Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Core Post - Industry

Today I want to look at two quotes from the Jenkins piece that I think are relevant to our current media climate and that touch on truth and activism (ever-important in our current moment). First things first, here are the two pieces that caught my eye in the Jenkins:
"Imagine a world where there are two kinds of media power: one comes through media concentration, where any message gains authority simply by being broadcast on network television; the other comes through collective intelligence, where a message gains visibility only if it is deemed relevant to a loose network of diverse publics." (35)
And the second:
 "In such an environment, it is no surprise that activism draws models from fan culture or that popular culture becomes the venue through which key social and political issues get debated. What models of democracy will take roots in a culture where the lines between consumption and citizenship are blurring?" (41)
I think these two pieces, though six pages apart in the Jenkins, really speak to the political moment in which we find ourselves, a moment in which media mastery is all about convergence. One of the reasons why our current president is so successful at shaping the media narrative that he would like to see (a sort of Wizard of Oz, don't-look-behind-the-curtain tactic), is precisely because he has learned to make the two types of media control that Jenkins specified work together rather than oppose one another (at least in certain demographics). He is vertically integrated, causing such an uproar on social media, which we might regard as the "collective intelligence" piece of Jenkin's first statement (though perhaps that's a misnomer in this case?) that his tweets are then discussed on television, which comprises the "media concentration" piece. This loop, driven by the pure outrageous and visciousness of his statements, power a media machine in which media narratives are sculpted.

The second piece in the Jenkins, on the other hand, I think speaks to some of the icons of resistance that we have seen from the left under the new presidency. Elizabeth Warren persisted and all of a sudden she was made into a consumable media form of herself, with mugs and t-shirts and posters all bearing the slogan "nevertheless she persisted". We see this too, with the people at the Women's March carrying images of Carrie Fisher as Princess Leia, or comparisons between our current commanderin-chief and Voldemort. I'm inclined to argue that to some extent, this symbolic intermingling of media and resistance has more to do with looking for narratives of hope and triumph in dark moments, but it also says something about what connects us in a media-saturated landscape. We understand our own place within the political landscape (and our relationships to others in that landscape) based on our references to popular media over policy.

There's a lot to chew on here, but I just thought that some important pieces for understanding the cogs of the media strategies of both the president and the 'resistance' really resonated for me through the Jenkins article.

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