Tuesday, February 16, 2010

#2: Faster than a speeding bullet; Wed. Section

"An event as an irruption of raw facticity into the news, for which a story is not ready to hand." (Wark, 265)
I found Wark's article "The Weird Global Media Event and the Tactical Intellectual" riveting. I'm pretty fascinated about the conception of "time," especially in regard to the idea that "news media ticks over at a faster rate than scholarship" (265).

I think the Challenger explosion is a pretty good example of this, though I do hesitate to call it a "global" event. In contrast to the 9/11 footage, the news reporters clearly had a script ready to discuss the lift-off, and had certain "protocols" that they followed as the Challenger went though the sky -- talking about certain numerical measures such as velocity. However, once the explosion happens (in the following youtube video) at 1:38... the reporters fail to respond to the explosion until 2:01 -- a whole 23 seconds.

I guess I find this really interesting because Wark states,
"Events always irrupt into the news as if in the middle. News responds by speculating on the beginning point for the story. As the narrative arc of the event is unknown or unstable, wise old white haired gentlemen are recruited to provide a speculative trajectory, a template, which might serve to reduce the event to some familiar variant on common stock of stories" (266).
And in this situation, I think that the beginning was already known and the shock was that no one (expect probably a few engineers) expected The Challengers just to blow up... nevermind on national television. So I want to challenge Wark's idea that these events need to irrupt into the news as if in the middle... or that it is even depicted as in medias res.

A couple of things that I would like to discuss in section is:

1) The formation of "Wedom" and "Theydom" -- What's at stake here? And especially unpacking this quote:
"The weird global media event is more than an anomaly in the "normal" functioning of culture; it is the moment which disrupts its normal functioning, and in the wake of which a new norm will be created" (268)

Does this mean "we"/"media" always creates the idea of Wedom and Theydom when a "weird global media event" presents itself? 9/11 is certainly an example of this. What are some others? How does this manifest itself in the "theydom" societies?

2) Continuing with the theme of "the pleasure of forgetting" and this idea of deletion/transience: What do people think about the really graphic image of people jumping out of the towers. I am really obsessed with this image and the implications/reasons behind the editing this out. Wark writes:
"As September 11 unfolded, the hallowed ground bled into the profane domain -- of media. One keeps the sense of what it means to be in public life as opposed to private life by keeping them spatially separate. The horror of bodies jumping from the towers -- a rare image, quickly edited out -- has a layer to it which draws on the horror on the separate and excluded part reappearing in the everyday sphere of 'normality'" (272).
Does death now implicate private? Why was this edited? Does this play into the Foucault's theories about disciplinary societies and societies of sovereignty? Maybe not, and maybe I'm just disturbingly mesmerized by this image of "bodies jumping from the towers."

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