17.9.09

Santos on Hall on Kanye, Wilson, America, and Television

While I agree with Michael Hale's general critique that Americans pay more attention to "artificial" dramas--be it Wilson's outburst on the floor of Congress or Kanye's usurpation of Taylor Swift's moment, I resist his implication that such attention can be traced back to network's desire for increased ratings. Certainly, Americans like to deal with simpler issues, and either exhorting or (in these cases) largely condemning the behavior of public figures makes for polite discussion. It also helps that these actions are by and large judicial, and have no bearing on our future. They lie comfortably in our past. However, the larger decisions, such as America's health care, are deliberative and deal with the future. There is much more at stake, and much less certainty as to what will/could be better for us all. Such decisions take a complexity of thought and depth of attention that many people, dealing with the daily struggle of family, school, work, and/or life, cannot afford to give. Television could, perhaps, nudge us toward a more involved civic life--but in giving us artifice, it is not acting against our desires, but with them.

2 comments:

Banes Tribulation said...

you kidding me? this just proves on how America has officially hit rock bottom. back in 1776 people did not have television, radio, anything entertainment-wise, so politics was their entertainment. Now for the younger generation most politics are irrelevant because it does not concern them and is for "old foggies." Honestly if anything Obama commenting on the Kanye thing might be a good way to get kids back into politics, aside from it being for all the wrong reasons to do so...

Insignificant Wrangler said...

I would ask who "people" are, since there was a far smaller literate and politically active public in 1776 than there is today. But, on the other hand, Adorno noted that free time is something of an ideological weapon. I have no issue with the president's comment, my reservations were more toward (what composition instructors will recognize as) the "society" scapegoat. "Society" isn't necessarily to blame for human evils, humans are. Here, "artificial drama" isn't strictly a television network problem, its a human problem.