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View Diary: Research Study Explains How U.S. Media Brainwashes The Public (288 comments)

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  •  Woah! That's no good. (6+ / 0-)

    From the little I've seen, too, the thesis seems to present far too simplistic a model of how people interact with the media.

    It is a model that my own mentor had always disparaged as the "hypodermic" model: media is pumped directly into the brain of passive recipients, who themselves are devoid of critical faculties.

    But people have more agency than that. They're quite capable of sneering ironically at a given media truism. There are all kinds of moments of micro-resistance, where someone has had just about enough of Lou Dobbs' shoutiness or Wolf Blitzer's goggle-eyed incredulity -- and switch the channel.

    Now, that's not to say that the propaganda model isn't effective. Indeed, it may be effective precisely because we engage in these moments of ironic critical distancing. A prominent theorist, the Slovenian philosopher Slavoj Zizek, argues that ideology works best when we maintain a minimal distance from the ideology, rather than identifying with it at a total, all-consuming level. So the hipster that sneers at the vacuity of some all-American truism -- while doing nothing to directly confront or question its underlying assumptions -- is in some ways more enabling of the ideological status quo than those who embrace that truism in all of its saccharine, cloying, all-American-ness.

    But the propaganda model that this thesis is working from is, in my view, too pat in its assumption that Americans simply passively absorb whatever ideas the media hands to us. (It's also a little outdated, as these things go. Heck, even the Zizek is perhaps a little past due by now.)

    But, again, it's an M.A. thesis -- which is a format designed to give emerging scholars a trial run at formulating a broad argument. So we should, as others have noted above, certainly cut the writer some slack.

    Nothing requires a greater effort of thought than arguments to justify the rule of non-thought. -- Milan Kundera

    by Dale on Sat Jan 26, 2013 at 09:35:04 AM PST

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    •  I'm glad to cut the writer slack (4+ / 0-)

      I question the Professors who approved this with that line in it.

      It ought to have been better explored.

      Agreed about hipsterism. Fully. And micro-resistance? I simply got rid of my television almost a decade and a half ago. Therefore I have no concern with anyone like Lou Dobbs. I do read news online, of course, but pundits, I avoid like the plague.

      I concur about Zizek more or less, although his work has hardly been without well-warranted criticisms concerning his interpretations of Lacan as well as his commitment to the brute materialism of Hegel et al.

      Off to make coffee.  

      Click the ♥ to join us on the Black Kos front porch to review news & views written from a black pov - everyone is welcome.

      by mahakali overdrive on Sat Jan 26, 2013 at 09:41:40 AM PST

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    •  If you don't agree with the thesis, what do you (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      gooderservice, triv33, elwior

      think of George Carlin's video?  It basically encapsulates the thesis, almost perfectly.

      •  George Carlin (1+ / 0-)
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        is working in a different genre than an M.A. student. He doesn't need to footnote his work, and he  is more effective rhetorically if he simplifies the nature of the propaganda system.

        But unless I was writing an article on comedic rhetoric (or whatever he was doing in this appearance, which is closer to spoken word than comedy), I wouldn't cite Carlin as a source.

        In any case, people do need to be told that they've been duped. Because some of them have -- and because even those that haven't been could stand to be jogged out of their complacency every now and again. Carlin isn't going to achieve that by doing standup riddled with scholarly equivocation.

        Nothing requires a greater effort of thought than arguments to justify the rule of non-thought. -- Milan Kundera

        by Dale on Sun Jan 27, 2013 at 06:17:20 AM PST

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