Consuming Problematic Media

I was re-reading Alexander Galloway’s Protocol: How Control Exists After Decentralization earlier today, and I came across this evocation of Magnus Enzensberger’s theory of the media:

Taking his cue from Marx’s sometimes sarcastic rhetoric, Enzensberger offers readers the following political warning: “Fear of handling shit is a luxury a sewerman cannot necessarily afford,” meaning that those who are oppressed (the “sewerman”) cannot be afraid to engage with the media (the “shit”) that oppresses them later.

I think there’s certainly a more complicated account of this process available (and Galloway does the work of pulling it apart), but I love the “sewerman” phrasing. I immediately thought about Jenn Frank’s “On Consuming Media Responsibly“. Both pieces lay out the necessity of analysis, of pulling  a thing apart to see how it works.


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