Notes on CNN
television, globalization, propaganda, America
Thursday, July 19, 2007 08:01 GMT
Notes I wrote in a hotel room in front of the eternally enraging CNN.
The "staging of the global". The hi-tech bragging of "live report" and "live by satellite phone", as if this were not 1950s technology, as if we still had to live the technological surprise. The newsroom adrenaline rush of 24-hour shifting between continents, "the US markets are just opening," "it's close of play in Asia", the entire content designed to display nothing more than the network's global reach. The octopus who says eternally, "Look at my eight legs."
The promise of presence. The metaphysics of presence. The monumental "making present", a giant staging of reality, a monstrous phatic network to demonstrate that reality exists.
The absurd pretence of spatial neutrality, the refusal to nominate a centre for the weather report ("storms expected in spain today, and a heat wave in japan") while in fact the centre is obvious: the suited Americans with different colour skins reporting on it all, symbols of the everywhereness of business, and its homogeneity. The blinding triviality of "Inside Africa" (with its Conradian overtones) only reinforces this.
And the ideological fragility: a suited Iraqi woman is shouted down by the host because she dares to question the tactics of American occupation - the native informant needs to speak the right message.
Mercurial graphics: the world as a slippery, electronic, morphing computer-generated concept through which instanteneous movement is possible. The world viewed from the perspective of the sublime, the perspective of capital.