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Monday, November 1, 2010

America The Schizophrenic -- Sane Saturday, Twisted Tuesday

Let us pray, people:

May tomorrow's election day bring out enough Americans--no matter how angry, scared, and fed up they are--who won't lose the sanity we restored last Saturday in Washington.

Make them realize that while the Democrats' frying pan sizzles, the Republicans' flame will incinerate us as it always has.

Open the eyes of this incensed electorate so they'll realize they've been poisoned by the GOP mouth organ all along to hand over the keys to our city to marauding Huns.  Don't hand 'em over, please.  There's just too much at stake.   
Fear.  Just say no.  Again and again, loud as you can.  Narrow-minded, hate-spewing bigots masquerading about in tricorn hats want you to surrender to their insanity.  Transcend it.   


Someone asked recently what was on my backside--of my "Restore Sanity Rally" shirt.  It was a message I delivered in the company of the 200,000 plus people flood in our nation's capital.  Something strident enough to show my disgust with right-wing demagogues who try to pervert the American Dream.  That  includes the one voiced at the Lincoln Memorial, not by some crazed Christian Reich boss, but by an Atlanta preacher in 1963 .

There were so many, many stinging, uproarious slogans flying in all directions that day.  I thought carefully and wrote one I could wear for years to come.  Wanted to be sure from this day forward any and all star spangled yahoos swaggering across my path will be served notice.

There were some detractors, notably, from the far left side of the aisle.  Journalist & socialist Chris Hedges was clearly not impressed and had this scathing, acid cynical take on the Big Rally:

"Politics in America has become spectacle. It is another form of show business. The crowd in Washington, well trained by television, was conditioned to play its role before the cameras. The signs —'The Rant is Too Damn High,' 'Real Patriots Can Handle a Difference of Opinion' or 'I Masturbate and I Vote'—reflected the hollowness of current political discourse and television’s perverse epistemology.

The rally spoke exclusively in the impoverished iconography and language of television. It was filled with meaningless political pieties, music and jokes. It was like any television variety program. Personalities were being sold, not political platforms. And this is what the society of spectacle is about.

The modern spectacle, as the theorist Guy Debord pointed out, is a potent tool for pacification and depoliticization. It is a “permanent opium war” which stupefies its viewers and disconnects them from the forces that control their lives. The spectacle diverts anger toward phantoms and away from the perpetrators of exploitation and injustice. It manufactures feelings of euphoria. It allows participants to confuse the spectacle itself with political action.

The celebrities from Comedy Central and the trash talk show hosts on Fox are in the same business. They are entertainers. They provide the empty, emotionally laden material that propels endless chatter back and forth on supposed left- and right-wing television programs. It is a national Punch and Judy show. But don’t be fooled. It is not politics. It is entertainment. It is spectacle.

All national debate on the airwaves is driven by the same empty gossip, the same absurd trivia, the same celebrity meltdowns and the same ridiculous posturing. It is presented with a different spin. But none of it is about ideas or truth. None of it is about being informed. It caters to emotions. It makes us confuse how we are made to feel with knowledge.

And in the end, for those who serve up this drivel, the game is about money in the form of ratings and advertising.  Beck, Colbert and Stewart all serve the same masters. And it is not us."

No question about it, Mr. Hedges was decidedly unimpressed with our noble attempt at sanity.  And maybe all the theatrics just made him go ape.
His points, however, are well-taken and many quite valid.  The grand corporate octopus has itself wrapped neatly around all of us in just about the same iron grip as a hundred years ago.  It's just that the stranglehold is so much more subtle, thanks to the sophistication of high tech thought control---ahhmm, I mean mass media.

No matter, really, which party rules, since the overall status quo remains the same.  But then it still always seems to turn out so much worse for civil liberties and working class conditions whenever the "smaller government/bigger business" Republicans call the shots.

Pollsters have already called it for tomorrow and the rage over the Bush-generated misery index is gonna get us tossed from fryer to the fire.  

We gave it our best, however, and got in the last word.  Stewart summed it up nicely at the finish Saturday.    

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