Saturday, November 27, 2010

Are you stupid? Why not?

TSA frisking nun


update below.

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."

Huffington Post:
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.

http://leninology.blogspot.com/2010/11/how-american-class-struggle-works.html

Labels: ,

7 Comments:

At November 28, 2010 3:26 AM, Blogger Mimi said...

"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...."
I can't understand how this can be so casually accepted! I don't watch TV news,so tell me: Isn't there a great outcry against the continuing mayhem? Who is protesting it? Anybody? Seriously, Jon, what have you heard of negative reaction to this horror?

 
At November 28, 2010 5:52 PM, Blogger Jonathan Versen said...

Hi Mimi, 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 to be so fussy?

It's. Just. You.

So shut up and buy stuff.

http://leninology.blogspot.com/2010/11/how-american-class-struggle-works.html

 
At November 28, 2010 9:58 PM, Blogger rob payne said...

"one of the primary functions of the media is to convince you that it's just you, that you're unreasonable to be upset."

Right on the money Jonathan, you should be famous for that quote.

 
At November 29, 2010 7:51 AM, Blogger Bob In Pacifica said...

Regarding political will:

I had an acquaintance (haven't seen him in years and he's probably passed away by now) who had been a sharpshooter in the Army in the early sixties. Before anyone knew there were real combat troops in Vietnam he was part of actual HALO rescue teams in the jungles. He was "temporary duty" in Vietnam but was listed officially as being at Fort Benning. He also said back Stateside in the mid-sixties he was in a unit that would be put on planes and transported to "somewhere" and told to "shoot any black faces on the street". He presumed that his unit was used to support various CIA-directed coups staged in the Caribbean at the time.

He told me about a time when his unit was put into the air and flew for 24 hours, their plane being refueled midair. They never made it to any target area, but when their plane touched down a day later back at their home base they found out that JFK had been assassinated.

My point is that it's not just 51% finally getting on point and changing things through the ballot. Does anyone really think that Hillary would have been appreciably better than Obama or that if Edwards had made it through that he wouldn't have been heavily blackmailed by our intelligence services into continuing their policies? And it's not just the media carrying water for the national security state. Spitzer's bust had more to do with his op-ed in WaPo than any sexual dalliances.

Ultimately, there is a reason for the FISA relaxations and the other enhancements of the national security state's powers. When and if the sh!t hits the fan they won't go away quietly.

It's not just Obama's less than satisfactory performance, although you can begin to see the outline of the monster if you look carefully.

 
At November 29, 2010 9:01 AM, Blogger Mimi said...

Hmm...Jon, I thought I had seconded Rob's comment about your comment and here mentioned I was going to add it to my other blog. Don't see it--not sure why. Well, I did and I did.

 
At November 29, 2010 1:27 PM, Blogger Jonathan Versen said...

Bob, good to hear from you. Certainly I believe Hillary would have been no better. (That Edwards even campaigned in 2008 is amazing in hindsight considering how vulnerable to blackmail he was, and apparently unwilling to come clean on his own.)

Speaking of blackmail and Spitzer, I see your point, but I have to believe that not all pols are susceptible to blackmail. Maybe collapse will be necessary for positive changes to occur. (You really should read the 1st item I link to ("Kollapsnik"), if you haven't already.)

 
At November 30, 2010 2:40 PM, Blogger Jonathan Versen said...

Thanks Rob. Shucks.

 

Post a Comment

<< Home