While the mayor of Mecca is bent on destroying the city’s cultural and material legacy, building the infrastructure for a city of the future, the residents of Senegal are fighting one another in the streets for potable water. In the meantime the folks in the Bay of Bengal are cleaning up what’s left after Tropical Cyclone Phailin, whose speeds were as fast as a Formula One race car, just as our friends in the US Midwest are still digging out from their early October surprise, while Canada is making plans to bury its nuclear wastes at the bottom of Lake Huron. Meanwhile, the universities in Greece are getting ready to close their doors, just as Obama and the brat pack are considering more ways to fuck-over the American people. Seems like the only safe haven is here in Siberia!
I no longer know what’s real and what’s propaganda. Of course, we now know that in America the ways and means of totalitarian control (C. Hedges) are through distraction and propaganda, i.e., marketing. Not that the world isn’t cooperating in this effort; it is! I mean even Mother Nature is getting in on the action. But the real tools of manipulation and control are spectacles, carried out by our media, our pundits, and our pitchmen – viz., politicians. And oh! How effective it is! Our imperious bosses have mastered the art of deception and sleight of hand, the art of the deal, the art of systematic distraction. You cannot boot-up your computer, open your smart phone, click on the car radio, or turn on the 72” flat-screen at home, without hearing and seeing the ongoing saga, the melodramatic displays that bind us to the narrative, and blind us to what is really happening out there or even in here. Even a typhoon, a cyclone, a Syrian revolution, a debt crisis, and an Iranian olive branch, all are presented as high melodrama, the events themselves shaped by the media stories about them. Never are we allowed to see the man behind the curtain, never to understand what is really transpiring in the world around us… We never are given to understand the roots of such crises or events; we simply look out onto the screens of our life, as through a glass darkly. We are amused and bemused, entertained and detained by the passing menagerie, like the floats in a Macy’s Day parade.
We view life as a series of scenes, screenplays, just like our reality TV shows have taught us, not as lived events; everything is an extension of the dramatic art; life imitates… life! It is all spectacle. If the cameras are rolling, then its show time as usual. Our attention and our concern, reduced to somnambulistic watching of the chaos, as remotely as alien observers, assuming that we play no part, no role in this drama, and that our actions and lifestyles have done nothing to engender or foment these events, that the world turns as we passively and perversely look on like voyeurs. We sleep walk through our daily lives, as the masters of the universe continue to prepare the movie sets, people the anchor desks, relocate the journalists, prepare the cameras, the ready the makeup artists, and rearrange the deck chairs. Lights! Camera! Action!
Like Dorothy, some of us are curious and really want to find our way back home; but the men pulling the levers are doing their damnedest to keep us in the dark, to deny and obfuscate what is increasingly obvious, so again, we only see, as through a glass darkly. The terms of the agreement have been laid out in detail. We will poorly train you (for money), barely feed and house you (for your labor), entertain you (for your obedience), and protect you (with the blood of your sons and daughters). But whatever you do… DON’T question our authority, our judgment, or our motives… for we know better. Thus Spake the hegemony; thus speak our politicians and their corporate sponsors. And so the distraction machine ratchets up… FOX, CNN, CNBC, NPR, HuffPost, Al Jazeera, your local news network affiliates, their gazettes, journals and radio stations, Madison Avenue, Wall Street, Hollywood, Silicon Valley, and Bentonville Arkansas! The control and brain washing is, literally, MIND NUMBING!!!
It’s all about consumer choice they tell us… give the folks what they want; better yet, tell them what they want… pinker salmon, redder tomatoes, bigger tits, faster cars, more security… ok, we’ve got it. Just leave everything to us, and sit down and shut up. And the new Russians are lining up just like us, just like we did, their old enemy back West; and they love the spectacle, especially prancing around in all their new finery.
“Welcome back my friends, to the show that never ends… We’re so glad you could attend, come inside, come inside. There behind the glass lies a real blade of grass.” (ELP)… It is the one and only global Curriculum of the West. But end it must, and certainly it will. Watch for it soon… on your local evening newscast, delivered by your very friendly and sexy anchorwoman. See you there, through the glass. Darkly!