Eugene Narrett, Ph.D
March 12, 2008
The mass media continue discovering ways to distract the public from the issues of survival this nation faces. I use the neutral term “public” rather than “citizens” though we are citizens still, partly. Not only bad laws but for decades Television has been directed toward reducing the ability to think or act so that most of us to varying degrees have been reduced to a glop that may be denoted “the masses.” Experimental psychology and the entire Pavlovian project intertwine with this development but that’s another essay.
To television we can add computers and the various screen-experiences they provide from blogs to “games,” the worlds of X-Box and Play station. Sense – respond, emotions and hormones go wild. Do more people use the internet to study, learn history and write analytically or to “surf” for imagery, for various kinds of pornography, including simple voyeurism, if this kind of morbidity is ever “simple” or trivial.
The main examples in this essay pertain to the “race for the oval office” which is meant to keep us in an odds-making from of mind: yes, as Poe foresaw, modernism and progress are shams and traps. But first a few words, not from our sponsor but about other major media that distinguish and have disfigured our age and our lives.
The distraction-and-reduction of humanity industries were present in film and radio but were not homogenous in their effects and had nowhere near the power of the television – computer era. Movie theatres of old always had a bit of neighborhood in them; most were used for vaudeville, concerts of many kinds and other public functions. There were lots of other people, pleasant or unpleasant as the details might be. The “virtual” quotient was limited.
Arguably, silent films conduced more to the sensate and human regression; they were mainly about visuals and movement although narrative development of plot still set the stage – surreal jump-cutting and absurdity were reserved for the rare “art-film” and viewers went to these expecting to see something odd and progressive: not exactly chainsaws and coeds shivering in a basement while Jason stalks dark streets. And the old “silents” had captions and legible lip movement. Radio and ‘talkies’ were all about conversation, often amazingly eloquent and witty, not least in comedies like Laurel and Hardy or the immortal Fields. So even when they were ‘racy,’ they used and strengthened literacy and interpersonal communication, faculties that contribute to (though they do not insure) community and humane dealings: television in its beginnings also had this quality: the black and white made it clearly a “fiction” even when it was news, a reproduction to be heard, studied and considered. Many of the shows (Groucho Marx) were just radio with a few visual gimmicks filmed on an immobile stage.
Abstract elements, dissolves, fades, jump cutting, cropping, strange juxtapositions first entered through ads and cartoons along with the color that bathed viewers in a sensual, not a literate experience. Those who produce television now are plantation owners; the hairstyles chattering at us are taskmasters and school marms: no thinking necessary class; yes, the curriculum has been dumbed-down.
With computers we have the ultimate democracy, it appears. Almost everyone has access and what goes in reflects who puts it in, and why, matters only sometimes discernable and often by few. Human beings are not meant to sit in chairs or to look at screens in which so many, lowest-common-denominator distractions lurk and have been planted. A verse from P.B. Shelley, “the over-busy gardener’s deadening toil” pops to mind. We indeed blunder toward death less, perhaps, like the aging Tory laureate lampooned than like the progress-mad, soon disillusioned radical. For us unfortunate moderns, part of the medium’s enslaving nature is like a garden filled with Venus fly-traps. Consider: what creature spins webs? And what does she spin them for? And what does she do once they are caught?
When you next expound upon the “freedom” of the worldwide web, think of that.
Enough for now about the media of entrapment, increasingly a byword for our time of cultural degeneracy for license leads always to tyranny and often is contrived by it (a good reason to proscribe it). Let us turn to the horse race and to pertinent and quite descriptive comments on it made almost a millennium ago.
The evil genius of the major media shows impressive consistency; there is no way that the major developments re-shaping all our lives for the worse are going to be discussed as the two Democratic nags, made to ride in tandem (Hillary, of course, wants to be “on top”) find infinite reasons to bicker. What to do about the poor, poor disenfranchised masses of Michigan and Florida? Let’s spend a few weeks nattering about that. How about Hillary’s tone in doing a lame imitation of Obama’s vacuity? How about his hollowness, itself -- “he’s a great speaker” the morons tell us. Which one of them has more momentum? Which has raised more money? Have we spent enough time enthusing about the 4500 votes Obama got in Wyoming, or has Hillary or the Emperor’s Club stolen his rolling thunder?
No truly human being can survive five or even two more months of this stuff, or of the twenty-three year old “political strategists” and “pollsters” the Demlicans, Repricrats and complicit media trot before our protesting souls and dismayed hearts. In Ohio, the Demlicans say they are against NAFTA and will work to make it better; no one talks about the real costs of ethanol, or of “health insurance” and its deadly triage; will either of the donkeys secure the borders, expel illegal immigrants, prevent America from being dissolved into the NAU by diktat of a President they profess to hate? Are they going to propose a set of workable measures to inhibit or stop outsourcing? Are they going to end the racism and sexism of “affirmative action” or the destruction of public education by the Teacher’s Unions and their sponsors? Since “choice” is their creed, are they going to support parental choice in education? Will they liberate citizens from paying for the indoctrination, vaccination, labeling and spiritual disfiguring of their children?
No, of course not; they support almost all of these end-game, triage, mentally and economically impoverishing problems. They represent the Corporate Collective that creates the problems, from feminism and all that follows from it to collapsed borders: as with the family, so with the nation. Will the media press them to address any of these issues? Of course not: they represent and are more directly owned by the CC than are the nags. Their job is to distract, benumb, and enchant us with sensational tit-bits, mind-numbing numbers about nothing, fake arguments, faked passion and even more faked compassion. The parade of moronic bimbos and feminized males marches on to victory uber alles.