Critical essay

Language is an essential concept in the society. Most people are now interested in researching about languages. Social scientists understand language as important in every culture.  Language helps people communicate with each other. Each culture or society has its unique language. However, people are learning different languages from different cultures as a result of globalization. The way we perceive language can vary from one person to the other. Culture defines language as a way of communication. This may be spoken or unspoken words.  It is through language that people understand each other. Language is also important in films. Without it we may not understand what the film is all about. This is not only the spoken words but other cultural artifacts. The materials people use have a significant importance in understanding their culture. A critical analysis of Monique Witig’s writing The Straight mind and Cannibal Tours documentary by Dennis O’Rourke will help understand language and culture.

Language can be viewed from different perspectives. In most cases, we view language as spoken words or conversation that we have with one another. This may be different. Language is a wide phenomenon. Language can be viewed from social, political and linguistic point of view.  Language is used for communication. Systems and signs can help establish relationships between phenomena. People should not just be confined to what they know as spoken words to be language (Writig). Signs and systems can be language that communicates effectively.  It is true what Monique says about the myths of the petit bourgeois class and class struggle within capitalism.  This was a political analysis and the lower class could not own the means of production. They relied on the upper class to earn a living. Out of this experience, there came about an ideology that was passed on from one generation to the other. The ideologies are published in the books that educate people about Karl Marx economic class theory. This is a language that still exists in the current world. We all believe that the high class owns the means of production. Even in today’s society, the elites rule as the lower class work for them. Language can be recorded and pass the intended message to the audience. For instance, Monique has argued of the language of unconscious, fashion and that of the exchange of women. Women have become objects that are used to communicate (Collin, 1994).

The language of using women as signs of communication has however contributed to some social evils and lowering of women into sexual objects. Most women are used in promotion of products and services. Their nude photos are taken that are used in products such as body lotions.  This is not only creating a bad image of women but also lead to moral decadence. In the movies, and songs, women are captured having sex with men or fellow women (Witig). This has led to moral decadence. Language in this sense is not only communicating about businesses but also leading to young generations picking some behaviors that may not be acceptable in the society.  However, language can be interpreted differently and to some cultures appreciate what these women do for a living. People have different views on pornographic images, films magazine photos and posters that dominate women. Pornography humiliates the society and creates a bad image about women. From another perspective some analyst may argue that this is not wrong. Women are not different from men and all the blame should not be directed to women.

Language can also be used in films and using different methods. It is connected to culture. Language is part of the culture and cannot be separated. In the film, the cannibal tours, there are different languages used. Photos and images are used to communicate a message to the audience.  The photos of the German colonists are used to tell the story of how they came to Africa. The tourist also notices the stone where men were killed. This is a cultural image that reminds people of what happened during the colonial periods. Images can also be termed as a language. They are a form of communication. The tourist even takes a photograph to keep the stone in memory.  There is a strange image of a European face that is painted in the ritual make up of a Papua New Guinea tribe. This is a ridiculous image that communicates the message. Though it represents a European in an African make up, there is a gap that still exists between the two races.  The Europeans see themselves as superior to the Africans. The Australian film maker has spent most of his time documenting this film. In documentaries, we expect to watch the pictures as we hear the sound of someone explaining what is going on. This is different in this film that may make language interesting (O’Rourke, 1988).

The camera used in this film uncovers meanings without narrative intrusions. Interruptions occur when the interviewer is asking some questions to the tour guide. It is interesting that just a camera can make a story without using words. However, this form of communication can be boring and people from a different culture may not understand it. Spoken words reinforce other form of language. It helps understand the culture better (Risager, 2006). By listening to the way people talk; it is easy to follow the story in the pictures. This may even become boring and the audience may not be interested. Seeing the pictures and not knowing the meaning may not work for some audiences. This could be a strategy and film making may be done in different ways.

There are people who do not love interruptions. There are some things that also do not need to be exposed by use of spoken words.  O’Rourke finds it interesting to make such a documentary.  Music and radio news reports are incorporated in the documentary. This is a form of language that helps communicate a message. This way, the photographer is able to avoid some objects and conversations that may be discriminative in the culture (O’Rourke, 1988).

Film may also a way of exposing the culture globally. It may help the culture economically. This may be through selling of available artifacts. Even though people may see this as exploitation of the culture by the whites, it may not be the case. Language helps promote the culture. It may speak well about a particular culture and even promote the national heritage. The camera man is happy about the life of the Papua Guinea people (Shepherd, 2002). He also exposes things that are not right which are done by the exploitative whites concerning with cultural tourism. The film as a language is still watched by many among them anthropologists who are concerned with cultural tourism.