Sunday, July 22, 2007

The Svengali Paradox

Sara, blogging on Corrente has excavated a lump of complete, Holesale Asshattery by some smug, smoothly bejowled pundit from Seattle--Sean Connelly by name--and his 'gracious' remarks on the occasion of Howard Dean's withdrawal from the '04 campaign, having been hounded ("screamed") thither by the "SCUM" for having had the effrontery to say he'd "investigate" dangerously increasing media concentration.

So Connelly's one of the 'victors' here. But he's on the defensive. It is instructive to read Connely's strategy: his first line of defense repeats the same 'blaming-the-messenger' meme that --along with the famous "well-if-BOTH-sides-hate-us" routine--is the favorite resort of the powerful in the press desperately avoiding the responsibility for their authority and influence.

This is illustrative of what I call the "Svengali Paradox": The media must be influential, and must actively work to install and fix popular attitudes for them to be useful to the consumerist/capitalist/corpoRat clients who pay their bills. The arrangements keep literally hundreds and hundreds of billions of dollars in circulation, fattening pockets and prospecti of everyone in on the deal. What the C/C/C pay for is the souls of the people.

In this service, the media have perfected--over the last nealy 100 years; roughly since Hearst invented 'objectivity', and with the invaluable help of Freud's favorite nephew, Edouard Bernays--techniques, now, with the aid of computer-generated imagery, to practice their ultimate skills: to craft with utter certainty the semiotic double-barreled image/message by which, even if momentarily, to reliably capture and bend the attention of their prey; to freeze them, and acquire them, harvested by the images no less efficiently than the buffalo were brought to market in their millions by the repeating rifle.

If you asked them, most Americans resoundingly would reject the notion that they are "subjects"--in the literal sense, their subjectivity shaped and formed by elite, oligarchic propaganda machineries of great subtlety, persuasiveness, and ubiquity. Most Americans do NOT believe advertizing is propaganda; and one can have career-altering/ending discussions on the subject with tenured members of various 'journalism' faculties all over the country whose sole shreds of integrity depend on the maintenance of that charade.

(Does ranch-bred game know its not "free?"
Well, it roams about pretty much would it know, being ranch raised, that fences aren't "natural."
til it gets shot, processed, packaged, and et....)

Show me someone who believes there is an objective difference between Dial and Zest, Ford and Chevy, Heintz/Hunts, less-filling/more-taste, whatever, and I will introduce you to a thoroughly socialized, domesticated 'consumer': bought and sold, over and over, and all the while, as docile as chickens in a box.

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