Sunday, July 25, 2010


Mary Ann Doane argues persuasively in her essay "Information, Crisis, Catastrophe that "Time is television's basis, its principle of structuration as well as its persistent reference. The insistence of the temporal attribute may indeed be a characteristic of all systems of imaging enabled by mechanical or electronic reproduction." (pg.222). How would you interpret this statement?

The way I interpreted her stance on the significant and leading role of time as it relates to the production and reproduction of the televisual is that TV centralizes, organizes time, and represents the loss of the body (the audience) to spectacle, which is best captured by the media event. The media event represents the absolute centralization and the near-complete ’binding’ of the media experience: we are all transfixed witnesses at the same moment in time, but our interpretations of the media event(s) and the emotional experiences we bring to our viewing will differ depending on a number and/or a combination of factors such as socio, political, economical, gender, racial…etc. What are some examples of significant media events that come to mind in such a case?

Doane also suggests that television promises us the chance encounter with the ’reality’ of a catastrophe. Television shocks, and then repeatedly assures; a comforting presence in an insecure world. "Televisual catastrophe is thus characterized by everything which it is said not to be .it is expected, predictable, its presence crucial to television’s operation" (pg. 238) She reiterates the idea that technological media produces distance, concealing and containing bodily violence. Do technological media block the shock effects of traumatic events, screening them, allowing them to be viewed from a distance? Give examples.

She concludes in her essay “If information becomes a commodity on the brink of extinction or loss, televisual catastrophe magnifies that death many times over” (pg.238). What does she mean by this?

I believe Technological life or the “logics of Television” to be inherently turbulent, spatially dispersed, contagious and conflictual. But it is precisely these paradoxes that bring about various possible viral strategies of transmission and flow of information and possibly the challenging of our time spent. In short, it is a dreadful and violent time to be alive, but it is also a dynamic, strange and intellectually challenging one.

How does the need of the Television industry to fill airtime with whatever information is at hand shortcut the process of shifting through, evaluating, editing information before it is brought to the public attention?

During the discussion I wish to delve into the documentary Trouble the Water and tie into the readings and in class excerpts by examining the ways in which media texts have reinforced and justified inequitiesv based on difference in gender, race, class, national origin, sexual orientation, and other categories of difference. Below is a utube link for Trouble the Water trailer:

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