Sunday, February 22, 2009

Lei's questions for week 6

(1) “Transfer of a message is complete only when the message is received, or retained, or memorized. But journalists today are confronted by a readership of ‘zappers’, picking a sentence apart in bits and pieces, consuming not so much ideas, interpretations, arguments and analyses, as (in the currently fashionable terms) ‘sound bites’.” (Bauman)

Is this examination echoes McLuhan’s medium is message? In this case, is that the media habits cultivated by internet technology could even influence the habits of reading traditional newspaper? In terms of medium is message, is that “dominating” medium is message?

(2) “I even suspect it may be dangerous in the long run: it gives people who are engaged, committed, wishing to change something important in the world, an illusion of action. It is though, I suspect, not an action (certainly not an effective one), but a substitute of action. ‘I signed a petition. I contacted 200 other bloggers. I am active.’ There was no shortage of Internet petitions objecting to the folly and cruelty of Iraq invasion . . . And yet the politicians could ignore all that and send troops to kill and die nevertheless.’’(Bauman)”

One of the advantages of interactive technology today is that they can mobilize people in various places, influencing public opinion or even decision making. But it seems that Bauman saw this “advantage” as just “illusion of action”. My question is: If there are consistent anti-war opinions gathered in the internet, is it a counter example of “liquid modern society”?

“For if we penetrate the object, we liberate it but we destroy it; and if we acknowledge its full weight, we respect it, but we restore it to a state which is still mystified. It would seem that we are condemned for some time yet always to speak excessively about reality. “(p106)

“The effects of technology do not occur at the level of opinions or concepts, but alter sense ratios or patterns of perception steadily and without any resistance. “(p114)

“When analyzing the spectacle on speaks, to some extent, the language of the spectacular itself in the sense that one moves through the methodological terrain of the very society which expresses itself in the spectacle. “(p118)

In these three paragraphs, Barthes, McLuhan and Debord all addressed some pessimism in terms of media culture, though from different perspective and extents. I know it is dialectical to speculate on concepts such as demystification vs. re-mystification. But it seems that in this certain world, it is hard for us to change anything due to the myth rules, the certain technology and spectacular feature. My questions are:

(3)We are always constructed by the culture. And myth construction is based on the culture. Therefore, every time we are going to demystify some objects, we run the risk mystifying the objects again in which case we don't even notice. How can we handle mystification and demystification? Is there “good” myth and “bad” myth?

(4) In terms of medium is message, I feel it convincing that in the certain era with certain media technology, our perception and our thinking are largely restricted. But is it true that we can do nothing in terms of certain technology? For example, if TV determines that we percept based on image rather logical thinking, does it means that any alternative production or anti-viewing could not change TV’s medium message?

(5)By the same token, how can we overcome the obstacle in which we can only use spectacular language to analyze spectacle?

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