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What was discovered in this research?

      My videos punctuate the notion that the more we embrace the veils of this new mechanical despotism (reality-as-image and communication-through-machines), the flatter, cheaper and more misunderstood healthy human communication becomes, which in turn fosters an ever greater consumption of our own spectacular death-extravaganza.  For once spiraling inside the swill of technology, all of life is reduced to image form.  Human lives become as easily erasable as media are deleted.  Cameras-screens-players become an equivalent reality to guns-targets-jihadists perpetuating a machismo hair-trigger mode of eternal fascism (Eco).  Inside this cult of death and humiliation, nothing remains sacred and life becomes permanent warfare.  So, when I hear growing talk of guns, I reach for cultural farming.

                     “Everything for the people.  Nothing by the people.”

      An unchallenged communicational “bully pulpit” does not happen accidentally.  Whether ISIS, YouTuber’s or General Motors, media makers equally profit from similar technological façades of communication, each boasting grand victories of media seduction and radicalization through mechanical ‘common-sense’ techniques of coercion and consent.  It is why the entire ‘super class’ (from Angela Merkel to Jon Stewart to Ivanka Trump to Joel Osteen to Kate Middleton to Bashar al-Assad to Tom Brady) now always speak to camera in exactly the same manner.  It is how Hate literally communicates its mob psychology in order to trump Love.  In the propagandist writings of Edward Bernays (1928), we read:

        “In theory, every citizen makes up his mind on public questions and matters of

     private conduct.  In practice, if all men had to study for themselves the abstruse

     economic, political, and ethical data involved in every question, they would find

     it impossible to come to a conclusion about anything.  We have voluntarily

     agreed to let an invisible government sift the data and high-spot the outstanding

     issues so that our field of choice shall be narrowed to practical proportions...

         “So vast are the numbers of minds which can be regimented, and so

     tenacious are they when regimented, that a group at times offers an irresistible

     pressure before which legislators, editors, and teachers are helpless.  The

     group will cling to its stereotype, as Walter Lippmann calls it, making of those

     supposedly powerful beings, the leaders of public opinion, mere bits of driftwood

     in the surf. 


        “When an Imperial Wizard, sensing what is perhaps hunger for an ideal, offers

     a picture of a nation all Nordic and nationalistic, the common man of the old

     American stock, feeling himself elbowed out of his rightful position and

     prosperity by the newer immigrant stocks, grasps the picture which fits in so

     neatly with his prejudices, and makes it his own.  He buys the sheet and pillow-

     case costume, and bands with his fellows by the thousand into a huge group

     powerful enough to swing state elections and to throw a ponderous monkey

     wrench into a national convention.”

       Media seduction and radicalization through mechanical ‘common-sense’ techniques of coercion and consent is how entire populations can be hoodwinked to happily act against their own best interests.  It is how the U.S turned to war against Iraq in 2003 without evidence of weapons of mass-destruction.  It is how John Kerry was “swiftboated” in 2004.  It is how Barak Obama got born in Kenya in 2008.  It is how Apple overtook Microsoft in 2010, and why FOX News never acknowledges that it is part of “THE-media”.  It is how ‘media strongmen’ Steve Bannon and Roger Ailes gaslight fiction into fact in 2016.  Indeed, brutal repetition works, but chickens like these always come home to roost.

      Growing illegitimate ‘common-sense’, whether good or bad, signals the full-throated ascendancy of a disturbing new form of proudly righteous anti-intellectualism, because once the REAL is eagerly castrated of every natural sense of logic and truth, we too eagerly succumb to FALSE in exactly the way we succumb to TV commercials.  We passionately believe without critical thought. 

  “This signals a cataclysmic shifting of power, since there can no longer be any claim to Truth, and therefore no claim to the ‘right side’ of history.

One expressive result of this is the increase in hate speech.  But it is only one of many binary-bubbles formed when technological communication weaponizes.  For when any ‘fact’ equals and cancels any other ‘fact’, we can also believe that Life equals Death.  This signals a cataclysmic shifting of power, since there can no longer be any claim to Truth, and therefore no claim to the ‘right side’ of history. 

      At face value, Understanding Television clearly illustrates that the primary purpose of contemporary media production really is to hypnotize: to simultaneously bait and beat (entertain and seduce) every viewer into agreeable submission.  That shouldn’t surprise anyone.  Just under this surface, however, you will soon begin to understand that wielding lethal forms of power against others is apparently at least half the joy of being human (or an image) in this world.  Maybe this is why we so cheerfully claim addiction to our media: “We are the media!” instead of “Sapere aude.”  Or maybe it is because too many 21st Century media philosophes secretly desire their own monarchic fiefdoms as much as their rulers.  Regardless of your answer, when major mouthpieces of informational communication get hijacked, Democracy gets decapitated, and only the strongest get to survive.  This encourages a full embrace of the primitive world of “the killer”.  After all, killing is infinitely easier, quicker and more decisive than thinking.  We forget, however, that speed kills too.

                       “Tomorrow belongs...Tomorrow belongs to me.”

      Cultural Farming is the only means I know to privately help inoculate oneself from this communicational spiral and reclaim human communication through equal acts of immediate critical response.  There is still time to refuse, at least until every corner of our human brains have been perfectly mapped and plumbed for profit.  It is why I re-employ actual TV production to illuminate, rather than to vacuously interpret with still more cameras and words.

      Cultural Farming reveals that the devil residing in communication expresses itself equally inside our tools and practices.  And once you understand this for yourself, you may actually begin to feel dirty adding to the pestilence by making media in these same old “bully” ways.  And then, you may even begin to regret your own deep dependency on technological communication.  Who knows?  From time-to-time, you might even feel courageous and choose to celebrate the natural world by opting away from mendacious technological production in order to engage the craft of communicating in more healthy human ways.  That is unless you too are simply another killer by nature, which of course humans naturally are.  And this glib fact poses a deep political and philosophical dilemma.  For the dirty little secret of human existence is that those refusing to be killers are usually among the first to be eaten.  Indeed, Enlightenment must always grapple with the laws of cold hard nature.  Cultural famers understand this to be a constant clarion call.


Preface Intro

What is going on here?

How should viewers watch these video essays?

Introduction to the research.

What does understanding television mean?

How do I understand television?

What does using theory mean?

Can you discuss one of your videos?

What was discovered in this research?

What if viewers still don’t ‘understand’ television?


An American

resident of Canada, experimenting with new forms of critical media ethnography in Cultural Farming

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