Appendix 2: The MAVM and Globalization
MAVM support for the drive towards globalization functions on many levels and uses many devices, including: • automatic references • news readers • language-form. The first is too obvious to need much explanation - think of the endless barrage of seemingly automatic visual and sound references to CONSUMPTION in Hollywood films, and TV and radio programs: from soap-operas, game shows, celebrity talks, film reviews, to (of course) advertising. The radio may seem less obvious in this respect - until we listen to the news. For example, news announcers working for the supposedly 'neutral' and 'objective' BBC World Service Radio rarely miss an opportunity to propagate market-forces, and to dismiss its critics - indeed anyone who is concerned about the state of society today. I have many examples in my files, the writing of which cannot do justice to the flippant/bored tone of voice accompanying them. Here are just a few:
BBC World Service Radio, August 10, 1997:
- A young BBC announcer extolling the virtues of the Californian economy. He had just been speaking with a Silicon Valley entrepreneur, who described the 21st century global economy as one based on "computers, global information and entertainment", and thereby employing billions of people. The BBC announcer was burbling with joy by the end of the news item, and had not a single critical comment to make regarding this vision of the next century.
BBC World Radio, January 5, 1999:
- A scientist describing the Arctic region, said that global warming would cause the Polar winter to be 10-15 degrees warmer than now, by the year 2050. "Is this something to worry about, or something that we needn't worry about?" - asked the clearly disinterested BBC announcer.
BBC World Radio, January 23, 1999:
- "Sounds like a great gap in the market!" - gushed the BBC announcer, during a news item about a Swiss anti-depressant drug for dogs suffering anxiety attacks during their owners' absence. There was no comment about the profits being made by global pharmaceutical companies, let alone the possible health-effect on dogs. The sole response by the 'objective' BBC interviewer was one of enthusiasm for the commercial possibilities of putting another drug on the market.
BBC World Radio, February 25, 2000:
- An Austrian athlete objecting to the way that right-wing elements in Austria use sports in their propaganda. The athlete continued by protesting that life in Austria "is all sports and social events". "Sounds like a great life to me!" - commented the BBC sports interviewer.
BBC World Radio, June 6, 2000:
- An item describing anti-GAP activists protesting the exploitation of workers by this clothing chain. The news item used the expressions "GAPTIVISTS" and "GAPATALISM". At the end, the male and female BBC commentators had a great chuckle, mimicking "Gaptivists!! Gapatalism!!".
BBC World Radio, late September, 2000:
- On this day, the Danes voted a resounding "No" to joining the EU. The BBC interviewer fired questions at a commentator in Copenhagen, pressing to hear whether Denmark would now suffer a "state of fear" for its decision. The BBC interviewer spent the entire time conjuring up negativity and doom, even though his counter-part had made it clear that the Danes felt comfortable with their decision.
Even setting aside the policy of verbal 'objectivity' which is supposed to govern all broadcasting, the demeaning tone taken by these news readers is tragically inappropriate for the needs of contemporary society. Cynical or hostile radio broadcasts, and their TV equivalent, are deeply demoralizing for listeners and viewers, who might in fact be concerned about the crises facing the planet.
Furthermore, this type of media climate leaves the public no space for alternative ideas - and this is now a serious social problem. With few exceptions, the audiovisual media today provide no alternative discourse enabling the public to consider other social and political forms or economic processes as possibilities for the future, as and when the present phase of capitalism collapses. Public debate about the future of society has been throttled at the outset by today's MAVM. Select journals and newspapers present critical articles, but the majority of the global population depend on the more sensational MAVM for their 'public discourse' - which is why globalization (in the pejorative sense) is advancing so rapidly.
In blocking alternative thinking by simply not allowing it space, the processes and language-forms of the MAVM - especially the Monoform - play a huge role in promoting the consumer society. The climate of dependency and inertia, which goes hand-in-hand with a false perception of need, has been fostered by advertisers and the bulk of the MAVM. As Caroline Lensing-Hebben ('Le Rebond for the Commune') has noted: "The result is the circle of manipulation and retroactive need, in which the unity of the system grows ever stronger."