Where Will We Find Community?

RECEIVED Wed., July 29, 2009

Dear Editor,
    Congratulations to Marc Savlov for his article [“What Would Jean-Luc Do?” Screens, July 24] in which he explores the question of what now constitutes movies, narrative storytelling, and audience. Bruce Sterling has it right when he explains why repressive political regimes get away with it: “[S]kullduggery flourishes, it’s not exposed, or if it is, the act of exposing it is of no significance; it gets no audience and no political traction.” This should be no surprise in the wider political and cultural context. The Top 40 is dead, the Big 3 networks are diminished, the big dailies are collapsing, and narrative motion pictures flounder like Spanish galleons in a fleet of knockabout videos. Bitch as we will about the failings of these institutions and “business models,” they did form community (audience?), which begat national agenda and legitimacy. Now we are left to ponder how one starts a cause or movement; or worse, how to recognize it if we see it. Perhaps we will have a preview of what is to come with Obama’s inevitable delay in dealing with health care. The delay will give the GOP and the right all they need to mount a Rovian old-school mass campaign to “break” Obama; conversely, we will see if Obama’s digital underground will have the stuff, know-how, and “model” to create a community which can resist the right.
Stephen McGuire
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