Friday, January 11, 2008

Image over Word

In his article 'War as Game' James Der Derian claims the reporting of the second Gulf War meant 'once again, the image won out over the word.' The argument is an extremely relevant point, which points towards the dominance of visual images in the contemporary world. To a certain extent this can be traced to the emergence of television as a popular home entertainment appliance. One only needs thinks of the importance of television in the Nixon vs Kennedy debate to consider the political influence visual images play. In this debate the majority of radio listeners had felt Nixon had won the debate. However, in comparison those who watch it on television, who saw a underweight Nixon recently out of hospital, felt Kennedy won the debate. This youtube video is a useful insight into the importance of the medium. watch here.

I mention the importance of visual images in politics as this has once again played an important role in politics. Hilary Clinton's tears, whether real or unreal, was a significant image used to win the recent New Hampshire election. So far her image in the media was unemotional and lacked compassion and those tears helped to overcome this image.

There is a larger, and more significant point to be made, and that is I really could not tell you what any of the main candidate policies are. I do admit I have not been following the elections closely, but when I do listen to them being reported the news is only about poll ratings or the candidates images rather than what they standing for. Maybe Baudrillard was not wrong to claim that we have moved into the simulation of politics as the image wins over the word.

1 comment:

BD said...

Now there is a nice platitude. Appearance over substance, it's been the way for a fair while.