Tuesday, February 02, 2010

"The Purpose Of A System Is What It Does"--Part II

People who say the USer propaganda system--the media and the schools, primarily--do not "work" often fail to apprehend the true purpose of the system.

Systems theory (and post-structuralism) teaches that "the purpose of s system is what it does."

So, if what the schools DO --measured by the lives of a vast majority of their graduates-- is mainly to intervene to train students to be reliable, unquestioning, enthusiastic 'media consumers' on the one hand, while classifiying, ranking, and organizing thoe same students in terms ONLY of their utility to the Owners, on the other, and it does so "successfully," (that is, if the Owners approve of the consequences, which they must or else they'd change things), then you cannot complain that the schools are "failing." They do, in fact, fulfill their "purpose," effectively and efficiently.

And so, if the media do nothing but spread confusion, misinformation, and seem to muddy issues rather than to clarify them, on the one hand, and serve as vehicles for the CorpoRat state's official propaganda, and the "people" not only permit but expect that great diversionary influence to wipe their minds clean every night as they fall asleep in front of the tube, it is difficult--from the structuralist/systems pov--to declare that the system is a failure, since it does what it is DESIGNED to do: to lull the witness into dull passivity.

This purpose is exemplified in the mediated ubiquity of sports and celebrity. Why the fascination with "sports"? Presenting, repeating, commenting on and critique of televised programs of a whole myriad of sports occupies the whole attention os dozens of television/cable/satellite channels. There are 128 hours in a week. You'd think even only one channel that devoted its whole attention to sports, 128 hours per week, could exhaust the news...but no. It requires DOZENS, and the associated efforts of thousands of part-time participants in these rituals.

To paraphrase Chomsky, & to be just the tiniest bit generalizing: "sports" is to the Murkin male proletariat what 'celebrity gossip" is to the Murkkin female proletariat. It gives the members of those groups a common, unifying vocabulary and grammar of ideas and symbols that is NOT threatening to the established order of things--which in fact recreates it in microcosm...

Since it is the media's purpose to reduce as much of the populace as possible to the state of a thorazine overdose, the more banal and mundane the focus of attention of the common experiences, and the louder the hype, the better...

2 comments:

Suzan said...

Kudos, Woody.

Every single word that you have written today should be cast in bronze and hung on every school door - a present day 10 Commandments-type public awareness document.

I've told my business classes (and every other student I know) exactly the same thing for over 10 years.

We reap what we sow. And, no, I'm not a cell "religion-inspired."

Thanks for putting it out there for us.

S

So, if what the schools DO --measured by the lives of a vast majority of their graduates-- is mainly to intervene to train students to be reliable, unquestioning, enthusiastic 'media consumers' on the one hand, while classifiying, ranking, and organizing thoe same students in terms ONLY of their utility to the Owners, on the other, and it does so "successfully," (that is, if the Owners approve of the consequences, which they must or else they'd change things), then you cannot complain that the schools are "failing." They do, in fact, fulfill their "purpose," effectively and efficiently.

. . . Since it is the media's purpose to reduce as much of the populace as possible to the state of a thorazine overdose, the more banal and mundane the focus of attention of the common experiences, and the louder the hype, the better...

Woody (Tokin Librul/Rogue Scholar/ Helluvafella!) said...

Thank you, Suzan...