13.5.06

Good Morning America

A new day is dawning, the sun is just starting to peek through the windows, and the sounds of the world around you coming to life are starting to make their way into your consciousness through the painfully-early morning haze. A haven't-had-that-first-bit-of-caffeine-yet America lies with its eyes half closed; the blaring of the alarm clock is barely audible as a faint background noise in the dream that hasn't quite ended, and the instinctive reach towards the snooze button has already begun...

However, as some of us realize, now is not the time to be going back to sleep. It's time for eyes to open and moves to be made to hop up out of the confort of the sleeping quarters; much more delay, and you could find yourself too late. There are deadlines to meet, promises to keep, and many miles to go before one can again contemplate a restful sleep (to paraphrase a well known American poet). But then again, who wants to wake up anyway? Who wants to leave the confort and warmth of our reverrie?

This dream is a fun place, a relaxed place, a place with no worries; full of happy images, sitcoms, and professions of neverending freedom, and always being congratulated for being so moral, mighty, and respectable. Of course, we have no wish to wake up to a world of lies, pain, death, despair, and destruction. Who would.

To stray from the normal confines of acceptable opinion these days is to be as annoying as a buzzing alarm clock interrupting a nice dream. Such opinions are hushed, as an alarm's "snooze" function, through omission or even direct attack. Many dissenting opinions (such as my own) that point out disturbing recurrant themes are summarily dismissed as "conspiracy theory" babble. Those who would seek to push dissenting opinions away with such characterisations do so because they have to; their belief structure cannot continue to justify actions that for those of us with a critical eye cannot be rationally categorised as moral while these individuals maintain a necessary self image of taking the moral high road; much the same as people who have lost a loved one fighting wars (read: Iraq) to further imperialist agendas need to believe that the death was not for this purpose and not in vain, but rather that the person genuinely died for the "cause of freedom." It is too painful for them to think about it any other way. To do so would be the equivalent of having a bucket of ice water dumped on yourself to wake up, an unacceptable jolt from their reverrie; sometimes reality can be just too hard to face.

As far as critical minds being lumped into the category of a paranoid schitzophrenic and labelled as "conspiracy theorists," this is just another way to sidestep any real dialoge on important issues. As far as any actual belief in some X-Files type conspiracy, what exactly constitutes a conspiracy anyway? According to my understanding of the word (and that of webster.com as well) a conspiracy is people working together in secret towards a shared goal. To forget the negative connutations of the phrase for a second, is one to assume that un-related people or groups who all have the same goals in mind and are all working towards those goals are not basically striving for the same end result as a "conspiracy" would have? Are you saying that, for example, the owners of the major media companies in America and other business leaders and also the business-centered leadership of the American government don't have the same goals in mind (maximising profits, increasing business share value, increasing personal wealth)? But nobody is pretending that any of this is a secret, at most it's just conveniently ignored as a facet of our "liberal" economic system (only economically liberal, not "bleeding-heart" style liberal).

To illustrate just one of the many examples of the so-called "conspiracy" outlined above, lets have a look at one of the American media giants, NBC. NBC, MSNBC, etc. are all owned by General Electric (to make the situation sound sweet and nice it's referred to as the "parent company"). GE has, at a minimum, $850 Million worth of "defence" contracts developing and building weapons for the American military. As such, why would one of their business want to sabatoge another of their business. Put more literally, why would NBC want to point out problems with american military aggression: no aggression, no need for huge military expendetures, no demand for weapons systems, and GE loses a ton of money. Losing money rather than making money is the exact opposite of any definition of the "American Dream" that I have ever heard, and what American company wants to be un-American?

[ To digress, for a moment, I would like to note that the American Dream is embodied in the pursuit of riches. There is also the idol-status of those who made it big then died very young; Marilyn Monroe and James Dean are two examples that come to mind. If "live fast, die young" is an ideal, then America's near-suicidal attempts to provoke military conflicts that are ever-increasing in their magnitude is much more understandable. Lets assume for a moment that nobody really wants a slow and painful death, instead they want it to be instant and painless. Lets also take into account that a modern nuclear warhead would wipe out a very large city in a matter of seconds, leaving nothing behing; near instantaneous death for all those near the center of the explosion. For those people living in large urban centers like New York and Washington, DC, perhaps stoking the fires that may well one day lead to a final showdown and nuclear war is merely a manifestation of the administration's desire to help push everyone down a path towards the American Dream and the status of an idol; attack everyone to maximise short-term financial gains, then when judgement day arrives go out in a blaze of glory, thus the culmination of our attempt to have ourselves heroified in folklore. This may seem to be an extreme interpretation, but it still seems to be supported by the facts and insofar as the direction in which America (and, sadly, with it the rest of the northern hemisphere) is headed. ]

Dick Cheney was right when he said fairly recently that those who didn't support America's (imperialist) Iraq war were Un-American. If you hold to the belief that the pursuit of the american dream is a pursuit of material riches, then taking over a country rich in valuable resources is very much in keeping with this ideal, and his perplexion is understandable. It's more than evident in the corporate culture of America that individual lives mean little, if anything, as evidenced by the trend of layoffs-to-maximise-profits. Who cares that John Q. cannot feed his family as long as the bottom line is solid. Similarly, who cares if tens of thousands of John Q.'s or Muhammad R.'s die as long as their sacrifice brings us a large influx of cash. Empathy and compassion fly in the face of the very notion of "every man for himself" that the capitalist system embodies. We could all learn something from VP Cheney's insights; eat or be eaten.

There will be those (just west of the atlantic) who say my premises are absurd, and will proceed to call me crazy. "America wants a nuclear showdown and doesn't care about human life? Man, you're nuts" is what they will say. But lets just have a look, for a second, at what the american regime has been up to recently, since we're on the subject of sanity. And remember that, as we have been told, those in power in America are the ones that the majority of americans (supposedly) "gave a mandate to" in the last presidential election to continue what they were/are doing. As such, the world is led to believe that the wishes of the Bush regime are the wishes of the American people. Then lets take a minute to reflect upon the recent statements and actions from the Bush regime regarding China and Russia. First there was the state/non state visit by Chinese Premier Hu Jintao, where he was more welcomed by Bill Gates in the U.S. than he was by G.W., and the rhetorical attacks by the Bush administration against China regarding Human Rights abuses (an issue that America is in NO position to be lecturing on at this stage: close Guantanamo and quit flying "suspects" who haven't been charged with anything all over the world to be tortured and then MAYBE you can start talking). Then, follow those up with recent attacks against Russia about democracy (again, NOT IN A POSITION TO SAY THAT since you stole the office of the presidency in 2000 and then spent 4 years of propaganda making sure you got it for another 4 years) and their capitalistic use of their energy supplies. Ok, so, you want to pick a fight with China, pick a fight with Russia, and also threaten with DEVASTATING NUCLEAR ATTACKS their CLOSE PARTNER IRAN (see my previous postings on the subject). Goading the next strongest militaries (behind the american $500 billion per year one) to yours into a fight when you can't even control defensless Iraq and protect yourselves from a humanitarian disaster created by a hurricane (read: Katrina). Picking fights with everyone in your path, but somehow it's the rest of the world that's crazy. Americans are the sane ones.
Ok guys, sure. Just remember that when the people in white come to give you a free jacket and take you to the "safe place," they're your friends.

It's no wonder that those who point out reasonable (yet terrifying) observations about the current situation are ignored or silenced (where is that snooze button!). Sadly, those of us who care about the world we leave (or don't leave) our children and grandchildren are pushed off to that tiny section of the consciousness that is overpowered by the part that wants, or needs, to stay in the dream. Who wants to wake up to a reality like this? Instead we can lose ourselves in this dream (with scrubs, and seinfeld, friends, and desparate housewives) and just assume that everything is ok: if the (fictional) characters on these tv shows can go around all day without a care in the world about a bleak future, then surely we can as well! Besides, those who "society" (based on music contracts, tv, magasines like Cosmo) tell us we should idolise keep getting younger, so perhaps those of us over the age of 20 who aren't famous millionares have outlived our opportunities anyway, so why should we fear a catastrophic end. Perhaps we should just embrace it, maybe that truly is the culmination of the dream, of the american ideal. Why worry about any of this when the powers that be have provided us with so many distractions to keep our minds from contemplating anything that could be dangerous to the status quo.

Just go back to sleep America. Stay in your dreams, ignore the alarm.

4 comments:

misneach said...

And there are forces at work ensuring that americans don't get anything even remotely akin to a good morning nudge that might disturb them from their ill-fated reverrie:
New Guantanamo Movie Advertisements Censored.

Nadia said...

Excellent post!!! I love the way you lead one thru your post. It is so perfectly well written of a terrifying reality that is so true today.

By the way I had no idea that GE owed these news agencies. Can you please tell what more then the ones you mentioned?

What you wrote makes perfect sense. Why would these news agenesis ever report anything that would make GE loose contracts worth of million of dollars.

Misneach, thanks for a great post!

misneach said...

GE owns NBC and other NBC-affiliates (MSNBC is a joint venture between NBC News and Microsoft) such as CNBC, Court TV, Bravo, etc.

CBS news (another of the 3 main networks in the U.S.) is part of the ownership structure of a company called Viacom (both are owned by Sumner Redstone, wealthy American businessman) which also has interests in Nuclear energy (uranium enrichment!) including many of the Westinghouse brands and a large quantity of other diverse businesses. Some of the other media venues owned by CBS/Viacom include Paramount Pictures, Spelling Television, MTV, VH-1, BET, Comedy Central, Simon and Schuster Publishing (Tom Clancy, Stephen King), Dreamworks (Stephen Spielberg), and a record label called Famous Music.

ABC news (the other of the 3 major networks) is wholly owned by the Walt Disney Company (CEO: Robert Iger). Some of their holdings include 3 major record labels, Touchstone Pictures, Miramax, a book publishing house, etc. A major percentage of shares of the Disney Company is owned by Sid R. Bass, who is in the Oil and Gas investment business.

The other 2 sources of news (or "news") in television media (the biggest source for americans) are CNN and Fox News. I personally don't consider Fox News to actually be NEWS, since only about 10% of what they broadcast is Fact (90% is speculation or spin... for me a news network has to be at least 60% news to be listed as News), but it's usually counted anyway.

CNN and it's affiliated networks are owned by AOL Time Warner, which also owns Time Magazine (and other affiliated magazines like Sports Illustrated and People: Time Warner magasines have a circulation of over 130 Million), HBO, etc. AOL Time Warner is also the largest provider of Internet access in America. As of the year 2000 AOL Time Warner was the 4th largest corporation (with, again, diverse media holdings) in America.

"Fox News" is the worst of the bunch when it comes to actual news reporting. It is owned by Rupert Murdoch (whom you may have heard of), who also owns the Reuters news wire, and is the Chairman of Altria (Phillip Morris! Yup, the cigarette company!). Mr. Murdoch s is an extremely wealthy and EXTREMELY conservative individual, who also owns a HUGE number of other different businesses, including in Oil and Gas (which Iraq has alot of, as you know). He has haslo donated countless millions of dollars to the election campaigns of prominent republicans.

Nadia, thank you so much for your kind words, your compliment is greatly appreciated.

:-)

misneach said...

If anyone sees any inaccurate or out of date information on that comment, just let me know.

A good book on the subject of the media is Manufacturing Conscent, by Edward Herman and Noam Chomsky.