Thursday, May 12, 2005
What America Means To Me
Sun rising over
the mountain path---
scent of plums.
Everything is miraculous. It is a miracle that one doesn't melt in one's bath.
I learn every day of my life, learn it with pain I am grateful for: PATIENCE is everything.
---Rainer Maria Rilke
Remember when the American Legion or the Daughters of the American Revolution used to sponsor that essay contest for schoolkids? They probably still do, and maybe the prizes are the same---and the best behaved student in the class still cranks out that same essay...and even reads it to us at some compulsory assembly. I never tried to write one because, even as a kid, the topic seemed so huge I just couldn't get my head around it.
Tuesday night, teacher and writer William Rivers Pitt unloaded bigtime at a meeting up in Cambridge. If you get your news online since 9/11, you've heard of Mr. Pitt...no matter if you're liberal or conservative. He used to write for Online Journal and now keeps us hopping once a day, it seems, at Truthout. He's also written a couple of books about Iraq and the great silence of the American people---which void seems to be what America means today.
His topic Tuesday night was supposed to be corporate control of the formerly free press. But what happens if there's also corporate control of the White House and the other branches of our government, and all the media does is spin out their scenarios? I believe that all Americans know this has happened, and that a few generations have come along, since Reagan, who don't know the United States can be any other way than the storybook we're living in now.
Many people I know, including managers and administrators, no longer pay any attention to the "news" or even elections anymore at all. I really don't know by what Hope they live, except whatever patch of ground they can carve out to call their own---and the next memo from a supervisor. I understand the dilemma of a money-manufactured reality (instead of Freedom) and their silence, but I cannot live that way. It's not what America means to me. Here's a taste of what William Rivers Pitt had to say the other night...and the link to the rest of the talk~~~
"For me, that's it in a nutshell. That's what ails us as a nation. The corporate media does not report the news anymore. They create consensus, they manufacture the common fictions under which we are expected to live. With the TV media, this behavior is all the more insidious because TV reaches everyone.
"Television is the most extraordinarily effective tool of mass control that has ever been invented by anyone anywhere.
"If this MSNBC producer (mentioned earlier) is an appropriate example - and I think she is, because she was asking me to basically be yet another Bush administration mouthpiece - the fictions they create do not merely soothe and placate the populace. They kill. They kill in large numbers, and a few people (who coincidentally own large chunks of the corporate news media) get paid handsomely for that killing.
"The print media is not in any way immune to this. Their disinformation does not have the reach of television news, simply because nobody reads anymore, but it is there all the same. My most recent brain cramp actually came up this morning, and has to do with the venerable New York Times. It was the Times that allowed the Bush talking-point about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq to be broadbanded across the media spectrum.
" Times reporter Judy Miller hunkered with convicted embezzler and alleged Iranian spy Ahmad Chalabi, and reported on the pages of the Times that Iraq was absolutely covered with weapons of mass destruction. This helped Chalabi, you see, because he had been chosen by the Bush folks to run Iraq after the war. So far, he has only gotten to be the Oil Minister...yes, the embezzler is now the Oil Minister, but that's a whole different mess.
"The point is that like it or lump it, the Times is the flagship of American journalism. If they say it, it must be true, and so when Miller reported that Iraq was covered with weapons, it became axiomatic. Then the TV outlets felt safe in saying it, and we were off to the races.
"Well, my brain cramp today came when I read the Times' response to the fallout from this situation. They were duped by a Bush administration lackey, the published gross fabrications, they empowered the war rhetoric...and in response to criticism, they have decided to move their perspective farther to the right. Yes, you heard me, and welcome to my brain cramp.
"The frustration I feel personally knowing that I and everyone else are being deliberately deceived and misdirected is topped by only one thing: The rage, horror and sorrow I feel when I finally do manage to carve through the crap and get to the truth. Because the truth, friends and neighbors, is so much worse than you can possibly imagine."