Monday, November 12, 2012

Punishment, Control, and Deceit

Immediately the, “Standford Prison Experiment,” came to mind when I was reading these chapters 4, 5, 6, and 7. About a year ago in my Sociology class our instructor should us the video of the experiment. As I perused this website I began to recall some of the disturbing behavior that was exhibited by the prison guards. The first initial POWER was picking up the so called criminals in a police car with lights and sirens blaring. To boot, the police officers wore dark sunglasses an idea borrowed from the movie, “Cool Hand Luke,” the prisoners couldn’t see their eyes, which in itself is deceptive. The forms of deception that the guards used on the prisoners throughout the experiment to get them to conform was interesting to say the least because these guards were just volunteers in the experiment and the power went to theirs heads and they became, “ Super Cop.” The guards did everything they could in order to degrade, dehumanize and take away their individuality in order to make them comply. The guards would wake up the prisoners at different times and cause them sleep deprivation, along with using push-ups as a form of punishment. The push-ups were viewed at first as an inappropriate use of punishment but it was discussed that during the Nazi camps this form of punishment was also used to punish and control the prisoners.
The guards used solitary confinement to quail the ring leaders and they met force with force during the initial uprising with the fire extinguishers. Privileges of special food and treatment were given to some of the prisoners in order to cause more friction with the other prisoners. The amazing thing was the way the guards developed and morphed into these SUPER GUARDS and they came up with ideas about the harassment, punishment, and rewards all on their own. A couple of them seem to really relish in the fact that they wielded this power over the prisoners. The behavior the guards exhibited and how they morphed into these power symbols made me think of the movie industry.
            Within the past year I went to the Movie Theater and saw, “Hunger Games.” Given the subjects that we have been studying, I believe this movie seems to flip the bill. The movie takes place in a dystopian future, where a controlling, advanced technological consolidated government rules over "DISTRICTS" of poor populaces scarcely enduring in a third world environment. The government is punishing the districts because of a failed uprising and now the government is holding killing games once a year and a boy/girl must participate from each district, enslavement by the government, with the hope of freedom. What a deception!  
The government controls the rations of food and if a family or person wants more the child’s name goes into the selection again to increase their chances of being picked for the games, controlling maneuver by the government. The government has fenced off the districts with high voltage wires in order to keep the people confined to certain areas and restrict their liberty. The communications are controlled and the broadcast are theatrical events in which the government makes up in order to deceive the districts into believing what they want them too. Not unlike deception that is used in our own broadcasting and communications from the government. You never really get the entire real story; just the bits and pieces that might make the ratings go up, political goals and MONEY.
            The power in which the government had over these people, by restricting their freedom, food, and constantly putting them in fear for their families has such an huge impact upon the communities. These tactics are not such unlike power plays that happen in our own community, but not at this level. I had not realized how close to home this movie really was to some situations in our own society. While I was doing research on the internet about these power plays and deception the movie, “Hunger Games,” just seem to fit very nicely into the slot that I needed. This article for me was very interesting and quite an eye opener.

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