Sunday, November 02, 2008

Dear students. First a film. NETWORK with Faye Dunaway, William Holden, Peter Finch and Robert Duvall on television. It is being sold for less than 4 pounds by and it has full English subtitles for those who need them. The subject is the freedom of conscious thinking in frtont of TV mediatic manipulation.

My Review on my Myspace blog and on various Amazon sites:

A film for the night before election day
Current mood: enthralled
Category: Movies, TV, Celebrities


I discovered that film by accident, the accident of boxing day's sales on They are selling them by the pound before the great triumphant arrival of universal bluerays. And I was amazed at the fine discourse on TV as a globalized and globalizing tool to shape the consciousness of people into some kind of individualized consensual agreement on basic principles. It is clear two days before election day that television will have played an enormous role. Yet there are two unknown and untested parameters on the table: for one the role and power of the Internet and for two the role and power of the door to door canvassing that aims at bringing people out to register and then to vote. No one can say today, tonight, what the effect of these two elements will be on Tuesday. There is no crystal ball in the monitor of my computer nor in the modem of my connection. But here is the review of that phenomenal film.


It could have been a great film. It had all it needed to be a masterpiece. It debunked the old traditional boring television of our great grand parents, that television that was speaking all the time in order to bring us the truth, to teach us the true truth, to make us believe every word they said was absolutely inspiring and we had to be thankful and grateful for this new medium to be so effective in teaching us, in lifting us out of our ignorance. They treated television as a super book, an encyclopedia and they had not understood the slightest smallest element of what this medium was. They had not read Marshall McLuhan and when they had heard of him they thought he was trite, insignificant and purely ranting and raving. And they were going to learn the power of this medium the hard way. One day, by accident, due to the neurotic caprice of one of the team, they discover the tremendous power it has on the imagination and on the behavior of people. People believed the antic as if it were true, absolutely true because it was live and unexpected, hence true since un-programmed. And the newer generation ran into the opening and they invented that television that immerse you into live reality through purely virtual and fake images, even when they are really live, because the camera is a processor, an intermediary eye that gives you what they want you to see and the objective is to make you feel happy, serene, or even angry but with the serenity of the certitude that you are not alone and that everyone is as angry as you are, and that you cannot stand reality any more and that this is absolutely justified since millions of people are feeling the same way as you at the very same moment. Television is not supposed to make you think but only to make you feel part of a vaster reality, of a large vital movement. And that's where the film becomes bad because it seems to follow the idea the older generation is airing at the younger one that this television is shutting everyone onto themselves, separating them from all others, individualizing them into absolute isolation. False, false, false again and again. This new television is soaking you individually into the images of the reality the way this TV wants you to see it, but that is only part of the business. You accept this experience of being dipped and at times thrown or drowned into the boiling maelstrom of violence, war, crime, horror, etc, because you know you are not alone, because it gives you the sense of belonging to a vast mass of people and the possibility to share that common experience with them all tomorrow morning without even having to tell about it. One word will be enough to bring that never directly experienced community back to the subconscious mind of the millions of people who have watched the same show. News is not about truth or about teaching. News is show business, news is emotional and even psycho-dramatic sensations, an experience in surrogate horror, both liberating (cathartic the older ones would have said) and enslaving the proud isolated individual you do feel you are becoming with all that television to the crowd of viewers. And all that is of a commercial nature. The ratings are supposed to bring in advertising and money and when the sensation that started it all does not work anymore because the man, the guru, the anchorman, the preacher does not understand that he cannot start telling people they are living in a dictatorship, even and especially if it is true, you have to get rid of him. The end is quite simple-minded: kill him with guns and bullets. Television can kill someone in so many other ways that are symbolical, mediatic, bloodless but just as effective, efficacious and even cruelly efficient. And the producer of the film knew from scratch all that truth indeed since this producer, Ted Turner, had been refused by the CBS and was in the process of creating the CNN, the acme of reality news and reality television only dealing with the real world and bringing the millions of people of its globalized audience a predigested vision that was only targeting at homogenizing the mediatic mind-formatting experience and consciousness of the world. Virtual reality is the true reality, and that is the very power of this medium that we cannot deny nor reduce to something else, even if teaching real ideas and arguments. Television is an all-sensorial experience building device for individuals who want to belong to a consensual mass.

Dr Jacques COULARDEAU, University Paris Dauphine, University Paris 1 Pantheon Sorbonne & University Versailles Saint Quentin en Yvelines

Have a good night



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