Material Culture and the Television
Different cultures may have the same things we have in America, however they may not be used the same way we use them. Let’s take the television for example. In America it is a source of entertainment, education and a news. We happen to be a “rich” country though, where the majority of families can afford to have a television in almost every room.
Can you imagine not watching Dr. Who? The smallest things in life we take for granted, when in reality they are a privledge. What would you do if you couldn’t play your favorite video game any more? Like in The Hunger Games, Some governments do control what you see, hear and do simply by outlawing something as “normal” as a television set. While reading The Hunger Games, I realized that the world really is like that in some places. Of course they don’t send their children off to die in a big world wide event, but they are still controlled.
Some cultures or societies may not even have a television. In some third world countries there is possibly only one television in the entire village, same with some other remote villages in certain parts of the Middle East or Jamaica. In these places, the television is not used for entertainment purposes unless, for example, they have a citizen participating in a sporting event. Usually the television is in a centrally located “tavern” of sorts or a “town square” and the people come to watch the news. It is also used for getting world updates if allowed in that country.
Some villages are prohibited completely from having a television by their government. This allows for the government to maintain “control” over these smaller villages by prohibiting them from seeing it is possible to go against your government legally. There is a joke between me and and a friend of mine in China about the “Great Wall” over there. Although it is common to find a television in every household and possibly every room, the government has blocked access to certain things to avoid outside influence coming in. We call it “The Real Great Firewall” since it also takes care of blocking certain information coming through even on the internet. In some of these cultures you canactually be fined and/or jailed for possessing a TV or radio without authorization. But here in America we would find it strange if one could not have access to all the world information at the tips of our fingers.