**WARNING** I am NOT a: psychiatrist, psychologist, psychoanalytical philosopher, Freudian scholar, Freudian expert, . . . well . . . I trust you get the picture.
When I was twelve years-old, I had dreams of being a psychiatrist. I mean, I didn’t know at the time that I would need to attend undergrad, graduate (PhD), and medical school! I just thought I’d go to this place called ‘college’, become a psychiatrist, and then be able to help people. Oh, and then I could solve my own problems, too. Being my own best resource was my only course of action because, in my view, the supposed resources around me were the cause of my problems: white supremacy, poverty, familial chaos. You know, the usual.
I eventual decided I would double-major in history and psychology. However, I became increasingly frustrated with psychology classes because they seemingly weren’t preparing me to “fix” myself. It was mainly just a bunch of talk about experiments with seemingly little real-world applications, especially relative to Black people. I think I completed half of the major courses in psychology before I settled into a history degree with an emphasis in sub-Saharan Africa. My passion to “fix” myself, ever-burning, meant my continued interest in psychology which took on a more personal autodidacticism.
Of course I was drawn to Freud. Who isn’t when they begin studying psychology? I took the good with the bad with Freud, recognizing the limits of his work tainted by white supremacy: the racism, sexism, and repression. The ‘good’ was my recognition of things moving in me, subterranean, that I felt I needed to uncover in order to flourish. Moreover, these buried things were usually the result of situations in which adults, whether from active molestation or passive neglect, failed in their primary role of protector.
Now, I had been obsessed with media even before my academic and personal exposure to psychology. I mean, I was there when the age of three network TV channels died, when cable TV was born: MTV, ‘Skinemax,” HBO. I was there, changing, growing, taking in more information and influences than I could ever imagine let alone know. I studied songs, commercials, TV shows, movies, newspapers, magazines, product packaging, you name it! I remember visiting the state newspaper and discussing the role of the press and media while watching the actual newspaper printing, rolls of paper unwinding and whirling around conveyors and the “weird” smell. I also recall a New Media segment in a high school freshman English class in which we studied the different types of media messaging and propaganda. My key takeaway from my early media training was twofold: Media is always trying to persuade, and there is always someone doing the persuading, for some reason.
This is all to say that my interest in psychology and media and all of my other influences culminated in my speculative essay: The Oedipus Complex and Media*: How Two Main Components of the Complex Contribute to Infantilization of Women and Increased Violence in Society. The main idea is that, like society, media is dominated by males. As a result, the male gaze becomes the primary media lens. (Yep. This isn’t revolutionary, it just needs to be stated.) However, a gaze happens via an eye that sees and looks, and an eye is part of the body. Therefore, along with the phenotypical qualities bulwarking maleness, including having a penis, is the eye. This penis/eye dynamic relates to sexual object choice and violence relative to the sublimation of desires for both parents that exist before a child, meaning in the visual field, in front of the eye. I propose and I guess argue that burgeoning media was littered with all of this psychosexual detritus. Further, because the maleness saw its existential fate relative to female bodies as weaker, the desire to make up for the lack, meaning to become “men,” promotes infantilizing women and increased violence. Fuck. I had hoped this section wouldn’t turn out sounding that way! (Shrugs shoulders.)
In any event, Media* and media are going to be important in covering Derek Chauvin’s trial for the murder of George Floyd. I feel it’s important to have a lens through which to view media and the infinite narratives spun off into media’s various spaces. In other words, it’s vital to have a view on media that includes Media*, the MM*E, and what they both are always trying to protect.
Media* — (as I employ the term): The ever-changing, immediate, and constant projection of ourselves as reflection—primarily by the Male Media* Elite (MM*E)—via movies, TV, newspapers, magazines, social media, and advertising. Further, the goal of Media* necessarily becomes maintaining white supremacy which is inherently male supremacist and economically exploitative. It is important to note that the key word in the definition is ‘reflection’, as ‘reflection’ assumes being.
So, I hope that this definitional context helps you and me navigate the coverage of Derek Chauvin’s trial for murdering George Floyd. Moreover, I hope we remember that no matter how much media, Media*, and the MM*E are complicit in smearing George Floyd’s name, GEORGE FLOYD IS NOT ON TRIAL! S|F Blog*
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