Philosophistry Database

Adversarial Reporting

If there is an inherent media bias, one that cuts across both conservative and liberal outlets, its adversarial reporting. There can be no news without a "for" and an "against." Even non-political news, such as that of a crime, is adversarial, telling the story of good versus evil.

Our national consciousness is shaped by historians, which are a type of media, and they too report the past as adversarial. One of the highlights is the Civil Rights Era, where the Protest was king. Again, the framing is adversarial. Whereas in prior eras (except the Civil War) the enemy is outside, such as in wars against foreign nations, in the case of the Civil Rights Era, the enemy is ourselves. Such a view of history is odd, because it disowns the non-protestors, the "Silent Majority" as Nixon called it. The media narrative of that era is a triumph of good over evil, with the idea that we're somehow now good.

politics history media

Conspiracies of Correlation

A propaganda theory of media confuses causation with correlation. Media operators and government leaders simply have the same national interest. For the media, it's all about the propagation of an American marketplace that consumes media and buys products that are advertised on said media. For the government, it's all about the propagation of American power.

Are the heads of American media sitting in the same room with the heads of American government, coordinating their press releases and campaigns? Or does the media simply have a symbiotic relationship with a powerful state? The distinction, which is perhaps subtle, means the difference between conspiracy and synchrony. To conspire is to assert agency among the conspirators. If the media is inadvertently pumping pro-statist propaganda because they're lazy or their incentives happen to line up with said propaganda, that's one thing. It's a whole other matter to assert that these institutions are collectively trying to harm us.

conspiracies media

The decline in violence will be followed by the comicality of violence

One consequence of the decline in violence (as described by Steven Pinker), is the eventual comicality of violence. Perhaps this started with Fight Club, in which men force themselves to fight each other. By the year 1999, when the movie was released, it was no longer socially acceptable to get into a bar brawl. At one point, such brawls were a rite of passage, but now they are a sure way to get an assault charge and a lengthy medical bill.

An obvious source of evidence might be in "professional" wrestling, but that's not quite right because that is more of a continuation of theater and circus. Rather, the rise of Ultimate Fighting would indicate an increasing comicality of violence, as it has replaced the role boxing once provided. In Ultimate, the violence is more real to an absurd degree, with bones and flesh breaking regularly. Boxing, on the other hand, represented a civil break from the violence of real life. Consider, for example, the image of Bugsy Siegal taking a break from his Tommy Gun to visit the ring.

Other signs of the redirection of violence include violent video games, our increasing interest in gore and zombies, and the constant parade of superhero action movies. Eventually, voluminous, non-superhero violence in movies, as was once visible in action films like Die Hard, will be reduced or abbreviated to the point of being mere footnotes and references to a bygone era.

futurism media

The pattern where cultural nostalgia is always 20 years ago may have more to do with the natural progression for people’s tastes

As teenagers, our tastes are aimless and focused on the present. In college, we move beyond the mainstream towards novel or obscure interests. After we exhaust those in our college and early-post-college years we look towards the youth before our youth. We seek new depth through the back catalog.

culture media