From: Jonathan Marlow (email suppressed)
Date: Wed Mar 04 2009 - 12:00:19 PST
> *To extend the metaphor, if everyone talks at the same time, no one can
For more on this particular topic, I would recommend George Saunders' essay
*The Braindead Megaphone* (available in his book-of-the-same-name).
I hope that you're wrong, too. However, based on present evidence, I suspect
that you're quite right.
-- Jonathan Marlow
SAN FRANCISCO CINEMATHEQUE | 145 Ninth St. Suite 240 San Francisco,
In your arguments defense, I believe that digital projection theaters often
> do get the file, or information or whatever right through digital networks.
> That said, this format hasn't been very successful, as of yet.
> I certainly didn't mean to suggest that nothing good could come from
> digital art, or online videos, or blogs, or anything, just that it's a
> medium that seems set up in a way to neutralize anything powerful or
> personal because of the overwhelming amount of noise, and the way people
> have to adapt to look at/think about this noise. Blogs and online videos
> can move people, but I suspect that the same words in a blog format would
> have a harder time moving people than if they were in a book format, because
> of the way people approach digital media. More importantly, people expect
> brevity online, and if people are expected to converse in soundbites, people
> who don't have a lot of trouble. It's the same reason that very smart,
> lucid people get torn to bits on radio talk shows or the Bill O'Reilly show
> or whatever. Even if you make better, more logical points, the medium
> stacks the deck against you.
> Furthermore, the mainstream media seems to have done a better job adapting
> to this medium as any subversive artists or radicals or whatever. "Viral
> advertisement campaigns" have worked awfully well. For every flashmob
> against Scientology, there's a million cryptic websites telling you to tune
> into Lost, or buy Sprite, or go see Cloverfield.
> I'm not saying there can't be any value, I'm just wary of a lot of people's
> rush to accept it as a tool to give everyone a voice. To extend the
> metaphor, if everyone talks at the same time, no one can hear anything. I
> suspect that, when all is said and done, it's going to be a much better tool
> for the mainstream than for the radicals and artists and whoever else. It
> seems like a more effective tool for segmentation and homogenization than
> for democracy and artistic expression; a big sloppy network for people to
> get lost staring at their navels and for powerful messages to get drowned
> out in the cacophony.
> I hope I'm wrong.
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