Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Convergence of Media in Control of Television_ Internalization of a National Community?

Having surveyed the products of the conglomeration culture (for once being a 'surveyor' rather than an object of surveillance!), I realized that this process and products (advertisements, corporations geared for consumerism, web business) are in fact internalizing a national community, narrowing a culture within. 

Consider the centrality of TV in the world of digital media. (Caldwell) The industry takes off from the television as an origin, a starting point. TV, as we have come to understand, is significantly embedded in a culture in specific and thus is highly tied into it. Therefore, the end products of the culture of convergence become in a way a reflection of a particular culture of a nation. 

Yes, within the realm of the conglomeration culture, this ever - expanding web of converging media and multiplicity of meanings - lead to "a mass ceremony," thus a creation of "an imagined community." (Benjamin) Nonetheless, consider the issue of specificity within this seemingly open/ broad world of possibilities.  While creating a broad imagined community through the multiplicity of meanings, this converging media culture also holds limitation, because of the curious and fundamental nature of its very origin, TV -- culture. For example, refer to the reality shows, or any other popular form of televisional media that are projected on the TV screen. (Friends, The Hills, Scrubs, Disney Channels, MTV, vh1, the list goes on ...) They stem from and are heavily engraved in the american culture as a televisional medium, and thus the fellow media forms (advertisements, capitalist industry of various areas) are founded within the realm of the american culture. Therefore, while the culture of conglomeration of media opens up possibilities for an ever- expanding imagined community, it also leads to the internalization of a national community due to the national culture from which it originates. 

Take the website of the reality show that we viewed in the lecture as an example in hand. The Hills website is inundated with links and directions to other forms of industry. (Nordstrom - a clothing industry, cosmetic industry, sexual health industry, a conversational forum of criticism/ acclaims, etc.) The show, along with the other media industries in relation, are originated from the U.S., a specific culture within a nation. Would a person, of a different national origin, view this " extraordinary mass ceremony" in the same way as a viewer of the U.S. origin? Especially regarding the very high degree of commercialization and consumerism of the media culture in the States? (note the capitalist business that originate from the U.S. onto the global stage - Youtube, Google, Itunes, name a million ..) and the obsession with the 'look,' the false notion of aesthetics driven by Hollywood celebrities.
 In reverse but probably to a lesser degree (due to the highly mediated, consumerism driven nature of the U.S. I would argue...)  how would an american viewer view the end products of the converging media in other areas of the world, for example in Europe, Asia, etc.? (An example would be -- if an american watches Tour de France, how would he/she react to this projection of an international event? and to the commercials that surround the reporting of the bicycle race, and the advertisements and links that fill the Tour de France official website? Do they have the same effects? What about the Cannes Festival website that lists sponsors such as L'oreal, Renault, HP, or a French TV channel - France 2 - that distinctly belongs to a different culture of a nation and makes references that are foreign to those who are part of the 'imagined community' of the web and the digital media world, but not of the national culture of France?  Refer to these following websites:

 How is this broad chart of digital media and of consumerism viewed by members of different nations? of different cultures?  The boundary between the national and the international may be less critically viewed - in the case of Youtube, or mainly many other internet media. Nonetheless, TV being "a major player in digital media," perhaps the notion of "cross - national" or "trans- national" ought to be brought into question.  How do we, as a member of a broader global community, view the internalization of a national community within the era of media in convergence? The attempt of broadening and expanding further the imagined community with the extraordinary, or perhaps superfluous amount of 'information' and counteracts against its principle goal of 'expansion.' The excessive effort overlooks the audience beyond, leaving them rather alienated in a foreign setting. The national community, shaped by the social culture of its own, is being internalized, becoming incomprehensible and inaccessible to the audience overlooked. 

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