“This is the enemy” — Godard on the disgusting culture of…

Jean-Luc Godard in 1988 at a press conference in Cannes after the first screening of the first two episodes of his very personal documentary, Histoire(s) du Cinema.

This video clip from Godard, which is not altogether clear, but which nonetheless resonates for me, reminded me of Neil Postman’s 1985 book Amusing Ourselves to Death in which he states:

[W]hat I am claiming here is not that television is entertaining but that it has made entertainment itself the natural format for the representation of all experience. Our television set keeps us in constant communion with the world, but it does so with a face whose smiling countenance is unalterable. The problem is not that television presents us with entertaining subject matter but that all subject matter is presented as entertaining, which is another issue altogether.

To say it still another way: Entertainment is the supra-ideology of all discourse on television. No matter what is depicted or from what point of view, the overarching presumption is that it is there for our amusement and pleasure. That is why even on news shows which provide us daily fragments of tragedy and barbarism, we are urged by the newscasters to “join them tomorrow. What for? One would think that several minutes of murder and mayhem would suffice as material for a month of sleepless nights. We accept the newscaster’ invitation because we know that the “news” is not to be taken seriously, that it is all in fun, so to say. Everything about a news show tells us this—the good looks and amiability of the cast, their pleasant banter, the exciting music that opens and closes the show, the vivid footage, the attractive commercials—all these and more suggest that what we have just seen is no cause for weeping. (p 87)

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