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Introduction to the research.

     Media do not speak Truth, including this website, because every communication medium omits much more than it can ever convey.  What all media primarily omit are human bodily sense and experience, which is continuously enriched by earthly memory.  Sense and experience are the ‘root and branch’ of all human understanding.  Yet, somewhere along the road, we forgot that media making is at best representational, only partially capturing what we know to be actual, that is to say, what we humans can see, hear, smell, taste and experience for ourselves.  Media are always, quite literally, incomplete attempts at human communication, both un-true and unworthy of the admiration and allegiance we currently afford them, at least in the view of Cultural Farming.  But there are always ‘degrees’ of un-worthy, eh?

      If you question these opening statements, please consider a few examples.  Have you ever attempted to photograph a natural vista or a close-up of a flower pedal only to come away frustrated because photographs never fully replicate the experience you were feeling right then?  Has anyone ever snapped a quick-pic of you against your wishes?  Have you ever practiced photo-smiling in your bathroom mirror?  Have you ever poked out the eyes of your mother in an old family photograph?

      How about video?  Did you ever make your own media only to realize no one is remotely interested in your story and that your audiences get bored after only minutes?  Have you recorded a video only to discover bad sound, dim lighting, or clumsy behavior ruined your production? 

  “We have successfully conflated fact with fiction throughout every facet of human existence.

Have you ever interviewed a child or grandparent only to wish they spoke in short, sharp, clever sentences?  Have you ever used ANY superfluous special-effect to help ‘jazz-up’ your video’s appeal?   Do you have a billion chunks of odd visual media saved and stored somewhere?

      Still unconvinced?  Then I challenge you to slow-watch TV and closely count the massive number of quick-edits, or the number of impossible images and bizarre situations displayed on your screen.  Afterward, consider the very heart of contemporary media production: irrational compulsions of Magic Realism.  Talking animals?  People flying?  Dish soap turning into maple trees?  Automobiles coursing through the arteries of your heart?  Lifestyles of perverted perfection?  Innumerable sur-realities like these can number into the hundreds per every 30 minutes.  This reckless un-realism is now the familiar, and through these ceaseless repetitions, we are forgetting how to see Real.  We are successfully conflating fact with fiction throughout every facet of human existence.  Yet we seem to prefer it that way.

      However, in cases like these above, I wager a common response would be, “Well, that’s how good media is supposed to be made.”  Or maybe you would decide to buy yourself better video equipment, to edit faster, to get your family to sit closer to lighting sources.  You might even add some compelling music to enhance the viewing experience.  (After all, audiences always love music videos best, right?)  Well, these motivations, times a thousand, are but only some of the elementary ways media making compels us to knowingly lie to each other.  We not only enjoy this, we now demand clever mechanical seduction throughout all story-telling, exactly as we consciously intend to seduce others by the same means.  Only this isn’t some cozy parlor game of one-upmanship; it’s global communication.

      Eventually, even ‘little white lies’ like these begin to add up to something consequential.  Lies like these dangerously begin to blur very important human discernments between reality and representation, between real and fake.  Indeed, our representations of life have become our life.  We not only allow this to happen, we encourage it.


      Before we can gain understanding, however, we must be clearer in our terminology.  The projects in this website are most concerned with common media production, rather than simply “the media”.  Because when anyone says “the media”, there is no way to know which media are they are actually talking about.  There lies the magic in this noxious phrase.  “The media” always means whatever you want it to mean.  Remember: the word “media” is always plural, referencing everything collectively: TV, camera, phone, computer, film, gaming, virtuality, social media, internet -- including the telegraph, newspapers, magazines, smoke signals, electrical dots of light, and potentially a thousand other means of communication. 

      There is no such one-thing called “THE-media”.  Any sweeping critique of “the media” is, by definition, always false.  Because it’s an ignorant usage of english language.  Using this half-witted generalizing term signals little more than lazy babble from the speaker.  It is stupid-speaking, quite like today’s full retreat of the adverb.  Using the term “the media” only further erodes clarity and dulls argument. 

      This project, by comparison, is concerned with the broad range of TELE-visual forms of media communication (television by any other name), which is exactly why making videos about tele-visuality is more correct than most regulated academic writing styles.  I simply re-use TV’s actual content --in its own languages-- to tell its story back to itself.  Indeed, it can be startling when some one says, “Here, you get to see again what it is that just saw.”  Heck, most Americans probably saw most of this stuff before I did. 

      A healthy kind of decoupling of authorship begins to form --via the act of replying-- which allows spaces for a polyphony of voices, including my own.  Any media will do.  Just sit still and really watch...then (C)ritically reply.  My video essays are hewn from the detritus of American media making.  My videos reflect the making of American common “media sense”.  It’s familiar, we recognize it all, just not this way.  This leaves little need for captions, footnotes, citations or quotation marks (Sontag, Benjamin).

      My projects are also concerned with medium: particular individualized means of un-human communication.  But primarily my projects consider methods of mediamongering: how we create our media by combining poor thinking with improper language, then filtering that through our ignorant actions and “smart”

  “Just saying the dangerous phrase ‘the media’ creates impossible hurdles to understanding.

machines, into weird kinds of false communication...for profit.  Still, we almost always believe our media will persuade accuracy and understanding for the viewer.  How come?

     Dangerously today we share a cultural ‘common sense’ that is much too eager to understand technological communication as Truth --especially our own made media-- despite these glaring omissions.  Even when media makers with their tools and techniques accurately convey factuality, which at times can be accomplished when the effort is made, our media remain a representational performance of some very narrow fact-fields.  Still we continue to irrationally believe and behave otherwise.  Contemporary mechanical communication fails us so badly today we are finding it difficult to intelligently discuss this or any other topic today. 

      These impossible hurdles not only obstruct (human) Nature, they also promote a host of “fake” practices and beliefs.  My argument, here in this research however, is diametrically different than the sorry cries of “fake news from THE-media” coming from legions of media illiterates purposefully blaming any viewpoint contradicting their own.  Instead, I purposefully claim something different.  I mistrust the apparatus first and foremost.  For the apparatus begins at the very instant of thinking about “record”.  Only afterward, after spiraling inside its own morass of “mechanical reproduction”, come all of the historical foibles lurking inside of all human communication.  It’s a certain recipe for disaster.  How can anything ever get understood?  So it should be no wonder then why informational communication is difficult and dangerous.  The more we speak these broken flawed languages, the faster disaster comes.

     However, few North Americans seem willing to finger THE-apparatus as a perpetrator.  Consequentially, we humans remain slumped inside a kind of post-diluvian media illiteracy, which is quickly bifurcating national intelligence.  But there is a way out of this one-way downward death-spiral: Better cultivation of what is grown and consumed.  This experimental media research site is my attempt to manifest a critical response to dangerous ‘common’ media production practices, because ‘the medium’ remains a message’s biggest problem.  Indeed, it takes critical practice to employ any machine wisely; exactly because, foremost, it will always remain a machine.  Ay, there’s the critical-rub inside every Cultural Farming project.


     To be sure, certain approaches to media making are substantially more truth-telling than others.  These approaches remain vital to human communication and understanding and can still, potentially, help lead to an ethical resumption of true documentary and journalism.  But, the craftspeople of (capital-J) Journalism must double-vow their help to ethically sharpen the tip of this protective spear of democracy. 

      Indeed, we all must learn to better acknowledge, control, and negate each medium’s falsity.  I do not see this happening.  In fact, the opposite is now hyper-fueled by dozens of ideological mega-profiteers like Facebook and Sinclair Broadcasting.  So, until then, the first stance of media-consuming citizens should begin well beyond that of ‘blanket’ skepticism, and to lean more towards a practical attitude of educated cynicism

      Educated cynicism is characterized by a general wariness of self-interested motives.  Cynics hold healthy skepticism of faith or hope in human activity; particularly when these activities are motivated by ambition, desire, greed, materialism, self aggrandizement, or covert goals and opinions.  A cynic perceives these motivations as omissive, futile, vain or ultimately meaningless; and thus deserving of dismissal, ridicule or admonishment

     Educated cynicism is how the current lies of a ‘fair and balanced’ news media -- and even a President -- can be exposed, countered, even neutralized.  This kind of critical re-functioning is not easy, but it can be accomplished -- personally and privately at home using an independent intellect.  I do it this way, entirely alone, using ancient farming methods like ‘genetic’ archiving, remix and practical iconoclasm throughout this site.

      Media cynicism is fundamentally important for understanding television.  A cynical media education instills a constant reminder of the imperfectness residing inside all human communication since time immemorial.  Indeed, clear, honest and truthful communication is, to say the least, an enormous human challenge demanding constant effort and precision. 

      Educated media cynicism is also an intellectual check-and-balance against the unending advance of these technologies.  Critical cynicism: Verify then trust, then keep on verifying again and again.  It is a method for “understanding” when and why things fail.  It’s a method for continual improvement.

     We must remember, however, that the mechanical tools and techniques inside each medium continuously edit, accelerate, obfuscate, atomize, colorize, contradict, invert, amplify ad infinitum.  Every message’s original intention shifts.  Fewer and fewer options of expression become available inside of ever fewer means.  The result: A cacophony of voices straining towards the strangulation of meaning. 

      This mechanical cohort is constantly colluding in every step of production, continuously hindering factuality, all while simultaneously promoting itself, and countless other dubious agendas.  So-called ‘content’ (the darling of most in academia) is probably last in media’s order of importance.  Still, we continue to focus upon ‘content’, even though our machines always speak over and above us.

      Media cynicism encourages deeper public critical investigations into unscrupulous mediamonger manipulation. 

Each new form of communication requires equally new investigations into its language, rhetoric, grammar and logic.

Educated cynicism encourages citizens to compare, contrast and cross-reference disputable ‘truths’ against historical human experience and understanding.  TV, in toto, is a ‘lying machine’. 

      We must remember that lying is purposefully built into media’s machinery.  Mechanical lying is the pervasive modus operandi throughout all of television.  Indeed, media are simply collections of connected machines.  It’s why media can never get out of their own way.  Media must insist upon re-mediating everything in their path.  Consequently, every new mechanical form of communication requires new methods of healthy iconoclastic investigations into their language, rhetoric, grammar and logics.

      Lying, both human and mechanical, is so commonplace we are reflexively refusing to accept the logics of factual information.  Lies in unending repetition quickly build dangerous alternative truths, which undermine our understanding of how we humans have historically understood the differences between truth and ‘truthiness’.  Inside this swirl of absurdity, we can find that blaming Hillary Clinton for causing four deaths in Benghazi becomes an equivalency to Colgate’s promise of the best-tasting toothpaste.  Both claims of truth may include bits of factuality, but they are overwhelmingly absurdly omissive, thus false, thus dangerous.

      Worse still, regardless of medium, simply repeating falsehoods is apparently enough to flip them into ‘truths’.  And repetition is always the primary reflexive impulse for any machine.  But this time it’s  different.  Historical, innocuous gamings-of-cognition have gone all wrong inside media today.  Today cameras are guns. and screen are liars.  Algorithms decide when to pull every ‘trigger’.  These normative misunderstandings of THE media are leading us all towards death.

      The people and processes pushing this perverse exploitation must be called out, questioned, answered, and held responsible at every turn.  All this needs to happen simultaneously during each step of media making: What we say, why we say it, the way we say it, and what we use to get it said.  This is a tall order holding enormous consequences for any ill-educated society which continues to champion jobs over, say, a civic humanities education.  It’s why we need Art for Thinking.

      This website seeks to collate and unveil the “sense” of the lies and fallibilities inherent throughout historical media making, and the convenient reasons why we continually rush to favor these false experiences.  I do not suppose Truth here in my video essays, rather I itemize and illustrate a host of media absurd-fallacies, which I have witnessed for myself right in my home since 2003. 

      This research concludes: If you believe contemporary media production, you need a better belief system.  Cynicism is but the first step to understanding media, especially when it comes to American television.  We must neither sacrifice or entrust human Truths to just our eyes and ears.  Always show-tell-verify.  And that is always the central aim of Cultural Farming.  Better still, triple-test all your beliefs against actual human experience, which is my desperate call: Step away from your screen-beliefs.  Go outdoors, sit in Nature.  Gain another small earthly human experience



1.  What is going on here?

2.  How should viewers watch these video essays?

3.  Introduction to the research.

4.  What does understanding television mean?

5.  How do I understand television?

6.  What does using theory mean?

7.  Can you discuss one of your videos?

8.  What was discovered in this research?

9.  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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