Summary of Requiem for the Media

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by Sebastian Gallese

The Death of the Communication Model

EnzensbergerWishes to modify the current communication method for the consumers of the system, thus allowing for feedback and reciprocity from the general public.

BaudrillardThe current communication theory is obsolete since it emphasizes itself as a transmitter-message-receiver system, something that will not allow for social change.

  • "In other words: perhaps the Marxist theory of production is irredeemable partial, and cannot be generalized. Or again: the theory of production (the dialectical chaining of contradictions linked to the development of productive forces) is strictly homogenous with its object--material -production---and is non-transferable, as a postulate or theoretical framework, to contents that were never given for it in the first place" (Wardrip-Fruin, et al. 279).
  • "After the Requiem for the dialectic, it is necessary to toll the Requiem or the infra- and superstructure" (Wardrip-Fruin, et al. 280).

The Death of Marxist Ideology in Media Theory

EnzensbergerBelieves in the Marxist idea that the producers in media are a powerful few and the consumers are the general public. Consumers must change this Capitalist media technology and liberate it so that they can Socialize the technology and produce their own messages.

BaudrillardBy giving the consumers the power to produce, we still emphasize the producer-message-consumer model of communication that must be destroyed for social change. Dialectical materialism (class struggle) still exists in the consumer-message-producer model, even if it is modified.

  • "[...] the revolution--tout court-lies in restoring the possibility of response. But such a simple possibility presupposes an upheavel in the entire existing structure of the media. [...] All vague impulses to democratize content, subvert it, restore the "transparency of the code," control the information process, contrive a reversibility of circuits, or take power over media are hopeless--unless the monopoly of speech is broken; and one cannot break the monopoly of speech if one's goal is simply to distribute it equally to everyone" (Wardrip-Fruin, et al. 281).

The Death of Technological Determinism

EnzensbergerMedia has an inherent technological structure. By advancing this technology, it allows for social change.

BaudrillardMedia is not something technological, it is a "form or social division". Baudrillard is a technological materialist: he does not agree that there is a technological structure inherent in media. Changing the technology does not allow for social change.

  • "It is not as vehicles of content, but in their form and very operation, that media induce a social relation" (Wardrip-Fruin, et al. 280).
  • "It can involve a technical apparatus (sound, image, waves, energy, etc.) as well as corporeal one (gestures, language, sexuality), but in this case, it no longer acts as a medium, as an autonomous system administered by the code" (Wardrip-Fruin, et al. 284).

Extra Credit

Class QuestionOn page 285, Baudrillard writes, "The 'scientific' construction is rooted in a simulation model of the communication. It excludes, from its inception, the reciprocity and antagonism of interlocutors, and the ambivalence of their exchange."

Where does this ambivalence come into play? How does it destroy the classic theory of communication?

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