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Thursday, May 08, 2008

Now back to your regularly scheduled pessimism.

Myanmar has suffered a natural disaster where 100,000 people are dead. Yahoo finds it is just as important for me to know that Clay Akins might have made the boldest change in his look yet. Such is news these days. Every thing is presented as spectacle, not information. Every thing is equal. 100,000 people dead, a former American Idol gets a new hair cut. I am waiting for the next crazy preacher to tell us exactly what it was the people of Myanmar did wrong to get such a punishing natural disaster. Isn't that how God works? Gays wanted to have a parade in New Orleans, Hurricane strike kills mostly black people in the lower Ninth ward where almost no gay people live. Seems like God has poor aim when he sends these things. That's ironic, considering how many of his followers seem to love their guns and pride themselves on their aim.
Oh well.

A few posts ago, a comment was left asking if I cross reference the news. I suppose I do. I am fascinated in the way we are presented stories. Right now, mentioning Obama in the news automatically leads to questions about Rev. Wright. If you look at any of the news from the BBC or articles written in the Canadian press, the only time they mention Rev. Wright is to ask what is the American obsession with creating a story rather than covering events? Other counties press have pointed out that all the candidates have been backed by various Ministers who have said some highly questionable things in their past too. Why highlight Obamas pastor? He was just his pastor, not a consultant to anyone in the White House as Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson have been. There is no big deal here accept that the press keeps saying it is a big deal.

Somewhere in the late 70's the networks decided to make the news just another product in it's line of TV entertainment. The simplest way was to let opinions be mentioned about the events they were covering. Now, that's all we have. No one is reporting on an event, they are all giving us their opinion of the event. Believe it or not, a news story might not fit comfortably in to the black and white of CNN or FOX. Why just cover the news when you can have people yell over each other? You might not leave informed, but it makes the powers that be a lot more money than just stating statistics and showing footage of disasters.

Truth is now spin.
Most people under the age of 30 get their news from the Daily show, a TV news parody show on a Comedy Network.
Polls dictate policy. No politician can actually say what they think without first checking to see what a percentage of people also think.
Money is not just power, but the ability to present the message of choice to the most people from the best media outlet. Everyone is equal, but when it comes to the first amendment and getting your message out there, some are more equal than others.
Rome had nothing on us!
Rome had outrageous public events in it's coliseum, and we have reality TV shows.
Rome fought wars in distant lands for riches and resources, we occupy Iraq and Afghanistan for Oil.
Rome rotted from within, crushed under the weight of bureaucracy and spread thin across it's empire until barbarian tribes with little more than clubs invaded and destroyed it.
We have Fox news.

There will never be a single planet wide disaster that you see in the movies or a revolt in the streets that your grandchildren will be able to point to and say, that's when it happened. Instead, we are like the frog in the pot of water slowly being brought to a boil. By the time Global warming, pollution, disease, loss of rights we took for granted and poverty catch up to us, we will just be starting to experience those first few pangs of anxiety that something really is wrong. The first thing we need to do to avoid that is to start thinking for ourselves and stop letting the Media tell you what is important and what to think about a topic. If you are wondering what the dander is in just blindly listening to what is coming out of the TV, all you have to do is look at the war with Iraq and the way the supposedly objective media became little more than a propaganda tool for the White House. Just recently the Pentagon suspended it's program of sharing secret information with military annalists employed by the media. You know those retired Generals and experts at all things war related? They were being given private briefings and essentially being told what to say. Their mission; paint a rosy picture of what is happening in Iraq. The media, whose job it is to be on the look out for just such an abuse, allowed it to go on unchecked for 7 years until the New York Times finally had the balls to print what it knew to be true for more than a year. Do you know what we call it when the state works with the corporations to strengthen each? The word is fascism. Fascists are just like you and me. They just think that a strong leader and cooperate rights are more important than individuals. other than that, they are just like us. By any definition, America has become a fascist state obsessed more about maintaining it's role as the only super power than advancing the agenda of human rights. How is this accomplished? Not with tanks in the streets or secret police, but the use of consumer choice falling like an avalanche over the human spirit. Everything has become a product, just like the news. Now that everything has a monetary value, no one has any values other than I got mine, now you get yours. It is the message that pervades every commercial and the message that keeps us from forming any true bonds to oppose the message. In the information age with the next big blockbuster coming soon, we have all traded the space inside our heads for a ticket to the next big thing, the new car, the louder game, the promise of a solution to the emptiness inside us we let the next pop song put into words because we no longer can.
100,000 people dead. Killed in one night in one storm. But the top story today was, falling
consumer confidence raises fears on Wall Street. This is the world we live in. Information has been replaced with speculation. Speculation is the system we have that sets the price. As our money shrinks in value, we turn to the next thing in an attempt to buy our way out of the wasteland the news shows us. Not one of abandoned huts and mud covered bodies, but of strip malls and asphalt parking lots backing in the sun. We have been bought off one by one with the belief that getting rich is the greatest reward simply because you can buy the best stuff. Instead of retired generals to explain the latest mess in Iraq to us, or reporters embedded with troops in the far corners of our crumbling empire, we should embed reporters in the peace movement and have spiritual healers on the news to break down events at protests.
Just a thought. Now back to your regularly scheduled pessimism.

1 comment:

sandy said...

I think that you've got something with your method of cross checking the news. I look at the news media as almost another form of Paparazzi... stirring up a frenzy over whatever particular story they chose to chase. Ratings, money, botoxed anchors...

All very Wag the Dog.