While the Electric belt is something that we awkwardly shy away from as a strange form of connection with technology in America in the late 19th century, we have similar pieces of technology that function as a cultural connection in our society today.
The move Big Hero 6 portrays a friendly healthcare robot named Baymax that becomes the companion of a 14 year old boy. In the movie’s town of San Fransokyo, robots and more innovative technology than is currently seen today are prevalent in society. This movie portrays a similar idea of the electric belts in its use of technology. Robots become companions almost and humans even find a way to form emotional bonds with the robots. While this isn’t exactly what is seen today in society, we still form similar connections with technology today as is seen in people’s attachment to their phones and other pieces of technology. Most people when asked would respond that they feel “naked” to some degree without their phone on them at all times. While Big Hero 6 takes connection to technology to new heights, it raises the question, what does the audience find most alluring about Baymax? Is it the portrayal of man being able to interact with and grow close with technology? Or is it as simple as his lovable and friendly demeanor?
The above image portrays the structure of every public school in America. Students are taught that the only important part of their life is school. They are taught that they have to focus on their studies, because an education is the only thing that can bring success in their life. They are taught that making art, making videos, writing stories, making music isn’t a “real job.” Students focused on that are generally told to “get their head out of the clouds.” These ideas have become hegemonic in society today. In other words, this ideology that the only important thing in life is education and intelligence is a completely normal part of society that isn’t questioned, and is enforced and encouraged by the adults in students’ lives.
For some reason in America, an extremely high value has been placed on education and intelligence. The people looked down upon in society are those who are deemed “unintelligent”. Though everyone knows it is possible to make a well-paying career out of art, or music, or writing, in school any student focused on such things is deemed as one of the “unintelligent” and will be “left behind” (as portrayed in the image above) if they don’t buckle down in school.
So why exactly is education seen as the only thing that will bring success in life? How did it get to the point that it was so hegemonic for children and young adults to spend so much of their life focused on such a difficult to attain goal?