Wednesday, May 1, 2019

The Final Solution: Offending the Audience

The title of a Peter Handke play is Offending the Audience. Abuse is one way to get attention. Shock jocks like Howard Stern use transgression as a means of increasing ratings. Parenthetically there's a fine line between belief and provocation. Were the neo-Nazis marching in Charlottesville merely expressing their fascist beliefs? Shouting fire in a crowded theater is the subject of Schenck v. U.S, the famous Supreme Court case in which Oliver Wendell Holmes described the limits of free speech. Still the notion of riling people up has a long and sometimes not so venerable tradition in America where one form or another of the bearded woman is still attracting thrill seekers to side shows. Level-headed people with rational things to say are hard put to get a hearing anywhere. There's simply too much competition, too many voices clamoring to be heard. Trump is the perfect example since he’s the ultimate shock jock offering up a new piece of provocation and putting his opponents on the defensive while they’re still bumbling to respond to an earlier sortie. Figuring out how to get attention in a situation in which a charismatic personality is dominating can be daunting. Saying nothing and letting their words blare forth is one, often very good strategy. Trying to compete creates at best only a head-on collision. In prize fighting  counterpunchers are often quite effective.They’re the ones who use their opponent's power against them.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.