Friday, May 8, 2009

Media as Theater (or Theatre, depending on which side of Atlantic we're on)

I originally wrote this entry on September 28, 2004, and published it on

The script of any play predetermines for the large part (or at least constrains to a significant degree) the appropriate moves, phrases, tones of voice, the words used and certainly the selected scenes from the reality whose unfolding it takes to play.

I've already written briefly about the uncritical aspects of the Journalistic approach to digesting of the facts and about Lawrence Lessig' view of the state of political discourse in the U.S. Now, Lessig is writing on his weblog about another aspect of "Journalism". I'd like to call this aspect of Journalism "the media theater". In other words, knowing the role it is supposed to play, media simply plays the role it is supposed to play. Mass media attempts to become theater, and yet, it will remain less than theater because at least theatric drama (in its classical sense) has a coherent story, a thread, that goes through its scenes and holds everything together. The role of the mass media (as Hubert Dreyfus extends Soren Kierkegaard's ideas) is to level us. (I've written more on Hubert Dreyfus elsewhere.)

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