The Ideology of Remediation

Ideology enacts itself in remediation as a conservative force predicated on the idea that media arouses and fulfills desires that themselves are manufactured by that very same media. Media tells us that we desire direct contact with reality and then seeks to fulfill that desire. Judged in the light of the economic success of media giants like CNN, such a declaration would seem to be well-founded. The problem is that the desire is manufactured by the same mechanism that would appease it. Whether desire for transparent immediacy is a product of human psychology or human technology remains largely unaddressed by Remediation.

In his response to Matthew Kirschenbaum's review of Remediation, Jan Baetens notes that Bolter and Grusin's focus on the technology that serves the desire for transparent immediacy (more direct contact with reality) ignores the fact that "the logic behind all media transformations has in Western countries a strong economic, and thus political and human, dimension." Baetens points out, for instance, that the use of color photography in something like USA Today does not necessarily indicate a desire on the part of its readership for more authentic representations of reality. Instead, it may result from marketing strategies that teach us that the public desires innovation (invention as the mother of necessity) and from a capitalist system that depends upon that sort of innovation to renew interest in consumable goods. Or, to take another example, innovations in software such as those we find in successive versions of web browsers like Netscape of Internet Explorer need not be seen as enabling more authentic experience of the content of the WWW, but instead as competitive innovation for its own sake, which appeals to consumers by making it seem like a necessity. And in fact it becomes a necessity once web developers in turn design pages "best read by version x.x or higher."

Works Cited