On YouTube Celebrity and SCALE

September 15, 2007

An article about my class ended up on the AP wire and less then 24 hours later, I’ve done or scheduled 10 print and radio interviews, including a visit from CNN to my class scheduled for next week. It’s been on the local news in Florida, on my sister’s elevator in NY, and in the Herald International Tribune. It’s all over the web; can’t track it. Heart-pounding, adrenaline rushing, I’ve been able to do nothing else all day but worry about how I represent myself, my ideas, my course through a mainstream media which does not usually talk my language or acknowledge my concerns, given their erudite nature and political leanings (see my blog!). But reporters have been polite and intelligent, I’m an expert after all, a PhD; as have I. Why?

I knew that the form, and even content, of Learning from YouTube would be sexy, getable, marketable but I did not know what that would mean for me. Most strikingly, it has made me engage in thoughts of self-censorship (whether I will follow through or not is another matter), where I worry that the radical nature of my work will disallow me to be taken seriously, thus closing down channels before they open, and minimizing my credibility, as well as the more general and less ideological intellectual ideas raised.

But beyond this, given that my documentary, “SCALE: Ending the Bush Agenda in the Media Age,” is all about celebrity, and the power of not being known while still doing good work, and the left’s inability to successfully think through how or why to use the media machine as a way towards power and change, it seems downright ridiculous that I’m suddenly having just such a moment after having determined that the nature and focus of my work would, by definition, keep it small, intimate, in my control, and as radical as am I.

At the end of the film, I ask my sister why she never got on the morning talk shows, and she suggests that it is because she is “too left and also too right, too correct.” So, why am I being invited? I’m not too left and also not too right? That sounds correct to me. How am I being seen and used? And what can I make if this access, if anything?

4 Responses to “On YouTube Celebrity and SCALE”

  1. Lisa Says:

    I would love to see your documentary! Is it finished yet?

  2. MP:me Says:

    It is finished ( as of Nov. 2007). I’m eagerly awaiting a festival to select it (we’ll see…that’s a rough business), while diligently creating a web-based distribution that will go live in a few weeks at http://www.scalethedocumentary.com (right now it just has the press pack, but soon it will have lots of info about activism, media, scale, and the documentary). You can see clips from the doc at youtube.com/scalethedoc.
    If you’re still interested, I’d be happy to get you an advance…

  3. Ted Burrett Says:

    This is very hot info. I’ll share it on Facebook.


  4. […] check out the course and join the conversation, click here. Juhasz is blogging about it all at Media Praxis, a project she’s developing for Mediacommons, where interesting commentary on the project is […]


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