Critical Essay 1

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Critical Essay 1 Word Count: 943 Dating back to as early as the 1920s, the use of drugs in several Western films and other forms of entertainment started to take flight. The portrayal of the drugs used were that of a positive light; being pleasurable, socially acceptable, and even appropriate to use for those that did not live a criminal lifestyle. It wasn’t until the 1960s in which the positive connotations with drugs became contradictory. This was a result of the implementation of stronger drug prohibition laws. Many of the positively represented films were eradicated to make way for more insightful films about drugs – illustrating the true horrors of drugs and consequences of addiction. In these films, Boyd finds the…show more content…
It is argued that films displaying such stereotypes aren’t trying to be racial in any manner, but to educate of the social hierarchies present in communities today. Boyd believes such representations as above are not true, stating there isn’t a common concrete perception about illegal drugs in popular culture. The current beliefs floating around are volatile representations of the true meaning of drugs. The first genre of entertainment Boyd delves into is rock and roll, in conjunction with drug films. After first hand experience of watching one of the three films Boyd chose (Easy Rider, 1969), it is easy to identify that the use of illegal drugs was not a concern in terms of the protagonists’ well beings, but in fact portrayed in a positive. This doesn’t fully go against what Boyd had first believed about drugs, but falls in favour of the findings of Coveney and Bunton. The protagonists did find pleasure in their use of drugs (mateship), but for the reasons of wanting to not fall into the norms of society, as well as for the betterment of their lives (by drug dealing for ‘quick and easy’ money). The early 70s brought about new changes to the entertainment industry. This was the time social and political changes occurred due to factors such as the introduction of the Black Panther Party as well as the civil rights movement. Boyd discusses Superfly (1972), which displays the conditions of poor black
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