Principia Discordia > Think for Yourself, Schmuck!

The Infinite Jest - Media and Apocalypse

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LHX:
In the book Infinite Jest*, there are details about a potent form of media.

Here is a brief re-cap:

In the world where the story takes place, promotional DVD-like discs were often sent to people in the mail as a form of advertisement.

Upon returning home from work early one day, one of the characters receives a DVD in the mail, but the package had no details or description on it. Dude popped it into his player anyway and began watching it.

The reader never finds out (I dont think) what the exact contents of the disc are. All we find out is that the disc is so engaging that the dude watches it, and it is so engaging that he watches it again. And then again. And then again. And then he just puts it on loop, and gets stuck watching this program.

When his wife comes home and finds him stuck in front of the screen, she sees that he has also pissed his pants and has slipped into some sort of zombie-like state watching this program. But when she starts watching it, she also gets stuck watching the program.

Eventually, dude doesnt show up for work the next day. His employer sends some lackeys to go check whats goin on. When they show up at his house, they peep the scene and then they too end up getting stuck watching the program on the screen.

Some door-to-door religious types find the door open and decide to enter the house. They too get stuck watching the program.

By now you should see where this is going.

As it turns out - if I recall correctly - the media had been put together by some sort of French-Canadian terrorist organization of people in wheelchairs. I cant remember the full details correctly.


The notion of creating a piece of media that is so engaging that people cannot turn away from it seems to be the aim of some people and organizations.

Controlling the mind.

In these days, creating a immobile, comatose audience is not the preferred outcome. Rather, media is getting better and better at making people move in a certain direction. Its not so much a quest to control peoples entire lives, but instead it is a quest to control the decision-making capacity insofar as revenue and profits are involved.


How does one counter this?

It seems that the approach of avoiding and/or boycotting media has been attempted, but has failed miserably. The media force simply becomes stronger and more effective.

The results are predictable: people making choices based on information that is broadcast not to 'inform', but to convince.


The destructive effects of this are evident and have been detailed repeatedly.

The only thing that seems clear now is that this is a trend that is not going to stop until 'the end' (whatever you may determine that to be).


If this is something inevitable, it seems that the only way to put an end to this is to leap into it and advance the progress.

This point of view can be seen in some literature:
"Immanentizing the eschaton" is a term I recall from The Illuminatus Trilogy*, and I also recall themes similar to this in the graphic novel Watchmen*.


Saying that something is imminent suggests that it is inescapable.
When there is something inescapable, it places constraints and pressure - like being trapped.
When something notices that it is trapped, it is not uncommon for that thing to seek any way out.
In a situation like this - it appears that the 'only way out' is to plunge head-first into the situation.


more on this later...

add on...


*
Infinite Jest - by David Foster Wallace - debut novel - a ridiculous 1100 pages - flashes of brilliance
The Illuminatus Trilogy - by Robert Shea and Robert Anton Wilson - incredibly entertaining - many suggest it is poorly written with a sloppy ending
Watchmen - by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons - great piece of literature - held by some as the best graphic novel ever

LMNO:
I was wondering when Infinite Jest was going to be brought up.

I'm glad you were able to extricate your post from that swamp of a book.

Post-modernism at it's most dubious, IMO.


Good points in your post, but aren't you just talking about refined propoganda?

AFK:
Here's a question, do we think it is possible for there to be a day when video media (TV, Internet, IPhone, etc.) doesn't exist?  Obviously, there was a time when there wasn't television and radio was the powerful medium.  Also, there was a time when radio didn't exist and print media ruled.  But even back then, it didn't seem as it was as saturated today.  Can we see a day when this doesn't exist?  Could the technology fade away?  I suppose, even if it did, it may be replaced by some other form of mind-bending infotainment. 

P3nT4gR4m:

--- Quote from: Rev. What's-His-Name? on January 11, 2007, 05:07:45 pm ---Here's a question, do we think it is possible for there to be a day when video media (TV, Internet, IPhone, etc.) doesn't exist?  Obviously, there was a time when there wasn't television and radio was the powerful medium.  Also, there was a time when radio didn't exist and print media ruled.  But even back then, it didn't seem as it was as saturated today.  Can we see a day when this doesn't exist?  Could the technology fade away?  I suppose, even if it did, it may be replaced by some other form of mind-bending infotainment. 

--- End quote ---

The only logical conclusion to tv I can see is an upgrade, something more pervasive, more immersive, more multi-sensory. If I had to guess I'd be choosing between the holodeck from star trek or the Jackplug in the back of the neck ala William Gibson. TV won't disappear but it's scope would probably be more limited than it is now, in the same way that radio has sorta paled into tv's shadow. Total sensory immersion will open a whole new hornets nest of potential worst case scenarios from 'bodyjacking' - taking direct, driving-seat control of a person via neural interface to inability of people to tell the difference between real and Teevee+, perhaps becoming mentally trapped in the virtual world via 'trojan exits' where someone trys to end the program only to be projected into a virtual model of their living room, indistinguishable from the real thing.

Should be big fun, I can't wait whatever it is.

Jenne:
I think what LHX points out about mind-controlling properties of media is sort of what is driving the legislation vis a vis the internet.

The "information superhighway" is one area where the claws of the powers that be are chopped off at the knuckle. People can independently explore what is put on the web, worldwide. If you have a connection, you can plugin anywhere, at anytime. Individuals can TRY to control you through bent of information supplied, ads and subscription payments...but again, you make the choice by going there and clicking away.

Of course, same can be said about the teevee and radio. You tune in to that station yourself...the t.v. doesn't turn on by itself. You accept what is told to you by paying attention and turning the machine on. Perhaps it takes more of a metadialogue about media influences to wake people up to this fact.

Though, print media often do seem to point this out more often, I find. And people will admit, in abstract, that there's a compelling property to multimedia, ads and commercials. But keeping the awareness alive while engaging in the use of said media is the difficult part. Can you feel your mind bending to the control mechanism's will? Can you pinpoint the moment you ear listens instead of just hearing, your eyes' pupils contract in attraction, and your mind begins to memorize the information in the commercial?

Probably not.

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