November 7, 2008
“When the hurly-burly’s done, When the battle’s lost and won …” 
When the new first lady in waiting walked onto the stage at the victory rally she was wearing an astonishing outfit: bright red ovals on skirt and blouse surrounded by areas of black like shadows around a fire. It was a very bold and no doubt expensive statement but no one questioned the cost or symbolism.
And if she was like the “stately and ominous” queen of a unique prose poem, the crowd of enraptured bobble heads took the place “of the immense wilderness, the colossal body of fecund and mysterious life” that seemed to reflect and embody victory’s uncertain desires, “the unseen presence of victorious corruption, the darkness of an impenetrable night” . It was indeed, as commentators mentioned with mesmeric iterations that seemed to recapitulate the tenor of the entire campaign, a historic night. An anchor on the “fair and balanced” network hailed “Barack Obama, an African-American and a son of immigrants has been elected President; what a night!”
“Son of immigrants,” -- hadn’t that been settled in the negative? Off-mike one could hear someone saying softly, “son of an immigrant,” singular. But what did that mean, or what could it do to mar the historic grandeur of the moment? “A historic moment, historic moment, historic moment” echoed the voices, seeping into minds like water wearing away rock. Truth was being manufactured: change has come.
Americans were tutored not to “inject race into the campaign” except as it suited the vendors.
Do you remember the epochal shift when we were instructed not to be “color blind” but “color sensitive” and when equality before the law was transformed into “equity”? We now inherit the sowing of that wind.
Election coverage on FOX was sponsored by www.dividedwefail.org inventors of the symbol of these fusion-days, the purple elephonkey. Alternating with ‘coverage’ of the game were infomercials selling national health care by showcasing personal narratives of disaster. We must come together; we must have jobs and lower taxes. It is a time of crisis, a historical moment.
Everything settles down in the end. Not twenty hours later Dr. Frankenluntz was back not with wires and meters but with numbers and demographics per the principle, if it moves tax it, number it, give it a collective name and file it away. “The youth vote” was what he taught about; the Democratic campaign had “gone after the youth vote”; this was one of the mantras of the year’s programming though, as it transpired, “youth” (those 18-29 years old) voted in about the same numbers as four years ago. As with most such groupings, those who do not fit the paradigm are discounted; a plurality becomes the benchmark of new truths with numbers to make them ‘facts.’
Four years is almost a generation in our nanosecond, blackberry age. Every additional year of education as “counseling and orientation” produces people more impoverished in their ability to think and understand. Dr. Frank, FOX and the other media are parts of the educational-programming machine that accomplishes this ruin. Clever ad campaigns in commerce-politics converge to “target youth” and other sectors less able to think, that sway more to emotion, that have few memories or inclination to remember; who have absorbed the dogma that some groups of people are entitled and must be “affirmed and validated,” etc. They are the best consumers to target and Dr. Frank told us youth care most about the price of things, that they hate negatives (paradox unexplained), and turn more to the screen than physical texts. They will reinforce the trend toward units in a crowd; giant sports arenas play a part in the electronic coliseum.
Many centuries ago the effects of the mass media and of media spin were described with precision as forms of “capturing the eyes,” a kind of sorcery, of “conjuration…giving the onlooker the impression that he is witnessing something that really is not occurring.” And the sage noted that “capturing the eyes” is a form of necromancy” (“death magic”) that “steals the mind of men” and does “incalculable damage” because “knowledge is the form of the soul” in its ability to know truth and ultimately the Creator. And he noted that this death magic targets those least able to resist, “fools, women and children” by whom the Demos won its margin of triumph, “and their minds become habituated to accepting unreality as reality.” Living in a virtual world we inherit the first fully virtual presidency, a hollow man whose identity is as ambiguous as his programs with their “treacherous appeal to lurking death, to the hidden evil, to the profound darkness of its heart” ; feeling trumps understanding.
The constant parsing or Balkanization of our nation into demographic groups serves its dissolution, the collapse of all borders as well as the “stealing of mind” and soul. We are told that 92% of “African-Americans” in DC and Virginia voted for the Democrat: what happened to the principle that we are to relate to each other according to the content of our character, a foundational Biblical precept rather than by the color of our skin? We know that those driving this Expedition into “savagery” and “abomination” have reversed the programming we were needlessly tutored in 45 years ago. And other “numbers” parallel the ‘findings’ of the pollsters: those in the armed services preferred McCain 76 – 24%. Per the usual balkanizing sectors, women preferred him by about 54%, Hispanics by 63% and African-Americans 20%. So the rate of support from “white” men must have been about 90%; perhaps its just prejudice. One recalls the sage’s comments that those who “steal the mind” target “fools, women and children” for their conjuration. Magicians are color blind: to them the world divides into the resistant and the ‘rubes.’
To whom does screen-world pitch most of its advertisements? Progress is regression.
One of our greatest writers wrote a story about the horrors of direct democracy and linked it to a society’s interruption of mentoring, to its contempt for tradition and virtuous old age and its deification of progress and change . It is a tale of farm and family-based simplicity and trust disoriented by the cynical power games and seduction of the city, not least being the temptation “to rise in the world” by ignoring the crushing of your aged and honest kin, “a head grown gray in honor.” In a scene of direct democracy with a vengeance, the mob is directed by the new governor who gives it an enemy upon whom to vent its mockery and sense that all are on a level, equal not before the law – no room for law in a mass tar and feathering – but by birth. And the new governors laugh from the balcony above the horror that spreads like a contagion, catching all in its frenzy. “On they went in counterfeited pomp, in senseless uproar, in frenzied merriment trampling all on an old man’s heart.”
A nation that does not nourish and require of its citizens thoughtfulness and knowledge of its basic laws is doomed to what we experience increasingly as the decades pass. Those with a lust for power programmed people to associate literacy tests with racism. The fact that knowledge of American history and the Constitution was a requisite for wisely choosing leaders was framed as being prejudicial rather than prudent, indeed, as essential to survival of people resistant to manipulation and exploitation. Even knowledge of the shared language that is necessary for there to be a genuine nation was deemed “discriminatory” and “exclusive.” So those who cannot distinguish the policies and record of left from right have equal voice as the knowledgeable; knowledge itself, like citizenship loses its meaning. In this leveling, the care-taker becomes a Master and a premium is put on deception, empty promises, emotion and lies, on numbers. Stealing of the mind occurs on the retail and national level: the mindless, enraptured by a sense of their “empowerment” become slaves to their appetites and to those who manipulate them. “Change you can depend on” is a very old story. Alcibiades and centuries before him, Avshalom were two charmers of a common type. But in those times there was a strong counterweight of knowledge and reverence for duties and tradition. When Rome crushed the Second Temple humanity embarked on a very long slide and now hirelings of the mighty chatter admiringly about a suave puppet able to “really get people nodding.” That stealing of the mind is what they term “a brilliant campaign.” One might say, “Confusion now has made his masterpiece” . It’s quite sad.
In the course of the last campaign, an endless campaign of magic supported by human credulity, -- and the treason of the “intellectuals” – “God damn America” was transmuted into “God bless America” at the victory rally where heads once were beaten in contrived provocations, revolutionaries serving the oligarchs whose power structure they long since have joined. But power that rests on the conjuration of eyes, the stealing of minds and damage of souls is inherently destructive and unstable. Those tempted will feel it first for “oftentimes, to win us to our harm, the instruments of darkness tell us truths, win us with honest trifles to betray us in deepest consequence” . It is not and it cannot come to good. Those practiced on will be the first to suffer for the confounding of fair and foul, for virtual promises instead of reasoned plans.
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Meanwhile a senior reporter energetically ‘dished the dirt’ on tension between Palin and McCain staffers. To this pettiness the anchor listened placidly and at length.
Remarkable how those paid highly to condition and anesthetize in the guise of informing us managed to elide the fact that the victorious candidate repeatedly supported legislation to deny care to infants who survive abortions. This is what compassion means when the hour grows late: death is veiled by the glossy aura of life and liberation. But the devil’s in the details; those who try to charm their way to power will trip on duplicity. As the porter at “Hell’s Gate” in Duncan’s castle said “Faith! Here’s an equivocator that could swear in both the scales against either scale; who committed treason enough for God’s sake yet could not equivocate to heaven. O come in, equivocator!” 
The designated loser made a gracious concession speech, its rhetoric so fine that one might be charmed into forgetting the cost to America of his running what he called “a challenged campaign.” One could quote, “nothing in his life became him like the losing it” yet it is not his life but his nation’s and, in truth, his honor that was lost by a failure of honesty and courage in playing a bad part well. In the debris of the day after, amid crashing markets, Americans were left to know that many among them “had eaten of the insane root that takes the reason prisoner” and fallen prey to a type of “supernatural soliciting,” a stealing of mind that confounds good and evil, that fogs the present with fantasies about a future that will not be until “nothing is but what is not” .
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Our public discourse does not merit the name; the air is filthy with institutionalized deceit and pragmatic cruelty. A wind will come to sweep away the shadows but it will take effort, intelligence, honesty and clarity in thought and speech, a willingness to speak truth to power, to act and “pray that the right may thrive” .
William Shakespeare, Macbeth (1607; Penguin Classic 1987),
2. Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness (1899; 1901; W.W. Norton revised, 1963), 61-3; Conrad’s tale, contrary to the reigning dogma, all but deifies the jungle wilderness with a late Romantic ambivalence emphasizing its “brooding immensity,” “inscrutable intention” and “implacable hostility” to human presence. His attitude toward the Africans is uniformly sympathetic, sometimes admiring, sometimes fearful. It is the Europeans, the managers and “faithless pilgrims” lusting after ivory and promotions that arouse his scorn; they are like “tainted meat” too disgusting even for starving cannibals too eat. Their schemes emit “a taint of imbecile rapacity, like a whiff from a corpse”; they embody Europe’s spirit as “the flabby devil of rapacious and pitiless folly …”sordid buccaneers” who are “reckless without hardihood, greedy without audacity, cruel without cunning” . He compares them unfavorably (“less valuable animals”) to dead donkeys . One could not, however, accurately term our oligarchs as lacking audacity. The composers of the new administration might be said to have an “inscrutable intention” since the numbers and promises add up only to shadows and disaster.
3. Maimonides, The Book of the Commandments (c. 1190), negative commandment 32. Rabbi Moshe ben Maimon, the foremost physician and philosopher of the later middle Ages eventually left Spain and became physician to Saladin. His great work, supra, identified and arranged the 248 positive and 365 negative commandments in the Five Books of Moshe, adding explanatory comments like those quoted above based on Deuteronomy 18:10 and Leviticus 19:26. For “knowledge is the form of the soul” in which we were first created (Genesis 1:26-7) see the first book in the series, the Book of Knowledge section “Foundations of Torah” 4:8-10.
4. Heart of Darkness, 33
5. Nathaniel Hawthorne, “My Kinsman, Major Molineux” (1832); “the contagion was spreading among the multitude…”
6. Macbeth 2.3.68 on the murder of the king.
7. ibid. 1.3. 123-6
8. ibid. 2.3.8-12; on the denial of care matter.
9. ibid. 1.4.7-8; 1.3.84-5; 1.3. 130-42
10. Shakespeare, King Lear (1606), 5.2.2; on the media paid to deceive & sedate by equivocation, “those juggling fiends that palter with us in a double sense” (Macbeth 5.8.18-19); “the equivocation of the fiend that lies like truth,” Macbeth 5.5.43-4 that charms to destroy and quotes to negate: Macbeth had a guilty vision of a bloody child. Or perhaps this suggests an inverse image of Kurz, “the magnificent folds of eloquence” of the voice hiding “the barren darkness of a heart” [Conrad 69], “the fascination of the abomination”
© 2008 Eugene Narrett - All Rights Reserved