Thursday, February 01, 2007

DirecTV Dictatorship (now in four rooms of your home for FREE)!

Newscasters seem so disappointed when impending cataclysms fail to be particularly, well, cataclysmic. It’s disturbingly hilarious. Reporters doing their damnedest trying to tart things up, saying: “... the expected DEVASTATION and narrowly escaped HORROR!”
How could mainstream media ratings ever top 9/11? The current fixation with child sex-crimes might spike the curve a little, but all that “in-depth,” “thought-provoking” coverage of psycho-social disturbance serves only as whitewash. Our collective guilt and shame find brief respite in a poignant, warm-fuzzy moment of “social consciousness.”
“We’re AWARE, and that makes a difference.”
“I’m BOTHERED, therefore I’m part of the solution.”
Glad you feel better, but that brand of “self-esteem” is for complacent narcissists addicted to milquetoast dipped in mediocrity. You know, “liberals,” “anarchist philosophers,” and other culturally impotent “radicals.”
Since Hurricane Katrina, we’re officially desensitized to disaster. The effects of Katrina were, as one reporter stated, “like a scene from a horror movie.” Brilliant journalism! So now life/death is more credibly beautiful/tragic when it resembles an illusion?
Reports out of New Orleans from real people were decidedly more visceral: “The 9th ward still don’t smell right.”
Talking heads mesmerized audiences with “sensitively” edited visuals of the “rising death toll” while “rotted, floating corpses” were described in graphic detail. House by house searches revealed elaborate tableaus of American family life that Norman Rockwell never imagined.
FCC, Board of Standards & Practices—don’t worry, you can show us the stacks of black bags coming back from Eye-Rack with dead kids in ’em now. This country’s so numb there’s no danger of any effective revolutionary movement. It won’t be the same mistake y’all made by broadcasting real-time bullets during the Vietnam war. That public was still paying attention. They hadn’t been appropriately prepared; they still cared about life.
In LBJ’s day, the puppet masters of mass consciousness went for that nationalist “guts and glory” rallying angle, for sure. It wasn’t a bad idea, just one whose time had not yet come. Well, not since about 1938, in Nazi Germany. But outraged consciences finally emerged from the coffee shop smoke screen and park bench consensus, facilitating the public’s scrutiny of our fledgling neo-fascist regime and ending a heinous, ill-considered, mismanaged travesty of a war.
Spin-doctors learned quickly from their little propaganda faux pas. Those “Beatnik” “hippie” “intellectuals” who demanded common sense, integrity, and accountability from their elected leaders hadn’t grown up playing gut-splattering video games for hours on end. A plethora of voyeuristic brain fodder, exponentially escalating shock “value” and sensationalism of “reality” TV was not yet the norm.
One small step and a giant leap later, in less than two generations, the media machine whetted a voracious American appetite for global domination, complete with an obnoxious attitude of self-righteous entitlement.
During the war in Vietnam, people watched reality on TV, not “reality TV.” They witnessed actual experiences of fellow human beings. Today, in an increasingly tumultuous and volatile climate, we’re “under constant threat” of nuclear annihilation, superflus, and environmental disasters of biblical proportion. As a result, we may have fattening rosters of congregations, support groups, ashrams, and motivational seminars, but let’s face it—we don’t really have fellow human beings anymore.
We have sense-surround home theater systems for the closest thing to reality. Sublimely ironic, since average citizens have lost most of their capacity for genuine experience. How can we expect to sympathize with the feelings of STRANGERS? We aren’t even aware of our own feelings.
Why not just show us the carnage in the streets of Fallujah?! Broadcast GI Joe barking with his boot heel on some rock-tossing kid’s neck. Zoom in on that frail little raisin of a grandma wailing her head off while you’re at it. What else is on besides BigBrother and SuperNanny?
Continue the feed. Make sure the advertisements are sexy. Sell the collective UNconsciousness to the highest bidder. Delight, tantalize, shock and awe us in our emotionally anesthetized isolation. Thrill our fried synapses and gauze the lens of our third eye!
What’s next from the media alphabet and Murdoch, who FOX with us the most?
“Survivor Appalachia?”
“B-List Celebrity Shotgun Roller Derby?”
I got it. “The Suicide Channel.”

“Informed, inactive people are just as useless as ignorant ones.”
—Andrew Vacchs, author/child advocate
Isabel Scott is a Taos resident, essayist and songwriter, damned sick of being a culturally impotent radical. She currently hosts a regular gathering of evolutionary revolutionaries intent on reclamation of individual and collective power through elemental and psychological alchemy. It’s deep, man, and usually pretty fun.
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