Sunday, January 26, 2020
Ethics and Reality TV Abstract Reality TV, like many other postmodern spectacles, operates on a deeply tenuous and ambiguous ethical grounding. On the one hand, the audience / creator model of exploitation can be seen as providing the viewer with entertainment and escapism. On the other it can be said to create a system of dependency and artificial need. The ethics of participation in game show style reality offers a similar contradiction which is dependent upon whether participants are free to choose, or whether they are in fact coerced by elements beyond their control. This dissertation will look at the various factors and paradigms (psychoanalytical, Marxist, poststructuralist) that constitute this model of reality. This requires a certain concretisation of terms such as ethics, and of what constitutes Ã¢â¬Å"realityÃ¢â¬ itself. The dissertation will also look at the politics of reality TV itself Ã¢â¬â namely, does Reality TV constitute a unique event in the development of television, or does it merely re flect a continuation for television producers to create ever more innovative methods of keeping our interests satiated? Is Reality TV itself the origin of the moral crimes, or is Reality TV merely a reflection of the ethical climate of capitalism in which we live? Finally, the dissertation will look at the possible futures for Ã¢â¬Å"realityÃ¢â¬ TV. Methodology As this dissertation is largely discursive in nature, and involves a widespread discussion of general philosophical and ethical themes, I will purely refer to secondary material. This will be assisted by the large and abundant materials that exist on the matter of Ã¢â¬Å"RealityÃ¢â¬ TV, ethics, and the conjoining of the two. I will use library materials, newspaper and magazine materials, as well as the raw footage of the Reality TV itself to generate an opinion and an overall discussion about the general impacts, considerations and ethical standards of reality TV, and whether constructive change is a) desirable and b) possible. What are Ethics? Ethics have proven to be a central part of philosophical enquiry for thousands of years. As such, it would be useful to summarize what and how this theory has developed over the years, and what tends to form the debate around Ã¢â¬Å"ethicsÃ¢â¬ now. This is essential in order to gauge the relationship between Ã¢â¬Å"goodÃ¢â¬ ethical conduct and the recent phenomenon of reality TV. Ethics was originally conceived as a way to engage with morals Ã¢â¬â literally, it can be seen as an attempt to establish a Ã¢â¬Å"moral philosophyÃ¢â¬ for living, and is concerned about notions such as what is right and what is wrong. It exposes the various difficulties between making certain decisions or of living life in a particular way. Understandably, the concept and the notion of good moral behaviour and bad moral behaviour have changed radically since the initial formulation of Western ethics in Ancient Greece over 2000 years ago. While modern moral reasoning bases its understandings upon the writings of Plato and Aristotle, it has mutated radically as regards to who the subject of the writing actually is concerned with. Whereas Plato, Aristotle and the ancient Greeks were concerned more about the self Ã¢â¬â e.g. how to morally explain the individual Ã¢â¬â whereas the modern ethical practice is more concerned about how to treat others in the first instance. Annette Hill comments that Ã¢â¬Å"Modern moral philosophy is therefore primarily about public good, and the development of moral values within particular social, political and cultural groups, and also within particular secular societies.Ã¢â¬ (2005, p. 110). Rather than acting, then justifying behaviour, modern ethics are primarily concerned about what exactly one should do in the first place, and is about the relationship between the self and society, the promotion of the notion of the Ã¢â¬Å"public goodÃ¢â¬ , and of partaking in particular acts, often against the self or the will that would otherwise have a harmful effect on society. Major paradigmatic models incorporate this model of public good into their progressive ideologies. Central to the Marxist model (which I will be later applying to the phenomenon of reality TV), is the relationship between the working classes and the ruling classes. This is argued in Marx as being ethically dubious, because while the proletariat are enslaved by the capitalist system by their work, the ruling classes benefit from this relationship infinitely. Therefore, from a Marxist context, capitalism and the ways in which this model distributes wealth can be seen as the primary mechanism from which morality is corrupted. Similarly, religion and faith is often touted as Ã¢â¬Å"scapegoatsÃ¢â¬ for unethical behaviour. The existentialist Friedrich Nietzsche formulated his own quasi-religion / moral philosophy based on the concepts of the Ubermensch and the theories of eternal recurrence. His position is existential, and forms a central part of what constitutes ethical matters today. Existentialism is, put simply, a belief that man creates his own belief systems. The existence of something precedes its essence; namely, the process of doing something is more important than the assignation of certain methods of thinking or reasoning behind it. A person is not innately good, but instead he acts good. Robert Anton Wilson (1990) comments that Ã¢â¬Å"NietszscheÃ¢â¬â¢s existentialism (1) attacked the floating abstractions of traditional philosophy and a great deal of what passes as Ã¢â¬Ëcommon senseÃ¢â¬â¢ (e.g. he rejected the terms Ã¢â¬ËgoodÃ¢â¬â¢, Ã¢â¬ËevilÃ¢â¬â¢, Ã¢â¬Ëthe real worldÃ¢â¬â¢, and even the ego.) (2) also preferred concrete analysis of real life situations [Ã¢â¬ ¦] and (3) attacked Christianity, rather than defending itÃ¢â¬ (14-15). As such, an existential critique of reality TV would tend to eschew concrete moral conclusion based on the grounding that reality TV exploits people, and therefore it is bad Ã¢â¬â moreover, the pheno menon of reality TV is based upon a number of larger social trends and mechanisms; a whole system of belief that doesnÃ¢â¬â¢t necessarily taint reality, but actually comprises of reality. Therefore, the existentialist may attack Reality TV, but Nietzsche would presumably argue that it is an expression of human will, Marx would argue that it represents merely an extension of the capitalism that seeks to exploit the workers and Kierkegaard would argue that his role is to determine that people have the choice to make their own decisions. Both Nietzsche and Kierkegaard were not concerned about notions of abstract truth Ã¢â¬â they were existential insofar as their concern was about day to day existence. In the absence of the notion of truth, over NietzscheÃ¢â¬â¢s Ã¢â¬Å"will to powerÃ¢â¬ and KierkegaardÃ¢â¬â¢s system of choice and personal autonomy, the system of modern moral philosophy was overturned by the new ethical paradigm. Nietszche argued that the ubermensch would not do bad things because it would be detrimental to his own will to power; a moral system of good and bad is, ultimately, irrelevant to the ubermensch, because the parameters of decision-making have been changed. This ethical reasoning in many ways bled into the individualism of psychoanalysis, which is a factor that comes into play in a great many of the reality TV programmes: as I will argue later, the obsession in reality TV with rendering perverse the Freudian neuroses (described by him as anal, oral and genital fixations), combined with the capitalist, consumerist desire to pacify the Ã¢â¬Å"slavesÃ¢â¬ within the semiotic network that constitutes television, creates a scenario whereby the human self is rendered obscene. A psychoanalytical analysis of Reality TV creates many discrepancies; moreover, it is the combination of pacifying the autonomous will of the individual, combined with the exposition of Freudian unconscious Ã¢â¬Å"discoveriesÃ¢â¬ that makes reality TV objectionable to mainstream technical issues. However, before I try to extrapolate the various issues at stake in the arguments for and against reality TV, the concept of reality TV, in particular what the term Ã¢â¬Å" realityÃ¢â¬ means in this context, has to be explored. What is the Ã¢â¬Å"realityÃ¢â¬ in Reality TV? Jean Baudrillard and other philosophers coined Ã¢â¬Å"poststructuralistÃ¢â¬ by Western scholars would undoubtedly be impressed by the ironical use of the term Ã¢â¬Å"realityÃ¢â¬ in reality TV. One of Jean BaudrillardÃ¢â¬â¢s key issues is the argument for Ã¢â¬Å"hyperrealityÃ¢â¬ . He suggests in Simulacra and Simulation (1994) that the hyperreal is Ã¢â¬Å"real without origin or realityÃ¢â¬ (1). Indeed, the concept of Ã¢â¬Å"realityÃ¢â¬ TV where participants are asked to stay in an enclosed space for weeks on end and told to do surrealistic things (Big Brother), or to stay on a desert island (Temptation Island, Survivor) is unreal in itself, but the term Ã¢â¬Å"realityÃ¢â¬ instead applies to the logic that contestants exist rather than actors or performers. It is a Ã¢â¬Å"genreÃ¢â¬ of TV in which the controlled amateurish quality of the programme is exaggerated into a package of neuroses that have usurped and transcended reality itself. Secondly, TV is edited, dis seminated and packaged in a particular way that, according to Baudrillard, substitutes itself for reality; in one judgement of hyperreality, Baudrillard suggests that it represents Ã¢â¬Å"more real than realÃ¢â¬ , and eventually usurps reality. The concept of Ã¢â¬Å"realityÃ¢â¬ in reality TV destroys the Ã¢â¬Å"sovereign differenceÃ¢â¬ between the map and the territory (1994, 2). As such, reality TV exists as an exemplar of this particular moment in late capitalism where the simulation of reality has evaded and transcended the real itself. To stress this theory further, I will look more generally at what Baudrillard means by hyperreality, and cite some further examples of how this theory can be established. Like Nietzsche, Baudrillard begins with an interrogation of the Ã¢â¬Å"real worldÃ¢â¬ , arguing that because our perceptions of reality are rooted in semiotic languages and discursive structures, that the concept of an external, objective reality outside of the self can not be established, and merely bases itself upon a chimera or a lie. Instead, Baudrillard argues that reality is merely a system of communication, in which reality has become a commodified, capitalistic device. In The System of Objects, Baudrillard offers a critique of the advertising industry. While many of the images used by, say, the automobile industry are deliberately faked or exaggerated, the nature of this exaggeration, and the extent to which these images are promoted over and above the actual reality of what the car is (ultimately, a device for getting from one place to another), the specific, advertised car itself becomes an impossible object Ã¢â¬â a representation of reality that lies beyond reality itself. For instance, recent advertising that features a car that transforms into a dolphin does not have any prescience in reality, nor does it even attempt to establish itself as real. Instead, it embodies in the vehicle certain images or Ã¢â¬Å"realitiesÃ¢â¬ that, acc ording to Baudrillard, become reality and, as such, substitute reality for a marketed, plasticised illusion that Ã¢â¬Å"representsÃ¢â¬ reality to a greater degree. This theory can be extended to encompass many other factors that seem based upon manufacturing and colonising the real. Pornography represents a reality of sex that transcends and usurps sex itself; a soft drink with a non-existent flavour, such as Ã¢â¬Å"wild ice zest berryÃ¢â¬ (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hyperreality) creates a Ã¢â¬Å"realityÃ¢â¬ in linguistic terms that has no relationship to Ã¢â¬Å"modernÃ¢â¬ as opposed to Ã¢â¬Å"postmodernÃ¢â¬ reality. Again, advertising generates a reality that exaggerates and simulates the real in totality; there is no attempt made to reproduce reality, but instead signs and signification operate within themselves, applying to only their own logic. This reality can be seen in terms of reality TV as well. Programmes such as Survivor, Big Brother and other reality TV programmes that synthesise the game show format tend to exaggerate the realities of the participants. The world in which these Ã¢â¬Å"realÃ¢â¬ people interact is one which is completely fabricated, usually to exaggerate some narrative or mythological scenario which the viewer is undoubtedly familiar with. Big Brother, for instance, plays with the familiar Orwellian notion of total surveillance and dystopia Ã¢â¬â Survivor plays on the themes of the desert island, featured in many historical and literary myths that date back to the Bible. As such, depending on what opinions we have about what reality constitutes, these types of program are undoubtedly far off the mark. Post-production techniques are used to exaggerate the dramatic tensions between people; often people who would ordinarily have no contact are forced into relationships with one another, and it has been insinuated that certain parts of reality TV are scripted beforehand, in order to prevent the programme from becoming tedious or formulaic. What does this development in the notion of Ã¢â¬Å"realityÃ¢â¬ do to a discussion of the ethics of reality TV? Firstly, the production processes of reality TV are heavily reliant upon advertisers and private corporations concerned about making money. Such companies do not generally have too scrupulous a reputation for ethical marketing or behaviour. Product placement is a regular feature in reality TV, which, if looked at from a Marxist point of view, leads to the synthesis of what is seen as common sense Ã¢â¬Å"realityÃ¢â¬ and of corporate desire. The existential view of reality, while in a kind of agreement with the ambiguity of reality TV, would argue that reality as it is presented here merely represents a faith or a religion that substitutes the pure will (choice or autonomy) of the individual into a scenario where all things are scripted, edited and controlled by forces that depend upon the viewer becoming pacified and infantilized. I argue that the reality in reality TV merely represents a particular version of reality. As post-structuralist philosophy would suggest, the notion of objective reality in the postmodern age is simply a psychologically, sociologically and metaphysically attuned network that serves to create a religion or a mythical structure of Ã¢â¬Å"truthÃ¢â¬ and Ã¢â¬Å"realityÃ¢â¬ . While Nietzsche would argue that Reality TV subdues the personal will, and of human folly and weakness, reducing the viewer to the level of passive consumer, he would also argue that it is not the ethical place of people to assume that this dynamic of Ã¢â¬Å"exploitationÃ¢â¬ (as Marxists would posit) is necessarily wrong. Indeed, criticisms of NietzscheÃ¢â¬â¢s critiques of Christianity, while vitriolic and hateful in tone, overlook the simple premise that NietzscheÃ¢â¬â¢s intention himself was not to create a system of objective truth himself. Because, as he postulates in Beyond Good and Evil: Ã¢â¬Å"In the womb of being, rather, in the intran sitory, in the hidden god, in the Ã¢â¬Ëthing in itselfÃ¢â¬â¢ Ã¢â¬â that is where their cause must lie and nowhere else! Ã¢â¬â This mode of judgement constitutes the typical prejudice by which metaphysicians of all ages can be recognized; this mode of evaluation stands in the background of all their logical procedures; it is on account of this their Ã¢â¬ËfaithÃ¢â¬â¢ that they concern themselves with their Ã¢â¬ËknowledgeÃ¢â¬â¢, with something that is at last solemnly baptized Ã¢â¬Ëthe truthÃ¢â¬â¢Ã¢â¬ (1973, 34). As such, the creation of truth, upon which grounds Nietzsche was sorely condemned for throughout the 20th century, was not NietzscheÃ¢â¬â¢s central desire Ã¢â¬â indeed, the establishment of a particular truth ignores NietzscheÃ¢â¬â¢s attempts to negate the this preoccupation with Ã¢â¬Å"truthÃ¢â¬ and Ã¢â¬Å"realityÃ¢â¬ present in the mind of the Ã¢â¬Å"metaphysicianÃ¢â¬ and the abstract philosopher. The existentialist is not concerned a bout abstractions, but instead he is concerned about the establishment of productive myths. In this respect, the Ã¢â¬Å"realityÃ¢â¬ of reality TV (at least where participants and audience are volunteers) is real and, dependent upon how greatly you herald such issues as personal autonomy cannot be anything but a moral, voluntary exchange. Marxism and the streams of thinkers that have come to be associated with Marxism tend to think very differently about the self. Socialist philosophy suggests that the human freedoms posited by the American and British administrations during their Ã¢â¬Å"freeÃ¢â¬ market experiments are merely a chimera designed to obfuscate and paper over the exploitative system of exchange that operates between rich and poor. Contrary to existentialism, Marxists suggest that voluntary participants (in such things as reality TV) have to adhere to some greater moral code, because the dynamic of exchange exposes basic human vulnerabilities that exist in everybody. Their concept of reality is based upon a politics of exploitation, or a dialectical exchange between two opposing factions, one of which is exploited, and the other is dominant. Such Marxist theory can be used to explore this notion of Ã¢â¬Å"realityÃ¢â¬ in reality TV further: the dynamic between rich and poor (used in Ã¢â¬Å"crudeÃ¢â¬ or traditional Marxism) creates a system of exploitation between the working class and the ruling class. This can be extended into linguistics and semantic theory, and forms the central tenet of deconstructionist theory posited by Jacques Derrida. Derrida argues firstly that the structuralist theories of Ferdinand de Saussure depended upon a relationship between the signifier and the signified Ã¢â¬â namely, what is being represented and what it represents. While Saussure argued that this framework was stable, and that the signifier and the signified never changed, Derrida and the deconstructionist theorists argued that the relationship between the signifier and the signified was always subject to Ã¢â¬Å"playÃ¢â¬ and fluctuated constantly. Moreover, the limitations of human communication meant that our perception of the world was limited. Derrida argues that the world is conveyed in language and discourse. Derrida takes this further, arguing that Western language has always based its functionality upon what he calls Ã¢â¬Å"binary oppositionsÃ¢â¬ , in which one is seen as inferior, while the other is seen as superior. These oppositions run the gamut of human thinking and is what abstract philosophy tends to ignore: for instance, the dichotomy between man and woman is the subject of many feminist writers: while man can give women the same material rights, linguistically, woman still represents the absence of masculinity. Similarly, reality is seen as superior to the simulacrum, as explored by PlatoÃ¢â¬â¢s myth of the cave, in which he argues that one pure object exists, and that everything else is a copy, and therefore inferior to the real thing. Derrida argues that deconstruction provides a solution to this problem, and by exposing and making conscious these oppositions, and deliberately working against them creates a system of simultaneous difference and equality through semantic Ã¢â¬Å"playÃ¢â¬ . As such, the ethical concept or exchange between the directors of reality TV, the participants and the audience create an interesting dynamic of exploitation that tends to eschew simple ethical thinking. To say that these reality programmes are bad ethically (a string of reasons have been posited, from the sensory deprivation of participants, to the unsavoury and voyeuristic nature of the program, to the use of the grotesque, to the implementation of torture techniques) avoids the overall issue that participation is Ã¢â¬Å"voluntaryÃ¢â¬ . However, the previous arguments (deconstructive, Marxist, feminist, existential) all have radically different arguments as to what exactly constitutes Ã¢â¬Å"voluntaryÃ¢â¬ ; the notion of voluntary participation is a key issue in philosophical debate, and can be seen to surface in the ethics of advertising, fast food consumption and the selling of junk to young people. The question revolves around the concept of Ã¢â¬Å"realityÃ¢â¬ ; namely, wh ether we are in control or whether our choices are determined by mechanisms and structures of power, addiction, and deep psychological needs. Reality TV argues that it exists as a form of entertainment. In the following section I will look at the dynamic of exploitation; particularly upon how reality TV exploits certain human qualities or Ã¢â¬Å"realitiesÃ¢â¬ , and renders them perverse. Reality TV: a psychoanalytical approach Reality TV, especially the phenomenon of the game show Reality TV programme, namely such programmes as Big Brother, Survivor, Big Diet, Celebrity Fat Club, Temptation Island, Bachelorette and Boot Camp exploit numerous psychoanalytical desires in order to Ã¢â¬Å"hystericiseÃ¢â¬ reality and to render ordinary impulses and desires perverse. This exploitation, which I will argue is central to the strategy of corporatism and central to the postmodern malaise raises a number of ethical questions concerning the position of Reality TV in contemporary society, is endemic in the phenomenon of reality TV, and appears concerned primarily as either a reflection of, or a creation of, many issues that plague Western consciousness. Reality TV attacks certain concepts and, via gossip columns and TV journalism in other media, makes these things hysterical. One such topic is that of the Ã¢â¬Å"normalÃ¢â¬ relationship. While Big Brother tends to vet the participants based upon their position as s exually Ã¢â¬Å"perverseÃ¢â¬ (the last series of Big Brother featured a transsexual and several homosexuals) eccentric or colourful in order to engender conflict within the house and to maximize the entertainment value that can be derived from this Ã¢â¬Å"realityÃ¢â¬ that is constructed, the vision of the ordinary relationship, which occurs with relative frequency in the Big Brother house, is one that is treated with extreme shock by both participants, media, the programme makers, and eventually, the audience themselves. Jan Jagodozinki (2003) comments that Ã¢â¬Å"each reality game Ã¢â¬Ëhot-housesÃ¢â¬â¢ and hystericizes Ã¢â¬Ënormal relationshipsÃ¢â¬â¢, engendering paranoid perception where no one is to be trustedÃ¢â¬ (323). Of course, ethically this hystericisation serves the purpose many mass-mediated and televised spectacles seek to achieve. In a Marxist, postmodernist context, the media (especially the Ã¢â¬ËmodernÃ¢â¬â¢ mediums of television and brand advertis ing) wishes to engender a consumer whose only relationship to the outside world is through the corporatist-owned signification of signs. We are marketed towards in order to create an atomised, pseudo-individual whose only relationship to him / her self is through signification and engagement with the hyperreal. As such, consumer need is created, manufactured in the dream factory of advertising, and disseminated through mass media to create demand for a product that was, prior to the embellishment of reality through hyperrealistic signification, useless and unnecessary. Reality TV simply contributes to this feeling of post-human disgust with the mechanisms of the body and the unconscious mind. For instance, the drives expounded by Freud (labelled by him as genital, oral and anal), are attacked with frequency in a number of these TV reality shows: In Big Brother, participants are deprived of food, and are occasionally Ã¢â¬Å"treatedÃ¢â¬ to products from the outside world when they participate in a particular task (the oral, anal dichotomy). The lack of privacy in toilets suggest the programmes obsession with these excretive functions; also, the relationships that occur among these Ã¢â¬Å"ordinaryÃ¢â¬ people are exaggerated with an unparalleled degree of disgust and hysteria both within the programme and external to it in other Ã¢â¬Å"gossipÃ¢â¬ columns and TV magazines. This suggests an obsession with the genital drives that are echoed in other reality TV programmes. The hystericisation of normality Ã¢â¬Å"are the very symptoms that plague the American landscape, namely the preoccupation with the excesses of the drives Ã¢â¬â anal and oral (food / dieting) [Ã¢â¬ ¦], genital (seduction) [Ã¢â¬ ¦] trust, [Ã¢â¬ ¦] extreme physical exertion [Ã¢â¬ ¦] authorityÃ¢â¬ (Jagodozinki 2003, 323). These drives are isolated and compounded in a manner that many would figure as unethical; the audiences watch the TV Ã¢â¬â voyeurs in their living rooms Ã¢â¬â rendering all these desires perverse and alien. The anal / oral functioning can be seen in all manner of these game show / reality TV hybrids. In Survivor, participants experience food deprivation, then are force-fed the junk food of capitalism. Reality TV provides us with either a perverse kind of promotion of these desires, or else exaggerates and satirizes these principles that already play a huge part in the advertising, producer / consumer relationship of (most of) Western society. For instance, many of these reality TV programmes are obsessed with food and excrement, the balance between which is, of course, expressed in terms of physical weight: Game show reality programmes such as Fat Club, Big Diet, Survivor and Big Brother, as well as innumerable documentaries, talk shows (Gerry Springer, Rikki Lake, Oprah Winfrey all tend to devote a disproportionate amount of time to Ã¢â¬Å"exposingÃ¢â¬ obesity in ways that carefully tread the dual lines of exploitation and grotesquer y, and non-pervasive exploration or passive Ã¢â¬Å"documentaryÃ¢â¬ , often with a focus on the former) all focus on weight, eating and consumption as a mainstay of their challenges. In one edition of IÃ¢â¬â¢m a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here, pop-mystic and spoon bender Uri Geller was forced to eat live slugs while some other minor celebrity spent most of the programme complaining about his constipation. As such, natural processes such as eating, drinking and excreting matter becomes exaggerated to such an extent that these very bodily processes become shameful. Jagodozinki comments that Ã¢â¬Å"Survivor players are foced to follow exactly the same starve and binge mentality of bulemicsÃ¢â¬ (2003, 321). The Freudian drives and impulses are concentrated upon by programme makers in order to engender an interest in the programme that, if it were a representation of ordinary, mundane Ã¢â¬Å"realityÃ¢â¬ , would presumably be too scant to provoke widespread interest. Similarly, other drives are obsessed over. The genital desires, marked by an obsession with sex, lust and seduction are exploited through programmes such as Big Brother, Temptation Island and Bachelorette, where sexual, relationship related trysts are exploited by the programme makers in order to maximise audience ratings and profits from their programme. For instance, whenever a relationship threatens to bubble over in Big Brother, the programme makers, along with the media vehicles that feature Big Brother (showbiz magazines and tabloid newspapers, for instance) tend to simultaneously glorify and pervert the developing relationship into a grotesque and abominable spectacle. Trust and paranoiac fantasies are also played with in the post-production of Big Brother. The format is automatically designed to expose hypocrisy: while participants are forced to work together and live together, participants also have to periodically vote each other out of the house. As such, issues of trust and paranoiac functions are exploited, in a microcosm, of the contemporary world that constitutes Ã¢â¬Å"realityÃ¢â¬ TV. As such, the difficulty with exposing the ethical indiscretion of reality TV is simply that it can either be seen as a hyperbolic reflection or satire of current prevalent trends in Western society, or that it can be seen as contributing to the effects of Ã¢â¬Å"consumerisationÃ¢â¬ , and can therefore be seen in the light of Marxists who approach the exploitative mechanisms of mass media with grave suspicion. Louis AlthusserÃ¢â¬â¢s system of Ã¢â¬Å"interpolationÃ¢â¬ which in his words, is described as having the following relationship with ideology: Ã¢â¬Å"ideology interpolates the individual as subject, [Ã¢â¬ ¦] this interpolation is realized in institutions, in their rituals and practicesÃ¢â¬ (2001). As such, the ideology of guilt, of loathing for the body and of the consumerisation of the general public through the exploitation of these particular vulnerabilities is, according to Althusser, interpolated and disseminated through mass media, or, as he calls it, the Ã¢â¬Å "ideological state apparatusÃ¢â¬ . And any form of mass media that adheres to these capitalist desires against the individual and for the Ã¢â¬Å"subjectÃ¢â¬ is also catering to systematic oppression to the masses and is therefore morally reprehensible. So, what is the argument in favour of reality TV? Namely, that it bypasses these ideologies and instead presents us with a Ã¢â¬Å"realityÃ¢â¬ of ordinary people, unencumbered by the traffic of biased representation one tends to get in drama and fiction. The function of reality TV, according to this argument, is to present to people life as it really is. I would argue, however, that this is not the case for a number of reasons. The psychological stresses that subjects are put under are, in themselves, unique in these game show / reality TV programmes. It would be extraordinary to presume that everyday people would be forced to endure these psychological strains. Moreover, the dissemination and the editing of these pieces together serves a dual function: firstly, it imposes a strict narrative upon the happenings based upon a desire to entertain. Entertainment can be achieved through the exploitation and exaggerations of these specific, Freudian functions. In order to condense 24 hou rs of time into half an hour, programme makers have to edit the raw material of Ã¢â¬Å"realityÃ¢â¬ in a way that generates interest in the overall product. The effect of this is to highlight these desires and dramas and to generate a narrative of disgust from the raw material. As such, events are scandalised, hystericised, and processed through the Ã¢â¬Å"state apparatusÃ¢â¬ of Freudian drama. This is satirised in the film The Truman Show. Jagodozinki (2003) comments that Ã¢â¬Å"The banality of his everyday life with its mundane repetitions is the very opposite of media hype which happens off camera or is worked in Ã¢â¬ËliveÃ¢â¬â¢Ã¢â¬ (328). The function of this segment is to highlight the principle that these dramas are not reality; simply because the subject is Ã¢â¬Å"realÃ¢â¬ and falls into the pigeonhole of Ã¢â¬Å"non-fictionÃ¢â¬ by programmers, the ways in which these Ã¢â¬Å"documentariesÃ¢â¬ are assembled tend to fall into dramatic stereotypes associated with the exploitation of Freudian impulses, checked with a Marxian system of exploitation. The World Is Flat: Ã¢â¬Å"InfotainmentÃ¢â¬ and relativism Modern news programming tends to cut and splice events of widely different qualities Ã¢â¬â from serious news items about plagues, famines, death and suffering to items about cuddly toys and cats getting stranded in trees. Also, programming on commercial channels are cut every fifteen minutes with a barrage of advertising, with the effect of sharply combining the Ã¢â¬Å"realityÃ¢â¬ of news footage and reality TV with the Ã¢â¬Å"non-realityÃ¢â¬ of advertising. Ethically, this places TV in general under the accusation of numbing the viewer and transforming him or her into the amoral, relativistic, emotionally numb and philosophically nihilistic consumer infant that sociopaths and corporations tend to prefer. As such, arguments about the Ã¢â¬Å"realityÃ¢â¬ of reality TV being less produced than fiction tends to falter instead, the handle of Ã¢â¬Å"realityÃ¢â¬ has the effect of simply lowering the viewerÃ¢â¬â¢s (or consumerÃ¢â¬â¢s) guard. The juxtaposition of mundane e vents in a fast barrage of creative editing sensationalises the mundane. In a triumph of style over content, some reality TV shows and news features use music and montage to create the illusion of event, when there is no event to speak of. Ã¢â¬Å"Real lifeÃ¢â¬ documentaries and long-running reality TV programmes, such as Changing Rooms and DIY SOS utilise quirky (and somewhat insipid) montage sequences with humorous music in order to generate a homely, friendly appeal. However, almost all reality TV programmes appeal to consumerist desires (an endless procession of programmes about house hunting, gardening, buying), or exploitative voyeurism (house cleaning programmes about Ã¢â¬Å"dirtyÃ¢â¬ people, unsympathetic obesity programmes, a fixation upon sexual or cosmetic acts). Ethically, reality TV however, only ser
Saturday, January 18, 2020
Breaching experiments are most commonly associated with ethnomethodology, a Breaching Experiment is an experiment that seeks to examine people's reactions to violations of commonly Accepted social rules or norms. Norms are defined as the expectations, or rules of behavior, that Develop out of values. For this Project, I was required to violate a norm. Basically doing Something Ã¢â¬Å"out of the ordinaryÃ¢â¬ itÃ¢â¬â¢s not common at all in society, in this project weÃ¢â¬â¢ll find out What is people reaction by recording myself doing something that calls their attention like what I Did in this project. Asking people around the mall for Ã¢â¬Å"HUGS & KISSESÃ¢â¬ or saying randomly Ã¢â¬Å"HiÃ¢â¬ , to them pretending I know them for a while, at the time I start developing my experiment Was difficult for me to keep a straight Face while doing it.The reaction of individuals at the beginning of this experiment was negative and doubtful, Not all dared to give me a hug, out of the ob vious fear of the camera, many had not clear What was my purpose of giving hugs so they preferred to continue with their walking Ignoring me at all, but certainly that didnÃ¢â¬â¢t stop me to continue researching more looks and Reactions.As well as there were people who rejected me, there were many people affordable, who gave me a warm host smile and definitely my hug. It is impressive how within a few hours of doing this Project I carefully analyze and determine the acceptances and denials of society by doing Something out of the ordinary on a typical and current day.At home I created a colorful poster to call attention of the pedestrians, it was rare for me to say to People that Ã¢â¬Å"Hugs and KissesÃ¢â¬ were given away as itÃ¢â¬â¢s obviously this kind of experimentations Is not common at all, but that is what this experiment was about, as you seen in the video not All people react to our proposals same way so, many run away, others ended up agreeing by Being intimidated by a camera, others for being seen well to the others,Ã many did not wanted to Do it, others felt happy and congratulated me as intensive because of my project, others were Frightened.In fact I received positive and negative critiques, Talking about genres it as an Advantage for us as girls by received the opposite gender immediately acceptance which is a Positive response, in relation to the women they were restricted somewhat by noticing our Presence, but it was certainly a charming and fun project. Worth to mention that learning and Enjoying, what you do, is what really matters.When you are a participant in this class of experiments, you experience reactions from people Directly. From all this we learn that the criteria for each person must be respected not necessarily Being all of us alike, our way of thinking varies, leading us to think and act according to what is Taught to us, what we see and experience every day in our different cultures. Now days, in many Countries they do not use physical contact as a way of greeting or cordiality meaning that it WouldnÃ¢â¬â¢t be right to go against the rules that have already been implemented and established in Their cultures.Then, how about people whom beliefs are only based in what society thinks and implement with The past of the time, without letting them create their own criteria?Well these people live daily a routine guided by the rest, and their way of seeing things is totally According to what society thinks is right or not although often have radical changes are not Really common sense to many of the individuals.Whether you way you think or believe in things is based on society or the rest of the people.. You are the owner of your criteria, accept the new changes around, adapt yourself and also opt to Implement what you think and believe is right for the growth of cultural knowledge of society in Which we live.
Wednesday, January 1, 2020
How can I become a storm chaser? is one of the most frequent questions I get asked. Last year, I reported on the National Weather Festival and a new event called the Storm Chaser Car Show. This year, I had the opportunity to complete an interview with one of the participants in the show. His name is Chris Caldwell and he works for KOCO TV 5 in Oklahoma as a professional storm chaser. He is a member of the F.A.S.T. Team (First Alert Storm Team) and even runs is own website Ponca City Weather. Catch his video in the KOCO TV blog about building a chase car! Anyone can join in on the celebration on Saturday, October 20th, 2007. The events are part of the National Weather Festival which includes tours of the National Weather Center, vendors, amateur radio demonstrations, and fun weather-related kids activities. As for the cars of storm chasing, awards are given out in the following categories Most Hail DamageMost Working SensorsMost UniqueMost Cutting EdgeBest LookingMeatwagon Award If you have a car that meets any of the above requirements, you can register for the show for free! This year, there will be two separate categories for personal and sponsored vehicles. How Did You Get Started in Storm Chasing? When I started storm chasing there werent many people chasing at that time. I had done it as a hobby and anytime a storm would be within 25 miles I would go chase it! That was back in 1991. I got me interested in chasing when an F5 tornado passed right in front of me across highway 177 just south of Ponca City as I was on my way to Tulsa. At the time, I was driving a UPS truck. I was headed to the airport with next-day-air packages and as I got south of town I could see this massive mile wide tornado coming from the west. I was trying to hurry to beat it so I didnt have to wait for it to cross the road. I didnt quite make it and instead I sat and watched it hit a mobile home and it picked up a 24 foot stock trailer that was attached to a dual-wheel pickup loaded with cattle. I never did see where it landed. The mobile home itself just disintegrated. This storm actually had just hit the area that I had grown up in but I couldnt stay to make sure everyone was okay. I continued on to Tulsa and on the way I saw numerous funnels, at least 30, and as I approached the Hallet area I came across a 2nd tornado. By then it was dark. All the way over I had to slow down and stop since we were coming across power lines down all over the place. I was able to see the tornado near the Hallet exit only from the lightning illuminating it. I got out of the vehicle and a trooper was there getting everyone under the overpass bridge. But Overpasses are NOT Considered Safe You are right. Overpasses as tornado shelters are not considered safe. Little did we know back then that that was the wrong thing to do but we all managed to live even though the tornado went right over the top of us. I got away from there and headed into Tulsa. I kept seeing ambulance after ambulance heading west and then I saw whyÃ¢â¬ ¦There were people searching for survivors out in a field near a housing edition on the west side of the Tulsa Metro area. I made it to the airport some 2 hours late but they held the plane and I turned around and headed back home and saw even more rescue people heading west. I had heard there was several killed in that housing plan but never did hear a final count. It was this one night of tornadoes that got me even more interested in chasing. From then on, I started going to classes put on by the National Weather Service and I started reading all the books I could find on weather. What Kinds of Classes Were Available? There is no course you go and take to become a storm chaser. Most of it is learned by going out and chasing. I now chase for KOCO TV 5 in Oklahoma City and to chase for them you have to have some experience. They dont just throw people out that say Ã¢â¬ËI want to chase.Ã¢â¬â¢ In fact all of their chasers have extensive chase time before they started chasing for them. My experience lasted from 1991 until 2002 before I started chasing for them. What is Your Favorite Part of Storm Chasing? Once a storm has shot up and it classified as severe, the chase is on. This is the part that I enjoy the most. Getting yourself in position can be hectic since we have roads to follow but the tornado itself has no highways or roads it has to stay on. I always try and get to the part of the storm that allows me the best photo opportunity as well as allows me to report back on what the storm is doing and where it is heading. I guess warning the public and letting people know its coming their way is the reason we are out there and indeed it is what I enjoy most. What is Your Least Favorite Part of Storm Chasing? My all means that would be night-time chasing. I have had...Continued on Page 2. What is Your Least Favorite Part of Storm Chasing? What is the Greatest Storm You Ever Chased? What About Close Calls? How Long Does it Take to Build a Chase Car? How About Storm Chase Vacations? What Do You Think of These? Ã¢â¬ chasecationÃ¢â¬ Anything Else You Would Like to Add? By the way, every year I attend several classes put on by the National Weather Service. One of these classes is done in an evening and then there are the more advanced ones that are 3 days long. This year I will also be attending the storm chaser convention since they have started doing seminars at it as well.