What is media "burn-in." Spend 1 hour looking at a slideshow of 10 paintings. Rooney!

by phil on Tuesday Jul 4, 2006 1:22 AM
random current event reference with imagery

Gus van Sant's an interesting director. He's probably most famous for directing Good Will Hunting (Matt Damon, Ben Affleck) and Finding Forrester (Sean Connery). But he has this set of deep artsy flicks, including Last Days and Elephant, both excellent films. When you find someone that can saddle between the mainstream and the critical success, you've got someone truly special.

I mention van Sant and Elephant to talk about a cinematic technique. In Elephant, which is a fictional re-enactment of the Columbine shooting, each scene is more like a vignette, with the camera just following kids around as they go about their day. For example, we follow a photographer as he just walks through the halls smiling and high-fiving random people. Nobody says anything, you just watch him. In some ways, it makes the film laborious to sit through since there's no brisk swing from dialog to action. Instead, Elephant is a series of droning visions. Think of someone forcing you to sit through a slideshow of 10 paintings over the course of 1 hour, each one just burning into your retina for 6 minutes. That's what Elephant is. Last days is similar.

Let's say we spend an average of one hour a day processing news related to current events, whether through channel flipping by CNN or hearing fragments by the water cooler. During the rest of the time, we passively remix that news into our head which provides for a backdrop or soundtrack for the rest of our lives. For example, I've never seen a World Cup 2006 game, but I've picked up hours of fragments from articles I've read, conversations I've overheard, and images passing by.

The following then, is a representation of that media "burn-in:"

Nike attacked over Rooney 'warrior' picture

Say what you will about Drudge but he has a talent for picking signal headlines and imagery. That rooney image appeared every so often for the past couple of weeks, such that it is now a time-marker for these various weeks. When I see the above image, it will be a proxy reminiscence.

and ...

video of Rooney stamping on Carvalho's crotch:

This post was written with the following perspective in mind: Take something obscure that you feel compelled to post. Then draw out background connections so that the reader understands why it's meaningful.

These italicized comments at the bottom are written with the following perspective in mind: Experiment with full-disclosure to see if will improve your writing.

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