Wednesday, September 19, 2012

You Were Here

Within the past week, a story showed in my Facebook feed in which the author argued that we should all give up ‘mainstream news’ entirely. Without it, the author claimed to feel more positive and creative, and liberated from the weight of a barrage of other people’s ideas and negative reporting. It instantly struck me as inexcusable – certainly any reasonable person should be informed about what is happening in the rest of the world, and in their surroundings? This week, Imagined Communities and Citizen Kane offer insight into what effect the news has on the public. How symbiotic are the news and the nation?
Anderson argues that the nation has been made possible from the news, but is the news equally indebted to the nation? When Kane mimics the mode of other news sources, such as the beginning reel in production after Kane’s death, signs of ambiguous nationhood are employed to lend gravitas. For example, the background on the “News on the March” title card is a row of flags, indeterminate in allegiance, yet lending grandness to the news at hand nonetheless. Would the news seem as successful or compelling without appropriating the icons of nationhood?
Citizen Kane, in its depiction of the newsman and the production of news, appropriates icons of greatness into a potpourri of antique greatness. Not only was Kane himself a modern-day Kublai Khan, but his home was likened to any and all palaces from antiquity and borrows the architectural style of as many eras. Is there an inherent attractiveness or necessity to aligning modern events or those who report them to past imagined greatness?

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