The Media and Political Shell Games Bamboozle the Citizenry

The goal is to wither our imagination

created Jul 16, 2019

Excerpts from my January 2008 post where I referenced a line from the book/movie Fight Club to explain political scheming at all levels of government.

Government sleight of hand. Distract and confound the public with the all-singing, all-dancing crap of the world so no one notices what government is really doing. Brilliant.

Chuck Palahniuk wrote Fight Club. I have read several of his books.

From my November 2003 post where I excerpted from another Palahniuk book.

Gore's remarks about too much TV possibly causing passivity and wondering what it means to democracy reminded me of chapter 3 in the novel Lullaby by Chuck Palahniuk who also wrote Fight Club.

Old George Orwell got it backward.

Big Brother isn't watching. He's singing and dancing. He's pulling rabbits out of a hat. Big Brother's busy holding your attention every moment you're awake. He's making sure you're always distracted. He's making sure you're fully absorbed.

He's making sure your imagination withers. Until it's as useful as your appendix. He's making sure your attention is always filled.

And this being fed, it's worse than being watched. With the world always filling you, no one has to worry about what's in your mind. With everyone's imagination atrophied, no one will ever be a threat to the world.

That sounds like "our" addiction to social media and streaming TV, since 2010. Lullaby was published in 2002.

Excerpts from my May 2008 post where I excerpted from a 1958 speech, given by Edwin R. Murrow who said:

Our history will be what we make it. And if there are any historians about fifty or a hundred years from now, and there should be preserved the kinescopes for one week of all three networks, they will there find recorded in black and white, or color, evidence of decadence, escapism and insulation from the realities of the world in which we live.

I am entirely persuaded that the American public is more reasonable, restrained and more mature than most of our industry's program planners believe. Their fear of controversy is not warranted by the evidence. I have reason to know, as do many of you, that when the evidence on a controversial subject is fairly and calmly presented, the public recognizes it for what it is--an effort to illuminate rather than to agitate.

Just once in a while let us exalt the importance of ideas and information. Let us dream to the extent of saying that on a given Sunday night the time normally occupied by Ed Sullivan is given over to a clinical survey of the state of American education, and a week or two later the time normally used by Steve Allen is devoted to a thoroughgoing study of American policy in the Middle East. Would the corporate image of their respective sponsors be damaged? Would the stockholders rise up in their wrath and complain? Would anything happen other than that a few million people would have received a little illumination on subjects that may well determine the future of this country, and therefore the future of the corporations?

To those who say people wouldn't look; they wouldn't be interested; they're too complacent, indifferent and insulated, I can only reply: There is, in one reporter's opinion, considerable evidence against that contention. But even if they are right, what have they got to lose? Because if they are right, and this instrument is good for nothing but to entertain, amuse and insulate, then the tube is flickering now and we will soon see that the whole struggle is lost.

This instrument can teach, it can illuminate; yes, and it can even inspire. But it can do so only to the extent that humans are determined to use it to those ends. Otherwise it is merely wires and lights in a box. There is a great and perhaps decisive battle to be fought against ignorance, intolerance and indifference. This weapon of television could be useful.

I don't watch TV for news, except for the occasional viewing of the Sky News channel on our Roku TV to see what's happening in England and in other parts of the world. We don't have cable/satellite TV.

I don't watch local TV news because it contains hardly any news. It's 60 seconds of local news packed into 30 minutes. Local TV news consists of weather, sports, entertainment, wire stories, and other fluff.

I use my own weather web app. I don't care about sports, except for the Cleveland Browns, and I don't need Toledo sports media for Browns info. The other time in a so-called local TV news program is useless filler.

I'm shocked at the studies that still show that a large percentage of Americans "get" their local news from TV. I consider TV news to be the worst method for obtaining information. TV news provides too little information for a topic. Reading text takes longer, but in my opinion, it's a better way to be informed.

TV news "journalists" seem more interested in being theatrical brands, instead of journalists informing the public for the benefit of society.

Do TV news "shows" hire journalists or actors? TV news leads to more sensationalism and hyperbole because of the combination of visual and audio.

But it has been a long time, since I have watched American TV news programs on a regular basis. Maybe things are different today. [eyeroll].