Between dollar and bitcoin: The (in)convenient spectacularization

By Guillermo Mejía

How much does the citizenry understand after two decades of the imposition of the dollar as the national currency??, How much do you understand about bitcoin or cryptocurrency on the way to its entry into force in September? At least, These are two questions that arise in the middle of the media labyrinth that prioritize the spectacularization of information rather than understanding and critical vision..

Beyond the specialists who divide for or against the currency of the North American empire or, in the case of virtual currency, are optimistic or pessimistic, the common denominator of the citizens maintains questions rather than certainties about both events that marked daily life, as in the case of dollarization, or what will surely be the box of surprises that bitcoin holds.

In this case I use the expression (in)convenient in two ways: First, that it is not in our interest as citizens for issues of public interest to be spectacularized in the best style of the reality shows; and second, that it does suit the mercantile and political-ideological interests that drive the media that perversion of what professional journalistic coverage should be.

Y, Sure, These are topics that serve as examples to show a nefarious practice as common that characterizes informational work a lot.

The Spanish professors Emelina Fernández Soriano and Juan Torres López remind us that the Royal Academy gives the term show three possible very significant connotations: Attract attention; induce delight, astonishment, pain or other affects, more or less alive or noble; and cause scandal or great strangeness.

"That means that the show is always a product, the consequence caused, consciously sought and the result of a strategy specifically designed and put into action ", affirm the intellectuals mentioned in their opinion article "The business of idiotization", published in the virtual magazine Ctxt Context.

“The contents of the communication processes that are conceived to be shows must have, well, a specific and unique invoice that must respond to the intention with which it is created. To attract attention, the show in the media must be shocking, immediate and fast, lacking in complexity and as superficial as possible so that it is perceived with the least investment of time and reflection ", they hold.

In our memory, the "benefits" offered by the ruling right of that time when they put the dollar were registered - without consultation- with the bitter awakening that the handling of the North American currency meant and the disappointment of having to spend in dollars, while the salaries were in colones. From the tens or pesetas we passed to the fact that the minimum was to pay a "cora" per product.

And all that blessed process through the dominant media discourse that at the current juncture is divided between those who praise the arrival of bitcoin or disapprove of it., as unfortunately it is handled within the media spectacularization that breaks out against or in favor of the official position that sells us a new paradise. Do you understand the process?

"The show denatures communication because it only flows from one place to another and distracts. Relax, in every sense of the term, the body and our brain. Makes us idiots in the Greek sense of the word (who distances himself from himself and the polis) and in latin (uneducated and ignorant person) because it captivates us and isolates us from the context in which it unfolds and explains our experience ", warn professors Fernández Soriano and Torres López.

“And all of this is especially important when what the media turns into spectacle is the political debate. So, this is staged and artificially constructed, it is no longer a natural dialogue or a true and spontaneous reflection of what is happening outside. " –Add- “It is strategically modeled and perfected and, so, redraws and rebuilds. The 'package' of the political debate turned into a spectacle is banal and, if possible, entertaining, bipolar, superficial, never deep, caused, anecdotal and emotional, searching, especially, the emotional impact by dint of artificially promoting shock, the disagreement and the contest ".

According to the authors, the trend towards the predominance of the spectacle in the production of the media is the consequence of turning communication into a commodity that must be made profitable, seeking the widest and most loyal demand possible, which can only be achieved by resorting to flat content that may be capable of attracting any type of consumer.

"Namely, offering non-subtle content, liable to be assumed without distinction or criteria, shallow. And it has been the massive supply of that type that has created its own demand because, when spreading those contents, it also conforms to the type of social subject that prefers them, a being more and more flattened and empty, conformist, that shuns uncomfortable truths or anything that calls into question its particular normative skeleton ", add.

The Spanish professors conclude that “If we really want to live in a democracy, we must guarantee that the population deliberates in conditions of authentic freedom and that means that we must prevent the political debate from prostituting itself, how they happen when it becomes a show that, instead of promoting knowledge and effective choice, it sows confusion and fuels the fire of confrontation and even civil hatred. "

And they add: “It is essential that the public media become the natural space for these debates, perhaps the most authentic way to show that they are truly serving the general interest. But it is also necessary to demand that the debate that takes place in the private media be plural, reflexive, citizen and not cainite, formative and enabling of the ability to prefer and decide authentically in freedom ".

In that sense, Carlos Álvarez Teijeiro, also a Spanish professor, points out that the media have become deficient managers of public space, to the point of making the progress of the public discourse of democracy completely impossible.

The reasons given by the teacher are in the first place, the proliferation of pseudo-events or media events; in second place, the trivial coverage of political life, social, cultural and economic; Y, in third place, the progressive conversion of information and education into entertainment, following the implacable logic of capitalism.

“The challenge of the 21st century is for the media to show itself as privileged places to help audiences define their roles before themselves and before others.. To this is added the institutional capacity of the media to become a forum for meetings., dialogue, argumentation and debate, within the history and ethical aspirations that understand journalism as a great conversation of the whole of society ", says Alvarez Teijeiro.

“It is about understanding that the quality of democratic life depends, largely, of the quality of the media system and communication technologies that make it possible. And that such quality is hardly achievable if the media are not capable of allocating resources to reflect on the responsibility conferred on them by occupying a privileged place in the definition and management of public space ", Add.

And concludes: “The powers and capacities that new technologies offer to the media are ethically neutral powers and capacities until they are given a precise meaning., and it would be worth completing the metaphor of the fourth estate with the clear awareness that the power of the media is also, and above all, the power to serve ".

You have to transcend, well, of being an idiot that produces the media spectacularization. What a challenge.