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Monday, December 1, 2014

The Newsroom 3.4: McLuhanesque "Books Are Like the New Art"

The Newsroom 3.4 was especially McLuhanesque tonight, as the guy who wants to buy ACN comments that "books are like the new art," because we like to look at them on a shelf, and do our reading on Kindles.   If printed books are indeed becoming a new kind of art, this would be a great example of Marshall McLuhan's observation that outmoded technologies become art forms.   When I first heard this years ago, the first thing I thought of was the convertible car, which was first invented to keep the driver physically cool, but, with the advent of air conditioning in cars, became stylistically cool for the driver to drive in.  Then I thought about delicatessen - the spices first introduced to extend the shelf life of meat, now used, in an age of refrigeration, because we like the way the spiced meat tastes.  But the Kindle turning the printed book into an art form is an excellent contemporary example.

As for the central story of tonight's episode of The Newsroom, it was customarily good, if a bit overplayed.  Certainly Will being taken away in handcuffs the moment after he and MacKenzie are married was a strong dramatic moment.  But how Will got to be found in contempt of court seems strained to me.  Either he believes in the First Amendment being inviolable or he doesn't.   He says that he does and I believe him.  So why doesn't he mount a more spirited defense - indeed, any defense - when the judge asks him to?   It's a weakness in the plot when the best reason I can think of is the show wants the dramatic tension of his going to jail.

Further, if I'm understanding the AP getting the secret and incriminating files, then what happened in court with Will being held in contempt for not revealing the source is kind of moot anyway, right?   Because, presumably that source will be more discoverable in the documents, and the Feds will go after the AP in any case.

So here's my prediction for the ending - now, sadly, only two episodes away.   Will and MacKenzie will be together, and likely most of the other couples we've come to know and enjoy as well.  But ACN will be taken over, dissolved, or otherwise made unrecognizable, as the inexorable force of money closes the door on our heroic enterprise.   Because, alas, although the First Amendment can and should protect the delivery of the news from government control, it can't protect that delivery from the ravages of money.

analysis of the first two seasons

See also The Newsroom 3.1: Media on Media ... The Newsroom 3.2: Ethics in High Relief ... The Newsroom 3.3: Journalism at the Barricades

And see also The Newsroom Season 2 Debuts on Occupy Wall Street and More ... and (about Trayvon Martin) If Only There Was a Video Recording ... The Newsroom 2.2: The Power of Video ... The Newsroom 2.7: Autopsy of a Bad Decision ... The Newsroom 2.8: The Course of True Love ... The Newsroom Season 2 Finale: Love, Triumph, and Wikipedia

And see also The Newsroom and McLuhan ... The Newsroom and The Hour ...The Newsroom Season 1 Finale: The Lost Voice Mail

a little civil disobedience in this story too


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