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Six Guilty Pleasures Of A Media Student

Posted on 10 February 2011 by Garima Chak

In the whole wide world of intellectualism who could ever come across a more clearly and cleverly overlapping subject of study than the all encompassing subject of ‘Media Studies’! This gives rise to a string of guilty pleasures that only media students get to indulge in.

1. Being a one of its kind subject which covers, all at once, the critique of artistic styles and aesthetic forms (genres, narratives, styles etc.), the know how of the execution processes (technological as well as market study and analysis etc.), and the socio-cultural perspective of how, through which, and where it all happens (social impact, effects of culture and ideology, consumer behavior and reception etc.) media studies gives a media student the freedom to pick and choose from its vast expanse of subject matter, thereby giving birth to a string of guilty pleasures that only he and he alone can indulge in. So the first guilty pleasure would be this very vast scope of study.

2. Going by this definition of media studies, the first and foremost task of a media student would be to immerse himself or herself into the study of art and aesthetics, its history, evolution, socio-cultural implications, scope, meanings, styles, forms, and so on. The second guilty pleasure of the media student then would be the pleasure of studying, day in and day out, the various styles of art and forms of aesthetics. The guilt lies in the fact that art in itself is an unbound subject, in terms of magnitude, form and time; while the study of aesthetics he can easily extend to the psychological, sociological and even philosophical perspectives, if he so chooses. And the fact that nothing encourages fresh ideas and independent thought than witnessing art and understanding aesthetics only adds to such pleasures.

3. A corollary of the above description of media studies would then be the fact that it enjoys the freedom to draw from the realms of the social sciences and the humanities, as it brings them into its sphere of learning and relates them to subjects as vast and varied as the science of mass-communication and technology driven communication and communication induced technology. Therefore this very freedom becomes the third guilty pleasure of the media student.

4. The fourth most guilt-burdened pleasure of a media student is that he gets to study culture and society, not just with a historical perspective, but in the current one, as and when it is formed as well as how it is formed. For mass media after all is the most impactful instrument of culture formation, especially contemporary culture formation. For who can deny the impact that movie, the internet, the television and the radio etc. have on the current socio-cultural demographics of the world. In this sense, the media student gets to study ‘live’ processes, and all that goes on behind the scene as well. In a sense, he gets more close to the idea of ‘playing god’ than even the most innovative of scientists can. So, ultimately it is he who has to bear the burden of this guilty pleasure.

5. Another aspect of media studies is its impact on the geopolitical scenario. Media and communication practices first began to impact the world of politics during World War I. By the time WW-I ended the foundation of the world of mass media had been laid. And World War II set it on a growth trajectory that could never have been imagined at the time. Today the scene is such that media has acquired the status of a King maker all over the world. Thereby the fifth guilty pleasure of the media student would be his fortune to hold the power to make or break governments in the palm of his hand, figuratively speaking.

6. Surely once all these guilty pleasures have been established, a student of such a subject would not deny the guilty pleasure of over indulgence in the subject matter- the last and guiltiest of all the pleasures of a media student. Yes indeed, the media student would very often be accused of this for no other subject matter can allow indulgences of such kinds to such extensive extents. And in this regard, the media student is truly found guilty as charged- without so much as a hint of regret, if I may say so!

However, this is only my take on the subject. You, dear reader, should feel free to add to this list. You are most entitled to this freedom, for it is you who shall be taking media to the next level of elevation, upgrading, as you go, this list of guilty pleasures. I sincerely hope you enjoy your process of discovery as I have enjoyed mine!

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