Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Using 'Time' for Control

Wark begins discussion by giving examples of differing time: the news story, the event, scholarship. By elaborating on the consequences of how different times can be, the reading made me think about how these different times can be used to exhibit some type of control on the observer.

The first instance that occurred to me was the news story. As Wark describes, each news story is contructed around a time: often this is introducing what is 'new', then setting up background, then telling you how this may affect some aspect of your life, ranging from extremely minor to completely relevant. The news caster uses this time because they find many un-interesting things seem interesting in this time. This 'time' is composed of timing (delivery), circumstances (background), anecdotes (humor or shock), etc. Wark elaborates that this is most notable when their time breaks down in the case of an event.

This made me think that by packaging a story in their 'time', they are controlling the message we get. As discussed in lecture, there are (at least) two models for delivering a message. However, I think the distinction is more than just opinion; Wark's reading makes me think a lot of how much of a message is 'writerly' depends on the time in which the message is given.

Think about a message that is meant to invoke sympathy or compassion. The time of such a message will be much closer to that of everyday life. The story of a hectic day will be packaged so that the audience can relate most closely; the time of this message is close to that of the memories of the audience.

This is clearly used in cinema: action films occur in a drastically different time than a romance, comedy starkly different from drama. Even between scenes, the time varies significantly as to affect and control the audience's reaction.

New media seems to be effective in that the time in which a message is transmitted can be readily controlled. By controlling the time, media can control (to some extent) the reception and interpretation of the message by the audience.

My last point is to juxtapose a classic historical text and a modern powerpoint presentation. The historical text is written so it can be read at the pace of the reader. The presentation is straight-forward and factual. This contributes to a very linearly time; in my opinion this allows for the most freedom of interpretation by the reader. On the other hand, a powerpoint has a given amount of text on each slide, and each phrase can be paced differently. The timing of each slide is also controlled. Finally, the way in which the slides are written (the attitude and tone specifically) is also molded by the writer. This together allows the time of the presentation to be particularly chosen to affect and control the interpretation by the reader.

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