Critical Essay 1

1091 words 5 pages
Critical Essay 1

Word Count: 943

Dating back to as early as the 1920s, the use of drugs in several Western films and other forms of entertainment started to take flight. The portrayal of the drugs used were that of a positive light; being pleasurable, socially acceptable, and even appropriate to use for those that did not live a criminal lifestyle.

It wasn’t until the 1960s in which the positive connotations with drugs became contradictory. This was a result of the implementation of stronger drug prohibition laws. Many of the positively represented films were eradicated to make way for more insightful films about drugs – illustrating the true horrors of drugs and consequences of addiction. In these films, Boyd finds the
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Because of this, many were unemployed, and some had to resort to dealing drugs as a means of living. This film however goes against Manderson’s work. He stated a majority of users were non white individuals. In this film, the roles are reversed, whereby the white policemen are shown as the highest power in the drug trade along with being corrupted and violent.

A significant number of music videos released in the last couple of years have shown themes surrounding drugs. Boyd analyses two similar, yet very different music videos – Amy Winehouse’s “Rehab” (2006), and Eminem’s “Not Afraid” (2010). Listening to the lyrics of both songs appears to convey a stronger meaning than the actual visual representation. Winehouse’s lyrics conveys her battle against drugs and how she refuses to go to rehab; whereas Eminem’s shows he is accepting of seeking help, welcoming anyone that wants to assist him along the way. This reinforces Boyd’s findings of music having greater emphasis than visual representation, along with Coveney and Bunton’s ‘different cultures display different contexts’ argument.

Through all of this, there is a strong defence that drugs are not always deemed dangerous and harmful as initially thought by Boyd. Society’s views on things are always constantly changing. Factors such as life experiences, social hierarchies, and surrounding environment all play


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