"Sunday, October 30, 1938, will forever be remembered as a seminal event in the history of American mass media and their potential impact on our collective consciousness." Now that Steven Speilberg's version of War of the Worlds is a looming, unavoidable fact, Emmanuel Levy took a second to poder and appreciate the War that started it all - Orson Welles' legendary emergency-simulating, populace-duping radio broadcast. From where we sit, in an era in which most of us spend most of our days ingesting multiple media streams at once (Ted Leo on the headphones, CNN on mute, the ever-blinking Instant Message window ever distracting my attention towards the corner of the Powerbook screen), it's nearly impossible to fathom that a single peice of broadcasting could have such a profound effect on real people and real life. Levy's article is lengthy and dense (it's based on a graduate dissertation), but worth a read if, like me, you have no idea why Speilberg even bothered.
categories Cinematical