Introduction: The Public Lives of TV
1 See Miwon Kwon, ‘‘One Place after Another: Notes on Site-Specificity,’’ October 80
(spring 1997): 85–110. See also the special issue of Documents 4/5 (spring 1994), for a
variety of perspectives on site-specificity.
2 For a history of this discourse see Lynn Spigel, Make Room forTV: Television and the
Family Ideal in Postwar America (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1992). For its
role in contemporary constructions of (inter)national community see David Morley
and Kevin Robins, Spaces of Identity: Global Media, Electronic Landscapes, and Cul-
tural Boundaries (New York: Routledge, 1995).
3 Two compelling accounts of the image architectures, and gendered discourses, in
which this mobile modern spectator is formed are Beatriz Colomina, Privacy and
Publicity: Modern Architecture as Mass Media (Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 1994),
and Anne Friedberg, Window Shopping: Cinema and the Postmodern (Berkeley: Uni-
versity of California Press, 1993).
4 See Adam Hochschild, ‘‘Taken Hostage at the Airport,’’ NewYorkTimes, October 26,
1996, 25; Cheryl Jackson, ‘‘Firms Can’t Wait to Make Their Pitch,’’ Tampa Tribune,
January 4, 1997, C1. See also Colin Campbell, ‘‘Changes Afoot in TV Babble at Harts-
field,’’ Atlanta Journal-Constitution, April 3, 1997, 1B; Colin Campbell, ‘‘Why Mo-
nopoly on Cacophony?’’ Atlanta Journal-Constitution, March 18, 1997, 1C. These crit-
ics employ contradictory notions of privacy and publicity in their assessments of tv
in public space. On the one hand, it would seem, television ‘‘privatizes’’ public space,
but on the other, tv’s role in public space is the invasion of privacy. If tv can be
the agent of both privatization and its destruction, a wrecker of both public life and
privacy, of both community and individuality, then clearly it is a highly elastic phe-
nomenon! For an incisive use of the concept of privatized public space within the
framework of political economy see Armand Mattelart, AdvertisingInternational:the
Privatization of Public Space, trans. Michael Chanan (New York: Routledge, 1991).
5 Movies from A Face in the Crowd to TheTruman Show are part of a long tradition of
critical diatribes against media ‘‘effects,’’ diatribes that might cynically be interpreted
as a ‘‘safe’’ form of movie politics given that anti-tv rhetoric is prevalent both on the
right and the left.
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