Dec 12, 2009

Misuse of mass media, and immediacy

With the press as degenerate as it is, human beings eventually will surely be transformed into clods. A newspaper's first concern has to be circulation; from then on the rule for what it publishes can be: the wittiness and entertainment of printing something that has no relation to communication through the press. How significant! How easy to be witty when misuse of the press has become the newly invented kind of witticism.

For example, they write that a certain well-known person (mentioned by name) wears an embroidered shirt. This is written and then read by the whole market town where the lunatic press thrives. The man is cartooned with an embroidered shirt and this treatment goes on for half a year — and naturally is the most widely read of everything read in the market town. If this is not either lunacy or idiocy, then I know of no other alternative. People are simply too immediate and momentary, but on this scale it is a non plus ultra — to use the circulation of the press to discuss for half a year something which, after all, the most addle-brained person ought to be sufficiently human not to talk about for more than five minutes — it can only lead to idiocy.

— Søren Kierkegaard, 1847

No comments:

Post a Comment