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Logics of Television: Essays in Cultural Criticism
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Password Changed Successfully Your password has been changed. The reader of these old papers will notice that the imperatives, attractions and threats heralded in them reveal themselves as such only to the degree that they no longer directly affect him. The judgments that the newspapers imposed on him at another time can now be dismissed as hectic presumptions. In the future he will no longer so easily obey the regulations of the newspapers and their time Horkheimer's is a piece of political advice that looks forward to the suspension of coercion and to its transformation for another way of life.
In categorical terms, what are at stake here are fundamental presuppositions about the relation between the order of perception and that of cognition, including the assumption that, especially where so-called "live" broadcasting is concerned, visibility translates as cognitive availability. Accompanying that generalization and recall that what is generalized is a fantasy, a highly seductive one is an ideologization that it becomes crucial, for philosophical as well as political reasons, to resist.
Such resistance begins with recalling the medium in its difference not only from other media, but from itself.
When we forget the specificity of broadcast television in particular, what we forget is time. As Mary Ann Doane argues persuasively in her essay "Information, Crisis, Catastrophe,""Time is television's basis, its principle of structuration as well as its persistent reference. The insistence of the temporal attribute may indeed be a characteristic of all systems of imaging enabled by mechanical or electronic reproduction. At a certain point on the afternoon of October 12, , I looked up from my draft and over at the other screen, and saw that the video image of the hearings bore a caption whose variants are so familiar to viewers of broadcast news: "NBC, Live EDT.
Or rather, the crucial difference between judgment and presumption itself became readable, thinkable. Not by chance, the context was the unfolding of a drama, and specifically a trial scene, one that persisted in invoking the "truth" "Only one of them is telling the truth," intoned senators and commentators alike; "What really happened between Anita Hill and Clarence Thomas? Predictably enough, the video images of the hearings were promptly noted, sorted and glossed in print.
As a television critic for the Los Angeles Times observed, "Some of the pictures have conveyed self-contained dramas in themselves," among them the spectacle of "Senators on both sides quoting newspapers as automatic truth when it was in their best interests, then attacking newspapers when it wasn't. This returns us to what Doane, in the context of an analysis of disinformation as an abuse of broadcast television, calls the "automatic truth value associated with this mode of dissemination" , a truth value that is predicated in large part on our investments in so-called "live" television, generalized as a model and "then taken for the ground reality of television and its programs.
Another indication of this "automatic truth value" was an item reported as part of the media response to Oliver Stone's controversial film JFK: namely, a poll taken many years after the Kennedy assassination disclosed that an overwhelming number ofAmericans -- at least as many as believe the Dallas events were part of a conspiracy -- were convinced that they had seen the assassination live on television, though the Zapruder film was in a vault at Time-Life until five years later, and only available as still photographs in the interim.
The unproblematic articulation of live TV with the real and real time has its impulse in a broader realist ideology that seeks its opportunity in the failure to reflect on the medium, on the distances of space and time that characterize its structure and effects. In interrogating the medium of television, Cavell returns to his earlier attempts, in The World Viewed , "to distinguish the fact of movies from the fact of theater, on the blatant ground that in a theater the actors appear in person and in a film they do not" He recalls Andre Bazin's argument to the contrary in What is Cinema?
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This [he concludes] remains reasonably blatant, anyway unsurprising" What is perhaps surprising is Cavell's obliviousness to the temporal complexity not only of the medium, but of his own argumentation, which proceeds in large part by citing his own past formulations, preserving their syntax as he substitutes fresh terms supposed to correspond to the new instance, the new medium. Rating details.
Logics Of Television Essays In Cultural Criticism
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