The Television-A Post Modern Society| Chapter 8| Complexity, Information Theory and the Nature of Symbolic systems: The Death of the Gods and the Revolt Against Reason

The official postmodern year-1964.

The official post modern technology-the television.

The modern era is defined by its static black and white pictures. The postmodern era is defined by the colored moving images. The peak year of the postmodern era is 1969. For those serious about life, we got the moon landing and the first two-way variable image machine-the computer. The hippies got Woodstock.

Post modernity, is a natural byproduct of an information technology which exploded after World War Two with the commercialization of the variable image machine known as the television. This change in information technology took time to be reflected in the Geist. It can be defined, in information theoretical terms,  as the moment in time that people have attended more towards their shared imagination, through these information technologies, than the reality they live in.

The delineating boundary between the postmodern and the modern state is the nature of information technologies. Where the centralized nature of information technologies of the modern state (cinema, radio, the newspaper) led to the ability to centralize attention. The Postmodern state made this task all the more difficult. The Russian state had to jam radio free Europe,  making mass brainwashing all the more challenging. All the information technologies of the earliest 20th century would become cheaper such that it became accessible to the individual. The Polaroid, along with the handheld camera, made image capture more ubiquitous.

Post modern Philosophical thought

Postmodernism is a point in history, not a political philosophy. Because what does Baudrillard (the intellectual inspiration of the Matrix movie) have to do with Foucault (the philosophical equivalent of a mosquito). I put Foucault into a category of people which I call the post truth philosophers. Is there such a thing as absolute truth? The original father of this movement is Hegel. His  theories of culture and temporal relativism,  long since, have been stretched past their breaking point (recently mathematized as of this book-chapter 3).

Are there things which transcend time and culture? The answer is yes: Mathematics. Is mathematics invented or discovered? Its symbolic mapping is invented the rest discovered. Every culture has a language and this language changes. Have you tried listening to Shakespeare of late? However, modern mathematics is the Hindu Arabic numbers system, Greek geometry, Arabic algebra, French algebraic geometry, English/ German calculus, etc. All cultures share the same mathematics that gets incremented through time. If a thought gets abandoned, it is because the culture that produced it has died.

Fyodor Dostoevsky, Notes from the underground

Television-The Variable Image Machine

Television, could first represent images in black and white, without sound. In future, the telivion would be able to represent these images. With increasing precision, over a larger screen with incresingly salient colour and vibrant sound. The cost of creating these mages would decrease. Giving us a greater variety to chose from.

The inflection point, in variable image technology being the postmodern era with the introduction of the television. The latest result of the variable image revolution. The television can be thought as a one way variable image machine.

The Rise of postmodern space-Disneyland

Disneyland is the first place-in-space of imagination. It is the first brick and mortar manifestation of man’s imagination. Disneyland is squarely a postmodern phenomenon. With the concept premiering first as a TV show, not an amusement park.

Modern Nostalgia

Betty Croquette, Disney’s first television show, reveals that the Americans were longing for the days of yore; The days of the open prairie, and the wild frontier. As a result, they made an amusement park out of it.

Postmodern sports:

1964 was also the year the first televised World Series. Also known as the death of baseball. Baseball is best experienced in person, or on radio. American football is the postmodern sport. In the sense that people would rather watch the NFL on TV than in person.

Yankee Dominance

The Yankees, prior to the explosion in information communication technologies, had a much better time scouting talent. As Their extensive networks of scouts, given the scant information medium of the time,  proved more useful than the accumulation of word of mouth and better distributed at cheaper costs.

Televising sports also increased the money in the industry with the money received from through advertising which ,long surpassed the income from ticket sales. This increase in money made its way to players and created a divide between players and fans. Newspaper reporters soon began to share that players cared more about their wardrobe than they did about winning.

Sports free Agency

The modern studio system has evolved from the studio system of the Golden Age era of Hollywood where actors are beholden to the studio. The same phenomenon can be seen in the sports free agency.  Prior to its televisation, the power rested with those who owned the teams, players could not move from team to team. Currently, something something

Agents act as high dimensional links between actors and studios. The power of these agents is a function of the power of their clients. So A rise in the prominence of agents (peaking in the nineties) is a reflection of the power of stars in the studio system. As the cost of symbolizing information decreases, the power shifts from the studio to the actor and from team owner to player.

I want to be like Mike the rise of the entertainment dollar:

The cost of attention,is quantified by the cost of advertising. Karl Menger made the point that value does not exist outside of the consciousness of man (can someone please tell the Marxists). So the job of companies specifically is to facilitate the value process of their customer. In addition to appealing to the cognitive realm or the ego most effectively. Value is gained by interfacing with your consciousness. The monetization of human feelings.

The baby boomers

During the postmodernist time, there was a concurrent explosion in population in the chief postmodern state, the USA. this population explosion is the much discussed, often maligned-baby boomers. These boomers are set to be the first ever teenagers. As the information typography of the time allowed children to spend more time with mass culture than their parents. These first teenagers were born after World War Two which ended in September 1945. They Would officially become adults in 1964. The first postmodernist generation came of age in 1964.

Postmodern education-The universities

The Boomers went to university at an unprecedented rate in human history but not to study anything worth studying. Why think when there’s an English department? The English department amounts to a formalized book club except that one person gets to tell you how much you understand the book. (so exactly like book club.) All you need is two idiots to start a university department. One to teach and the other to be taught. Idiots are also more easily radicalized. On top of that young people make terrific buffoons because they haven’t yet realized the extent of their buffoonery.

The Hitler Youth

This is not a point regarding the nature of the political protests of the 1960s. But, a point concerning the radical nature of youth as such. Nazi Germany, had children calling in their parents as enemies of the state

Shirer William,The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich

Postmodern music-Rock and Roll

Bob Dylan’s last acoustic set at the Newport Folk Festival was in 1964. The set started with the times they are changing. Did the older pianists think that young whippersnapper Ludwig Beethoven sucked? Or was he considered a prodigy? It was the latter.

Music is habit forming. You like the music that you’ve listened to before. Intra-generational differential in habit formation begets intra-generational conflict. So when did the time start to really change?

If one understands rock and roll as the electrification of classical instruments, then one understands that a generational gaslamp might have some qualms because it’s nothing like anything they have ever heard before. Have you seen/heard a Led Zeppelin concert?

But it wasn’t Led Zeppelin who bore the brunt of this change. Ironically it came from the man who told us that the times were, in fact, a changing-Bobby Dylan. It is precisely because Dylan noticed the change in the times- did he in fact change. A third of the Newport Folk Festival booed him when he transitioned from acoustic to electronic instruments.

Oasis-The last rock and roll band

However fear not, for rock and roll also died and was replaced by the computer (with its electronic sounds). This new music made  as little sense to rock and roll as rock and roll did to folk. Oasis- the last rock and roll band (because rock and roll is not just a music genre but an attitude) said it best. “[techno] just doesn’t make sense to me”.

The death of old hollywood

Content studios, best thought of in information theoretic terms, act as high dimensional information search filters. Directors act as a sort of media proxy entrepreneur. What set of pixels will correspond to a satiation of a specific set of preferences, of a specific set of viewers.

The possibility space of content

There exists a dialectic (shared information communication) between the content creator and the content studio. In the sense that, fundamentally, the studio exchanges capital for the intellectual product of the content creators. As a result, the studio helps determine the content with better directors who are able to command more creative freedom. It is still up to the studio to release and market the content.

As a result, excessive creative centralization upsets the quality of the movies being released. The movies in Nazi Germany being so bad, people would rather watch a play or go do the opera. Effectively eschewing a post modern technology in favor of a modern one.

Similarly, movie executives were individuals from the modern era. They were unable to keep up with the changing times. Hollywood studios were producing movies for a different generation that long since aged. This intergenerational shift collapsed the movie industry. Thereby, forcing movie executives to give younger directors greater creative freedom. This resulted, in a series of explosive movies such Rebel Without a Cause and The Graduate. Both shot by directors straight out of film school. The younger directors were better able to appeal to the preferences of the time. It is a possibility space of content whereby,  under centralized coordination, creators produce a lesser possibility space.

Postmodern Food-The Chicken Nugget

The chicken nugget is one of the great abominations of western civilization. The definition of postmodern food stems from the shift of emphasis between calorically dense foods, which were most necessary the closer one is to the level of subsistence, to nutrition dense food.

Postmodern Clothing-Fashion

Distressed Denim is the post modern attire.

With Denim was originally contrived to be worn by gold prospectors. The rugged nature of the fabric makes it resistant to tears. Tears, later,  purposely tourn for stylistic purposes. This transformed the nature of clothing from utensils to acts of self expression.

The consumer society

Edward Bernays, nephew of one Sigmund Freud, is the man who introduced psychology to the field of economics by getting firms to interface with the ego of the consumer. Consumers would identify with the products they purchase. Mass consumerism, thus, became an act of self expression.

Prior to pre-packaged manufacturing, products had no labels. If you wanted butter from the grocer, the grocer would literally cut out exactly how much butter from a slab of the yellow goo. Same applied to anything else in the store. A branded good is an economic object. The number of products increased in the modularity of manufacturing.

The Postmodern Crisis-Cuba

Miami is what Cuba used to be (plus cocaine). The American cultural phenomena of cocaine originated with the movie Scarface Despite the fact that its protagonist, Tony Montana (Al Pacino), died a decrepit death. A death was made all the more decrepit by the sensational amounts of cocaine snorted.

There is a false equivalence drawn between American nukes in Turkey, and Soviet nukes in Cuba. Cuba is naturally under an American sphere of influence. The fall of Cuba to communism was the second greatest American geopolitical disaster of the 20th century. Cuba is a country so close that the uSA decreed that if any country were to claim independence of Cuba from Spain, that country would be at war with the United States. The United States once even invaded Cuba itself.

Turkey, by contrast, is not under Russia’s sphere of influence. Turkey was once the Ottoman empire,  once the Byzantine Empire, and once the Eastern Roman Empire. A civilization unto itself. One of the greatest civilizations ever. A perfectly suitable location for American missiles as a defense mechanism against one of their great historical rivals.

JFK- The First Postmodern President

The generals wanted to invade Cuba. John F. Kennedy (JFK), did not. The uSA would just be following the precedent set by the communist’s invasion of Korea.

JFK was one of America’s great IYI presidents. The model of the newly in vogue “Kennedy man”. The archetypal idea of masculinity, having shifted to the tall and skinny. Khrushchev, a boorish brute, more resembling traditional masculine ideals of yore, did not get the memo. Khrushchev saw JFK as someone that can be bullied. Khrushchev was most surprised by the American asymmetric response to the Soviet missiles.

The notion of a Mutually Assured Destruction is an insane concept, as it is rational escalation that results in nuclear war. An irrational actor is not required for Armageddon. Just the turning of the gears of state. The natural response, from the communist was not an invasion of Western Europe, nor an attack on Turkey, nor anything for that matter.

JFK did not invade Cuba in fear of Soviet response (nuclear armageddon). So JFK decided to avert armageddon by accelerating the process. By launching an advanced nuclear assault on communist Russia, if the USSR placed nuclear bombs in Cuba.

The Korean War-The Forgotten War

Much has been made about the potential disaster war between the USA and China in the 21st century, not realizing that the first war between the two powers was fought under Mao via the North Korean proxy.

The Korean War is not a Korean War but a Chinese American war fought in Korea. The Chinese knew that the USA would not resist Soviet escalation. China, under prediction by the USSR, the absolute lunacy of the situation began when China attacked first.

It is a testament to the fact that the nature of Western politicians and their inability to understand the nature of the communist aggression. The USSR lacked intercontinental missiles had no way to bomb the continent with the continental United States.

In addition, it would be the Soviet initiating the nuclear option, as the USA could have easily won a conventional war against China without even having to invade the mainland continent. Reminded China is the aggressive the USA has to pressure internal supply lines within China, with overwhelming air superiority to force the chairman to withdraw from the peninsula. This what soldiers dying for a free Korea deserved. 

It’s clear, by this point in American history, that the soldiers didn’t want to fight. The generation just following the greatest generation lost their will to fight. Morale in the conscription army was so low that the Army Rangers (elite self selected unit) were dispersed to help improve it.

Vietnam-the first postmodern war

Vietnam was the first postmodern war. It was the first televised war. It was a war that splitted American society. A war from which American society has yet to recover from.

Postmodern Warfare

A war is not one based on the physical reality of military objectives but on the political objectives to be achieved through battle.

Captain America’s about face 

His name is Steve Rogers. But you may know him as Captain America. Captain America sprung out at the greatest period of homogenisation in human history. The art of the time reflects this, the dystopian future of Aldus Huxley’s Brave New World is a homogenized one. Captain America, according to his creators, is a New Dealer. He starts his comic debut by punching Hitler in the face. Nevermind the fact that Hitler was a fan of the New Deal.

Captain America, from an archetypal perspective, can be thought of as the embodiment of the federal renormalization accelerated by America’s involvement in the world wars. He is the embodiment of the American soldier fighting for his Uncle Sam until Vietnam. Conscription was still in full effect at that point. Vietnam wasn’t a volunteer war. The system of volunteering is the most effective way to scale the military industrial complex through the enrollment of  of young men, who wanted nothing more than the opportunity to die in glorious combat, much to the chagrin of their mothers.

Colonel David Hackworth is the closest thing to real life Captain America. He made his about face in the Vietnam war. Hackworth spent his entire life in the military. Vietnam was a war which started on dubious ground with the Gulf of Tonkin incident. Unlike in Iraq, in Vietnam, the most unintended consequence occurred. The natives did not want the Americans there. So what started out as a war against a communist uprising, ended up a war against American occupiers.

Ronald Ragen-The Space Industrial Military Complex

Ragen is my personal litmus test to see if someone understands the nature of conservative thought. Although heralded as America’s last great conservative and a foe to big government, Ragen expanded the state by increasing the level of American debt and the related budget deficit.

The Political Economy of Arms Manufacturement 

The uSA arms manufacturing maximizes not based on production efficiency, But over political economy by segmenting production into as many congressional districts as possible. Arms manufacturers are able to lobby to ensure greater military spending. Unnecessarily increase in spending due to their inefficient production processes. Thereby rendering the advances of greater military spending mute.

Much of the Americans military spending post world war two could have been decreased with greater German Armament. Germany, after the World War, was not allowed an army. That gave Moscow too easy a route to Paris.

Additionally, greater military spending does not always translate to better killing machines. The M-16, is one of the greatest blunders in American history. The Americans went to Vietnam with worse machine guns than the communists. The automatic Kalashnikov 1947 (AK-47) was the greatest thing ever produced by the Soviet Union.

Space Wars

The military arms race is cited as a factor which accelerated the collapse of the Soviet Union. Ignoring the fact that America could not afford Star Wars either. With the uSA government deficit, absolutely exploding. Additionally, ignoring the fact that the collapse of Communism is a natural function of the evolution of time. All that the Space War showed us was that a capitalist economy can centralize more resources than a communist economy.

The Soviet Union, despite having a so called ‘economy’ a third that of the uSA (If you want to call it an economy) had achieved rough military parity with the US. The Soviets even beat NASA to space. The reason for this was that the uSA decided to innovate with the same centralized model as the Soviets. The exact way the communist do things but in a market economy. If the Soviet Union was run by committees, the uSA was run by companies. Unlike government institutions,  Firms go bankrupt (at a greater rate). Much of the innovation in space exploration, since the Cold War, came from private firms at a fraction of the price.

The collapse of the USSR

The Soviet Union was always going to collapse. It was just a matter of stubbornness. How long did the Russians want to see this farce through? In order to have a successful revolution, the elites needed to be in favor of it. Communism, being an impeccable method of oppression, is kept in place by the elites so that they stay in power. The USSR would have collapsed a lot more quicker had the Arab oil embargo not exploited the price of fuel in the 1970s. Russia, a net exporter, has benefited tremendously from that.

Fukuyama declared the end of history. A statement that reflected the ad hoc nature of political science. What does the collapse of communism have to do with the death of history? 


The Western way of life out competed that under communism. With Western jeans, deemed the more desirable, than the drabs of the state. Fashion is somehow cannot be as centralized as machine guns.

There was already a revolution against Stalin which weakened the ideological core of the USSR.


People talk about Detroit like it’s a failure of capitalism. On the contrary, Detroit shows us the power of capitalism. In Soviet Russia, there were hundreds of Detroits. The Difference is thatpeople still live there. In America, once it’s better to live elsewhere, people for the most part, left.

Detroit has to be understood in its historical context. It has to be viewed as one of the first great American cities, prior to the emergence of the new South (Texas) and the West (California). The East Coast and the greater Midwest were the most industrialized parts of America. With the great technologies rubber, oil and coal industries being located in the Midwest. The closest corollary to Detroit is Silicon Valley.  Instead of computers, the bleeding edge of technology, they produced automobiles.

The question that haunted Henry Kissinger was: How can the USA not intervene when everyone else expects it to? The decline of the former imperial powers created a Power vacuums in their former colonies. That proved ample grounds for communism to fester. America lacked any sort of European style conservatism (the Switzerland approach), It’s politics was rife for centralization under “the progressive era”.

The uSA does possess, on the other hand, a history not of isolationism, but of self centrism. A question regarding American foreign policy, in the second half of the 20th century, is fundamentally, a question regarding the nature of an American response to communist expansion of the Soviet state.

The domino effect

Communism, from first principles, is destined for failure. The greatest benefits of having commies everywhere, is that there is no excuse as to why their nonsensical ideas don’t work. Hitler tried to kill as many people as possible. But managed to kill less people than, However, he was outdone by, not one, but two different communists: Stalin and Mao. The communists were just being communists. The crazy thing about Mao is that he saw Stalin kill everyone, then he said #metoo. Mao killed more people than Stalin because there were more people to kill.

Communist countries cannot survive without international markets. These communist economies usually export specialized raw materials for capital goods. If everyone was a Marxist, we would literally all starve to death at the same time. We don’t actually get to choose between the tyranny of heaven, or the dictatorship of the proletariat. One does not disagree with, with each according to his ends- to each to his means, on moral grounds but rather on grounds of feasibility. It is not actually possible to implement the ideas of Marx. The answer, has always been, is currently, and will always forever be, that Marxist Leninist communism is an impossibility. A figment of imagination, like Batman, Luke Skywalker or a benevolent monotheistic God.

The red scare

The focus, when combating communism, should always be on national defense through the removal of internal agitators. It should not be done by going to war with a communist. Only markets can outcompete communist state centralization. Much is made about the red scare. Not much is made about the fact that the communist political parties take orders from the Politburo. This makes the Communist Party not a political party but a foreign agent actively trying to undermine the state. In the sense that the goal of communism is the dictatorship of the proletariat.

Popper’s Open Society

How can an open society allow for tyrannical members? Is a famous thought experiment by Karl Popper. Democracies cannot allow for undemocratic members. Is the conclusion Popper comes to. But it is an incomplete one. How does one justify who is an enemy of the state? It is an easy scapegoating process by a totalitarian regime looking to remove legitimate agitators.

The answer is to take the agitators at their word. Hitler told everyone what he was going to do. The communists tell you that, the capitalist would sell to the communist the rope that will hang him. Lenin, capturing the essence of communism to perfection. The communists can’t make anything. Communism forever going down as one of the great farces of the human race. Whenever implemented, it is a complete cancer to anything complex. The state superstructure stifles man’s will to live.

Chairman’s China-Imagine China, but more centralized

Although duly documented, in the post post modern era. China’s rise is squarely a postmodern phenomenon. During the time that the uSA was busy destroying its empire for a line in the sand. China was rising. Accelerated in 2013 with the rise of Xi Jinping as the head of the Communist regime. China’s political processes are opaque to outsiders. The extent of centralized power is unclear. However, what can be inferred is that,  since 2013, there has been an increasing crackdown on corruption in China. A crackdown on corruption as an expansion of the state. Unlike the United States, China is completely a centralized system.

China’s communist party somehow believes they can control the chaotic nature of markets. Seemingly flying in the face of Stalin’s decree of the removal of markets from the countryside. The rise of China in the later half of the twentieth century represents the greatest rise of poverty since the Industrial Revolution. Just five hundred years after Europe did it. Principally applying Western Technology at an unprecedented scale. This somehow neglects the fact that the reason that the recent rise was so great is because China was poor. Poor, because communism is stupid.

So although China’s growing has to contend with its fruits of its own growth. In the sense that it is the markets that pulled them out of poverty while markets are the biggest threat to any communist regime.

Henry Kissenger and the Death of History

Henry Kissinger, meant to be some sort of super genius, was better off as a chemist. Why did the uSA reintroduce its greatest geopolitical rival to the world? A country that the US fought a war against, 20 years prior in Korea. Kissenger, trying to win the press conference, woke up one of the greatest civilizations the world has ever known. Kissenger, would lament America’s lack of awareness of Chinese resolve. As most Americans, he have no respect for history.

The Contest for the South China Sea

From a military perspective, it is not the United States, but China’s neighbors that will determine the rate of Chinese expansion. China’s South Asian growth is contested by India. China’s ability to deploy force in the South China Sea, must be distinguished amongst two shells.

The closer one is to mainland China, the greater the advantage of China would be. Taiwan is the innermost shell of the South Chinese Sea. In addition to the history between both countries, makes Taiwan the most likely ground for expansion. Whilst the greater South China Sea is limited by Japan, and the Philippines. South Korea is always potentially up for invasion via the Kim Jong Un option.

The inner shell

China, despite having a smaller military budget than that of the uSA, has more than four times as many soldiers. The uSA’s greater budget is partly offset by transportation costs. It is much easier to defend than to project force. These transportation costs can be mitigated with advanced military bases in allied countries. China, better able to optimize its weapons with local parameters, making them more combat specific. While the uSA, has to optimize weaponry over many theaters.

American hegemony is defined by the ability to project force anywhere in the world. To upset this, China just has to establish hegemony over the South China Sea. The mission statement of the American armed forces is to be able to contest a two front war. The question is-can the USA exercise its sphere of influence both in the Middle East and the South China Sea?

The Philippines

Unlike the uSA, China has no California. The Philippines can be China’s California. As much of the incumbent political leaders in the Philippines are aligned with the USA. The Philippines, previously thought as a bastion of Americana in Southeast Asia, is increasingly looking towards China both through immigration and a resentment of the incumbent political establishment.

Due to poor economic policies,  a certain percentage of all Filipino businesses has to be held by nationals. This concentrates wealth in the hands of the same people. As foreign businesses, looking to invest, are forced to go to the same persons that had previously invested. Thereby concentrating wealth.

The Philippines most closely resembles Brasil. In the sense that prior to the colonization by the Spanish, there wasn’t a mass indigenous population in the Philippines. In Brazil, due to the influx of European germs, much of the local population was destroyed. This makes them new cultures, as their was me . The future is unclear what democracy looks like in either country given their history of dictatorship.


Fundamentally, it is Japan which poses the greatest determinant to Chinese regional hegemony. Japan, in the outer shell of the South China Sea. Is the greatest obstacle towards Chinese Eastern expansion. Japan is  a country of aging,  yet fierce, hundred million people. It still amounts to one of the greatest civilizations the world’s ever seen. The epitome of a civilization unto itself.

The question is how are they going to make/buy guns. Japan. Like Germany, Japan is no longer allowed the option of force. However, with an ever decreasing uSA presence, look no further than Kawasaki to shift back to aircraft carriers from jet skis. Regardless of the interests of the USA, China has a litany of historical grievances with Japan. With Imperial Japan dropping bubonic fleas on Chinese cities (just out of curiosity). China, long the regional hegemon, for much of his history, has not forgotten.

The Star Wars Generation

Much ofthe forces which killed monoculture, started during the Star Wars generation with the size of our shared imagination exploding, all while people started to pay attention to different things. People’s attention slowly bifurcated with the introduction of the Walkman in 1979, the VHS in 1974, the gameboy 1989, and the DVD in 1996. As people were allowed to self select their attention.

The American New Wave

Jaws may have been the first blockbuster. Star Wars was the first phenomena. Movies officially became mass culture with the introduction of Luke Skywalker. Star Wars was meant to capture the color and excitement of comics on the silver screen. A longer, Flash Gordon strip.  In 1977, there was nothing that looked like Star Wars. Much like there was nothing that looked like the comics that came before.

Although information technology, known as cinema, began in the early 20th century, it did not peak as a medium until the later half of the same century with the American New Wave. There were a lot of factors which played into the supposedly  “new wave” of American cinema. With a decrease in the cost of the ability to symbolize information, Demand curves being downward sloping, more people could shoot a video. Consequently, more things became a video. This was evident by the creation of a new genre- music videos. The more videos there were, the better people got at making them.

The greatest acolyte of the American New Wave is one George Lucas. Lucas is the most influential American filmmaker of all time. Both for his work in advancing the science of filmmaking, with Industrial Light Magic, and his actual movies (Star Wars, American Graffiti, Indiana Jones). ILM was responsible for the special effects of every Spielberg movie (they were friends from film school).

The Most Postmodern Movie – Roadtrip

Roadtrip, a movie which perfectly encapsulates the nature of the media environment that it finds itself in. Whereby, the plot of the movie consists of a boyfriend accidentaly mailing his girlfriend, a physical copy of a sex tape he made with another woman. A cross country trip then ensues. Whereby the video needed to be intercepted before making physical contact with the girlfriend.


In terms of the possibility space of content, the DVD era was characterized by more niche movies. With the death of the DVD, having profoundly restructured the economics of the movie industry, these economics suggest only high cost blockbusters are the only viable option.This idea of a blockbuster is currently being taken to its nth conclusion by current Hollywood.

The continued focus on foreign audiences, principally China with the increased size of the international box office, has forced Hollywood studios to create content more appealing to non Americans. The opposite can be said about Japan. It is a culture which produces content only for itself. Studios need to satiate a set of preferences over a larger geographic area. Thereby changing the nature of the content preferences to more global and less local preferences. Thereby robbing American cinema of its originality.

The Birth of cable

The media landscape is a function of the cost of symbolizing information. Satellite or cable are just a means to interface with the consumer. The greater the cost of symbolizing information, the greater the minimum necessary scale needed to fund the content. Cable, with its lower cost of communication, was able to outcompete network television.

The shift from satellite to cable represented a fundamental shift in the cost structure of the content wars. The means of transporting these variable images shifted from broadcasting via electromagnetic waves /via satellite, to sending the very same information, via fiber optic cables.

Minority rule (technical)

We know from Taleb’s minority rule that the preference of the minority dominates those of the majority if the costs to the majority are not too high. If one in ten at a dinner party doesn’t like sushi, you don’t eat sushi.

Scale is determined by the number of nodes in a network needed to sustain the content. The more people in a network, the greater the set of preferences that the content needs to appeal to. The greater the set of preferences, the more generic the content becomes as it has to appeal to the least exclusionary elements of the set. 

So when content is created towards a general audience, it has to not offend as many people as possible while capturing as many sets of preferences as possible. This is why the early TV was so bland. Its cost structure was so high that everyone had to like it.

Cable, requiresa lower scale needed for content. As a decreased number of people were now required to sustain a channel. The possibility space of content increased with the decrease in the  cost of communicating information. Niche content was, therefore,  increasing. The more the content will match the preferences of any one individual, the more time they will spend attending to it.


MTV is fundamentally a niche movie channel. One of the great homogenizing forces in American history. Given the nature of cable setups, MTV was more accessible to rural youths than their metropolitan counterparts who did not have to experience culture from behind a screen.