[Jake Berry's response to "Surrealistic Pillow: The West Virginia Mining Disaster" posted on Dissident Voice 1/7/06.]
Yet another vigilant and enlightened piece. I'm glad you brought up Ace In The Hole. I thought of it, too, when I saw the media descend upon the Sago mines. I couldn't remember the name of the movie, but it's a impossible film to forget because it so accurately depicts the excess of media as they transmute freedom of speech into freedom to exploit. And there was handsome Anderson Cooper, son of Gloria Vanderbilt, just like handsome Kirk Douglas, informing us of all the latest developments, speaking so emphatically that you can actually hear him draw a breath between sentences.
Democracy is in trouble indeed. The Abramoff turn suggests that there may yet be something to save and a way to save it, but its like stepping into a nest of vipers - will they wriggle away before the light hits them or will they bite you and inject you with the same poison that has saved them in the past? And there's the Bush spying scandal that was so deftly turned on its head to become a search for the guy who ratted him out - and the media followed. It is as you say. They do not report the news, they deliver sensation. They do not inform, they stimulate. I remarked to my wife a couple of weeks ago that the media seem to seek out the stories that will stimulate the fight or flight mechanism. You're either scared or angry - it doesn't matter to them. What they want is your attention. That's money to them, and money is the game.
It's always about resources. Too little or too much and how to resolve the excess or deficit. Either way, someone is bound to get hurt, usually at the business end of military weaponry.
We're close, very close, maybe eleven months close to the final test of democracy in America. Will people respond and use the vote to overturn the tables and send the thieves running, or will they be driven, by fear or anger, one last time into propping the status quo. If they choose the latter we will have to look elsewhere for any support for individual freedoms, civil liberties, or anything resembling a government of, by, and for the people.
How intoxicated are we? How long will the adrenal glands survive this continual manipulation before they collapse and take the body politic down with them? We shall see.
Ezra Pound, great poet, arrogant bigot and fool, was often wrong, but in his cantos he writes, "Fear God and the ignorance of the populace." As usual he was only half right. We have nothing to fear from God, regardless of the reality (or not) of his existence, but an ignorant populace is a dangerous animal - the most dangerous on the planet. As Jimmy wZ said, "Mass consciousness is dangerous."
We're dancing in the lion's jaws, brother (quoting Bruce Cockburn now), by the time of the next winter solstice we'll find out if there's anything left to save.
Jake Berry - Author of Brambu Drezi
[See Jake's blog: 9thstlab.blogspot.com]