20. Silk Televised Sport

20. Silk Televised Sport - Televised Sport in a Global...

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11 Televised Sport in a Global Consumer Age MICHAEL· SILK There is all around us today a kind of fantastic conspicuousness of consumption and abundance, constituted by the multiplication of objects, services and material goods, and this represents something of a fundamental mutation in the ecology of the human species. Strictly speaking, the humans of the age of affluence are surrounded not so much by other human beings, as they were in previous ages, but by objects. Their daily dealings are not now so much with their fellow men [sic], but rather - on a rising statistical curve - with the reception and manipulation of goods and messages. Jean Baudrillard' Consumption is a myth. That is to say, it is a statement of contemporary society about itself, the way our society speaks about itself. And, in a sense, the only objective reality of consumption is the idea of consumption; it is this reflexive, discursive configuration, endlessly repeated in eve1yday speech and intellectual discourse, which has acquired the force of common sense. Our society thinks itself and speaks itself as a consumer society. As much as it consumes anything, it consumes itself as consumer society, as idea. Advertising is the triumphal paean to that idea. Jean Baudrillard' As Baudrillard emphasises, we are surrounded by a 'fantastic' conspicuousness of consumption and abundance. 3 As a cultural product, mediated sport is in no way distinct or separate from the idea of a consumer society. Indeed, mediated sport fonns have not only been wholly appropriated into the very order of corporate capitalism; they are in fact an important constituent, and constitutor, of the engines and processes of global corporate capitalism. Somewhat modifying Baudrillard then, mediated sport production, with its constituent parts - signs, goods, services, products, people and other paraphernalia - can be thought of as the very essence of, or the 'triumphal paean' to, the idea of a consumer society. That is, it is common sense to think about mediated sport today as being produced in accordance with the logics inherent in accumulating capital. As such, mediated sport, as a mythologised hypercommercialised product, is a reflexive and discursive configuration that speaks and thinks itself as a consumer society - it is a statement Televised Sport in a Global Consumer Age 227 contemporary. society about itself. Rather than provide an apologetic account of the pebasement of sport and the media into consumer culture, this chapter aims to address the relationships between hypercommercialised mediated sport forms and the cultural sphere. That is, the chapter aims to rethink the relationship between economies and cultures in addressing the transformations, or as Baudrillard puts it, the 'fundamental mutation in the ecology of the human species' that takes place in, and through, a global consumer age.
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20. Silk Televised Sport - Televised Sport in a Global...

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