Gladiator Media: I’m Sure Watching People Kill Each Other Would Make for Great Television.


Watching some reactions to Stewart/Colbert rally on TV this morning before heading out – couldn’t get the notion out of my head: Most of those on TV who defended themselves against Stewart’s critique – media does not just feed off political conflict, but actively invents it in order to sell its products – basically said that humans love conflicts and therefore that sort of news stories sell. Whether this is true or not, I think, is ultimately complicated by the the following problem: do people like conflict-oriented news because they do so “by nature” or is the continuous barrage of conflict-oriented stories actually producing the interest?

I’m sure that if one of our contemporaries were to see the gladiator fights, most would be disgusted both by the spectacle and the idea as such. And yet clearly people used to enjoy that sort of thing, and still, for example, enjoy violent sports or deliberate killing of animals by humans or by other animals. If reporting violent conflict-oriented stories is what makes for good television, why not go further and actually manufacture conflict where there is none? Why not schedule the opposing rallies and see them fight it out? Wouldn’t it make for a great television and therefore somehow justify media’s attraction to the negative? The defensive idea that media simply gives people what they want is flawed even if it is true that people love conflict and want more of it: just because people love violence does not mean the media needs to give it to them – where’s the responsibility and some sort of moral attitude?

9 thoughts on “Gladiator Media: I’m Sure Watching People Kill Each Other Would Make for Great Television.

  1. just because people love violence does not mean the media needs to give it to them – where’s the responsibility and some sort of moral attitude?

    Sure, but it’s mediated after all. I wouldn’t go so far to call it simply “will to power” but the human relationships remain primary, whereas the pure reason and moral causes are secondary or illusory: who is this Mr. Kant to tell me … and restrict my freedom!

    As strange as it sounds this position is more enlightened then the trust in public organs, the state, the party and all other representations of a common will and it remains the final task of culture critics, leftists etc. to show how subverted by capital and particular interests all our institutions are. At the same time it is insufferable and super-ego crutches like god or fatherland are required to re-regulate the modern, autonomous, sociopathic subject and it even seems to work well: religious people raise more children on the average. Sarah Palin is a super mom.

    All of this might be very depressing but who said that the public intellectual is a constant of nature, has to engage as a moralist and humanist in public affairs, instead of going the stoic path and withdraws from this sort of activity?

  2. I get my kicks vicariously, its fantastic hidden object gameplay.

    A bit off topic but nice to see the Kingston crmep have come through with two new jobs to the tune of 50000+ english pounds. A premature return for La Brassier сосиска perhaps? Harman right on the mark with his witty but pragmatic mouths to feed comment. Give those Middlesex philosophy undergrads with 30K debts something to chew on when they ask if you want fries with that.

  3. “established international reputation” should read a history of successful funding applications. The CRMEP want to fuck their old employers by making more money for their new employers.

    “a distinctive sense of social and political engagement” Is that the get your students to bend over while organising an escape route for yourself part?

    A surprise to see Mr Mullarkey of flaccid Bergsonism fame is now at Kingston as well in Film & Television Studies (Titanic anyone?). Not sure the flaccid bit is right though, his wives get younger every year. They should pass a law never to trust someone who uses Just For Men hair products.

    • I don’t know Mullarkey so I don’t want to speculate but let’s not go there – we only openly mock people who are unquestionable assholes (insert your favorite blogger-philosopher) – it’s a bit of an ad hominem…

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