Electric News Blanket

Reading:  Chapter 4, “Technologies of the Third Mediamorphosis” from Mediamorphosis: Understanding New Media by Roger Fidler (1997) ;

Fidler explores the different uses and consequences for the ever changing pace of society. He mentions the medium being a force for unifying the nation (91) but to what ends? Is creating national mass market greater than promoting a particular set of values (92)? I would like to say that American media must have some better ends than to make money, but here we are in a capitalistic/materialistic society, where some would argue that the means and ends are self-perpetuating. So, we have materialistic values, what moral good would more communication media produce if it for merely monetary gain? We have all this great innovative technology. So what do we do with it? Spend more time playing Sonic the Hedgehog.

He describes that the media, especially noted with the advent of photography that hidden truths and grand illusions play on the same stage, so to speak (94). New forms of communication inspire new forms of entertainment and leisure as well creating a conflated market place for both business and leisure to create meaning (94). Images and notably television connect us to the world in the way print could not (99), but how great is that invention if it is used to promote MTV’s real world that only seems to distort what is real?

There is no president to govern the internet and its contributors. I would say that half the stuff on the internet merely attempts to correct what others have said or to create questionable truths themselves. In an anarchistic network (103) there is no right or wrong. You can publish Proust or pornography. What are we communicating to ourselves and each other? Are we better human beings if we can sell television sets to each other?


(1)What does Texas and Maine have to say to each other?  Walden suggests in the article that the medium is not validated by the content. Are there significant benefits to the betterment of society?

(2)How does media continue to shape what is “real”?

(3)What is the good of a newspaper running a radio station? What is the good of a newspaper having a website?



One comment

  1. The tension between new organization public service obligations and its making money is a historic one. Doesn’t make our situation today feel any less stressful, though.

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