Amusingly, the relatively backwater European colony occupying the empty space between Mexico and Canada has decided to undergo an experiment. The only way I can describe that experiment is, "copying Romanian culture from a decade ago". They'd probably be a lot more ashamed of it if they read enough to know this ; but their clueless ignorance does nothing at all to diminish their ample ridiculousness. Consequently, I feel compelled to translate a piece, from that cultural space, from 2010.
We have to plainly state two rather banal points from the get-go :
I. Traian Basescu won the war with the "media"ii. In spite of three months of anti-advertisingiii turned up to eleven, coming after a whole year of steady and relentless anti-advertising, Traian Basescu won his second and last presidential mandate. And he won without anyone's support, won all by himself, trampled underfoot two "media trusts"iv, broke their arms off and clobbered them with their own broken off hands until they begged for cold water.v
As a result, the political importance of the media diminished significantly : if up until 2009 the media saw in Cotrocenivi an "enemy" who still needed it, things have now changed. Until 2015 they can do headstands for all the president cares. They have nothing left to offer, and as a result are not, can not possibly be, invited to any table. Not to negotiated anything, not even to eat anything.
II. The thing calling itself "the media" in Romania is not a profession, nor even a group of professionals. It's a crowd of nobodies. People who would, in a functional country, ensure the cleanliness of farmer's markets and back alleys, girls who would spend their lives on the ring roadsvii of Budapest or Berlin came to "work in the media", in a Romania that, to say the truth, doesn't sport much in the way of ring roads.viii
It is abusive to speak of "media" in Romania today, as it was abusive to speak of "media" in the pre-war Romania (Caragiale dixit, Eminescu dixit). I have not the room to unfurl the arguments here as I wouldn't have room in an infolio.ix There's not even need for you to read this category on Trilema to get an idea, just open a "newspaper". Any one. Or a "magazine". Any one.
Yes, I understand, there are some, two-three dudes who could in principle be journalists, who seem, sometimes upon occasion, as to engage in actual journalism, for real, like professionals. They don't matter. Even if you were a true and honest-to-god admiral, for as long as you stand to attention in a cardboard box we can't be talking of any Kriegsmarine.
These two observations lead us to a question : if the media isn't a professional organisation, what is it then ? Because the fact that there exists a herd of ten or a hundred thousandx mouthbreathers who declare they belong to a group they call "the media" is not open to discussion, being evident.
What could it be ? Like political parties, like the unions, like the novel secret services or the rats nest of government-powered "businessmen", the media is a means. A means to what ? A means to public money. Simple.
What does the media want ? Money. What does Hossuxi want ? Money. What does SPPxii want ? Money. What does Hrebenciuc or Voicu or Voiculescu or Vintu want ? Money. How do they aim to get to the money ? By building a lever, a tire iron, of the strongest alloy available, of the largest size possible, as sharp as it can get, with which to break into the public treasury. That's the whole story.
What's that tire iron ? It's a sort of power. Brute, without words and without the need for words.xiii In no case a principle, or an idea (not that they're going to eschew trying to tie the notion of principle, and the notion of idea, to their tire-iron bearing cart - of course they will).
The great sadness of the media, given the current configuration of the battlefield, is that it's left entirely bereft of its work object. That's why they're screaming at the top of their lungs that "nobody can win a war with the media!" : because someone won it, and it's becoming clear for all the other actors that the media, in point of fact, does not matter. It doesn't make or unmake presidents, as it once claimed, nor can it even get people to take to the streets, as it pretends. Not even when there exist ample and certain causes of social discontent. Two weeks jacking it sadly, replaying thousands of times the same seconds of footage caught in the narrowest angles to somehow turn a coupla hundred people into a "revolt of the street" proved to anyone interested, beyond any conceivable doubt, just how irrelevant the media is.
What fate awaits them ? Well, what fate awaits all the losers in all of premodernity, because Romania's still a feudal item. Death. If 25% pay cuts every 2-3 months haven't explained it clearly enough.
The funny thing is that while this local cvasi-drama plays out, the media is dying all over the world. But a different press, for different reasons. Very very different.xiv
Is it better to die, if you were a fly, on the battlefied of Waterloo, together with thousands upon thousands of people ?———
- At the time, this was a sort of cri de guerre, oft repeated in the ever-lonelier media bunker. [↩]
- In Romanian "the press" ie "presa" denotes exactly the same "the media" denotes in English : the consensusing community of all the derps who pretend to be involved in journalism. Like its English counterpart it has no direct relation to any sort of reality, being instead entirely predicated on pretension and aspiration. [↩]
- The Romanian "campanie" ie campaign is short for "campanie publicitara", ie advertising effort, in context. [↩]
- More, really, but notably Realitatea Media, run by dubious businessman Sorin Ovidiu Vintu (currently in jail) and Antena, run by dubious businessman Dan Voiculescu aka Varanul (the disgusting reptile). Also currently in jail.
Just in case you're wondering, the dubious comes from the same place of both of them : they're not businessmen in the real sense of, doing business. They're businessmen in the aspirational sense of geting money from the government so the government can pretend it has businessmen. That thing called "oligarchs" when discussing 2000s Russia.
And a quick word to memorialize the importance of Trilema for Romanian history, culture and generally speaking the intellectual life of all Romanian speakers during the previous decade : note the years on those articles, and see if you can find any other places where fair (which is to say unflattering) material on the two was published at the time. We are specifically not discussing "we wrote it but never published anything" Hanno Boeckish CYAisms - Romanians have an ample history of that dumb shit. [↩]
- Romanian superlative of a beating. [↩]
- Works about the same way as "White House". [↩]
- The superlative of whorish incompetence. Below the streetwalker, who at least afforts to somehow pay for space in the richer center of towns, where there's sidewalks and rich people with corduroy jackets and pipes, the ring road whore is stuck barefoot in the grass fucking truckers. "Crack whore" is perhaps the best English equivalent. [↩]
- Alien as this may seem to you, nevertheless in Romania it was at the time a matter of notoriety that a) road infrastructure is at best a joke and b) you can fuck any girl you see on TV for a few hundred. [↩]
- You know, in-2º. Those 20lb reference books from the 17th and 18th centuries. [↩]
- 0.05% to 0.5% of the whole population, mark. [↩]
- Union leader, truckers, meanwhile convicted. Hossu, Hoffa, wadda hell's the difference amirite. [↩]
- The Romanian equivalent of the idiots flying modified bombers and blocking city traffic "for security". [↩]
- Which explains both why they're just so damned bad at coming up with words ; and why they're so inclined to reuse words in meaningless arrangements. They're using incantations, not carriers of meaning, you see. [↩]
- A decade meanwhile replaced "the press" with "the media", entirely composed of attention whores, and so it's now perfectly equivalent to Romania's crop last decade, and perfectly ready to die the same way. [↩]