Saturday, April 09, 2005

What he said

Man's inner concerns do not have their issueless private character by nature. They do so only when he is increasingly unable to assimilate the data of the world around him by way of experience. Newspapers constitute one of many evidences of such an inability. If it were the intention of the press to have the reader assimilate the information it supplies as part of his own experience, it would not achieve its purpose. But its intention is just the opposite, and it is achieved: to isolate what happens from the realm in which it could affect the experience of the reader. The principles of journalistic information (freshness of the news, brevity, comprehensibility, and, above all, lack of connection between the individual news items) contribute as much to this as does the make-up of the pages and the paper's style. (Karl Kraus never tired of demonstrating the great extent to which the linguistic usage of newspapers paralyzed the imagination of their readers.)
Walter Benjamin, "On Some Motifs in Baudelaire," Illuminations.

2 Comments:

Anonymous Tutor said...

Great to see the allusion to Karl Kraus. Author of "In These Great Times," the era being that of the First WW, with its propaganda mixed and mingled with the beginnings of adverising the daily news screeds. Karus once cut and pasted into an essay a quotation from page one of a newspaper deploring immorality with various ads in the back for condoms, and for prostitutes plying various perversions. Of Hitler he blogged, I mean wrote, "Of Hitler I have nothing to say."

4/12/2005 10:01 PM  
Blogger Tom Matrullo said...

"All USians who admire Kraus or think they would like to learn more about him will gather in the phone booth at 53rd and Lexington. Bring stretch limos, there will, alas, be room."

4/12/2005 11:25 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home