Sunday, February 23, 2014

Being discursive and radical in media

Being radical and discursive in the media.

Easy huh! Get up in the morning , think of an idea and then pop it on Youtube. If you're lucky, and often luck has little to do with it, you'll score big.

I mean who doesn't want to be a Pharell, Cyrus, or Cumberbatch? Not the physical people per se, but the opportunity to flex some creative muscle and gain an audience.

Many of us do. If you have a twitter account, you can't deny this, but some parameters ported from old media our proving pretty resilient.

Anyone can be discursive, but you need an audience to give you the thumbs up. 'It's the audience stoopid' paraphrasing Clinton.

The audience too is fickle and dynamic. Yet paradoxically loyal when it believes its emotions are fulfilled.  So with any idea, being liked is at the heart of maintaining a relationship. Could Cumberbatch be any more nice than he is in interviews? 

Acerbic wit n' all we love Russell Brand, because he also understands his audience. Sound off to the audience, appear too arrogant by halves, and you're toast. 

Ex So Solid's Ashley spent time behind bars for possession of a gun. The media may have convicted him, but his audience have voted with their remotes. They want more of him.

Not so CNN's Piers Morgan. The US audience have tired of him.

The idea accompanying the talent has to be in the times. In retrospect, its easy to critique all the great shows and ideas and understand what they're offering.  Breaking bad - a teacher who's a narc's expert and looks like anyones dad. That puts any other drama pussy footing around family relationships in the shade.

Bobby Ewing's cat fights at Dallas! Phrrrr. yet Dallas too was a hit during its time. So what's going on? We the audience learn to like and then discard, as a new generation take the place of the incumbents. To watch Miami Vice repeats today is hilarious

Harrelson and McConaughey's  True Detectives is bristling with testorone and darkness. It's like waiting for your morning coffee to brew, as it percolates inexorably slowly through the filter. Otherwise, its like cage fighting kept at bay in a taut script. 

And when the actors, below, talk about transcendence, these thing are not by chance. America's deep south holds some pretty scary ***t which sometime seems like another world. It's Hannibal country, or as previously scraping of a screen near you: True Blood.

 Why change a winning formulae, when there's so much mileage to be had from its themes and tropes.

True Detectives come as close to where we as a society, particularly Western, specifically American, can hone in on the supernatural that they'll never be privy to. As a viewer you may never see vodoo at play, but you've heard of it.

Why the heck doesn't someone do something in West Africa where myths of the extraordinary kind run society?

Being discursive is a collaborative process. You need someone to critique and add or subtract from your offerings. The concept of the auter is still a bridge, often too far to cross.

Transcendence speaks to a general theme that recalls the spiritual: the what next in a world of floods, earthquakes and reconciling there is a God and where may God be on earth.

It's no coincidence either that HBO has nurtured a style that synchs with the pulse of ultra modernity. The day HBO sets up a university academy, there's a money spinner.

Being discursive sounds like being an enfent terrible, and throwing mud at the wall to see what sticks. Chances are if you're out there enough it become a numbers game, and if you're a risk taker then at some point your stars align with what the audience and societies want.


The biggest untapped exposition at the moment of the collaborative reality and myth is news and journalism: a paradox if there was one. 

We've learnt how to understand news, with an agenda coined by men in brioni suits. But unlike Hollywood where the HBOs have infiltrated, in news its still the same agenda, which the men and women in Brionis still believe we want.

50 years on, different society, different interested, but same old agenda. Where's the True Detectives in News, the Hunter Thompson or Russell Brand. No wait! There's Jon Stewart, but he's in a shiny studio.

Just as styles have changed in drama, so too would you expect that change in news and journalism. Instead it's quite the opposite. Tradition rules, for no profound reason the way we imbibe news 

Being discursive is no fluke, it's based on an understanding of the DNA of media and how and when to strike. It requires a collaborative approach and disregard of the media rules. It's the audience, and if the audience is anything to measure what we could be doing, it most certainly, largely would not be what the pros often tell us.

David Dunkley Gyimah will be revealing his research into the audience and news in Perugia