chapter  2
15 Pages

Ethereal queer: Notes on method


By the end of our new century’s first decade, a shift of the seismic kind will have shaken the American television industry, with other national, international, and global aftershocks sure to follow. I mean, for the few of you diligent readers and spectators who will not have noticed, the conversion to the digital signal, scheduled (consistently rescheduled) to take place on 17 February 2009. (Briefly, what this means is that it will no longer be possible to receive an analogue signal through the so-called ‘ether’, as full-power stations will stop broadcasting in analogue on that date; a converter box will be necessary for those with analogue televisions who do not subscribe to pay television services such as cable or satellite to receive the digital signal. Most significant of all, the massive portion of the broadcast spectrum that had been devoted to broadcasting the analogue signal will become available to industry for commodification.) With the precision of a date comes an invitation for dramatic or polemical interpretation: what will this day have meant, and to whom?