Theory of Spectatorship aDiary + Film-North Album (new)
There are two parts in this very recent social phenomena "mass media" -- and both "mass" and "media" are relatively new to us. Even technologically they are interconnected. Television is the spiritual expression of masses, their intellectual universe, similar to what previous medias (poetry, philosophy, art) were to classical man (elite, aristocrat, noble, minority). Mass (collective) existence is an overblown super-socialization; each of us is a mass man. It's our position and destiny. Mass man is borne by the second nature, retaining all the qualities of a natural man. Like an animal born in a zoo he understands the world around him as the only known reality. Mass society is his native culture. What are the three components of this formula: the mass, its media, and its man?
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I. Society of Spectacle: The Watching of Watching TV1. TV Time: a time outside of time. Killed time and Resurrected time, "new time." Expropriation of "my" time, nationalization, making it OUR time. By watching TV we enter the Celebration Time, time world prepared (condensed of others' time, labor, value, etc.) -- I'm adding my "personal" time (property) to the TV time which increases the value of TV (ratings).
1.1. Classical Time (my experience) is private property. "My" time must be nationalized, civilized and conditioned. Contributing "my" time (classical time is the material of TV time), I'm leaving "real" time and enter the carnival time (Bakhtin). Celebration is a norm of public existence (the other one is an opposite, the disaster). Public time keeps its duality no less than my conscience has public presence all the time. It's a delicate balance, because I am constantly switching the priority, the dominance of one time v. another.
2. James Frazer (The Golden Bough) talks about how primitives treat taking pictures as a possession of their images (souls). Control through extracting the image in the Gaze-world is total. Recording not only ends the privacy, but my ownership of myself. Why do we do it willingly? To be noticed = to be alive.
3. The end of an individual (from two perspectives: Hegel, Marx -- positive; Sterner, Nietzsche -- negative). The addition and the victory of a mass man reads as the end of man. More on his nature in the chapter "Coman" (communist man). The individual hasn't disappeared; he went underground. He is in the position he always has been, a minority. Only now he is not a ruling minority. He is the one the mass man lives off; the ideas, the emotions are generated by an individual. It's the same relation of a master and a slave but the control belongs no longer to a master. Individual is a prisoner of mass society, his own creature. Is he in horror? But of course, what is so new about this story?
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II. THE PRIMITIVE FEELS1. TV is the body of a generation which was generated by TV. 30 years of Donahue ("Human Animal"): this is the first televised generation. Peasant and slaves, what are their emotions? Freud talks about them, not humans. Gassett describes them as ones borne into second nature unaware that this is man-made world, produced and in need of maintenance:
...the very perfection with which the XIXth Century gave an organization to certain orders of existence has caused the masses benefitted thereby to consider it, not as an organized, but as a natural system. Thus is explained and defined the absurd state of mind revealed by these masses; they are only concerned with their own well-being, and at the same time they remain alien to the cause of that well-being. As they do not see, behind the benefits of civilization, marvels of invention and construction which can only be maintained by great effort and foresight, they imagine that their role is limited to demanding these benefits peremptorily, as if they were natural rights. In the disturbances caused by scarcity of food, the mob goes in search of bread, and the means it employs is generally to wreck the bakeries. This may serve as a symbol of the attitude adopted, on a greater and more complicated scale, by the masses of today towards the civilization by which they are supported. [G VI]
More in Foucault's writing on disciplines.
2. Entertainment = playing emotionalism. *They don't think, they feel and their emotions are mental*. Their thoughts are every abstract, they "think" in names (name calling), in categories ("bitch," "conservative," "left"). This is a kingdom of opinions based on binary system (not dialectics). Morality is the principle of the Judgement Day (right or wrong). Each emotion must have its own name, they are socially established feelings. "Love" (name and explanation of behavior) -- they know, they don't feel...
Icons, slogans, visuals (see "Ideology")
3. FORMS: aristocratic. To look as humans the pseudo-humans must ask as hyper-humans. They "love," they "think," they "feel" -- they imitate it all. Mimesis! We are more reflective than ever!
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4. MATERIAL: new feelingsManufactured emotions. Phantoms are easy to invent. Fans of Rush Limbaugh and fanatics of Jihad are borne in the same place; the fantasy factories. Disneyland doesn't blow its customers. It blows their brains. Oh, the citizen of paradise! New world offers him so many manufactured feelings that he no time to consume them all. His is overwhelmed by life, by possibilities, potentials (illusive). This is a paradise mentality:The life of the average man to-day is easier, more convenient and safer than that of the most powerful of another age. What difference does it make to him not to be richer than others if the world is richer and furnishes him with magnificent roads, railway, telegraphs, hotels, personal safety and aspirin? [G VI]
5. This is the American. He could be born in China and live in England. He belongs to this middle class which expended itself to swallow all other groups and classes. This is a classless society, the marxist dream fulfilled.
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III. Tvzens:1. "All the world's a stage" -- everything must be seen, expressed (performed), uncovered. Resurrection of evil is for J Day, it has to be processed, it has to be included and to get angelic life. Resurrection of the world means return of everything; seven mortal sins have to through "anesthetization." The end of censorship? Alas! By the state, national cultures, not by the global society, by the pop culture (Kultura). The national state swallowed the national culture, but imperialism (PM) included them all into the super-society. Global village and its (American) citizens (consumers, TV public) are the new improved mechanism of censorship. Citizenship in new world order comes through SPECTATORSHIP. Our real citizenship is borne on electronic streets. Our language come from the Red Square of media. The TV viewer by his position is a "fascist" (connected with the biggest possible crowd). Watching television is practicing safe communism (TV is communism with a human face).
IV. GHOST OF COMMUNISM (Electronic Age): Communism is always a ghost. Phantom, borrowing the life from real life. Living, instead of life; I am expropriated. Spirit of Communism is different = our human unity in values and desires. The diference between the two is no less striking than between angels and devils.
1. Soft fascism implies television as a method of direct unification; according to Orwell, Big Brother would use pornography as entertainment (Roman empire's model for the masses). Marxism (Soviet) outlawed entertainment in favor of propaganda. State (hard core) fascism censors public, not a totalitarian society. Technology replaced state. Traffic lights come with limitations and regulations by the Machine, without human errors.
2. Direct democracy: TV = public. Global Village and the market philosophy. Instead of "right" new "gentlemen" looking for what "will play." Popularity makes it right. What do we buy? Who pays? Emotions as commodity. Customer and consumer: consumer becomes costumer and v.v.
Educational purpose of entertainment (hidden agitation, subconscious propaganda). Global Village happens to be digital, "space" village. TV isn't education but instructions (commercials). Every advertiser known that "closing" is call for action -- buy it! Why don't we see the comands, not less explicit that computer's comands?
3. TV TIME (very expensive). Levels: local and national. Super-bowl: 30 sec. = $ 1.5 ml. Why? The mumbers of viewers only? OUR TIME (mass time). Time as Space of the Masses. Space as Time.5 Time is money. Literally. TV as time machine. The Media of Masses: Tele-vision, not radio. Watching takes more of me than listening; I have to break not only my concentration but my activities. Why did talk radio come after discovering "interactive" forms of TV?
4. MEDIA (audience-at-large participation is not only in live audience within talk shows) -- public existence delivered in private? Emotions for sale (industry of experiences): mass existentialism, group feelings (when we have no morality but forming moral judgement). Tabloid existentialism: we are the subject and the method. It's true OURS (not imposed on us) TV. Visual (no need for selection of educated trash). Direct translation, transmission, direct access.
5. FORMS AND MATERIAL OF PRODUCTION: Image as commodity David Letterman (people, celebrity) v. issue (topics) oriented programs. Variety shows in electronic age; circus. Street forms: to shock, to stop -- almost as if an accident. Image must be immediate, recognizable and memorable (iconic). The image, that would be trade on the market of media, the same as any product on any open air market. A clown has to have an extreme makeup and opposite of normal dress.
6. *EPIC THEATRE* (A-effect): fragmentation (interrupted by the commercials, they're the main body of the message, not the show, which is "fill in"). We have to break away from the screen, our attention must be broken, otherwise we wouldn't be able to co-exist with a tv set. My private is a parallel universe to my public (television) engagement. "Publicity" imposed on me at every point when tv is on. Foucault calls it "disciplines" -- I have to be connected (watched) at all times, without losing my individual "functionability." I have to be both "disciplined" and "free." I'm turned off and on, alienated from myself and from the society, and this process of switching is a control.
7. Grotesque image of the soul (spirit?); exaggeration of reactions (performance). Safe wars, bedroom stories. Real soap operas. Media performs reality, or is it reality which performs itself according top media laws? Mass media represents the traits of mass society; everything is oversized, extended, domineering. It's not a house but a skyscraper. Car could be born only in mass culture, it requires us all, unlike a horse or even a bicycle. My mass image is monstrous; of course I would suppress my "individual" soul.
8. Thinking in/by images isn't "thinking"? It all depends.
"The perception that images pass through the perception of others increases their currency and hence their value. Vision adds value to visual objects."
 According to Beller, "informal economy" (in Information Age it becomes the main product and USA is the world's larger producer of entertainment) "value is produced by viewers." In paradise there's no work (unemployment) but "the labor time of the viewer." My life becomes a value because every (?) second of my life is a potential "human labor time" (55). Celebrity (people famous for being famous) are created by "the productive value of human attention." Average 40 hours working week is balanced by the average 20 hours/week tv watching (part-time or full time job); "vision becomes a from of work." The main economy now and forever is "the economy of sight" (Benjamin). How much would you pay for somebody's POV? Not only object of vision but the vision itself is a value. Well, why not to make a profit from people's looking?
9. "Seeing" is an event, the basis for a financial event (deal). They are selling my watching (attention) time to the advertisers (remember the 1.5 million 30 seconds during the Super-Bowl?). In classical formula "product--money" my time is function as both the money and the product? Television isn't a "free" product; not by virtue of my future spending on product advertised. TV buys my time and sells it. Is it a good deal for me? Only for the mass man in me. He has all the time in the world.
10. Use value and exchange value (Marx). If a POV could be an intellectual property (since it has "use value," like any concept -- physics, biology, christianity, etc.), it must have an "exchange value." Can my time be fully estranged from me? Added value; processed through public (consumed) information. Cycles of increases value (brand name, celebrity as a build up value). The use is increasing the exchange value. My POV adds an extra value to information. It's an event in a life of image, not only in my life. My POV is another interpretation of the image, its life in me, which spreads further. Now I "work" for this image, making in bigger qualitative and quantitative terms. Not only trademarks (Mcdonald's, GE, symbols and logos) are copyrighted. Now Microsoft paid for a library of photo images to copyright them (media use asks for property rights). My glance at a TV screen has property value, which is rented (on credit) by the producers and reflected in ratings. My opinion reflected in a opinion pool is of value (that why it has a production budget, cost, and resale value). This is a socialized universe which needs to be measure; the most efficient way is money.
V. SPECTACLE: visual "thinking" -- Emotional Discourse Through Images (Cinema existence).
1. "Hard Copy": it has to be a copy; with the rights of the original. Rumors are facts in the media-cracy-craty (non-existing world). According to quantum theory it's always a probability of fact (reality). One of many interpretations. Reality is a contract, something we are agree to take as such. We "vote in" the reality, which is the most popular copy. Since this is OUR reality (not my personal experience), "nobody's reality" is always an utopian reality. Remember the phantom! It lives, I don't.
2. All that once was lived directly has become a mere representation. Self-replication: sum of copies of myself. I represent me. Which one? Who is Ted Koppel? The Ted Koppel, the institution which was created by the ABC out of the air and the living individual is serving his own copy. Remember, the spectacle!
"Soft" copy of "I" turns into a "hard" copy the moment I go public. There are "soft" copies of me, many hard copies of I and none of them the same.
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VI. LIFE AFTER THE END OF HISTORY: STORIES (Tribal Time)1. Carnivalesque (freakshow) = electronic street culture of postmodern. TV is a grotesque realism: "The essential principle of grotesque realism is degradation." Deconstruction (old forms) and construction of new meanings. Ideology, production of new values: trash culture (everything mass produced must be cheap, must be affordable by everybody, it's free). The carnival inversions: the world-turned-upside-down, or inside-out? Festivities of paradise. Everything must be included, reflected on -- a must for communism (*utopian reality*, unreal reality). Everything must be placed within our value system. Not only formation of values (TV factory) but mots importantly, the system for producing them.
2. The hypers and pseudos look the same:"the inner movement of being itself was expressed in the passing of one form into another, in the ever uncompleted character of being" (RW 32)
3. Spectacular beings (becomings) are contextual (creatures) instead of textual: the extreme (common) text which doesn't exist without the surrounding popular culture forms. An utopian phantom, I have to be included in the biggest possible context:"Transnationalism, which finds its very conditions of possibility in computing, telecommunications and mass media, implies that these media are playing a fundamental role in new modes of value production and value transfer." (Beller 6) 
It has to be transnational, marginal, border-like situations, media (mind) is looking for unbridged areas (communism is the inclusion). It avoids "normal," coherent, self-contained subjects. It can include them only if they are dis-concentrated, thrown out of its own balance (late night talk shows, the King David, The Letterman.) The whole format is a trivialization. The parody on yourself must be manufactured in front of history, the humiliation has to be public.
4. Pre-literate and post-literate societies. We are both. Talk shows are our daytime super-moralizing. Jerry Springler preaches. Rickie Lake, Sally, Jenny, Oprah -- they all serving God. You still don't know his name? The public! Constant moral reconfirmation of our right to be what we are. What is this sense of unshakable superiority?But the man we are now analyzing accustoms himself not to appeal from his own to any authority outside him. He is satisfied with himself exactly as he is. Ingenuously, without any need of being vain, as the most natural thing in the world, he will tend to consider and affirm as good everything he finds within himself: opinions, appetites, preferences, tastes. Why not, if, as we have seen, nothing and nobody force him to realize that he is a second-class man, subject to many limitations, incapable of creating or conserving that very organization which gives his life the fullness and contentedness on which he bases this assertion of his personality? [G VII]
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5. THE EVENT-MAKERSThe idea of an event (If you have ideas or stories, call Jerry Springer show). If you live with your mother but she doesn't know about it, or you want to surprise your father. Etc. What constitutes the tv event? What is news? Reporting and news-making. Recording is already decoding and re-territoralization of actual space and time. (see FORMS)
6. PUBLIC SECRETS: TV CHURCH (Confessions mixed with sermons). Tradition of public confessions. PERFORMING CONFESSIONS: the end of privacy (freedom). Stalin's public trails: communal and demonstration. Cultural revolution: death of man. Wait, the man has to die many times. He has to die every time we see him. He dies every time he appears on the screen. Oh, sweat executioner, my dear KGB of emotions! Collectivization, nationalization, redistribution of wealth -- all programs were done for one purpose: new man. Out of what? Out of me, of course. Life has to be taken away from me, to be stolen by the Ghost of communism and spread around. In return I have my fame! 15 minutes, 30 seconds, one second (waving on the national screen). People are waiting outside for free tickets to talk shows. There's nothing for free, my friend.
7. Mass media? Let talk about masses before we say anything more about their media.Strictly speaking, the mass, as a psychological fact, can be defined without waiting for individuals to appear in mass formation. In the presence of one individual we can decide whether he is "mass" or not. The mass is all that which sets no value on itself (AA) -- good or ill -- based on specific grounds, but which feels itself "just like everybody," and nevertheless is not concerned about it; is, in fact, quite happy to feel itself as one with everybody else. (Gassett)
That's why solitary confinement is seen a an extreme punishment within the prison punishment! An isolation which was sought by a monk, which is necessary for concentration and self-reflection. The mass man can't be connected to himself without others, he needs their constant presence to communicate with himself.The mass-man is he whose life lacks any purpose, and simply goes drifting along. Consequently, though his possibilities and his powers be enormous, he constructs nothing. And it is this type of man who decides in our time. [G V]
8. Priests and parishioners: Tribal Mode (equality). US, THE PEOPLE, is our only god. ME is god's prophet. We need to legitimize our secret (closet) "abnormalities," to make our individual characteristics into signs, roles, public masks. Objectivisation through publicity. Special subjects: ME is "our" nationality. I have to have my public face. I have to be a mass man. Do I have to act as one?This leads us to note down in our psychological chart of the mass-man of today two fundamental traits: the free expansion of his vital desires, and therefore, of his personality; and his radical ingratitude towards an [...] that has made possible the ease of his existence. These traits together make up the well-known psychology of the spoiled child. And in fact it would entail no error to use this psychology as a "sight" through which to observe the soul of the masses of to-day. Heir to an ample and generous past -- generous both in ideals and in activities -- the new commonality has been spoiled by the world around it. To spoil means to put no limit on caprice, to give one the impression that everything is permitted to him and that he has no obligations. The young child exposed to this regime has no experience of its own limits. By reason of the removal of all external restraint, all clashing with other things, he comes actually to believe that he is the only one that exists, and gets used to not considering others, especially not considering them as superior to himself. This feeling of another's superiority could only be instilled into him by someone who, being stronger than he is, should force him to give up some desire, to restrict himself, to restrain himself. He would then have learned this fundamental discipline: "Here I end and here begins another more powerful than I am. In the world, apparently, there are two people: I myself and another superior to me." The ordinary man of past times was daily taught this elemental wisdom by the world about him, because it was a world so rudely organized, that catastrophes were frequent, and there was nothing in it certain, abundant, stable. But the new masses find themselves in the presence of a prospect full of possibilities, and furthermore, quite secure, with everything ready to their hands, independent of any previous efforts on their part, just as we find the sun in the heavens without our hoisting it up on our shoulders. No human being thanks another for the air he breathes, for no one has produced the air for him; it belongs to the sum-total of what "is there," of which we say "it is natural," because it never fails. And these spoiled masses are unintelligent enough to believe that the material and social organization, placed at their disposition like the air, is of the same origin, since apparently it never fails them, and is almost as perfect as the natural scheme of things. [G VI]
9. "Why do you want to do it on national television?" National TV (a new, global, American-culture-based nation), "public is good," public is god (the live audience represents us, the mob, the ones who came to lunch and see lynching).
10. Schools teach how to read and write, the street teaches morality. One god: tv. New mentality: new human must be peaceful (his aggression should be expressed in cultural forms; action movies, horror novel). Coping = pacification. New human is technoman (technology must integrated in his identity), through technology he is linked to the rest of the new humanity. Neo-human must be average [uniformed] (easily placeable within the system).
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11. THE UNDERGROUNDMoscow Metro taught me to understand communism and resurrection. The Soviets made their caves into palaces, the best urban miracles of communism were built underground. The ugly New subway proved my suspicions that the communists would invest the most into their origins, they would like to transform the most naturally public, nobody's place, with smell of urine, crowds and no daylight, into a paradise. The sight of the subway in Brooklyn, Quince or Bronx running above the ground, was shocking. But that was the true picture. Mass man likes "low depths" -- hell is his country. The sewage, the hidden and the dark, including the psychoanalysis.
-How low is low?
-Make it low. Create another level of Dante's Inferno.
It makes sense. TV is a manifestation and a method of resurrecting fallen nature. Purification through "vision." The lowest common denominator: the place to start unification with the human race. Organized mob: theatricality -- staged "real" people (life as theatre): life as show business. Normality of the abnormal: attraction to the unbelievable. "One of us" ritual: performer-spectator. Live TV: live audience is bridge with the big audience, they are both spectators and performers. Interactive TV.
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12. BEYOND GOOD AND EVILSince the evil is a copy of evil, a presentation, it could be accepted (Geraldo), anything could be viewed, discussed as long as it is a confession. Separation from the act. Don't you remember, that the most horrible crime is forgiven as it was confessed?
13. JUDGEMENT DAY all year around. (Sometimes literally, "Court TV"). From "America's Most Wanted" -- they are the celebrities! -- to "America's Funniest Videos." Celebration in paradise knows no intermissions, everything is GOOD. BAD IS GOOD. Celebration of the immoral? Indecent became the focal point, it's center staged, featured. The orgy of freedom, freedom from everything. Freedom for nothing? There's a name for good nothing -- fun. Fantasy, fantastic... Yeah, it's funny, my friend.This, I think, brings out with sufficient clearness the superlative abnormality represented by the "self-satisfied man." He is a man who has entered upon life to do "what he jolly well likes." This, in fact, is the illusion suffered by the fils de famille . We know the reason why: in the family circle, everything, even the greatest faults, are in the long run left unpunished. The family circle is relatively artificial, and tolerates many acts which in society, in the world outside, would automatically involve disastrous consequences for their author. But the man of this type thinks that he can behave outside just as he does at home; believes that nothing is fatal, irremediable, irrevocable. That is why he thinks that he can do what he likes.* An almighty mistake! "You will go where you are taken to," as the parrot is told in the Portuguese story. It is not that one ought not to do just what one pleases; it is simply that one cannot do other than what each of us has to do, has to be. The only way out is to refuse to do what has to be done, but this does not set us free to do something else just because it pleases us. In this matter we only possess a negative freedom of will, a voluntas. [G ]
Testing the limits: we don't know what we think; in order for us to evaluate it, everything must be processed through the public (human race). Yes, yes, everyone must be accepted into our community of electronic christians of communism. And, yes, sir, yes, forgiven too. We are punished already, we already served our time (disciplined society, punishment before crime). This tv morality has a taste of pornography. Performed revelations, acted out secrets... Alas, it's not entertainment at all. This is a direct form of moral judgement. O.J. Simpson trial was educational, a true public court. Even his verdict isn't the business of the L.A. courtroom and the jury. The Last Days trials have no ending, they are a process.
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VII. THE MECHANICS OF THE SPECTACLE1. Most of the past and proposed questions by the media are not a road to understanding, but a designed way from any knowledge of yourself. Their questions are products of ideology. Their purpose is not to lead to discoveries but to block even a possibility of noticing the problem. In Russia I knew that the best way to understand is to disengage myself from any "official" dialogue. My Soviet experience was extreme but the "American agenda" (including the most sophisticated cover-up, academia) serve the same purpose of closing doors of intellectual inquiries. It posts a fake target to discuss (method is fake too) in order to initiate the disinformation campaign which any ruling culture (power) naturally uses against mind's investigation. The Soviet apparatus created enormous quantity of empty knowledge, it was an ocean of pseudo-scholastic data whose only goal was to distract. In America this self-protection of present ideology has not only quantitative but qualitative superiority.
2. Since knowledge is power, power itself has to protect itself from knowing the power. Resistance to power is natural, unavoidable -- and power rushes into a preventive war against knowledge (truth): it emulates of self-examination, questioning, etc. Democracy is much more equipped to build this defense of pseudo-reflections. The task of ideology (ideology is present in every culture) is to develop a maze, a labyrinth where anyone who enters it gets lost forever. As long as power/ideology could maintain such virtual reality of intellectual activity, the real questions are impossible to originate. The power keeps producing questions for the inquiring mind, makes it a party of its game, corrupts and even pays for this engagement. There are super-salaries for pseudo-minds. The defense departments budgets have no limits. We know them, we know the name of this apparatus -- the media.
3. Media's role in America isn't information. News? "News aspect" makes it *look real*. Information is only a package and packaging for ideology. Soviet propaganda played this big game rough: the system never worried about covering its lack of "objectivity." The idea of selection was simple; good news was about USSR, bad -- about USSR's adversaries. Too simple. That simplicity brought the collapse of the Soviet propaganda. In America the media's selectivity is hidden since not a state but a society carries on the task of censorship. Instead of positioning bad and good geo-politically, American media does it chronologically. There are "stories" to follow up, and "stories" to be forgotten. The art of American media manipulation is the logic of what to see and what not to see. In some cases it is simply the same Soviet method for a different reason. In Moscow TV would report on the Kremlin for the sake of reinforcing daily propaganda pressure, on American TV the news from the White House is serving the purpose of taking the place of other news. The slot is not vacant anymore. Bingo! In many cases the White House itself acts only on this purpose to "make news" -- visits of ceremonial nature of no importance for anybody, including the visiting and visited; press-conferences to fill in the "politics" slots. Since American media can't use open coercion, it has to entertain. The celebrity concept serves this method of distraction through entertainment. Entertainment is never critical or analytical. The rumor, the scandal, the accident -- they are not in the field of ideas. There're intellectually neutral. Here we go -- the reporting!
4. Is TV a communication? Only as a technology. I remember myself coming of age of boyhood, coming home at night and seeing a blue light almost in every window. TV sets replaced the fireplaces (home), the icons (god), the parents (authority). Television is a new structure of day and night, days of the week, seasons. It's our social, real time we live in. Maybe it's based on principles of communication but in fact television is our environment. Does sun "communicate" with us in the morning? Well, that was how they thought at the times of magical pre-history. That how children see it.
5. Before coming to this country I never could imagine that weather could be a constant source of news-making. I never saw "weather man" on tv screen. On Soviet TV Moscow weather was in numbers (to inform) before the end of evening broadcast, the last on the list of priorities. (They didn't know how to make weather into a propaganda item and couldn't use the entertainment concept). Is American weather so unpredictable? Is the North American continent a zone of natural disasters? Do I need to know about a flood in Oregon, a tornado in Texas, snow in Maine? Something has to be news in weather, if not nationally, then internationally. It was known long before TV that only people who have no subject in common, strangers with nothing to talk about, talk about weather. Media does it for us. Hello, the news spot is not empty anymore! We have a piece of "news" which is ideologically neutral and entertaining (disaster).
6. On every local TV station you can see this ideological "troika" of American ministry of culture -- anchor person, weather man (only on occasion a woman), and -- sports guy. (This composition is not politically correct, too male dominated, and since "sports guy" has to be "guy"; we balance his with anchor woman).
7. Sport is not the American national pastime, it's an American disease. There's an enormous industry developed to provide sport news for media. The sport machine has to produce material for media news in big numbers. In addition to "traditional" giants of American ideology of entertainment (football, baseball, basketball, hockey) we are getting more and more of new establishments -- golf, for instance (Americans are an aging nation. Soon there will be sports of nursing homes).
8. Only one in this trio has anything to do with actual (not manipulated or produced news) -- the anchor personality. Is s/he a journalist? All networks want us to believe it. You would hear this magic "reporting" -- and! you would see another face (another "reporter" on location), let's say, standing in front of something (location). Why do I need to see this face instead of actual news footage? First, credibility factor, Peter introducing John (through their connection I was upgraded and whatever is reported is upgraded in importance). John and Peter are recognizable (celebrity factor; hello, we know them, nice to see you), they're a part of news (instead of news). They are reporting on each other. They are even in exchanging engagement of questions-answers to each other which I'm privileged to watch (you see, nothing is fixed or doctored, nothing is cooked), but I wonder, why should I trust them? Do I need to be reassured that everything is "true" and "real"? Such games make me suspicious. My common sense tells me that good improv must be rehearsed, that they are in constant communication, and every time they say "Good night, Jim" I'm thinking that after the show is over they are not leaving the studio without the follow up on the program. Well, performance is acting, a pretence.
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FOOTNOTE (ALMOST PERSONAL): OH, SWEET SLAVERY!Pleasures of being an idiot. Idea of a parasite is very much in place in paradise. Living of power (imitation of the aristocrat past) = living of knowledge (information). Relaxing = dis-concentrating myself. Looking down on others. Bonding with the world. Spectator is always is a position of passive (non-active) participant (silly place). My given circumstances: stupid. Because the size of any tv audience is enormous. The bigger the crowd the easier message must be (TV event has to have qualities of a natural disaster). "Public is stupid" (Pushkin), it's a given. Pleasures of idiocy include the role of a hypocrite (I have to deny that I'm an idiot). Who is a fool?The mass-man regards himself as perfect. The select man, in order to regard himself so, needs to be specially vain, and the belief in his perfection is not united with him consubstantially, it is not ingenuous, but arises from his vanity, and even for himself has a fictitious, imaginary, problematic character, Hence the vain man stands in need of others, he seeks in them support for the idea that he wishes to have of himself. So that not even in this diseased state, not even when blinded by vanity, does the "noble" man succeed in feeling himself as in truth complete. Contrariwise, it never occurs to the mediocre man of our days, to the New Adam, to doubt of his own plenitude. His self-confidence is, like Adam's, paradisiacal. The innate hermetism of his soul is an obstacle to the necessary condition for his discovery of his insufficiency, namely: a comparison of himself with other beings. To compare himself would mean to go out of himself for a moment and to transfer himself to his neighbor. But the mediocre soul is incapable of transmigrations -- the supreme form of sport. We find ourselves, then, met with the same difference that eternally exists between the fool and the man of sense. The latter is constantly catching himself within an inch of being a fool; hence he makes an effort to escape from the imminent folly, and in that effort lies his intelligence. The fool, on the other hand, does not suspect himself; he thinks himself the most prudent of men, hence the enviable tranquillity with which the fool settles down, installs himself in his own folly. Like those insects which it is impossible to extract from the orifice they inhabit, there is no way of dislodging the fool from his folly, to take him away for a while from his blind state, and to force him to contrast his own dull vision with other keener forms of sight. The fool is a fool for life; he is devoid of pores. This is why Anatole France said that the fool is much worse than the knave, for the knave does take a rest sometimes, the fool never.* [G VII]
Also, SELF-HUMILIATION: a basic need for intellectual protection. Self-pity. Garbage is borne from repackaging, the image (cover) is removed (product is to be used). The Soviet society knew no packaging for products. Only for ideas. Packaging is an idea. That is what made me purchase the product (often -- media --there's only a package with no product). Used idea has no value anymore (or the media this idea was delivered by?) We consider "tabloid" tv to be a trash (popular to the extreme) culture in order to protect our integrity. ("We are better than that!") We have to look down on ourselves, "playing" humility. We have to distance ourselves from our own image. This is our defence. Even if don't watch tabloid tv, it watches you! It wants you and one day you will be forced to face your 30 seconds world fame. Smile, you are on a screen!
(Some silly thoughts at the cash machine, looking at the surveillance camera. In addition to some previous ideas borne while throwing the trash at the garbage damp).
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WORKS CITED:[BT] _Bakhtinian Thought_ by Simon Dentith Routledge NY 1995 (RW) M. M. Bakhtin. _Rabelais and His World_. translated by Helene Iswolsky (Indiana University Press 84).
 _Cinema, Capital of the Twentieth Century_ by Jonathan L. Beller _Postmodern Culture_ v.4 n.3
 ibid. 54
 _Biding Spectacular Time_, by A.H.S. Boy. _Postmodern Culture_ v. 6. n.2. Jan. 1996.
[G] Ortega Y Gassett. _The Revolt of the Masses_.
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What else do you expect when you enter eternity?
Did I say "notes"? What notes? Everything you read was nothing but notes.
I watched "Romeo & Juliet" (1996) with the high-schoolers. Shakespare could be sold to them in TV packaging. They don't know why they like, they don't understanding that the radical statement of excluding love from reality is their own feelings. They protest that "love kills" is what they think about love. They have double-side track mind what makes Americans in such well reknown hypocrits. Of course, the slave's mind must be contradictive in order to mantain the slave's position. Freedom starts and ends with the freedom to think, understand, ask...
The are conditioned, domesticated. That's why education is public (by the government) and long (two decades). It is a deliberate system of killing their minds and, if they brain-dead at fifteen, it is unlikely that they will ever recover. Thye need it in order to function as adult, to make life berable. Their sensitivity must be reduced and the only way to get rid of personal (their own) feelings is to replace it with the tabloid-emotions. "Habits are second nature" -- they get used to it, the way they learn how to speak. What is their "real" feelings? Who knows? They will go through life without ever having their own life. They will into confusions and conflicts with themselves (because they still have something resembling a soul), but they will seek help outside... and we know how they will cured.
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