Dr. Future on Mon, 29 Jun 1998 20:57:20 +0200 (MET DST)

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<nettime> The Apple Pie : Towards a New Theory of Media Culture

The Apple Pie : Towards a New Theory of Media Culture

June, 1998

The BBC Radio One disk jockey John Peel once described the range of
popular music as being like an apple pie. The centre of the pie is soft
and sweet and easy to swallow, but John Peel stated that he was more
interested in the hard crusty parts around the edge. These areas
required more chewing in order to extract their nutrition and the taste
could be a little more unpredictable.

In expanding this metatphor to include the whole range of cultural
practices from the conventional genre orientated mainstream out to
experimental and 'difficult' art-forms, it would be prudent to recognise
that for a well balanced cultural diet both parts are necessary. If one
eats too much of the soggy apple centre, then the build up of citric
acids on the stomach could lead to heart burn. A high proportion of
fruit may also not contain enough calories for an active life style
unlike the pastry rich circumference. On the other hand (OTOH), a diet
consisting mainly of the less moist outer edges could lead to dryness of
the mouth and excessive mastication causing fatigue of the jaws. Apples
are also likely to contain more fibre than the pastry which has been
shown to improve digestion and encourage regular bowel movements in
children and older people. Unless you use wholemeal flour.

Further research shows that when the flakey crust has been over cooked
and hardened then it can scrape the roof of the mouth during chewing
causing soreness and boredom in the audience. However, if the freshly
served pie is eaten in too much of a hurry the fruit juice in the centre
can be very hot and scald the mouth of the impatient subscriber, but the
outer circumference is always the first to cool when the pie is removed
from the oven and can generally be consumed at a pace suited to the
user. Furthermore, the outer crust often picks up residue left from
previous pies baked in the same baking tray as well as slightly burnt
areas where insufficient greasing has been applied. This fact can lead
to a much more diverse range of flavours in the viewing experience to
cater for different individual and minority tastes.

Obviously, both pie exterior and interior are radically dependent on
each other. Without the crust to provide support the soft interior would
simply collapse through lack of original ideas (or something) and
similarly without a centre the pie would just have a big hole in it
which would look ugly. Of course, some pies have a little white plastic
table thing put inside the centre to stop the middle of the pastry
sagging which is bit like providing government subsidies to encourage
investment by international corporations. And if you chop the pie up
along with some other pies and pile the pieces up on a plate then that's
a bit like the internet I suppose.

What are other Nettime readers favourite media metaphors? 

A bag of chips for the winning suggestion.
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