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With their book, Political Blind Spots, Raphael Sassower and Louis Cicotello construct a very adept and sophisticated account of media culture and the ideological underpinnings of cultural images. One of the foundational points that is pronounced is that “On some level, everything is political in the sense of being open to an interpretation that is political in nature that belies a political view or commitment. ”(xv) While the political and the cultural are conflated to some degree because nothing that is culturally derived or derivative can be absent of political agendas.

Due to the necessary interaction of political ideological standpoints and agendas, all art that has ever been created has been mediated by political pressures and demands. However, this balance between art and the artist as authentically individual and the manipulation of the individuality of any form into a culturally and politically acceptable ‘species. ‘ Develops a dialectic between the individual’s integrity and creativity on one hand and social attachments and political engagements on the other had.

“We attribute the success of some of the artists in the twentieth century to what we termed detached engagement, a way of making the best use they could of the available elements in their culture without losing their sense of integrity and creativity. Our present effort is similar in approach, but adds a focus on audience reception of political institutions, such as the state. ”(xvi) A lot of the book focuses on the vital importance of visual media for marxist purposes, as especially realized by earlier leaders such as Lenin, who operated at a time when only a minority of the population could even read.

Lenin believed that the visual was transparent and universal, while that the authors contend by noting that regardless there are difficulties to supporting Lenin’s statement because there exists cultural diversity in seeing and a ‘universal eye’ can be theorized but can never be realized. Pt. 2: Substantiation of Some Main Points To assist the reader in developing more momentum for the idea that “On some level, everything is politicized. ” The authors make remarks about the politicization of even something as supposedly ‘removed’ as traveling.

That often when remarks are made towards the exclusion of human beings, such as when the natural spectacles are especially glorious or beautiful. The moral and ethically condemnable human cost is often times removed from the scenic picture. That as much as Utah is home to views and beliefs of some residents and sects which especially stupefy people, it makes an ever more energetic attempt to allow the visitor, it’s ‘viewer’ to forget those things at the border and to simply have a good time by focusing on the positives and neglecting the even dangerously corrupt undercurrent which runs through many areas in the state.

In a more Nietzschean frame of mind, the extolling of the ‘tightrope’ walker re-asserts notions of balance and the work of some overbearing force on a relatively fragile human being. The issue of detached engagement and commitment is turned around again with a later tightrope metaphor which better illustrates the detached engagement of the artist which the authors in part, identify with. (7) On the lengthy dialogue and selection of the usages of visual media for marxist purposes, they still engage in Adorno and Horkheimer’s text on the engagement of cultural media for the purposes of fascism.

On the marxian line however they make an important contribution to notice that people from a certain more unified cultural past and present may have a far better linkage and association network associated with certain images than certain words. That especially in areas with high illiteracy or even in areas where the literacy is very skewed with some people being more hyper-literate and others barely able to read at an elementary level. A visual culture is shockingly still resilient with far more people able to recognize the famous arches of McDonalds than be able to explain who George Washington was or even name 3-8 Bill of Rights amendments.

Pt. 3: Assessment and Critique On the first point, which is in a way saying that because everything can be made more subjective or already is in many ways subjective, it can be politicized. Is probably a bit naive and an invitation to totalitarian nightmares more than an antidote to it. In view of the corruption of knowledge and the expansion of power, for the establishment of legitimacy, confirmation, and other empirically and normatively based terms.

Sciences have developed with an increased interest in enlarging the areas of an impersonal science which serves the greater good frequently indirectly, but frequently as well at a cost to the individual. The scientist, physician diagnostician, must constantly be at a battle against their subjective wishes, wills, desires, in a disciplining strategy which can seem ‘barbarically’ condemning to many who pursue it honestly. While even this is politicized, there are more independent measures which are impossible to fully control and far too large, complex, and independent for a political party or even an aristocracy to control with an iron fist.

That with increased media recording and more and more countries getting into the game, extremely extravagant politicization and myth-making are much more ridiculed. Rejected, and even condemned. People themselves are far more critical, which is a more solid support for an increasing rationality than a submission towards the channels of intense irrationality. On the issue of engaged detachment, there are contradictions in the terminology and I suspect, a dressing up of something most people do.

In order to participate, there is a call towards engagement but at the same time, with people having different desires, preferences, goals, experiences, and far more, all are detached about many things just so they can be with another or with others. As the social drive in human beings can be so strong that many feel compelled to manipulate themselves and their ‘truths’ in a more egotistic but certainly politically driven way in order to not risk isolation, contempt, being condemned, or humiliated for their downfalls.

While in the movement towards an intensification of the study of marxism, media flooded the sentiment and engaged the loyalty of the peasant support in particular in not only the Soviet Union but also in China. Such interactions could have been predicated by an awe of the media more so than what was happening on the screen. A viewer today would hardly have been dumbfounded by the early short films that arose over a century ago, horses racing would hardly make people feel as if the horses would trample over the screen.

In many ways, even with identical media, people’s viewership habits, knowledge, predicate tendencies has changed in an extraordinary way. Even today, amongst high school students, undergraduates, and working adults, patterns of viewership can be tremendously different. Shown identical clips, based on life-experience, knowledge level as typically more often than not maintained, and other factors. What people not only glean, but receive as feedback from seeing a clip of a film can be tremendously different not only between people in different demographic, social and cultural groupings but furthermore between people in classifiable groups.

In ways however, our culture is distinctly more literary and robust still than some cultural pessimists predicted. As children still read poetry, college students can still write poetry, a housewife may be more likely to spend hours reading than aimlessly watching soap operas, etc. Yet there are some iconic and elevated symbols which are frequently corporate and therefore encourage in many ways the most amount of participation and appreciation as is possible. There is a tremendous amount of syncopated similarity and remarks, judgements, and objective understandings of a symbol and what it typically stands for.

Ultimately, my major criticism is that the authors are very convincing but also at times too convincing and exaggerate some of their exaggerations even further by believing that readers will be ‘surprised’ or shocked to read about their intrusion and their puppetry by some unknown hand. It was an extremely well-researched book and very didactic, determined, and at times difficult. But it certainly shed light on the blind spots of any ideology and any view with espouses to explain it all.

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