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The obtrusive black furniture severely contrasts with the pallid color pallet which constitutes the rest of the house’s decor, not to mention Carol’s wardrobe, skin tone, and acquired surname.
Though there’s little reference to television in the film, the medium haunts the sterile domestic scenes via the subtext of its late-1980s setting, the era of De Lillo, Neil Postman, The Running Man, and the first American president to be extracted from the guts of TV.
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As the result of his imminent severance from his network due to poor ratings, newscaster Howard Beale unwittingly finds himself with a growing amount of freedom on air after ditching his script during a newscast to announce his imminent suicide.
Demanding copious answers to the intellectual and ethical role of the viewer, The Truman Show addresses the conflict of desensitization to what we perceive as “real” through the prolonged suffering of the film’s titular show’s titular subject.Mander’s apocalyptic vision of being alive in a time since television has happened to the world and cannot ever unhappen sets it apart from its portentous predecessor as it annihilates any possibility of positivity in the future of visual technology.More recent works postdating any credible research on the effects of screen activity on the human brain such as Steven Johnson’s Everything Bad is Good for You (which defends pop culture’s increasing complexity, completely misses the point of Mc Luhan) and Nicholas Carr’s The Shallows (which applies medium-as-message theory to the internet, isn’t totally pessimistic) counteract much of the dystopian postulations put forth by Mander, who mostly cites Brave New World and 1984 as sources.Back in 1978, a former advertising executive unleashed upon the world a hefty text on the imminent perils implicit in the act of watching television, channeling the as-of-yet accurate prophecies foretold in the previous decade’s examination of man’s many newfound extensions.Jerry Mander’s Four Arguments for the Elimination of Television echoes the theory debuted in Marshall Mc Luhan’s Understanding Media that “the medium is the message” so as to judge this particular medium not on its programming, but on its own objective technology, notably substituting uncompromising urgency for the ironic and often opaque metaphors offered in Mc Luhan’s handbook for anticipating the 21st century.