Narrative rupture

TV test pattern

This brief meditation on the nature of the modern mass media, written in 2015 by a professor at The New School for Social Research, is deep and cryptic enough to be worth reading more than once:

The weird global media event:

It will be made of half-facts and one-and-a-half facts. And made quickly, as the desire for a media story quickly outstrips the reliable data. Certain corrections will later have to be made — silently.

It is only global in appearing to speak of a world; somewhere indifference reigns. But it does produce an image of the global for each of the interpretive spaces it touches. Images rendered incomparable by the different ideological narratives that rule in those domains.

That it is an event demands a suspension of open-ended thought. The event invokes the master-scripts of ideology, which the event will be made to fit. That which at first exceeds everyday little stories is recaptured by grand narrative.


Some background on the concept:

On the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin wall, here is a small piece of my first book, Virtual Geography (Indiana 1994) on it as a weird global media event. The proposition of that book was that one might understand the functioning of global media in those moments when its sustaining narratives broke down in the wake of events that initially at least did not conform to those narratives.

Such moments are weird global media events: weird because unexpected and inexplicable, global in that the media vector crosses borders and invokes a transnational geomedia space, media in that the space within which things happen is shaped by the form of the media vector, and events in that they are interruptions of a singular, non-recurring kind of time.


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