Sunday, 22 March 2009

The Post Fordist Social Machine

How post Fordism explains contemporary media, not vice versa.

Commercial television is just a staging post on the way to the real, joined-up, post Fordist communication machine, on the way to the 'infobahn' (the information super-highway) where all the functions anticipated from control over the information flow will find their true technological realisation. If one doesn't understand this one risks saying a lot of stupid things about the media and about the power of information. Certainly the media play a fundamental role in the matter but they are part of an entirely different series of links. In this new series of links we don't see the same television we used to see, we don't live the same set of media we used to live. It is the post Fordist social machine that explains the nature of the media, not vice versa.

(Maurizio Lazzarato: Lavoro immateriale, 1997)

Ms Harman’s Tame Kangaroo II

The role of John Prescott represents a strange little footnote to Ms Harman's kangaroo court.

Prescott, for the record, is a sort of English Berlusconi; similarly amoral. Where the latter (was it Rosanna Rosanda who actually made this observation?) embodies a certain male Italian self perception as gaffe prone and inept (see the considerable Italian literature on ineptitude) but also oddly successful, so Prescott for New Labour has been its inarticulate, supposedly 'working class' soul: a buffoon who is also wheedling, stupid and aggressive, insufficiently despised. And successful.

Now Prescott has started a blog. A 15 March entry refers to an interview with the BBC:
'They called because they read this blog. It's remarkable how by being your own publisher you can get your thoughts out there unedited and have the mainstream media follow you.'

They called, of course, because Prescott has some status and because of his tireless self promotion. And his blog is a form of viral marketing designed to sell New Labour as a product, a label, as he knows but does not say.

Part of that viral marketing has been to give Ms Harman's Court of Public Opinion some small semblance of flesh. Hence Mr Prescott's bogus 'petition' against poor Fred Goodwin's pension, which a vast army of 3,710 New Labour sympathisers have been induced to sign in the run up to red rose day: Multitude 2.0, as it were.