Stolen from here at Oftentimes...
Last week I commented, for the first time ever, below an article on theJournal.ie, a website I frequent and enjoy on daily basis. The article in question was entitled, "Here’s what people thought of TV3?s crime documentary about Limerick." Now I have never been to Limerick, nor did I watch the documentary referred to, but this is not about Limerick, step away from the Limerick. This is what I said in my comment:
"Do a handful of tweets about a tv programme now constitute news? What if someone retweets this article and that tweet winds up on a similar tweet-based article which is then retweeted and featured in an article and further retweeted and then if the cycle was to repeat itself over and over again to the point that someone somewhere, possibly even TV3, were to make a programme or a feature about it and then people tweeted about that! AND then an article surfaced on theJournal.ie that told everyone about the reaction to that televisual feast. What then? I ask you, what then?"
Funny? Right? Witty? You know it! ... Incisive? Perhaps. I was trying to point out the pointlessness of such an article as well as the self-congratulatory relationship between the news, internet, social media and television. This type of article is all to common, a similar version appeared following TV programmes such as Love/Hate and the recent Charlie series, both on RTÉ. I actually have less of a problem with these given that they were presented differently as a handful of entertaining responses to what are essentially programmes that exist for our entertainment. When the programme at the centre of the article is something more factual, or to do with current affairs then presenting the piece as an all encompassing "what people thought," rather than "what some people thought," or "what some people who use twitter thought," is irresponsible, misleading, and frankly, does not constitute news. It was always predicted that twitter would gradually progress from reporting the news to becoming the news in and of itself as well, and this cannot be disputed when you see celebrity tweets or who they have followed or unfollowed being reported as significant news, both online and in print. As the title of this blogpost suggests, it's a bit like a "self-eating cake" to borrow one of Nicola Murray's phrases from The Thick of It.
This same smugness and inter-dependence can be further seen in reality television which is more regurgitating itself rather than eating itself, with homogeneous "reality stars" moving from one show to the next, showing their face (or more), saying something stupid or offensive and thereby building their profile, so that they can be recognised as celebrities, though there may be little worth celebrating. Of course, this suits the tabloid papers and the internet just fine, as they can report on reality stars and their "juicy" lives instead of reality.
Yet even the more so-called highbrow or intellectual programmes are not above this. Look at the celebrated Steven Moffat institutions of Sherlock and Doctor Who, for example, which have become sickeningly self-referential and deferetial towards their fanbase, the internet's reaction and the zeitgeist as a whole. The former incorporating the hashtag #sherlocklives into the show as well as dedicating an entire episode to provoking reaction from the internet through alternative and ultimately inconclusive get-out-clauses explaining how the titular character faked his own death. And as for Doctor Who, well, "Spoilers."
Is this a harmless trend, a demonstration of the widespread inter-connectivity thanks to the rise of social media, or is it something more worrying. Max Horkheimer and Theodor Adorno in their essay "The Culture Industry as Mass Deception" may have highlighted and predicted this issue when they wrote, "The attitude of the public,
which ostensibly and actually favors the system of the culture industry, is a part of the system and not an excuse for it." The "attitude of the public" now exists in the form of social media and has become an integral part of the culture industry. Is it any wonder then, following a huge economic crisis which no other ideology would have survived, the people have barely stirred and capitalism endures, as they say, "The result is the circle of manipulation and retroactive need in which the unity of the system grows ever stronger." Dun. Dun. Dunnnn. (In short, blame all on Celebrity Big Brother and Limerick)
A journal piece about TV3
Led me towards the culture Industry
For problems with the internet
I blamed Steven Moffat
And became a Marxist revolutionary.
Here's a link to THAT journal article: http://www.thejournal.ie/tv3-donal-mcintyre-breaking-crime-1866400-Jan2015/?utm_source=shortlink