaos because of pleasure and pain caused by drugs should be regarded in terms of certain societal and political changes.
One of the leading ideas supported by Fraser and Moore is that “drug war stereotypes and century-old notions of excess, desire, addiction, fear, pleasure, disorder and violence are continually played out through narrative, music and visual representations, but not always along the condemnatory, moralizing lines we might expect” (2011, p. 68). The analysis of the movies, as well as music and videos, can make the reader think that people themselves are too weak to decide about the possible role of drugs in their lives. They are so bound to the already created norms that they cannot even think about the possibility to create a different point of view and offer a kind of controversy to the idea imposed. It seems that the media uses its functions to their full extend and frame the attitudes towards such personal issues like risk, fear, and pleasure (Lancaster, Hughes, Spicer, Mathew-Simmons, & Dillon 2011).
For example, the connection between movies and society was so close in the 1920s and 1930s that it was hard to define whether the movies introduced the use of such drugs like marijuana and cocaine as pleasurable and non-criminal lifestyles or the society supported such idea and made its implementation to some movies possible. At the same time, the movies of that period sent mixed messages about drugs (Axelrod-Contrada 2007) introducing drugs as one of the possible ways to salvation or as one of the scariest ways of human degradation (Fraser & Moore 2011). Anyway, it was evident that the role of stereotypes hovering in the air could not be neglected.
Another important issue discussed by Fraser and Moore is the possibility of movies and music to influence human understanding of the reality and social norms that should be followed. The identification of social norms and expectations depends considerably on a culture, where a movie or music is created (Hanson, Venturelli, & Fleckenstein 2009). This is why such movies like Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas or Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back created several decades ago in the American society that demonstrated rather a controversial attitude to the use of drugs makes one group of people enjoy the stories and watch them regularly or another group of disgust the events described (Greenberg 2013).
In fact, watching movies or listen to the music, or enjoying music videos, people want to believe that they themselves create the opinions about the plot offered. However, they cannot even guess how wrong they can be. The point is that the people, who create media and introduce it to the public, try to take into consideration a number of things like an in-time turn of a head, a properly chosen look or emotion, sound, light, or even the placement of a particular setting (Vick & Rhoades 2010). Their main goal is not to make a product popular but to make people believe that a product is worth recognising, this is why they are ready to break the rules and neglect the norms just to achieve the desirable purposes.
Finally, the case study on drugs shows how the chaos and inabilities to define the line between pleasure and pain makes the idea of drug usage more captivating for many people. In spite of the fact that people are usually defined as weak in front of their own wishes and desires, they may be strongly guided by the rules. Still, when drugs enter their lives even through movies, songs, and clips, people cannot understand how to gain control over their emotions and start doubting about their abilities, feelings, and choices.
People want to believe that they are not addicted by the idea of drugs even if they have never used them. Still, they should realize that even when they start thinking that the use of drugs is something wrong and risky, they start breaking the boundary between their own pleasure and pain. One day, they can destroy this imaginary wall and become the next victim of the drugs spread through movies, music, and music videos.
There are many movies, songs, and video clips that touch upon the role of drugs in a human life. People are eager to share their own experiences, opinions, and predictions about the possible future of drugs and people, who choose drugs. The case study offered by Fraser and Moore seems to be a good chance to identify the main issues concerning the use of drugs and its spread in a society, explain whether there are some threats that may come from the chosen type of media, and realize how the illegal representation of drugs may confuse people and make them get lost among the existing variety of pleasure and pain.
Axelrod-Contrada, J 2007, The facts about drugs and society, Marshall Cavendish, Tarrytown, NY. Web.
Borzekowski, DLG & Strasburger, VC 2010, ‘Adolescents and media messages about tobacco, alcohol, and drugs’, in SL Calvert & BJ Wilson (eds), The handbook of children, media and development, Blackwell Publishing, Malden, MA, pp. 432-452. Web.
Fraser, S & Moore, D 2011, The drug effect: Health, crime and society, Cambridge University Press, New York. Web.
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Greenberg, E 2013, 10 best movie drug trips. Web.
Hanson, G, Venturelli, P, & Fleckenstein, A 2009, Drugs and society, Jones & Bartlett Learning, Sudbury, MA. Web.
Lancaster, K, Hughes, CE, Spicer, B, Mathew-Simmons, F, & Dillon, P 2011, ‘Illicit drugs and the media: Models of media effects for use in drug policy research’, Drug and Alcohol Review, vol. 30, no.4, pp. 397-402. Web.
Vick, D & Rhoades, E 2010, Drugs and alcohol in the 21st century: Theory, behaviour, and policy, Jones & Bartlett Learning, Sudbury, MA. Web.