It is only rational that analysts would seek to investigate alternating forces of individualism and subjectivity when considering realism and television. On one level, the inestimable power of the medium has commanded attention since the 1950s. On another, it is reasonable to perceive that programming and public behavior have exponential effects on one another. This, in turn, leads to concerns as to TV’s impact on senses of selfhood, which derive from subjective interpretations of the programming. That thinking is deceptive in itself, however, and simply because the presence of TV in the culture is so pervasive, realism becomes unreal, or the unreal is identified as real when it accommodates the needs of the viewers. What must be remembered in all of this is that TV, even in today’s multimedia era, is unique. Vast study supports that its power of immediacy distinguishes from other entertainments, such as films (Yuran, 2017, p. 175). The question then becomes nearly a matter of physics: how can effects and influences be assessed in the midst of the trajectory, or velocity?
Personally, my reflection on all the above leans toward the discursive as the only logical course in analyzing TV, realism, subjectivity, and individuality. More exactly, answers are elusive and what must respond is only ongoing discourse and varying viewpoints. Fiske, for example, conveniently connects TV with cultural homogeneity and heterogeneity, but this seems too neat and positive an idea. It ignores that the promotion of heterogeneity occurs only because of a larger homogeneity; the different is permitted because the TV experience translates it to the acceptable. As this happens, so too does individuality become hopelessly blurred in a greater subjectivity. People watch TV and believe they are deciding on meaning and value, when much of those decisions have already been made for them. To study TV, I believe, then demands attention to its implacable influence as inevitably reducing individualism in any real sense.
- Yuran, N. (2017). Fetishism or Ideology? A Contribution to the Political Economy of Television. tripleC: Communication, Capitalism & Critique. Open Access Journal for a Global Sustainable Information Society, 15(1), 171-190.