the end of mass media


“Why must we drop the chalupa?”
-quote from Jason Sheets

The end of mass media (a media strategy).

You can almost picture the special programs – full blowout news coverage on every channel, computer animated intros with lots of dramatic whooshing and crashing sounds and various icons flying at you, interviews with all the famous movie stars and politicians and sports celebrities. And for the end, a sappy long good bye with music by celine dione or someone and various snippets of slow motion crying and laughing. (It always did amaze me how they could have one of these cheesy videos incorporating even the last game of the world series made and played as soon as the last game is over.)

Everyone can cry and lament the passing of this great shared mass culture. Advertisers will come on and explain how worried they are and how they just dont think they will make any money any more but since it is for the best, they will go along with it. The genX’ers will all whine about the good ol’ days when they could all get together with anyone and have something in common with them – their amazed love and awe of Seinfeld. Religious leaders will talk about the death of absolute truth and social responsibility and how great newspapers were.

Think about it – if one celebrities death (a princess or former football star) is worth so many billions of dollars to the media industry, think how many trillions they could make by staging their own death. (Coca-cola already did this trick of staging its own death when it introduced the ‘new’ coke. They got advertising beyond what you could pay for through the news, word of mouth, special programs. All by pretending to be idiots. All by removing their product. And then the triumphant return of coca-cola ‘classic’. One of the greatest media scams ever.)

Where has the media gone? It used to cost X dollars to get a certain candy eaten by ET, or a certain car driven by James Bond, certain toys with the happy meal. It costs more to get jeans with an advertisement sewn into them than jeans without an advertisement sen into them.

But now it is time for a customizable environment. The user designs the product. The user chooses the media s/he wants to experience. Now it is about the possibilities that are offered by a certain company. One stop shopping allows more possibilities because of the inter-relations within. Now we can get insurance from our bank. (A big thanks to congress for clearing the way for mega-corporations like we’ve never seen before so that the United States can expand its international monopoly of money transactions through the sale of stocks, insurance, loans, etc. through goliath banks with more money than almost any countries GNP) Through product personalization we have the ability to purchase our self. The media absorbs into the interface. The media plays dead. The media pretends to be transparent, neutral, a tool merely, better yet, an aid.

“The search engines can occupy such a central position only because they are assumed to be neutral in a certain way. Offering a service as opposed to content, they appear as neutral mediators. Is the mediator in fact neutral?… the less resistance offered by the access system, the more neutral, transparent, and weightless it seems, and the more plausible appears the suspicion that it cannot be a question of the nature of a thing, but of a naturalization strategy.” (Harmut Winkler, Subject: Search Engines: Metamedia on the Internet?, Readme!

* Demographic Summary
* AltaVista users are an upscale and educated audience who make more purchases online.
* -86% of all users have attended college, the highest of any search engine.
* -AltaVista households have an average income of $64,000
AltaVista User Profile

“ ranks query responses by how much a company is willing to pay to have its listing posted, with the highest placement going to the highest bidder.” GoTo Searches With a Capitalist Engine (Wired)

The media creates an entire world of media and does not call it media. Everyone is invited to join in the utopic world of language and entertainment where ‘anything goes’. So long as it does not end in action outside of this language world of non-action. Media sets up a sandbox. Like they did for “the rebel” with James Dean. Like they did for the political acitivists of the 60’s. Like they did for all of art. By absorbing the Dadaists the media could relegate them to a desried and limited area. Activism that is held as the highest and most ethical form of political discourse in the media world is non-action activism because this can be limited and absorbed into a media world which has no risk. Free speech – not free action. This is the founding of the capitalistic political subversion. By fooling oppositions into operating within the limits of a harmless virtual world whose physical power structure increases upon usage – no matter the content. (The media runs its own ‘oppositional’ news programs on whether the media is spending too much time on the presidential scandal story.)

“To seek new blood in its own death, to renew the cycle through the mirror of crisis, negativity, and antipower: this is the only solution-alibi of every power, of every instititution attempting to break the vicious circle of its irresposibility and of its fundamental nonexistence, of its already seen and of its already dead.” (Baudrillard, Simulacra and Simulation, 19)