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Re: <nettime> Internet2: Orchestrating the End of the Internet?
Benjamin Geer on Tue, 1 Mar 2005 14:48:33 +0100 (CET)


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Re: <nettime> Internet2: Orchestrating the End of the Internet?


On Mon, 28 Feb 2005 16:05:35 -0500, Jon Ippolito <ji {AT} guggenheim.org> wrote:

>This hardware intervention effectively destroys even the possibility of
>fair use, since artists and educators cannot transform, parody, or
>criticize what they cannot record.  [snip] which is why the MPAA will
>do its best to disarm the technology by installing Digital Rights
>Management directly in its routers to stop interesting content from
>ever getting into the pipeline.

Do you really feel that Hollywood and the American recording industry
produce much interesting content?  Is there really much to be gained
by transforming, parodying or criticising it?

Perhaps in 1964, when Susan Sontag wrote _Notes on "Camp"_, she could
legitimately see kitsch as an opportunity to create a liberating
aesthetic.  But for some time now, camp has been the dominant mode of
expression of the culture industry as a whole; it has been co-opted as
an instrument of hegemony.  The desire to remix insipid music, or
parody idiotic films that are already the purest self-parody, plays
into the hands of the culture industry's own ever more intense
navel-gazing.  There's nothing liberating in producing ever more
clever parodies of Scooby Doo.

American consumer culture is already a closed system.  The more
self-referential it becomes, the harder it is for Americans to imagine
that anything exists outside the US.  For Americans, the war in Iraq
isn't happening in Iraq, because they can't imagine Iraq; for them,
it's happening in the imaginary space of the American culture
industry, framed by the reassuringly brutal language of advertising,
with its growling male voices, punchy editing and snippets of heavy
metal songs.

As Theodor Adorno pointed out in _Minima Moralia_, "All satire is
blind to the forces liberated by decay. Which is why total decay has
absorbed the forces of satire."  Satire only works when the audience
is capable of feeling horrified by real horrors.  When the audience's
moral sense is totally numb, satire fails to elicit any reaction.

It seems to me that a necessary (but not sufficient) condition for
solving this problem is to use the tactic Richard Stallman came up
with in 1984: make free content so people don't need unfree content. 
Ignore Hollywood.  Use Creative Commons licences.  Create alternative
funding models, as the free software movement has done.  Break out of
the self-defeating spiral of self-reference.

Ben


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