About the new utility value of the analog dime novel in the internet age
The fact that media products survive on the media markets has something to do with the fact that they offer the readers something they want. Communication studies has described this under the so-called "uses-and gratification"-approach, which asks what the reader does with the medium and from what he or she derives his or her "reward" draws. In german, one can also say "gebrauchswert" for this complex and ask where the value comes from for which the reader is willing to pay 1.80 euros, for example, in the case of penny magazines. And one can ask why fewer and fewer people consider it necessary to read the daily newspaper.
The trivial runs like a wide stream through (media) history, the shallow and easy, the simple and comical, the dysentery and the superficial is the sought-after balm for the souls of the people "masses", i.E., the working class and other subaltern classes. In the 1950s, television spread into these working-class households at an almost insane speed, and the purchase of a cow cupboard, a washing machine or even a telephone ranked far behind the need for entertainment, experience and the world. A need that was parallel to the own limited world of the eight-hour day, the narrowness of the apartment and generally the often externally determined way of life. Class and media consumption were closely intertwined.
Whoop – whoop – whoop! Bummm – bummm – bummm! The ivan attacks with the tank or why the eastern front is topical again – dime novel part 4
And what does that tell us today about the readers of the magazine novels?? Hasn’t the level of education in germany been raised permanently – the number of students leaving secondary school dropped to 31.4 percent in 2016 (2008: 39.3 percent), while the number of students with a higher education entrance qualification rose to 30 percent (2008: 24.2 percent)?? And hasn’t the number of dirty and physically demanding jobs in industry decreased significantly?? And don’t the many public and private television channels offer an almost endless supply of entertainment, flanked by offerings on the internet?? Not to speak of the offers of an urban entertainment industry, which offers everything from comedy to rock concerts, from crime shows with dinner to the 88th birthday party. Film series on cinema in papua new guinea has just about everything to offer? And why then is the dime novel still a small, plain, analog island in the sea of full hd spectacles??
Media lines of defense against the impending abyss of digitalization
Perhaps behind the mountain priest and toni, the huttenwirt, behind princess tamara von herzberg and chief physician dr. North, behind the fate of the prince and the poacher’s daughter there is a mass rejection of a modernity that is in the process of becoming a modern world, "disruptive" the old world to "granularize", and while the hutt landlord does not yet even know that a "chatbot" is not a cooking pot, where the next illegal war is being reported. Then the consumption of penny dreadfuls would be, so to speak, a resistive action of all those who don’t miss the disruptive and granular, but feel it’s going for their throats. A retreat into the solid walls of the homeland and love novel, while the arming troops and hosts of the modernizers pass by, the smartphone raised high in front as a godlike monstrance and under the rhythmic murmurs of magical incantations: "industry 4.0", "industry 4.0", "industry 4.0".
While there are now detoxification clinics for children with internet addiction, there is also a segment of society in which the right to not despair is taken even over the dime novel. If in the 1950s the heimatroman and co. Whereas in the 1950s, the right to not despair was still anchored in social space through class position, today this use value has changed so that the program no longer includes compensation for one’s own class boundaries through artistic dream worlds, but now, on the contrary, the defense of boundaries.
With the big bang of the digital revolution, the topography of the social has been virtually reshaped: whereas before it was always about too little, about restrictions and limitations, about walls and barriers, now it’s about the opposite: about the unlimited, the untenable, the infinite. If the overcoming of social barriers was the program of the century for the working class, today it is a matter of holding on to what is still safe ground before being hit with the next wave of "industry 4.0" is spooled into the infinite expanses of the internet and finally disappears into nothingness.
People long for borders in the face of galloping social change toward a world of confluenced relationships and unstable conditions that can change at any time. Europe is a highly topical indicator of this on the political level. After decades of dismantling barriers, the continent is now busily raising barriers and erecting border fences again. That bavaria – as a federal state! – the fact that the european union is now creating its own border police is one of the current hyperventilations of a panic-stricken policy.
While the digital (in cooperation or on the basis of capitalist logic and neoliberal practice) is in the process of removing the old analog world (cabs, travel agencies, bookstores, department stores, journalism) and restructuring it in the comitative sphere, the old analog man is getting dizzy and is looking for a foothold so as not to fall off. Then old cereals, law and order, dirndl and lederhosen, homeland, homeland security, skin color and nation come into play again. And the confinement and exclusion, for example in camps.
Thus, the analog dime novel today is not only related to the happy ending, but is also, so to speak, one of the last media lines of defense against the impending abyss of digitalization. From this point of view, private muller, princess tamara von herzberg and perry rhodan are fighting on the same front.