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Jennifer Coon

Film and Culture Tuesday 5:30

What are the five most important aspects of culture you have learned while taking
this class? Discuss them and why they are important to you in detail.

The Five Most Important Parts of Culture

In taking Film and Culture I have learned a lot more then I initially anticipated about the
various aspects of Culture. There are lots of various aspects of culture we touched base on a lot
of them throughout the course of the semester. There were several the really stuck out to me but I
am only going to discuss five. The most important aspects of culture are government, economy,
religion, sexuality and race. As I go into detail about each I will also be discussing what makes
them important cultural aspects to me.
The First and arguably the most important aspect of culture I am going to refer to is
Government. The Government plays an essential role in our society today. Where would we be
without rules and regulations, or rights such as freedom of speech and the right to bear arms?
Why is freedom so important? No one says it better then George Washington "If the freedom of
speech is taken away then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter.". If we do
not have the ability to challenge our government or choose to take a stand we are no better than
animals. I do not like the sound of being led to the slaughter!?
In my opinion, the government is a necessary evil. Without the governments control and
power we would be an un-united nation. According to Mans state in nature,
where every man is allowed complete discretion in the retaliatory use of force, according to the
laws of the jungle, is nothing more than a state of anarchy perpetual civil war and gang
warfare. If there were no legal agency to carry out such a task, each man would be forced to
carry out retaliation at his own discretion, i.e., anarchy.. also mentioned a realtime example of Bosnia. It is well known that from the beginning of time there has always been

leaders. People dont do well without someone to represent. I think that our government does a
good job with allowing the people to voice their opinions and rally if they disagree but, they
provide us with protection and unity.
A major part of our culture today is our economy. We discussed several topics that would
aid the economy one of which that really stood out was prostitution. In Penn and Tellers
Bullshit, they took the stance that legalizing prostitution could aid the economy. My moral
compass pushed aside I would have to agree. From a strict economic view only, prostitution
could aid in the economy. According to Heidi Fiess in her article in Legal Affairs "There is no
downside to legalizing prostitution. The government would benefit by collecting taxes on the
industry.. That being said the American economy could benefit the economy.
But why is the Economy such an important part of culture? To me, and I am assuming
most people money and the economy greatly affect the culture and quality of life and vice versa.
According to Francis X. Hezel in his article The Role of Culture in Economic Development he
begs the question How can we explain the repeated failure of African nations, even when aid is
given in great supply, to develop their economy? Why are countries like Indonesia and the
Philippines, even with a strong resource base and a well educated population, so resistant to
development? For that matter, what is there to explain the slow economic growth rates of the
Pacific nations? and answers with Good governance is seen as a prerequisite of development:
the political system should be stable; laws must be clearly promulgated and enforced so that
contractual agreements will be honored; and government officials should not be corrupt or
inefficient. Moreover, land should be available at a fair rate for business opportunities; foreign
investment should be encouraged; and the bureaucratic procedures for applying for a business

permit should not be too onerous. Stating that the culture and structure of a nation will greatly
impact a nations economy.
For me I grew up in a middle class family, in a middle class neighborhood, with middle
class friends. I recall my amazement and shock when I would expand my friend group to a
totally different economic class. It was like a new culture, the way they dressed spoke and even
studied seemed foreign to me. That is why I strongly believe that economy can structure culture
people with money tend to act certain ways and be a part of different more expensive cultural
Religion is a huge cultural shaper. I think any one that lives in the state of Utah can attest
to that. Religion has a tendency to shape and mold social norms and in turn shape and mold the
culture of an area. I grew up in a predominantly LDS neighborhood. My family was also LDS I
can see that the church and the standards enforced there bled into my community. We were
expected to uphold certain standards. That shaped my neighborhood because the LDS member
tended to associate with one another and share the same values. According to Religion defines how the community members interpret their role in the
universe, with this teaching based on the local culture, so different religions rise out of different
cultures.. An example of this is the Greeks with their gods or a more present day example is the
African people that believe in the Gods of Nature.
In Film my eyes were opened to different sides of religion and non-religious people. In
the Bill Maher film Religulous I saw the justification of a non-religious lifestyle. In seeing Mel
Gibsons The Passion of the Christ, I saw how religion was such a large part of life and culture
back then. And its amazing to see the effects of that movie on people of today. It was also very
interesting to see Southparks Passion of the Jew, a modern satirical take on the Passion of the

Christ. Altogether the many examples of religion made me realize how religion is very
intertwined with culture.
Sexuality can be a very big important aspect of culture. We discussed several films with
the topic of sexuality. Angels in America was the first film that really got my attention in regards
to sexuality and its importance on culture. An example for me is the sexuality in Utah versus
New York and Las Vegas. There is a very different accepted sexuality in these various states
particularly the large cities. Growing up in Utah, I would have to say the major sexual orientation
I was exposed to was Heterosexuals it wasnt until I was a teenager that I even knew what
Homosexuality or Transsexuality was. I feel like growing up the later two aforementioned were
looked down upon. I feel like the culture in Utah is greatly affected by the overall social
acceptance of different sexualities. It wasnt until recently that homosexuality in regards to
marriage was legalized. This has had an impact on me and my family and I believe has really
changed the cultural dynamics of our state as a whole.
A great summary of Sexuality in Culture is explained in Human Sexuality by Ludwin
Molina he states "Human sexuality plays a major role in everyone's life. Regardless, whether we
are young or old, man or woman, American or Japanese, it is an integral part of what we do and
who we are.....Next to sleeping and eating, it seems that it is one of the most important drives we
have to deal with as humans. That is, it takes up so much of our time in thought and behavior that
it sometimes seems that every facet of our life revolves around this to a certain extent.". Molina
makes some great arguments regarding the importance of sexuality in culture. I especially agree
with the statement that sexuality is one of the major drives in our lives. Our culture arguably
revolves around the sexuality and acceptance of various sexualities.

The last major culturally impacting aspect is race. Race has been around since the old tale
of Cain and Able. Race has a particular importance to me because my family is a mixture of
several. I really want to try to incorporate the cultural aspects associated with the African
American race into my own home and avoid the prejudice that often times comes with it. In the
film American History X I got the first real glimpse of intense white supremacy. In the film I was
able to see how the town of the main character really was affected by race and how that affected
many of the young people and the budding culture with it.
Race and Culture are often looked at as one in the same.
summarizes the difference between the two very well stating, "A persons race can be determined
through their physical traits and through their biological family. It is a label that is given to
someone whether they want it or not. Culture can be determined on how we express ourselves,
on our spiritual beliefs, and how we see things. It is not based on physical characteristics but the
way of life of a person.". I think all too often people dont recognize the different. Race is
associated with culture in the fact that area and population often are composed of many people
with the same culture and often times the same race. Race and ethnicity are an important aspect
of culture but not the only aspect, and people need to remember that.
In conclusion, this semester has been filled with lots of interesting films that have peaked
my interest. I enjoyed experiencing the films and discussing the hot topics along with. The
films have exposed the many issues that I havent looked at before in ways I havent thought of.
The culture in America is so diverse and has so many aspects I was glad we discussed the ones
we did.