Sholto Ramsay on Sun, 28 Sep 1997 00:22:34 +0200 (MET DST)

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<nettime> Re: The User is the Content - success

I find John's critique of "success" problematic in so far as he seems to
march in another direction and excoriate entertainment media as wholly
unsucessful with a grammar equally befitting a torture chamber. the role
and all permeating quality of US media is not in doubt, but the impact
cannot be denounced as clearly as he states. terry eagleton, after he
escaped from formalism warned against determinism. John Horvarth's argument
with its dire predictions seems highly determined in so far as it positions
US mass entertainment as a (the) cause of chronic social ills. Do the many
US families beneath the poverty line suffer from apathy caused by mass
entertainment, do they even own the TVs? Doesn't mass media set off and
represent  the vertiginous,  uncontrollable experience of capitalism
>> [I had] failed to comprehend was the irony of it all [about the
>  success of the US entertainment media]
>I had not failed to note the irony; what I was questioning is what you
>regard by the term "success", which is one reason I gave a reference to
>Jeremy Seabrook's article (and which is one reason why John Perry Barlow
>thinks I'm complaining). In it he (Seabrook) argues that American media
>is not a success; it is an illusion that makes people act against their
>own interest. Yes, for the producers of this entertainment media, as
>well as those oiling the wheels of this machine, it might appear to be a
>success. But to those who have this entertainment media shoved down
>their throat, it's not. The values and images it creates makes people
>insecure, for they can never attain the levels of prosperity or glamour
>that they see before them. Furthermore, others become addicted to it
>like a drug in such a way that crime (because of the consumption
>element), political apathy, and social irresponsibility is the result.

sholto Ramsay
Head of Video and New Media
Institute of Contemporary Arts
12 carlton house terrace. london sw1 5ah uk
44 171 930 0493  fax 44 171 873 0051

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