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Essay/Term paper: Cultural myths

Essay, term paper, research paper:  English Composition

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We are considered fortunate to live in the world that we do today. Material things seem to be bountiful, science and technology simply keeps on advancing, and we are all busy and hard at work in school or making money to achieve certain things in life by whatever means. In particular, science and technology has introduced so many significant inventions and conveniences to society that we cannot help but feel that we need to have these things. The products and services out there being advertised and sold are glamorized to appear faultless so that our attention is drawn to the benefits. Unfortunately, there are drawbacks and the fact that these inventions and conveniences are supposed to be quick and helpful could be a mere myth. This might lead one to ask if all the things we think we need to help us are really conveniences or merely burdensome.

An example of something that is very useful and convenient, but at the same time could be very problematic would be the computer. Uses for computers have reached new heights. Aside from using them for word processing, computers serve as a source of entertainment with games and the Internet, are a means of communication, and we are able to shop in our underwear now if that"s what is preferred. The Internet alone can have you sitting in the same place for hours at a time because of all its possibilities. However, along with all of its advantages come a computer"s weaknesses. Putting a spotlight on the Internet, what poses a concern to me would be the safety of it all. Nowadays, we can not be certain that what we perceive to be private information still remains to be so.

When we make purchases over the Internet, so much information is available to the person sitting on the other end, which can in turn wind up in the hands of many others without our knowledge. It takes so much more time to make sure your information is secure with passwords and usernames. Wouldn"t it simply be easier to go out and buy what you need instead of worrying about what kind of personal information could be leaking out everywhere? It would save a lot of worry and one"s sanity. However, one might agree that it saves them time to do their grocery shopping at home while they can still watch the kids or fill their prescriptions without leaving the house with swollen lips because of an allergic reaction. They might say that it does not matter that others know their personal information because they have nothing to hide, but others might just care a little more about their privacy and safety. In today"s newspaper, there was news of Net Hackers striking again. The key word "again", meaning that kind of manipulation of computers was not the first time it happened. It is hard to regulate the things that happen on the Internet. The Internet is analogous to a whole new, virtual world with no means of an end.

Fast food is also in a world of its only, but very different from that of the virtual world of the Internet. It is not from the world of science and technology, but it exists in our world today. The fast food world includes places such as McDonald"s, Burger King, and Taco Bell. When you see commercials about these fast food chains, they try to appeal to the consumer with low prices and fast service. On TV, McDonald"s portrays its fast food restaurants to be a family experience where their commercials show the American family having a good time and good food. Burger King"s theme is "your way, right away". This makes the consumer know that they have a place to go to get their food fast. Many people seem to have something to say about how long it takes to prepare and cook meals. People are so busy these days and do not feel they have the time to cook. An obvious solution would be to go out and buy some food that you can get quickly to feed yourself or the family. However, these foods are not healthy and to consume them on a regular basis would not be wise. To consume a burger and fries from McDonald"s or Burger King is as an entire day"s fat consumption. You would not be able to eat anything else, so to speak. In the end, the convenience of fast food would not be a convenience anymore if it leads to health problems such as heart blockage or high cholesterol. A solution to this would just be to take the time to cook a good, healthy, nutritious meal. Cooking a meal does not always have to be a big deal. It does not even have to take that long. A very simple meal can take 20-30 minutes at the most. The choice between good health and saving time is an important one that each individual makes on their own.

Another popular device that is all over is the cellular phone. This is the phone you can take everywhere. If your car stalls in the middle of nowhere, if you have a cell phone, you probably would not be as worried as someone would without one. You can talk in your car, at work, at school, wherever and whenever you need it, it will be there. So, with all of its convenience, are there any drawbacks? Despite the recent flurry of alarming news reports, there is no conclusive evidence that the radiation emitted by cellular phones causes brain cancer in humans. Researchers are in the process of doing a major human study, but that is a few years from completion. It makes sense to use caution when you call wireless. To protect oneself from exposure, it might be wiser to use an earpiece or headset to avoid close contact with the antenna, which is the main source of radiation. Calls should only be made when there is a good signal. Cell phones have to work less when the call signal is strong. The phones can be cheap if you find a good plan, but other plans entail many hidden costs that add up and be very expensive in the end. There are also many different accessories you can buy for a cell phone. All these things are there and consumers feel that they want or need them. This in turn is costing the consumer a lot of money and maybe even their health.

Technology alone did not do anything to lure people into disposing their money to retailers. Advertisers are paid substantially to make people think they truly have to have certain products. It can not be entirely our own fault for thinking we need so many material things. Stanley Milgram said in his extract on Photography that "The photographic image permeates our culture. There are photographs in our books, magazines, and newspapers, on the walls of our houses, on billboards, in advertising of all sorts. We are bombarded by so many photographs that we seldom take a moment to examine them and consider the reality they present to us and the effects they may be having. It might be worthwhile examining them carefully, taking them seriously." I agree that we do not take enough time to examine things presents to us by the world. We see something and automatically want it, without even thinking about the consequences or bad things. It seems that our gratification from things can no longer be deferred because of how fast paced our world is. We do not realize that our beliefs about what is out there are myths because they are in agreement with reality.

With every action comes a consequence and with all the inventions and conveniences of today, some can have long-term detrimental effects. At times, it can appear that instead of saving us time and helping us out in our everyday lives, certain things are stealing away time instead by killing people soon than they should be. It is hard to say that things are all good or bad because everything has its good side and bad side to it. In order to know if what you are getting your hands on is all that it proves to be a good amount of research should be done. With more knowledge, we can uncover the true nature of the things we are acquiring off the shelves of retailers.


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