Saturday, January 20, 2007
Party hacks have attempted to spin our attention away from the real significance of the arrest of 'Blair's Gatekeeper' Ruth Turner by complaining about the 'theatricality' of the police action. We are expected to focus not on what was done and why, but on how it was done. Saddam's execution is now largely discussed in terms of whether the media should have shown any of the grisly pictures of the hanging and on the failure of management that led to mobile phones being able to film the whole thing. Racism on Big Brother, meanwhile, has taken on national and global significance. This is, remember, only an unusually mindless TV show about nothing. The medium, all too obviously, has become the message. Most big news stories - and almost all political ones - now have presentation, how things are seen, as their primary theme. In France, the far right has taken the logical next step. Jean-Marie Le Pen has set up an HQ in the virtual world of Second Life. The New Labour project is often seen as a failure. In fact, as these developments demonstrate, it has been a triumphant success. In 1997 Blair inaugurated his Pleasure Dome of Virtuality. In 1999 it was literally embodied in the Millennium Dome; today its avatar is the Big Brother House. The Dome's dominion now spans the entire world, our imaginations included.
Posted by Bryan Appleyard at 7:59 am