Miscellaneous (한 + EN)

Politics and entertainment

2021-01-24 08:14
The common complaint about entertainment in relation to politics is directed at a particular medium and a particular genre. Television has repeatedly been identified as the scapegoat, supposedly being a medium that is suited for entertainment alone. ... [yet] there is no empirical support for the thesis that citizens become less informed and apathetic because of television and infotainment (Norris, 2000). Related to that position is the more general argument that television malaise authors grossly overstate the influence of television, especially in comparison with other everyday influences on citizens, such as the family, peers, education, and work (Newton, 2003).

... By and large, television malaise arguments are essentialist contentions: politics proper is said to have changed for the worse because of the fundamentally antipolitical nature of television.

... In such frames, there is only room for two kinds of people: those who have recognized how bad television is, and those who have fallen prey to its manipulative pranks. The true citizen, then, has to rise above the troubles of television to be counted as a "good citizen." The television malaise thesis thus functions as a marker of good citizenship, just as "good taste" functions as a marker of cultural capital (Bourdieu, 1984). The result is the discursive (re)construction of a political elite whose members are completely different from ordinary folk. While television malaise authors are undeniably driven by a genuine fear about the vitality of democracy, in fact their arguments reproduce an authoritarian distinction between elites and masses, or at least propose that democracy will be better off if the masses think and act like elites. ... But ... what we need is not a rejection but an attempt "to incorporate the face of actual political life into a theory of desirable political forms." [Schudson, 1999, p. 1] One needs to ask, therefore, not how one can eradicate entertainment from politics, but how one can entertain the citizen instead, how the current entertainment culture can be articulated with the requirements of political citizenship, and what kind of civic virtues can be evoked and maintained through popular culture.

— van Zoonen, L. (2005). Entertaining the citizen: When politics and popular culture converge (pp. 11-15). New York, NY: Rowman & Littlefield.