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Andrew Reid

The medium is the message / AMUSED TO DEATH

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Some topics I am researching for a documentary at the moment...

I really like Adam Curtis on the BBC, he's made some incredible stuff. His collaboration with Massive Attack on a film with live sound track was a highlight. So was Bitter Lake. What stood out about that one, was his riff on the film Solaris... Our anamorphic LOMO favourite by Tarkovsky.

In the movie, the Russians encounter a planet which causes strange hallucinations on board the spacecraft, like the captain's dead wife appearing. As part of the research mission they notice that they can change the surface of the planet by irradiating it, not realising that all along the planet was irradiating them.

It is interesting, because at the same time the movie was made in the 1960's,  Marshall McLuhan coined the phrase "the medium is the message". Here is where things get really spooky...

McLuhan claimed that the medium itself changes and impacts society, controlling "the scale and form of human association and action". Cinema for instance, is a medium that changes the concepts of speed and time. 

From Wikipedia:

Quote

 

McLuhan understood "medium" in a broad sense. He identified the light bulb as a clear demonstration of the concept of "the medium is the message". A light bulb does not have content in the way that a newspaper has articles or a television has programs, yet it is a medium that has a social effect; that is, a light bulb enables people to create spaces during nighttime that would otherwise be enveloped by darkness. He describes the light bulb as a medium without any content. McLuhan states that "a light bulb creates an environment by its mere presence."

 

I think what's happening, is that mediums are acting as a mirror and feedback loop. The medium of TV for instance influenced the message, the content and both together influenced society, which in turn was reflected back in the medium and the content, creating a feedback loop which has resulted in our modern times being as they are... I.e. pretty fucked up.

I have realised that today's social media and the internet have created an environment in the world, by its mere presence. Just like those first few lightbulbs and the first spark of electricity.

And this environment poses a severely underestimated danger.

And at this point it is worth mentioning a book from the early 1990's about show-business...

It's called Amused To Death, by Neil Postman.

Prophetic doesn't even begin to describe it.

"TV has conditioned us to tolerate visually entertaining spoonfuls of material" it claims, to the detriment rational public discourse. This guy was a lone voice at a time nobody could see the wood for the trees. He warns that there are real and present dangers from the age of show-biz and pop-culture, that all normal people ignore because it's "just entertainment".

Now fast forward to 2019. What do we have...

We have a culture that is utterly destroying itself.

The rational opinions, intellect, long-form content, long periods of single-minded focus, are dead. They are dying in each and every one of us, not just in society at large.

We're transitioning to a global digital medium that surpasses TV in influence by far. That's social media. Even the internet in terms of websites like this could be a thing of the past in just 5 years, reduced to just a Facebook group with content measured in sentences or single phrases, and discourse measured in who can shout me down the loudest.

I'd love to know what Postman would think of this if he wrote Amused to Death today, as it makes TV make positively tame, as a force for change in society.

Just like that supernatural, dangerous planet in Solaris, we're being irradiated.

The digital world is a dangerous form of inhumane radiation, like acid rain to an old building.

Our culture is changing.

Our kids are carrying knives.

Our politicians are tweeting.

Instability is increasing.

And the music... FUCK. The music is getting REALLY SHITTY.

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1 hour ago, Andrew Reid said:

I think what's happening, is that mediums are acting as a mirror and feedback loop.

Is it not, kind sir, that, as a member of the varied sentient species with communicative skills, we are each, by our nature thus, an author? And, that, by our nature, our collective species has figured out how to increase the range of our authorship (that we choose to share it) over the course of our time here? And, from the dusted hand silhouettes on a cave wall to the daily banal tweets from a tempestuous, bloviating charlatan, has not the only true constant been the immediacy by which our authorship may be conferred?

In my lifetime's-worth of "life observations" I concur with Carl Sagan's note that, "We are a way for the cosmos to know itself." And thus, too, following in that vein then, that we are a way for us to know ourselves (your "mirror and feedback loop"). Defined, we are (and always have been) having a conversation...we are getting to know who and what we humans (and non-humans) "are".

"High time", too, as we all toy with self-inflicted global extinction...well...IMHO. Ha! ;)

-Jimmy G

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I like Carl Sagan. Clever guy. As far as the cosmos knowing itself, I don't think the cosmos can ever truly know itself, because itself changes with every passing second.

What I spoke about above doesn't need to be high-concept, if we see the world as an interconnected system and the connections between people change as new technology and systems gets introduced... It becomes a lot easier to grasp what's going on in our own lives too.

We are certainly changing as a society, that is for sure.

Did you know, in the UK... The number one job the next generation of kids aspire to is... YouTuber / Vlogger.

Scary stuff.

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1 minute ago, Andrew Reid said:

Did you know, in the UK... The number one job the next generation of kids aspire to is... YouTuber / Vlogger.

What will they talk about on their channel though?

The vast majority of the interesting YouTube content is based on people knowing something (whether it be it making films or making pies) and then sharing or showcasing that knowledge.

That knowledge is largely derived from the good old fashioned pursuit of having a hobby and I'm just not seeing that same interest in doing that from either my younger relatives or in general from their peers.

If their only hobby is watching YouTube then the whole thing is going to eat itself pretty quickly if that is the only thing they know about to make content about !

The biggest problem that the overload of short content from social media is how it aids the normalisation of actions and statements that have previously been considered far from normal because the news cycle is now as slow as the attention span.

Politicians telling bare faced lies and being woefully uninformed has now been normalised.

In a time when we all have instant access to the information to disprove the lies and/or expose their stupidity, it seems bizarre to me that they are held to account less than ever.

When that holding to account doesn't happen and the lying from public figures becomes so accepted then countries just sleep walk into disaster.

The really sinister people behind these useful idiots are using social media to not only push and shape their agenda but also exploiting its desensitising effect on user's willingness to question it.

I wish that the YouTube content that the young generation would be piling in on would be investigative documentaries exposing this stuff because they are going to have to grow up with its consequences.

Sadly, it'll probably just be the usual travelogue and ranting in a PIP over a video game bollocks though.

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The Great Hack is a must watch documentary.

This girl is very talented, in a very well-read and educated way, if you knows what I mean (I mean, exactly the opposite of the kids than answered that survey!)..

..but seriously, we lived the glorious 90s and early 00s, whats going on with the music these days?!

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1 hour ago, BTM_Pix said:

The really sinister people behind these useful idiots are using social media to not only push and shape their agenda but also exploiting its desensitising effect on user's willingness to question it.

I wish that the YouTube content that the young generation would be piling in on would be investigative documentaries exposing this stuff because they are going to have to grow up with its consequences.

Sadly, it'll probably just be the usual travelogue and ranting in a PIP over a video game bollocks though.

Whenever I feel depressed about the state of YouTube I have a laugh at Ethan's channel. One of the best at lampooning the worst of YouTube behaviour.

The medium, being a computer based algorithm, is not much cop at curating a culture.

So of course it has convinced people that fakery and lies are real... the biggest prank of all is Brexit.

It would be interesting to know which channels the young generation are aspiring to be like... Pewdiepie probably comes close to the top. Professional Fortnite players on Twitch maybe. It's not got much humanity in it... It's all very machine driven. After all, it's a machine driven medium.

Fake lives are now real lives. Fake news is now shaping the real agenda.

And in the eyes of the next generation, those pedalling the fake lives may as well be superstars.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_medium_is_the_message

Any old dated shit for an idea gets attention on YouTube if it has a hotness factor.

15 million views

Do you think next generation see themselves dicking around in posh house with a swimming pole making casual fair like this.

Do you reckon our culture is fucked?

Or am I just having an old man moment? :)

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Foreword from Amusing Ourselves To Death, 1991:

We were keeping our eye on 1984. When the year came and the prophecy didn't, thoughtful Americans sang softly in praise of themselves. The roots of liberal democracy had held. Wherever else the terror had happened, we, at least, had not been visited by Orwellian Nightmares.

But we had forgotten that alongside Orwell's dark vision, there was another - slightly older, slightly less well known, equally chilling: Aldous Huxley's Brave New World. Country to common belief even among the educated, Huxley and Orwell did not prophesy the same thing. Orwell warns that we will be overcome by an externally imposed oppression. But in Huxley's vision, no Big Brother is required to deprive people of their autonomy, maturity and history. As we saw it, people will come to love their oppression, to adore the technologies that undo their capacities to think.

What well feared were those who would ban books. What Huxley feared was that there would be no reason to ban a book, for there would be no one who wanted to read one. Orwell feared those who would deprive us of information. Huxley feared those who would give us so much that we would be reduced to passivity and egoism. Orwell feared that the truth would be concealed from us. Huxley feared that the truth would be drowned in a sea of irrelevance. Orwell feared we would become a captive culture. Huxley feared we would become a trivial culture, preoccupied with some equivalent of the feelies, the orgy porgy, and the centrifugal bumblepuppy.

As Huxley remarked in Brave New World Revisited, the civil libertarians and rationalists who are ever on the alert to oppose tyranny "failed to take into account man's almost infinite appetite for distractions". In 1984, Huxley added, people are controlled by inflicting pain. In Brave New World, they are controlled by inflicting pleasure. In short, Orwell feared that what we hate will ruin us. Huxley feared that what we love will ruin us.

This book is about the possibility that Huxley, not Orwell was right.

IMG_4818_polarr.JPG

Some much recommended light Summer holiday reading.

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58 minutes ago, Andrew Reid said:

Another horror show... Check this one out

And I thought Jake Paul was bad.

 

15 million views

Do you think next generation see themselves dicking around in posh house with a swimming pole making casual fair like this.

Puh, couldnt watch this. Nasty, these two jerks. The girl in the shorts and super red shirt though from the last clip, she looks like an actress from the expressionist films. You just gotta turn down the volume and everything is much better. Maybe turn the color down too. She has some talent for expressionistic facial expressions for sure. Hidden gem you found there :)

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34 minutes ago, PannySVHS said:

Puh, couldnt watch this. Nasty, these two jerks. The girl in the shorts and super red shirt though from the last clip, she looks like an actress from the expressionist films. You just gotta turn down the volume and everything is much better. Maybe turn the color down too. She has some talent for expressionistic facial expressions for sure. Hidden gem you found there :)

How did that get 15m views tho, gosh

Ethan Bradberry is pretty funny tho

 

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FUNNY BRO

Funny, as in funny, I could have sworn he was an obnoxious little attention seeking psychopath with no empathy, borderline criminal, with a major personality disorder.

If you genuinely think he's funny, I'll look at you as well and resoundingly shake my head. Maybe you're part of the whole problem and people like you.

I mean it.

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24 minutes ago, thebrothersthre3 said:

How did that get 15m views tho, gosh

Ethan Bradberry is pretty funny tho

 

How old are you brothers3?! Haha!

I do not know who these people are, but that wasn't funny and I am surr they didn't have any license from all those people to put them on youtube.

Also, if I was that guy waking up at 6:00 every morning to go serve 999 coffees u til 11 o'clock, I wouldn't probably be that polite.

 

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Abuse pure and simple. If it's abuse and anti social behaviour dressed up as experimental comedy on YouTube, and even if idiots like @thebrothersthre3 think it's 'funny tho'... Still abuse.

He's a level of psychopath up from Jake Paul.

There's a line between abuse and a prank.

Ask the woman in the first video believing she was about to be gang raped.

And any so-called-entertainment with this level of ethics doesn't deserve our attention anyway.

Even if the whole thing's faked (it's probably not, more like a mixture), I am surprised he hasn't been sued several times or even jailed.

There are way too many people in this world making light of gutter behaviour, thinking it's entertainment...

Reinforced my point 10x what I was making in the original topic.

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22 minutes ago, Andrew Reid said:

Not just dumbed down, I think our ethics are slipping as well.

And the music.

+1000

We were learning that our actions had real consequences in this world and our life.

Now, stupidity is just normal, and this can cause random bad situations that is very difficult to predict and protect from.

People are getting killed for a selfie these days..

And the music..we had Seattle, we had Bristol, we had Madchester and the warehouses at Brixton!

 

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