The Merchants of Cool Essay

720 Words 3 Pages
In Rushkoff’s film, The Merchants of Cool, he rhetorically questions if “teenagers even have a culture to call distinctly their own.” In the late 1990’s when the documentary was made, the implication was that they do not. However, with the internet’s advancements and the accessibility of communication with massive amounts of people, teenagers today can form authentic cultures that are not contaminated by the corporate media. When the documentary was produced, media exposure was limited to private and expensive mediums such as television, movies and radio. These outlets were plagued with marketing agendas designed to sell products under the guise of authentic music and entertainment. Formerly non-existent cultural archetypes such as the …show more content…
The media chooses to portray and sell sex, violence, drama and role models because it appeals to teenagers’ biological and evolutionary instincts. The excessive amounts of sex hormones being produced in teenagers boosts libido causing displays of eroticism to be very alluring. Scenes of action or violence release adrenaline and endorphins for emotional stimulation and teen idols like NSYNC and Edward Cullen portray the ideal mate for many girls. The music presented is mostly homogenous and simple to promote familiarity and emotional response. Had these businesses tried to sell celibacy, indifference and pariahs, their profits would have declined. In The Merchants of Cool, Rushkoff goes to a teenage party to survey rising trends and notices a strange phenomenon. The girls dancing in front of his camera seemed to be selling the same exaggerated sex appeal that corporations were selling to the teenagers. He labeled this sensation a sort of “giant feedback loop” which implied that, since corporations try to mirror teenage behavior and then pervert that into a more explicit version to sell back, which in turn causes teenagers to emulate the corporation’s behavior, teenagers are incapable of having a genuine culture to call their own, much like the young
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