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Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Wiggins article published by Television & New Media

Television and New Media recently published Ben Wiggins' article entitled "The Culture Industry, New Media, and the Shift from Creation to Curation; or, Enlightenment As a Kick in the Nuts."

The article analyzes Pranked--a reality-TV show that takes amateur videos from YouTube and formats them into MTV broadcasts--to reconsider the culture industry as social media reconfigures it. For television's first seven decades, the calculated infliction of severe pain on unsuspecting victims was not deemed suitable for mass consumption. To explain why such broadcasts are possible now, this study analyzes the underappreciated role of entertainment insurers, advancements in social media technologies that allowed the culture industry to circumvent entertainment insurers, and a subcultural turn that valorized sadistic pranking. By offloading risk from the insured and compensated professionals of traditional media to the uninsured and uncompensated amateurs of social media, Pranked inaugurates a fundamentally novel shift in the culture industry: a shift from creation to curation. The article concludes by returning to Horkheimer and Adorno's original culture industry critique to assess the stakes of the turn from broadcasting distraction to broadcasting suffering.
Here is the link to the full article.