nettime's_digestive_system on Mon, 21 May 2012 01:36:06 +0200 (CEST)

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<nettime> Capitalism is DIGESTED [x2: newmedia, marshall]

Re: <nettime> Capitalism is FINISHED -- As a Result of the Internet!
     Jonathan Marshall <>

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Date: Sun, 20 May 2012 17:20:49 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Re: <nettime> Capitalism is FINISHED -- As a Result of the Internet!

[conclusion of previous message that got truncated . . . ]
McLuhan's *own* primary point about "software" is that it leads to PATTERN  
RECOGNITION -- not magic and not stupidity.  Popular phrases like "get a  
clue" and "too much information" seem to support his insight.
While he is mostly remembered for "the medium is the message" and "global  
village" -- both of which were phrases that were used by *advertisers* to  
promote their McLuhan wares -- in his *hey-day* the phrase he used most often 
 when asked to "sum up" his work was about the effects of the "electric 
media  environment" was . . . *pattern recognition.*
He apparently got it from IBM and meant it as a very deliberate  
"re-purposing" of a term from Artificial Intelligence.  No, he didn't  believe that 
"computers" can THINK.   And, as the subsequent 50  years have shown us, they 
can't! <g>
You might be amused by this clip from a 60s television  documentary about 
McLuhan, it which he sums things up regarding whether  CHAOS is all we have 
to look forward to --
Unlike so many social scientists who have been paid to figure out to  
"regulate" a society that tends towards "disruption and disorder," McLuhan was  
deeply committed to the HUMANS and hopeful that our technological  
environments could help us all to figure out what is happening on our  own.  
After all, why else should we bother to . . . UNDERSTAND  MEDIA? 
Mark Stahlman
Brooklyn NY 
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From: Jonathan Marshall <>
Date: Mon, 21 May 2012 09:10:41 +1000
Subject: RE: <nettime> Capitalism is FINISHED -- As a Result of the Internet!

Hi Mark

>> AS i wrote earlier, i'm doubtful about this - especially
>> given the marketing succes of Apple, and the way that
>> people seem to throw away old phones and tablets in
>> a rush to get the newest Apple thing, which often does
>> not seem to be a necessary improvement.

>As the folks at Apple will tell you, their advertising spend to  "attract"
>customers (who Steve Jobs famously referred to as "bozos") --  such as the
>iconic "Think Different" campaign and even the original MAC  Superbowl ad --
>have largely occurred in MASS-MEDIA, where Apple can "control  the message."

I'm talking about the more recent products, when apple have become far more succesful in saturating a market, and getting repeat (and largely unnecessary buys). This during a time when the 'new media' had actually taken off - wheras these examples seem pre mass usage of new media, or when digital marginal was marginal. 1997 for 'think different' (abandoned 2002). The 1984 add was even older.

I'm not sure how they marketed the newer stuff,  but it seemed to be through all kinds of adds in differnt places, and through social media. the new stuff seemed to be thought really cool, by the 'younger people' demographic that i talked with.  Certainly nobody thought their image and their advertising was outmoded, which you would think if they were perceived as a stuffy old media company.

But the real point is that Apples' products are, nowadays, all classifiable as new media and saturated in new media - where would they be without wireless, and without the internet?

Perhaps mass media is not dead? perhaps new media is embedded in old media, old economics and so on? 

I suspect that this unsustainable and incoherent, but that is a slightly different issue...

Finally, apple seems to be generating conspicuous consumption quite succesfully.
>Many people also *refuse* to buy APPLE products.  Since I followed the
>company for 20+ years on Wall Street, they are quite happy to be a  *minority*
>market-share holder.  

Seems to me that they are currently trying to corner (monopolise) the market in, and distribution of, digital music, digital books, and possibly film. Hardly the attitude of a modest company.

>Apple is a *especially* good example of a  company
>that doesn't let people "talk back" (i.e. the hallmark of  mass-media, not the web.)  

If that is the case, then it would seem that they are not being undermined by the 'talk back' new media, or by people discoursing about apple in a medium currently more important than mass media.  

So we could say this is an argument for the ineffectiveness of current digital media in producing change.

>Perhaps those who refuse are the  "non-bozos" who are being (relatively) more rational?

Possibly, but this could always have been the case, mass media or new media.

>My comments about advertising are largely reports from people INSIDE that
>industry -- not my own "opinions."  

If you read me, i am not asserting that your comments are just your opinons. I'm quite sure that people are saying what you have reported.

I'm just replying, along with some others here, that at the moment, despite these comments by people in the industry, i'm not sure that advertising is never going to work again. 

Submliminal web advertising seems a real possibility, and is helped by the medium. 
Impulse buying could well be encouraged by the medium.  
The medium might even help you raise credit to continue to purchase after you have blown your bank account. But that requires investigation of online loans as a business form.

So, basically to return to the begining of all this, i'm not sure conspicuous consumption or excess consumption, or impulse buying is dead, and have given some casual evidence and arguments which point in that direction. 

>My guess is that you would benefit from
>talking to some advertising veterans to see what they have learned over the
>past 20+ years.

sure but as you know that is difficult for outsiders.

>However, you might be mistaken about how the "old mcluhanites all argued
>that the web makes the world appear more magical."  To be sure, there are
>some "occultists" who have attached their names to McLuhan, who you might be
>confusing with those who have tried to pay attention to what McLuhan
>actually  said.

A major prediction of Mcluhan's seemed to me to be that we were heading away from 'rationalist' media, into immersive 'tribalising' media.  And given the amount of 'magical' comments about the internet i've read over the years, this would seem to be born out :)

>Since I was recently on the organizing committee for the largest gathering
>of McLuhan scholars ever -- MM100 in Toronto in November 2011, where 200+
>papers  were presented -- I can assure you that no one is making the  "magic"
>argument about the WEB nowadays (well maybe Powe but not  Kroker) . . . at
>least not where people can talk back.  (That said,  the RETREVAL quadrant in
>the *tetrad* for television in "Laws of Media" is "The  Occult" p. 158!)

That is interesting.  Any procedings or publications from the conference i can look at?

>My entire point in his conversation has been that TELEVISION and the WEB
>have fundamentally different *effects* on us, which show up in consumption
>patterns.  Perhaps, as indicated by your Apple comments, you are conflating
>the two?

Perhaps. Perhaps, i'm just remembering that TV and other mass mediums are not dead yet and arguing that consumerism may not have died either.... 


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