Friday, November 28, 2014

David Foster Wallace on Mediated Experience

Time stamp: 28:05-29:59

Those of us who write partly as a subject about popular culture are, I think, doing something important, which is that television and popular culture has become so saturated for people our age that we don't notice it's there. We don't notice that much of our experience is mediated, but it's got an agenda. It's trying to sell us things, that an attempt to—I don't know what you would call it—get behind the scenes, humanize, defamiliarize the experience of a mediated world is I think a good and important thing if nothing else to slap people kind of unpleasantly across the face and say, "There may not be something wrong with 68 hours of television, but it would be very nice for you to remember that you are essentially being offered a sales pitch and a seduction, six to eight hours a day." If we forget that, then for some reason just intuitively, I think we're in huge trouble. At a time in the US when I think it's very hard to find and commit to things that you think are important or good, at least for me, in some elements of fiction, it seems to me, it's a rather high-minded agenda to try to wake people up to the fact that our experience is weird now. There is something weird and thrice removed from the real world about it, and a lot of us don't realize it. What's at stake is in many ways human agency about how we experience the world. Would I rather go muck around in the hot sun by the seashore or watch a marvelously put together documentary about the death of egrets. But by the time I go to the G**d*** seashore and have seen the egrets, I have already experienced this smooth documentary so many times that it becomes quickly incoherent to talk about an extra-mediated or extra-televisual reality. Now that fact in and of itself is frightening, and it's that kind of—almost just sort of shooting flare into the sky and inviting people to say how weird that is. I can go to the ocean that I've never seen before, but I've spent a 1,000 hours... I mean, who would want to live when you can... watch?


Source: Endnotes: David Foster Wallace, BBC Documentary,

No comments:

Post a Comment

All comments ad hominem or deemed offensive by the moderator will be subject to immediate deletion.