Monthly Archives: May 2009

1984 and mass media

is amazing. utterly amazing.  it is moving and beautiful and multiplicitous. it make you want to live life on the edge, to embrace science and art and love and sex and sensuality and reject all the hatred and mindless conformity. it of course takes a fascist, “big brother” (aaah, where the silly show comes from) vision to the utmost extreme but its chilling sometimes how you can see our world dissolving into that. i don’t actually think it will, but it brings up many important ideas of freedom (at least in my mind). does our increasing technology make us more or less free? will privacy one day be a thing of the past because of the internet? does the internet itself make us more or less free? we are free to speak, free to browse (generally), free to become different people- but as our lives are increasingly transferred to the virtual world, are we losing the freedom of privacy? are we becoming, in a round about way, a collectist society, a communal one, where everything is shared? are we becoming more or less stratified as a society because of our technological advances (are they by nature egalitarian? it is certainly arguable they allow a greater distribution or knowledge, and allow a more diverse number of voices to be heard, yet the digital divide is undeniable: only about a 5th of the world’s population have access to the internet).

we recently had a lecture in understanding communication about the media. it was really fascinating! it was actually titled “cultural industries and media in society” and focused on the concept of mass media: its development, its nature, and its imminent destruction (perhaps). mass media is characterised by it’s one-way, top-down nature, as well as the idea that it is mediated and censored by the “gate keepers” of knowledge. the name is somewhat of a misnomer: it is only ‘mass’ in the sense that it reaches a mass audience; by the later 20th Century, 5 corporations were dominating publishing and broadcasting knowledge worldwide (Bardikian, 2004). because it is institutionalised, and because it is specifically created to appease audiences (existing within a competitive capitalist market) it often has a certain ideological or economic slant which it imposes (as there is no interactivity) on the viewer. mass media tends to reinforce dominant ideologies and discourses and rarely challenges them.

but is the age of mass media coming to an end? or more appropriately, is the name taking on a new dimension? we are living in the age of user created content; particularly via the internet. we are living in an interactie age; we are no longer a largely passive and inert audience, we are a critical and creative one. the internet allows an outlet for ‘indy’ media, alternative viewpoints; it allows me to write this spiel! mass media now is about connectivity, collectivity, collaboration, communication, community, content and conversation. before , we were forced into a mass, passive consciousness because of limited channels of information. now our sources of potential information are a lot more diverse, so we have more a fragmented audience. this is the potential of the end of mass media: or at least a demonstration that old-style mass media doesn’t have to be the norm. we can be both consumers and producers.

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and just a non-sequiter line from 1984, p. 843 (its a book of all of orwell’s novels):

“But if the object was not to stay alive but to stay human, what difference did it ultimately make? They could not alter your feelings: for that matter you could not alter them yourself, even if you wanted to. They could lay bare in the utmost detail everything you have done or said or thought; but the inner heart, whose workings were mysterious even to yourself, remained impregnable.”

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kill all the boys with their fucked up noise

i am one of those people who attract complications. intense feelings (because you will never meet anyone as intense as i am) of passion, of hurt. heartbreak. the overwhelming majority is my own nature; a nature by far too sensitive, too fragile, too inclined to loving and hurt, too intense, too desperate, too romantic, too afraid of being alone… too afraid of a cold and lonely winter.

i live in my own world in a sense. i live simultaneously in the past and the future and the present; i live to make memories, good and bad. i live to create experiences, experience that can become a vast resevoir from which to funnel my creativity. i am terrified of mediocrity. i intend to live, and hell, do so now to degrees, always alert, always creating, always loving, always hurting, always reflecting. i want to live a thousand lives in the single one i have. i want to travel the world, i crave adventure.

hell, i thrive on complications.

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“psychic hearts”, originally by thurston moore (from sonic youth) but covered so beautifully by cat power, is one of those songs that i always listen to when i’m upset. it has this bizarre effect of pacifying me, there’s some abstract comfort. cat power’s voice is so raw and passionate, and the lyrics (which i know off by heart) spin a fucked up romance i just adore. there is always something in the song i relate to on some visceral level (save the bits about the parents- mine are wonderful!)

particularly the ‘sadness is and sadness was…’ stanza. always gets me!

i think its power lies in not just my own direct experiences, that i can relate to this, but the intense desire i have to find someone who can also relate. some boy who could sing this, as both the mixed up kid it refers to, and the one who recongises how valuable it is to have felt those raw emotions, and who is sensitive and loving. empathy naturally comes to those whose emotions and passions run deep.

and the last stanza? is amongst my favourite words ever sung. and will always apply to everyone who has ever come through my life, for better or worse. my family, my best friends, my friends, my (ex-)lovers (also in the ‘we never even kissed but my god i liked you’ sense)… it will always apply to them.
I know you have a fucked up life
Growing up in a stupid town
Your mother was a mixed-up jerk
And your father he just fucked around

A little too much for his own good
I’d kill the bastard if I could
I’d kill all the boys with their fucked up noise
And all the bullshit they seem to enjoy

Kids in school
Call you slut
Nothing but
What the fuck are they into
Stupid fools
Losers assholes suck all the luck
Out of the world the world with you
If I can get it back to you I will
Kick their asses all over town
All over town I’ll turn it over

I don’t even know you that well
What the hell summer spell

What’s it like
Goin’ out
No-one knows what you’re about
Abused and used and cut in two
By hollow man that have nothing to do

Laugh all the time try to get high
And try to hide behind the lie

They fucked your head up
That’s for sure
Your heart is ripped now wrapped in fur
But you know that sex is pretty insane
And magic seems to kill the pain
And the things that go on inside your brain
Makes you seem to think that you’re to blame
Don’t think about it
Grow it out
Love em all and say it loud
Fight the scumbags that slap you around
Scream your crazy lost and found
We don’t have to tell you what is right
We have all the faith it was not right

Sadness is and sadness was
And sadness will always be because
Comfort comes around from the strangest of men

I got no time for sad songs baby
Don’t need you to say I’m crazy
Stick your tongue and you look at me
And I will bite it off you see
Push you down onto your knees
Do you laugh away your sleaze?

You’re not the only girl in town
But you’re the only one that’s got me down
Psychic hearts go out to you
Psychic heart go round to you

My prayer to you
Is that you do all the things you set out to do
And live your life the way you love
But will you remember one thing for me?
I will always love you
I will always love you

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