Doctor of Leadership in Global Perspectives: Crafting Ministry in an Interconnected World

The Power of Spin in Politically Consumed America and The Power of Silence in Oppressive Regimes

Written by: on September 26, 2012

I found the section, “Baudrillard: postmodernity as simulated media culture” a fascinating read (even though I struggled to understand the interrelated intricacies of the fragmented views that make up the post-modernity social theories).  In particular, I was very interested in his theory that viewing social interplay as “signs and spectacles” leaves simulation the only reality.  He applies his theory to the advanced excesses of media technology especially in the news arena.  

Watching the news coverage of the presidential election may well reflect Baudrillard’s assessment that the news media creates news in order to cover it!  Ads supporting both candidates reflect video and audio production accomplished with the skill of a surgeon making either candidate say something he never said, do something he never did, believe something he never believed, and plan to do something he never planned to do.  The accomplishment is the conglomeration of signs that construct a candidate that is more real than the signifier, for better or for worse!

Elliot then went on to describe Baudrillard’s response to the non-Gulf war as a phenomena whereby “simulation drains reality from the world.”  Baudrillard asserted that the military operation was scripted theater and controlled from a distance by technology and therefore more real that war itself.  And he further asserted that the news coverage was so pervasive in quantity and analysis that a new virtual realty was reconcstructed that completely replaced the “old” reality.  

What captured my thoughts was the fact that whereas the hyper coverage of the media resulted in a new reality that suggested the Gulf War never took place, Baudrillard did not find the media neglegent in presenting a hyper virtual reality showing Saddam Hussein’s tortourous and barbarous cruelty on his own people.

I do not believe that simulation is the new face of war for the future but I do agree that hyper virtual simulation of most everything that can be leveraged for news worthiness will be leveraged for economic benefit.  I also wonder what social theory might arise that utilizes silence as a grid through which to understand social interrelatedness.  In oppressive regimes, like the one in N. Korea, silence, and the signs of silence, could tell an interesting story.  

The silence theme is also interesting as it is applied to ecclesiological life.  Do we not study response to understand the quality of church life?  What could we learn from studying silence, or the lack of response?  We usually think of strong leaders having a strong voice.  Jesus had such a voice but was often thrifty with it’s use.  There were times of pause and His silence says something about Him and his leadership.  What can we learn from His silence?

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