October 14th, 2002

benpeek

(no subject)

back with habermas, because we're slowing down and need to pick up.

'Rousseau's democracy of unpublic opinion ultimately postulated the manipulative exercise of power. the general will was always right, the notorious passage stated, but the judgment that guided it was not always enlightened. it was therefore necessary to present matters as they were, sometimes as they were to appear. but why did rousseau not call the sovereign opinion of the people simple opinion? why did he identify it was opinion publique? the explanation is simple. a direct democracy required that the sovereign be actually present. the volonte generale as the corpus mysticum was bound up with the corpus physicum of the people as a consensual assembly... opinion publique derived its attribute from it, that is, from the citizens assembled for acclamation and not for the rational-critical public debate of a public eclaire.

p 98-9. habermas.
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benpeek

(no subject)

'however, the revolution (in france, note by me) itself combined the two sundered functions of public opinion, the critical and the legislative. the constitution of 1791 joined the principle of popular sovereignty with that of the parliamentary constitutional state, which provided a constitutional guarantee for a public sphere as an element in the political realm.'

p 99.

there is more on this and the next two pages.
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    Godspeed You Black Emperor! - Storm.
benpeek

(no subject)

'The public sphere in the world of letters was replaced by the pseudo-public or sham-private world of culture consumption. at that time, when private people were conscious of their double role as bourgeois and homme and simultaneously asserted the essential identity of property owner with "human being," they owed this self-image to the fact that a public sphere evolved from the very heard of the private sphere itself. although in regard to its function, it was only preliminary to a public sphere in the political realm, nevertheless this public sphere in the world of letters itself already had the kind of "political" character by virtue of which it was removed from the sphere of social reproduction.
'bourgeois culture was not mere ideology. the rational-critical debate of private people in the salons, clubs, and reading societies was not directly subject to the cycle of production and consumption, that is, to the dictates of life's necessities. even in its merely literary from (of self-elucidation of the novel experiences of subjectivity) it possessed instead a "political" character in the greek sense of being emancipated from the constraints of survival requirements. it was for those reasons alone the idea that later degenerated into mere ideology (namely: humanity) could develop at all. the identification of the property owner with the natural person, with the human being as such, presupposed a separation inside the private realm between, on the one hand, affairs that private people pursued individually each in the interests of the reproduction of his own life and, on the other hand, the sort of interaction that united private people into a public. but as soon as and to the degree that the public sphere in the world of letters spread into the realm of consumption, this threshold became leveled. so-called leisure behavior, once it had become part of the cycle of production and consumption, was already apolitical, if for no other reason than its incapacity to constitute a world emancipated from the immediate constraints of survival needs. when leisure was nothing but a complement to time spent on the job, it could be no more than a different arena for the pursuit of private business affairs that were not transformed into a public communication between private people. to be sure, the individuated satisfaction of needs might be achieved in a public fashion, namely, in the company of many others; but a public sphere itself did not emerge from such a situation. when the laws of the marked governing the sphere of commodity exchange and of social labor also pervaded the sphere reserved for private people as a public, rational-critical debate had a tendency to be replaced by consumption, and the web of public communication unraveled into acts of individuated reception, however uniform in mode.'

p 160-1.

habermas.

(that was a lot of typing.)
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benpeek

(no subject)

'through this development the privacy that had its referent in the public as audience was turned into a travesty. the literary patterns that once had been stamped out of its material circulate today as the explicit production secrets of a patented culture industry whose products, spread publicly by the mass media, for their part bring forth in their consumers' consciousness the illusion of bourgeois privacy to begin with. this social-psychological transmutation of the original relation between the intimate domain and the literary public sphere was linked sociologically to the structural transformation of the family itself.'

--next paragraph--

'on the one hand, private people were able to free themselves from the ideological fusion of their double role as bourgeois and homme; but this uncoupling of the intimate sphere from the basis of property functioning as capital--which seemed to make possible the actualization of its idea within a public sphere of emancipated private people--also brought about new relationships of dependence. the autonomy of private people now no longer grounded in the genuine control over private property would be realizable as an autonomy derived from public status guarantees of privacy only as long as the "human beings" (no longer in their capacity as bourgeois, as before, but) in their capacity as citoyens themselves attained control over these conditions of their private existence by means of a public sphere that operated in the political realm. under the given circumstances, this was not to be expected. but if citizens in their familial existence could not draw autonomy from their control over private property, and also could not do so from participation in the political public sphere, two things were long longer given. on the one hand, there was no longer institutional support for an individuation of the person on the model of the "protestant ethic"; nor, on the other hand, were there social conditions within sight that could replace the classical path of internalization via the educational route of a "political ethics" and in this fashion supply a new foundation for the process of individuation.'

'The deprivatized province of interiority was hollowed out by the mass media; a pseudo-public sphere of a no longer literary public was patched together to create a sort of superfamilial zone of familiarity.'

161-2.

habermas.
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benpeek

(no subject)

'it was not merely standardization as such that established an inverse relationship between the commercialization of cultural goods and their complexity, but that special preparation of products that made them consumption ready, which is to say, guaranteed an enjoyment without being tied to stringent presuppositions. of course, such enjoyment is also entirely inconsequential. serious involvement with culture produces facility, while the consumption of mass culture leaves no lasting trace; it affords a kind of experience which is not cumulative but regressive.'

p 166.

i am habermas.
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benpeek

(no subject)

'the sensationalist press of the eighties was dubbed yellow journalism because of the yellow color of the comics (whose representative figure was the 'yellow kid'). the techniques of the cartoon, news picture, and human interest story grew out of the repertory of the weekly press, which even earlier had presented its news and fictional stories in a way that was as optically effective as it was undemanding on the literary level. toward the end of the century the "american" form of mass press also became dominant on the continent...'

--next paragraph--

'the mass press was based on the commercialization of the participation in the public sphere on the part of broad strata designed predominantly to give the masses in general access to the public sphere. this expanded public sphere, however, lost its political character to the extend that the means of "psychological facilitation" could become an end in itself for a commercially fostered consumer attitude. in the case of the early penny press it could already be observed how it paid the maximization of its sales with the depoliticization of its content--by eliminating political news and political editorials on such more topics as intemperance and gambling'

--next paragraph--

'the journalistic principles of the illustrated newspaper had an honorable tradition. in relation to the expansion of the news-reading public, therefore, the press that submitted political issues to critical discussion in the long run lost its influence. instead, the culture consuming public whose inheritance derived from the public sphere in the world of letters more than from that in the political realm attained a remarkable dominance.'

(emergence of type of mass media.)

--next paragraph--

'admittedly, this consumption of culture was to a high degree detached from the literary vehicles. nonverbal communications or those that, if they had not been translated into picture and sound altogether, were facilitated by optical and acoustic support, replaced to a greater or lesser extend the classical forms of literary production. these trends can also be observed in the daily press which is still closest to them. by means of variegated type and layout and ample illustration reading is made easy at the same that its field of spontaneity in general is restricted by serving up the material as a ready-made convenience, patterned and predigested. editorial opinions recede behind information from press agencies and reports from correspondents; critical debate disappears behind the veil of internal decisions concerning the selection and presentation of the material. in addition the share of political or politically relevant news changes. public affairs, social problems, economic matters, education, and health--according to a categorization suggested by american authors, precisely the "delayed reward news"--are not only pushed into the background by "immediate reward news" (comics, corruption, accidents, disasters, sports, recreation, social events, and human interest) by, as the characteristic label already indicates, are also actually read less and more rarely. in the end the news generally assumes some sort of guise and is made to resemble a narrative from its format down to stylistic detail )the news stories); the rigorous distinction between fact and fiction is ever more frequently abandoned. news and reports and even editorial opinions are dressed up with all the accoutrements of entertainment literature, whereas on the other hand the belletrist contributions aim for the strictly "realistic" reduplication of reality "as it is" on the level of cliches and thus, in turn, erase the line between fictional and report.'

p 168-70.

habermas.
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benpeek

(no subject)

'under the common denominator of so-called human interest emerges the mixtum compositum of a pleasant and at the same times convenient subject for entertainment that, instead of doing justice to reality, has a tendency to present a substitute more palatable for consumption and more likely to give rise to an impersonal indulgence in stimulating relaxation than to a public use of reason. radio, film, and television by degrees reduce to a minimum the distance that a reader is forced to maintain toward the printed letter--a distance that required the privacy of the appropriation as much as it made possible the publicity of a rational-critical exchange about what had been read. with the arrival of the new media the form of communication as such has changed; they have had an impact therefore, more penetrating (in the strict sense of the word) than was ever possible for the press. under the pressure of the "don't talk back!" the conduct of the public assumes a different form. in comparison with printed communications the programs sent by the new media curtail the reactions of their recipients in a peculiar way. they draw the eyes and ears of the public under their spell but at the same time, by taking away it's distance, place it under "tutelage," which is to say they deprive it of the opportunity to say something and to disagree. the critical discussion of a reading public tends to give way to "exchanges about tastes and preferences" between consumers--even the talk about what is consumed, "the examination of tastes," becomes part of a consumption itself.'

--next paragraph--

'the world fashioned by the mass media is a public sphere in appearance only...'

this bit begins on page 171 and continues to 175, which is a bit too much for me to just type up in the form of one giant note. (you think, sometimes like i do, that i might be better off doing, i dunno, more coherent notes. but it's not true. i don't. i never have. mwahaha. heh. ah well.)

the first bit was taken from p 170-1.

habermas. say it. chant it. make love to it. you know, the more you say it, the less it becomes an entity.
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benpeek

(no subject)

'the history of the big daily papers in the second half of the nineteenth century proves that the press itself became manipulable to the extent that it became commercialized. ever since the marketing of the editorial section become interdependent with that of the advertising section, the press (until then an institution of private people insofar as they constituted a public) became an institution of certain participants in their capacity as private individuals; that is, it became the gate through which privileged private interests invaded the public sphere.'

p 185.

interesting stuff beforehand, worth a look if this is used. say habermas, and you love it.
benpeek

(no subject)

'nevertheless the degree of economic concentration and technological-organizational coordination in the newspaper publishing industry seems small in comparison to the new media of the twentieth century--film, radio, and television. indeed, their capital requirements seemed so gigantic and their publicist power so threatening that in some countries the establishment of these media was from the start under government direction or under government control.'

p 187.

habermas.
benpeek

(no subject)

bit before that's interesting, then this:

'in comparison with the press of the liberal era, the mass media have on the one hand attained an incomparably greater ranger and effectiveness--the sphere of the public realm itself has expanded correspondingly. on the other hand they have been moved ever further out of this sphere and reentered the once private sphere of commodity exchange. the more their effectiveness in terms of publicity increased, the more they became accessible to the pressure of certain private interests, where individual or collective. whereas formerly the press was able to limit itself to the transmission and amplification of the rational-critical debate of private people assembled into a public, now conversely this debate gets shaped by the mass media to begin with.'

p 188

habermas.
benpeek

(no subject)

'the separation of public and private spheres implied that the competition between private interests was in principle left to the market as a regulating force and was kept outside the conflict of opinions. however, in the measure that the public sphere became a field for business advertising, private people as owners of private property had a direct effect on private people as the public. in this process, to be sure, the transformation of the public sphere into a medium of advertising was met halfway by the commercialization of the press. conversely, however, the latter was also propelled by the needs of business advertising that independently emerged out of economic configurations.'

--next paragraph--

'the flooding of the public sphere with advertising publications is not explained by the liberalization of the market, although business advertising in the old style arose just about simultaneously with it...'

more after. might be of interest.

p 189. habermas.
benpeek

(no subject)

'within such a public sphere large-scale advertising almost always also assumed the quality of being more than just business advertising--if only by the fact that it represented per se the most important factor in the financial calculations of the papers and journals and even of the newer media to the degree that they operated on the commercial basis. however, economic advertisement achieved an awareness of its political character only in the practice of public relations/'

p 192-3.
"opinion management" is distinguished from advertising by the fact that it expressly lays claim to the public sphere as one that plays a role in the political realm. private advertisements are always directed to other private people insofar as they are consumers; the addressee of public relations is "public opinion," or the private citizens as the public and not directly as consumers. the sender of the message hides his business intentions in the role of someone interested in the public welfare. the influencing of consumers borrows its connotations from the classic idea of a public of private people putting their reason to use and exploits its legitimations for its own ends. the accepted functions of the public sphere are integrated into the competition of organized private interests.'

--next paragraph--

'in contrast, opinion management with its "promotion" and "exploitation" goes beyond advertising; it invades the process of "public opinion" by systematically creating news events or exploiting events that attract attention. in doing so it sticks strictly with the psychology and techniques of the feature and pictorial publicity connected with the mass media and with their well tested human interest topics: romance, religion, money, children, health, and animals.'

more. much more about this around here. opinion management.

p 194.

habermas.
benpeek

(no subject)

there is a bit about engineering of consent (which is the central task, for only in the climate of such a consensus does "promotion to the 'public,' suggesting or urging acceptance or rejection of a person, product, organization, or idea," succeed.)

'on the other hand the consensus concerning behavior required by the public interest, or so it seems, actually has certain features of a staged "public opinion." although public relations is supposed to stimulate, say, the sales of certain commodities, its effect always goes beyond this...'

more in that paragraph of interest, perhaps. p 194.

--next paragraph--

'the resulting consensus, of course, does not seriously have much in common with the final unanimity wrought by a time consuming process of mutual enlightenment, for the "general interest" on the basis of which alone a rational agreement between publicly competing opinions could freely be reached has disappeared precisely to the extent that the publicist self-presentations of privileged private interests have adopted it for themselves.'

more on this, of course.

p 195.

habermas.