Please visit our sponsor.
The myth of Big Brother
Telemorphosis is the new Collective Selfie
Francois Truffaut, the accomplished New Wave director of French film, created in 1966 his only English language film, an adaptation of Ray Bradbury's 'Fahrenheit 451' (not to be confused with Michael Moore's appropriative documentary of the same name, which appropriation Mr. Bradbury never approved, by the way).
While Truffaut judged his film a failure, postmodern developments would appear to call for a reassessment of this harsh self-criticism; indeed, the argument is here made---with the able assistance of Jean Baudrillard,the anti-philosopher & Truffaut's late countryman---that the extant explosion of so-called 'reality TV' is evidence of the first order that both Bradbury (who generally praised the film version of his book)and Truffaut gave us a prescient look at today's 'screenification' of even the most scurrilous and slothful as the 'equal' of all, regardless of the absence of merit.
Before advancing this argument, allow a brief pause for the adjunct observation that the aphorism that everything old is new again may apply here. The quite ancient language known as Sanskrit, thought by many scholars to be far superior to Greek or Latin in its sophistication, comes to mind; meaning 'illusion' or 'wizardry', its term Maya seems to best describe this perverse democratization wrought by this 'telemorphosis' (Baudrillard's term).
Now, then, a brief quote from Bradbury's novel that is chillingly recited by the Fire Chief:
"We must all be alike. Not everyone born free and equal, as the Constitution says, but everyone made equal. Each man the image of every other; then all are happy, for there are no mountains to make them cower, to judge themselves against."
And, so, how about a pedestrian example of this 'repressive tolerance', as Marcuse calls it?
You have a child of competitive age; his/her soccer team just competed, finishing toward the bottom of the heap; no matter, everyone gets a trophy--our rationalization? 'It's how you play the game, not whether you win or lose...'
Yes, effort is to be praised (where it exists) regardless of success, or even skill.
Democracy, turned in upon itself, resulting in its professed opposite: a kind of inverse utopia where the effect is a totalitarian democracy satirizing individualism, sacrificing in the name of liberality the real for the ideal--the ultimate fantasy.
Extend this principle to the context of the endless panoply of meritless types populating that 'real' TV episodic circus of freakishness and you, the viewer may so repressively participate in the extended family of 'cousins' (the name Bradbury gives the interactive folks who merge with your living space via the telescreen), and thereby deliver the crowning insult to democracy itself.
And, in so doing, you have cooperated in the sort of conquest over the plebian (i.e., those 'other' than you) practiced to high artfulness by yesterday's Roman games and today's Chinese autocracy with smiling merchants posing as its practical opposite. Of course, the latter society is opening a subway line a week and building whole cities powered by solar and wind--after all, they do have four times the populace to coopt.
One further note about contextualization; in the realm of 'hard news', a.k.a. media, where the hosts/contributing experts really know how to blend the 'best' of entertainment value with, well, 'reality', political and consequent policy points of governance resort to the extent canard of presenting all sides, and equally.
Of course, this requires the Supreme Court-inspired fig leaf of legal fiction, whereby free speech must invariably equate the stupid opinion with its opposite. Again, democracy in all its suicidal splendor.
Well, that's about all for now..oh, yes, almost forgot: all 'news' is 'breaking,' so, you know, don't allow that cousin-like screen to turn off..happily, it's inescapable, airport, restaurant, soon in that private stall nature requires you to visit regularly.
Gotta stay informed... just remember; it didn't really 'happen' if you don't have a screen image to prove it--time for that selfie (but, not in that stall, ok).
J b Pravda, Philosophic Opinion: Born Brooklyn, NY, US Government Attorney during Watergate, when he 'Felt' uneasy about governments, and laws; later, public company CEO, lobbyist, now, multimedia artist, published produced playwright (paid royalties), columnist for leading magazines; his paintings have been published & exhibited as well as included in a national touring exhibition as well as several multimedia exhibitions in NY and other venues. Published diversity author via major university, winning Finalist in Stymie... (more...)