www.nettime.org
Nettime mailing list archives

Re: <nettime> Dean and Kerry: Hot and Cool/no one hears you scream on th
Greg Elmer on Thu, 29 Jan 2004 11:24:27 +0100 (CET)


[Date Prev] [Date Next] [Thread Prev] [Thread Next] [Date Index] [Thread Index]

Re: <nettime> Dean and Kerry: Hot and Cool/no one hears you scream on the net


Conversely, if the trend continues (Iowa, NH, etc.) Kerry will need 
to reinvent himself as an Internet savvy candidate to capture the 
excitement and dollars of Dean supporters. This strikes me as a 
central issue for Democrats if Kerry goes on to win the nomination.

It will be interesting to watch if the role of the Net in U.S. 
politics lessens the axiomatic "Expanding the base of support" = 
moving to the political centre. Dean's net campaign claims that many 
new voters are being brought into the Democratic party -- at least 
the "screaming" wing of the party. Which way will Kerry "network"?

Greg
(no one hears you scream on the Net)








At 2:34 PM +0100 1/29/04, Felix Stalder wrote:
>Reading Ronda's article, it seems to me that she, and a lot of other people
>who write about Dean, the Internet and politics, miss some essential points.
>Usually, the story is one about grassroots involvement, the power of
>connectivity, etc. These are certainly important points, and they support a
>story we all like to hear -- the Internet as a means of democratic
>participation. Yet, the events suggest that underneath this, there might be a
>different story.
>
>One of the the events McLuhan referred to again and again, was the Nixon/
>Kennedy debate in 1960, which was right at the transition from radio to TV as
>the predominant means of mass communication. TV had reached a penetration of
>about 50% of the households. The majority of people who listened to this
>debate on radio thought that Nixon had come across better, while those who
>watched it on TV thought Kennedy was more appealing.
>
>McLuhan related this back to the particular characteristics of the two media,
>calling radio 'hot' (high-definition, agitating) and TV 'cool' (low
>definition, sedating) and concluded that different types of media favor
>different types of politicians. The cool Kennedy was suited better for the TV
>age than the hot-headed Nixon. (The fact that Nixon eventually became
>president indicates a) politicians can adapt and b) McGovern was even
>hotter.)
>
>Anyway, as I watch some of the spectacle around the democratic primaries, it
>strikes me that it could be possible that, again, we have the story of
>different media favoring different types of personalities. Why? First, the
>Dean campaign is different from other maverick campaigns (say, John McCain in
>2000) insofar that it's clearly not the case of an independent, poorly
>organized, under-funded campaign being steamrolled by superior organizing and
>funding. After all, Dean has, by far, the most money and, arguably, the best
>on-the-ground organization. So, this is not the classic outside-insider
>story, largely thanks to the Internet, as many have observed.
>
>Yet, could it be that exactly the kinds of qualities that make Dean so
>attractive to get involved with via the Internet make him less appealing on
>TV? Online, his 'radical' stance comes across as principled, as a clear
>alternative. On TV, it comes across as arrogant and hot-headed. TV clearly is
>a cool medium, favoring a cool demeanor by politicians. Nobody got this
>across better than Clinton. Yet, cool politicians are not the types who feel
>you need to help personally (unless in ultra-crass cases such as the
>Clinton-impeachment that spawned moveon.org). On the Internet, spontaneity is
>essential part of an engaging interactive experience, while on TV, it's
>amateurish.
>
>Dean, it seems, is in a difficult position. He needs to continue to appeal to
>his Internet-based organization, which could fall apart as quickly as it was
>assembled, yet he needs to tone himself down to make the transition onto TV
>where the boring but authoritative-looking Kerry operates much more smoothly.
>
>Following the McLuhan story, Dean-types would win, in the long run, as we move
>from TV-based to Internet-based politics, but things are never that smooth.
>In the short-run, I certainly wouldn't bet on it.
>
>
>Felix
>
>
>----+-------+---------+---
>http://felix.openflows.org
>
>#  distributed via <nettime>: no commercial use without permission
>#  <nettime> is a moderated mailing list for net criticism,
>#  collaborative text filtering and cultural politics of the nets
>#  more info: majordomo {AT} bbs.thing.net and "info nettime-l" in the msg body
>#  archive: http://www.nettime.org contact: nettime {AT} bbs.thing.net


-- 
Greg Elmer
Associate Professor
Department of Communication
Florida State University
356 Diffenbaugh
Tallahassee, FL
32303
850.645.4692 (tel.)

Co-Editor
Space and Culture: An International Journal of Social Spaces
http://www.carleton.ca/space/

________________________________________________________________________________

#  distributed via <nettime>: no commercial use without permission
#  <nettime> is a moderated mailing list for net criticism,
#  collaborative text filtering and cultural politics of the nets
#  more info: majordomo {AT} bbs.thing.net and "info nettime-l" in the msg body
#  archive: http://www.nettime.org contact: nettime {AT} bbs.thing.net