Monday, March 05, 2007

Media as Opiate: Internet Television, Satellite Television, IPTV...

So, here's why it won't work. People like to be told what to watch. People think, occasionally, jeeze, I'd love to see an episode of the Simpsons right now. But the waiting, the channel hopping, the yearning, is all part of the experience. How many people have massive DVD collections, but never watch them? Or have taped movies on VHS or DVD burners or whatever, but won't watch them? They are the same people who will get excited about the fact that the Godfather's on tonight, and sit in and watch it (and the ads), and get popcorn and make an event out of it, even though they have a recording with ads on VHS, an original copy of the movie on VHS, and the box set of the trilogy on DVD. The fact is that people like to be told what to watch. They like how the programming directs, and affirms their lives. The cyclical nature - see on TV, do in real life, watch on TV and smile smugly. Smugness. That's what it's all about. And, like goldfish, how quickly we forget. We see the Devil wears Prada previews on TV. We save up and buy the Prada bag (well, my wife does). Then we watch the movie when it makes it to air, and we feel smug - this movie is telling people to go out and buy what I already own.

Sheep. Stupid, woolly, opiated sheep. Happy Monday.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Europe and America

The rivets are popping, according to The Economist, in the relationship between Europe and America. The article pulls no punches. Labelling the invasion of Iraq 'bloody and incompetent', and abdicating any predilection for equivocation on the rendition scandal, it refers to 'astonishing amnesia and lazy prejudice'. Almost like something I'd write, and certainly not to be expected of the Economist. Well, we all know it's politics, but even this is going a little too far.

Question is, if all of these diabolicalisms are destroying the historical relationship between Europe and America (Sam Huntingdon would no doubt disagree), whither next? Do we re-enter a period of isolationism? That is perfectly impossible. Even China has a massive influence over Europe and America these days, to say nothing of the effect they have on each other. Modern capitalist democracies are economies first, societies second, the theory being that one pays for the infrastructure that delivers the second. Questionable philosophy, perhaps, but nevertheless exposes the nation, the country, the region to disproportionate external influence. It is the way that countries, economies and regions are organised that precludes isolationism. Even DPRK, even with its ideological differentiation, its social alternative, could not resist integration and did the deal. We're all in this together.

So if we can't hide in an isolationist shell, where do we go next? Truth is we have to get on with it, and the further truth is that we have, in fact, been getting on with it for some time.