This book is not explicitly about music or sound art, nevertheless it is a thoughtful examination under which circumstances the media is working. Though published in 1996 and based on two programmes Bourdieu produced for a private TV channel of France, the transcriptions of his TV-lectures are by no means dated but even more relevant today. His main thesis is that contemporary TV forces all its contributers into the production of short pallatable information bits that are of interest – omnibus – for as much people as possible. The writer, philosopher, politician with a sense for easy-to-digest slogans and catchy headlines is what TV needs for its programmes. There is even an interaction between the narcissistic intellectual and the medium as his mirror: in order to be seen on screen the intellectual writes to be invited into the studios. A self amplifing effect that leads to a lack of compexity in any discussion or discurs on TV. Instead of discribing reality TV more and more creates reality. In search for the next scoop the journalists tend to dramatize news reports that bounces back on our perception of reality. TV channels invent shows that trace our greed for sensation and its success is another headline. There is a certain hidden censorship when the lenses of the TV cameras focus on the popular aspects that bring the biggest viewing figures while other subjects are overlooked. But there is no big brother on top of the major media companies (apart from Murdoch maybe…) who invented this „system“, the media has an intrinsic compulsion to impose this behaviour on anybody working in this area: everybody is manipulated and is a manipulator as well. This is the most interesting point in his argument since I work in the TV business to finanze my sound art excursions and it rings a bell, when I comtemplate those thoughts for a while. I remember when writing film scores for TV programmes there are always discussions to what extent arty or mainstream the score should be. There is a premature obedience to an anonymous audience that – in a strange act of democracy – votes whether the programme is good or not. In the end there are a lot of compromises and the hidden path has been walked again. I smiled when I read excerpts of a book written by a former CEO of a main german TV broadcaster I occasionally worked for, who explained how he was forced to abandon highly acclaimed programmes as if he just was another puppet in the game. Here is how Bourdieu finishes his first lecture: we are puppets of a higher goddess in the media industry. It seems there is a lot of autonomy and freedom in TV, but the compulsory nature of its structure makes us all to some kind of puppets in a certain way.
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Fire and Frost Patternreleased at "Gruenrekorder"