Newmedia on Wed, 12 Jan 2005 17:50:20 +0100 (CET)

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Re: <nettime> Working on article about the need for a progressive press in US


> Are you saying that there is no role for a press in our society?

There is always a BIG role for media to play in our lives.  

I'm an environmentalist (as I'm sure you are, as well) and the dominant 
medium of our times is ALWAYS our environment.  

How can you fight the environment?  (Hint:  Ever hear of an 

> That the Internet has done away with the need for a press?

The dominant medium in the late 1800's was telegraph -- aka the
"global-collage" of the daily newspaper's frontpage -- and this was
enormously effective in spreading the word about seances and
white-slavery.  W.T. Stead was a historic figure of ICEBERGIAN
proportions.  Cecil Rhodes wasn't a small man either.

The dominant medium in the early 1900's was radio -- giving us both
Hitler, Stalin and Columbia University's era-defining TECHNOCRACY
movement.  Let's not forget Hadley Cantril, the Radio Research Project
and the Institute for Propaganda Analysis, James Joyce (yes, he was a
student of Stead's) . . . or Jacque Ellul, okay?

The dominant medium of the late 1900's was television -- giving us Howdy
Doody, American Bandstand and Sesame Street . . . not to mention Uncle
Walter, Rock 'n Roll and the Teletubbies.  Let's not forget Marshall
McLuhan and Frank Zappa, okay?

With the firing of Mary Mapes, the question Leslie Stall asked me about
whether the Internet would DESTROY journalism (at a Columbia Journalism
School forum circa 1998) has been definitively answered . . . yes and it
happened long ago.

> I didn't think that the role of the press has to do with
> unmanipulating opinions.

Unmanipulating?  Excellent!  Looks like we agree.  Today's environment
can neither manipulate nor unmanipulate opinions.  (Question: Then where
*do* opinions come from?  Anti-media?  UFO's?)

> This makes it possible to act in a way that can solve the problems.

We agree again!  The problems we have inherited from television like
addictions, attention disorders, obesity, post-moderism, B&D and the
general inability to play nicely with each other CAN be solved!

The modern environment -- aka medium, aka "press" -- is a suberb chance
for us all to reach out and touch someone . . . just as we're doing
right now!

> Are you saying that the Internet has made all this "obsolete"?

Of course it has!  All previous environments are now OBSOLETE -- which
means we can now turn them into ART-FORMS.

Internet-based "watchblogging" -- aka INDIE MEDIA -- is a marvelously
artistic expression . . . keep up the good work!

> Diverse views and experiences are debated in the best of the press
> experience I am aware of. 

Now, don't overdue all of this . . . DIVERSITY is a television-era
TRICK.  Are you really sure that you want "diverse" views?  Most
people's experience (under television) is of having multiple views.
Simultaneously holding four opposing views is called QUADROPHRENIA, for
instance.  This is a problem that can also be SOLVED.

Having been involved with UNDERGROUND PAPERS since the 1960's, I can
again agree with you that all this is great fun.  

Of course, you know that what you are describing is now MAINSTREAM and
therefore accepted and respectable.  Maybe you can even get a GRANT!

Have a BALL!!

Mark Stahlman
New York City

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