Public park an invaluable organ of a town essay

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Public park an invaluable organ of a town essay

It is a postmodern commonplace that our lives are intimately and inextricably bound up in the TV experience. Ninety-eight percent of all American households — more than have indoor plumbing — have at least one television, which is on seven hours a day, on the average.

Media prospector Bill McKibben wonders about the exchange value of such information: We also live at a moment of deep ignorance, when vital knowledge that humans have always possessed about who we are and where we live seems beyond our reach.

An age of missing information. The effects of television are most deleterious in the realms of journalism and politics; in both spheres, TV has reduced discourse to photo ops and sound bites, asserting the hegemony of image over language, emotion over intellect.

These developments are bodied forth in Ronald Reagan, a TV conjuration who for eight years held the news media, and thus the American public, spellbound. Deaver, Gergen and their colleagues effectively rewrote the rules of presidential image-making.

Their objective was not simply to tame the press but to transform it into an unwitting mouthpiece of the government. During the Reagan years, America was transformed into a TV democracy whose prime directive is social control through the fabrication and manipulation of images.

Throughout the war, the American people demanded the right not to know. A poll cited in The New York Times was particularly distressing: Her testimony was never substantiated, and her identity — she was the daughter of the Kuwaiti ambassador to the U.

Everybody watches it, but no one really likes it. This is the open secret of TV today.

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Its only champions are its own executives, the advertisers who exploit it, and a compromised network of academic boosters. Otherwise, TV has no spontaneous defenders, because there is almost nothing in it to defend.

This techno-voodoo rite constitutes the symbolic obliteration of a one-way information pipeline that only transmits, never receives. It is an act of sympathetic magic performed in the name of all who are obliged to peer at the world through peepholes owned by multinational conglomerates for whom the profit margin is the bottom line.

But…if this bright kaleidoscope suddenly disappeared and was replaced by the corporate colophons of those who own this output, the collage would go gray with the names of the few multinationals that now command the field. In his watershed work, The Media Monopoly, Bagdikian reports that the number of transnational media giants has dropped to 23 and is rapidly shrinking.

Following another vector, Herbert Schiller considers the interlocked issues of privatized information and limited access: The commercialization of information, its private acquisition and sale, has become a major industry.

Lee and Norman Solomon level another, equally disturbing charge: In an era of network news cutbacks and staff layoffs, many reporters are reluctant to pursue stories they know will upset management.

Public park an invaluable organ of a town essay

More recent is the notion that the public mind is being colonized by corporate phantasms — wraithlike images of power and desire that haunt our dreams. Consider the observations of Neal Gabler: Everywhere the fabricated, the inauthentic and the theatrical have gradually driven out the natural, the genuine and the spontaneous until there is no distinction between real life and stagecraft.

In fact, one could argue that the theatricalization of American life is the major cultural transformation of this century. We can no longer do anything without wanting to see it immediately on video…There is never any longer an event or a person who acts for himself, in himself.

The direction of events and of people is to be reproduced into image, to be doubled in the image of television. In circulation are images. The territory demarcated by Gabler and Blonsky, lush with fictions yet strangely barren, has been mapped in detail by the philosopher Jean Baudrillard.

Moreover, he argues, signs that once pointed toward distant realities now refer only to themselves. A, which depicts the sort of idyllic, turn-of-the-century burg that exists only in Norman Rockwell paintings and MGM backlots, is a textbook example of self-referential simulation, a painstaking replica of something that never was.

In America, factory capitalism has been superseded by an information economy characterized by the reduction of labor to the manipulation, on computers, of symbols that stand in for the manufacturing process.

The engines of industrial production have slowed, yielding to a phantasmagoric capitalism that produces intangible commodities — Hollywood blockbusters, television sit-coms, catchphrases, jingles, buzzwords, images, one-minute megatrends, financial transactions flickering through fiberoptic bundles.

Why did this block occur?

Our wars are Nintendo wars, fought with camera-equipped smart bombs that marry cinema and weaponry in a television that kills.

In virtual reality, the television swallows the viewer, headfirst. Culture Jamming Meanwhile, the question remains: How to box with shadows? In other words, what shape does an engaged politics assume in an empire of signs?

Culture jammers answer to that name. Culture jamming, by contrast, is directed against an ever more intrusive, instrumental technoculture whose operant mode is the manufacture of consent through the manipulation of symbols.

The studio for the cultural jammer is the world at large.The History of Winthrop Massachusetts by William H. Clark. Winthrop Centennial Committee Winthrop, Massachusetts Note: THE author desires to express appreciation for the kindness of many people who have cooperated in preparing this history.

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Public park an invaluable organ of a town essay
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