2. Introduction to the Media Crisis
When I use the term ‘media crisis’, I am referring to the increasingly irresponsible manner in which the mass audiovisual media (MAVM) function, and to their disastrous impact on society, human affairs, and the environment.
I refer to the widespread public passivity towards the way the MAVM flagrantly comport themselves as proponents of violent, exploitative and hierarchical ideologies, and to the catastrophic and ongoing lack of public knowledge about what the mass audiovisual media are doing to us.
I refer to the widespread resistance within the professional ranks of the MAVM towards critical debate having any bearing on what they are doing. I refer also to harsh repression within the MAVM: holding professionals in line, and thereby undoubtedly playing a direct role in silencing critical voices.
And finally, I refer to the refusal by global education systems to allow young people access to any form of genuinely critical media pedagogy - which might give them an opportunity to challenge the role and practices of the MAVM.
This extreme crisis for global civil society AND for the environment, falls into six principal areas under examination: w the role of the American MAVM, with their disastrous impact on global politics, social life, and culture w the somewhat less obvious, but equally dangerous role of the MAVM in most other countries w the role of global media educators (encouraging young people to enter the mass media as acquiescent professionals, or to accept the mass media as passive consumers)w the role of film festivals and of filmmakers themselves w the complex role of the counter-culture movement w the role of the public.
Before I review a few of the elements in each of these areas of responsibility, I’d like to comment on some of the overall aspects of the media crisis.
The first has to do with the general purpose of the MAVM in society, no matter where they are at work. What exactly is their role in contemporary society?
Is it to provide citizens with as reasonably impartial and unbiased information as possible? Is it to give viewers a mixture of entertainment - populist and non, simple and complex, violent and peaceful, monolinear and non, brief and sustained, aggressive and spiritual? Is it to listen to the public (even if not to work with it in a participatory manner)? (The above is not an ideal formula - far from it - I am simply offering it as a possible introduction to a more mixed version of television and commercial cinema than we have at the present time.)
Or is it the reverse of all these things? Is the role of the MAVM to overtly entrap/offend the public with mono-programming and lack of choice, and with the most simplistic and crude commercial programming possible? Is it to create violence in society? Is it to set aggressive, pro-government, pro-military, pro-consumer-society agendas? (As well as keeping all of its decisions and methods secret?)
Television reality, in global terms, has become the latter. But instead of being critically recognized for what they are - an increasingly manipulative, malevolent and destructive force in contemporary society - the MAVM (regardless of which culture, or in which part of the world) tend to be seen by most of the public, including many intellectuals, as something akin to a necessary public service (like turning on the hot water tap). And are considered equally harmless.
The startling disparity between the actual existing role of the MAVM, and public awareness of that role, has become an outstanding phenomena of our contemporary life. The silence, and lack of knowledge regarding the nature and consequence of the Monoform and the Universal Clock, and of the various forms of on- and off-screen violence (let alone the impact on global culture and the environment), are just some of the highlights on a long and deadly list of missing links.
The agendas used by the MAVM to define the ways in which they function, and the practices they enforce to essentially hold in place the consumer society (with its reliance on massive economic exploitation), while sustaining world arms races and the practice (or threat) of war to replace diplomacy - appear to be largely invisible to the vast majority of the general public.