Are you stupid? Why not?
Friday evening I had just finished reading Kollapsnik's "America- the grim truth" as the CBS evening news came on. Ireland seems to be coming apart at the seams, there is a potential war brewing in Korea, but the headline story was about Obama busting his lip. The second story was about how the stores were doing with the so-called Black Friday shoppers. Over the years I've come to believe that news portals like the CBS, ABC, NBC, the cable news networks, and even to some extent the fancier print news portals like the New York Times and the Washington Post are engines of stupidification, designed to persuade you to either give up on your fellow man and woman as irredeemably stupid, or even join in the fun and be stupid yourself, heeding the sirens calling you, to buy stuff and quit moping.
Mind you, I don't automatically think we're all that stupid, but suggestibility, like practically everything else, must exist on a continuum. Some people just don't buy it, some buy it a little bit, some don't buy it but are resigned to 'the way things are' and are convinced everybody else buys it(so hey, quit complaining!). And some people rely on figuring out what others believe to be true before they decide which bandwagon to jump on, making their minds fertile ground for the media to plant seeds of consumerist blather. There are still other gradations, and I may have gotten the order wrong, but you get the idea. I also see the media as a kind of "forgetting machine" designed to make sure that every new event and every news cycle is unrelatable to the past, that historical context is for suckers.
Not too long ago Ian Welsh wrote that we did not face any problem we couldn't solve, but the problem was political will. I tend to believe this, but I know that deficit commissions and bailouts of crooked financial schemes aren't the answer. Is there hope for America, let alone the world? I wish I knew.
Tom Engelhardt: "The incredible shrinking withdrawal date"
The Barack Obama administration's drawdown date of 2011 from Afghanistan was slowly recalibrated to 2014, and now that goal has been dismissed as "aspirational", with "2015 and beyond" touted. With an unshakable belief in his counter-insurgency program, Afghan war commander General David Petraeus is only offering Obama and world leaders two strategic options: more or a lot more.
Reuters: "Generation Y: the new depression generation?"
China Daily:"China, Russia quit dollar"(via CFO)
BDR:"Ruth Marcus tells you to sit the fuck down and shut the fuck up."
Warren Buffett rebutted claims that the Obama administration is unjustly hurting business orders with high taxes by saying that in fact, the wealthy have never had it so good."I think that people at the high end, people like myself, should be paying a lot more in taxes. We have it better than we've ever had it," he told ABC's Christiane Amanpour in a clip played on "This Week" on Sunday.
When Amanpour pointed to critics' claims that the very wealthy need tax cuts to spur business and capitalism, Buffett replied, "The rich are always going to say that, you know, 'Just give us more money, and we'll go out and spend more, and then it will all trickle down to the rest of you.' But that has not worked the last 10 years, and I hope the American public is catching on."
update: As I wrote in the comments, I'm convinced there's plenty of outrage out there, but one of the primary functions of the media is to convince you that it's just you, that you're unreasonable to be upset. Look around you: don't you see how not-upset everybody else is? There! Now don't you feel like an idiot being so fussy?
It's. Just. You.
So shut up and buy stuff.