Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Something Wall-Mart This Way Comes

While reading The New Media Giants by Croteau and Hoynes, I was surprised to learn that major media companies have been buying out smaller companies to form larger conglomerates since the 1980s. (page 21) It's scary to think that most TV channels, magazines, newspapers and movie studios are all owned by the same five corporations, and that we really don't have much say in what is broadcasted to us. It's even scarier to think that we play a role in keeping these businesses afloat by tuning into specific TV channels, buying from certain stores or listening to particular radio stations. This line of thinking relates to an episode of South Park from season 8 called "Something Wall-Mart This Way Comes". In the episode, a Wall-Mart opens in South Park, creating jobs for everyone, one-stop shopping and best of all, bargain prices on items store-wide. But soon enough the citizens of South Park are addicted to shopping at Wall-Mart, and all of the local-owned stores in the town are closing because everyone is shopping at Wall-Mart. Stan, Kenny, Cartman and Kyle travel to Wall-Mart headquarters to figure out how to destroy the Wall-Mart, which they successfully do, but the end scene from the episode implies that the cycle of growing conglomerates buying out smaller companies is never-ending.

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