I’m taking a class taught by a Jon Taplin, who aside from blogging, also serves as consultant to the S’pore government (I figure either MDA or MICA in general. He’s been to the yet to be opened Fusionopolis) among other things.

In class today, he presented a rather dire picture of America falling behind in the larger, growing, increasingly powerful world stage with the new BRIC players (Brazil, Russia, India, China). That was followed by a video Pulp Future inspired by Robert Kaplan’s Coming Anarchy. The running theme was that world’s governments aren’t getting it right enough of the time, and that the new war would be mostly marked by conflict between the empowered and the unempowered.  

It’s a whole lot to make sense of, but the feeling of discomfort of world issues is definitely not a new sentiment. One of the things “thrown” to us was that these are issues that our generation would have to deal with FAST. Virginia Tech, French Riots, Hurricane Season, the Melting North Pole. Jeezzz…how ah??

One of Taplin’s proposed solutions was turning to the digital revolution, which has the power to equalize the power divide. Totally a plausible solution, I mean, piracy did help the third world countries catch up (that was Tian Hui’s observation). But I really wonder if the digital revolution has all the answers. If the rate of digital upgrades goes at its current speed, can poorer countries keep up with the renewing its assets?

In an almost stark contrast, a reading of Simon Cottle’s article on Mediatized Rituals for another class called Entertainment Content and Theory provides an outlet for unfeeling distancing. Essentially, it deconstructs media responses into social rituals that either affirm, or challenge conventional society. 

It’s quite a bombastically worded albeit an interesting read, but while Cottle does provide a helpful taxonomy of Mediatized Rituals, there is an obvious slant that suggests that Mediatized Rituals are more disruptive than affirming. Objectively, this affirms the idea that the media plays a crucial role in social change, no matter whether positive or negative. In contrast, however, the subjective viewpoint would be that the Mediatized Ritual is a tautology – a mediatized ritual is a mediatized ritual only because it is covered by the media. As Cottle himself points out in his notion of “the ritual paradox,” the Mediatized Ritual only has its power if we project our Selves into the value of the ritual.

Is there nothing certain that can’t be deconstructed…?

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