"No revolution for us thanks, we’re watching TV…"

*****

The irony of what I am about to write is not lost on me, in fact, it fills me with a sense of glum inevitability, that the same system I am decrying is the same system I’m using to express myself. Yet, the medium does not have to be perfect to contain the words within. Most pro-union leaflets historically were printed on nothing better than parchment paper (I wouldn’t equate myself to any of the courageous souls who lost life and limb (literally) to secure a five day working week, or a minimum wage, but my point is still made).

****8

The greatest achievement of the consumerist culture, fathered largely by the American system of advertising, and then fed by mankind’s own insatiable appetite for simultaneous numbness, distraction and entertainment, is to convince the people that it stands for the people, by the people. On endless billboards and TV spots, magazine articles and radio broadcasts, it states that the products we buy will make us feel better about ourselves, and therefore draw people together. The truth is anything but that.

We are gouged and separated by our own desire for self-expression, not through character, morals, personal belief or ambition, but by what we purchase, what we watch, what we listen to, and importantly, what we don’t listen to. The principle of ‘divide and conquer’, used so effectively to occupy and control lands foreign to our own, is principally the reason that so little concern is expressed over the increasingly totalitarian policies of our ruling classes. This is because we are split apart into definable demographics, and kept separate by so-called ‘likes and dislikes’, the ‘haves and have-nots’, or more dangerously along lines such as race and culture. One may not date another person simply on what kind of music they listen to as easily as they feel threatened by someone of another race. If we are kept pulled apart in this fashion, the strongest tools for change, community and solidarity, are ineffective. Those in power stay in power, the decisions they pass down are accepted and absorbed, we will accept anything as long as the lifestyles to which we have become accustomed to are maintained.

One strong example is ‘Social’ Networking. Sites such as MySpace and Facebook, as well as countless others, help promote the idea that having 500 friends will bring us closer together. Instead it insulates us by continually leeching our social energies into diluted contact with people we barely care about, let alone understand.

The primary communication tool of these mediums is the written word. Yet, the finest writers of history complain of the clumsy construct that is the English language in disseminating ideas, and still people who will barely pass rudimentary language studies are using it to communicate sensitive emotions, and wonder why they are rarely understood.

These networking sites keep us in our homes, experiencing human contact through a pre-structured application, the limits of which are, well, limited. Sure, forums are provided, but what is spoken about? Bulletins are posted, but what is actually said? Little of consequence. A smiley face expresses happiness. ‘LOL’ never means that. A ‘wink’ smiley means naughty amusement or just kidding. The potential vibrancy of human interaction, in all its forms, has been reduced for many to a two character key press.

We cannot draw together as a race to fight oppression, combat injustice, or at the very least come to understand cultures, faiths, opinions and each other as long as we are isolated and kept apart. Depressingly, the systems used to do just that are getting ever so much more alluring and effective.

What does it say when as a race we are more connected to each other than at any other point in history, and yet we feel so without real, substantial contact? I would say that the purpose of networking, as one example, is not to connect, but to keep us bolted to our chairs. Surely, the atrocities of just this recent government would have us out of our seats and into the streets, fists pumping as we march on those that have stolen so much from us?

No.

Because it’s simply more fascinating to watch the latest movie trailer.

“Turn it up.
Listen to the shit they pump into your head.
Filling you with apathy.
Hold your breath.
Wait until you know the time is right on time.
The end is near.”
-Nine Inch Nails

7 thoughts on “"No revolution for us thanks, we’re watching TV…"

  1. Steve says:

    I agree with you, but we are the land of Hollywood and the world music industry. So, of course the saturation rate will be high in America. It is one of the staples of the American economy (one of the few things we still export). There have been bad things done by the U.S. government, but that is the price for being on top of the ant hill. Everybody hates us, but everyone wants to be us. The U.S. is also the largest contributor of foreign aid to the world and many governments are kept afloat by our contributions, like North Korea and other countries that hate our guts. We are trying to give aid to the military junta in Myanmar (Burma) but, they are stealing the food from the people that need it, and simply don’t care how many die. That is the fewer people they need to control with Orwellian tactics. I also believe that America would have stayed an isolationist republic if it were not for Germany. We would not be a superpower if it were not for WW I & WW II. We were forced on the world stage because of problems in Europe, and we decided we liked it on top. Especially since the Germans were attacking someone every 20 years. It would be easier to dominate instead of cleaning up someone else’s mess every twenty years. That is all I have time for now, peace!

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  2. Shem says:

    I agree with some of what you’re saying, that many countries have benefited from our prosperity, but then we have equally benefited from exploiting them repeatedly over the years. World War II thrust the U.S. onto the world stage, made them powerful (awoke the ‘sleeping giant’) but then with that power we have been anything but responsible. I don’t think everyone hates us, and I don’t think everyone wants to be us. I think success and wealth are always envied, but many nations are doing very well and don’t need us. Our financial policies are helping ruin other economies however (the Gold Standard comes to mind), so resentment isn’t just based on envy, but these days more so on our aggressive foreign policies and exploitive ‘free-trade’ agreements. I know I’m covering a lot there, but I wanted to sum up a lot of points very quickly.

    Aside from that, my attack on the advertising system is not so much an attack on America, although the system is a unarguably a creation of the American culture, but the lack of values in the advertising industry, a deficiency which stretches across the whole world.

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  3. Steve says:

    I do believe that the advertisement industry is souless, and we are being overrun with ads about this and that. The main problem is that it actually works. It is true that America exploits many, in fact many Americans are exploited themselves. That is the nature of the beast. The Greeks exploited other Greeks. The Persians exploited the fertile crescent. The Romans exploited the known world. Europeans exploited Africa. The Spaniards exploited Latin America. The sun never set on the British Empire. The Japanese exploited Asia. Germany exploited Europe. Russia exploited the Eastern Hemisphere. This is not a new game, there are just different rules. America was once exploited by France, England and Spain. As the song goes,”The wheels on the bus go ’round and ’round.” I believe that it is an endless cycle. Millenarian and Utopian dreams will never solve the world’s problems.

    Everyone is dependant on everyones economy. The U.S. did have a ‘gold standard’ which was money actually backed by precious metals. We went off the gold standard and made our markets global to make sure that if there was a nuclear war, everyones economy was disolved. That is why the predatory home loans in America are affecting Asian and European markets and the internet “bubble burst” hurt the world. The few countries in the world that don’t play the game are places like Myanmar. We can see how that has worked for them. ‘Free Trade’ agreements are anything but free. NAFTA has been the worst thing for the American worker since the decline of labor unions. American factories could not afford the wages paid to American workers since they were now competing with markets where there are no saftey, health or wage standards. That is why there are many “Machiadoras” on the border with Mexico. They can pay them dirt, but it is still better than most of the wages in their country, then ship them back to the U.S. for sale. That is why the I.T. jobs go to India and Indonesia (they thought they were safe), and only the service industry jobs will be left in the near future. Talk to you later!

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  4. Steve says:

    I think the U.S. is always seen as irresponsible because they are the very ones taking responsibility. They stood up to the Communist dictators and created a nuclear stock pile to compete with the Russians. The Russians had to spend so much money they went bankrupt. NATO & the UN “leaders” only send ‘strongly worded’ letters to dictators and juntas which get thrown in the trash. The price of winning the Cold War is inheriting the world’s problems. If the U.S. would have stayed an agrarian isolationist Republic, the third world would be even worse off then they already are. We could have been like Iceland and had a very small military and worried about domestic issues. Iceland has wonderful schools and roads, but the political clout of Liechtenstein. Iceland does not have to have a military since everyone else is paying to protecting them. Also, a NATO force is usually a Norwegian captain, a French Colonel and 5,000 American soldiers. I would argue that the U.S. is too responsible.

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  5. Shem says:

    It was largely U.S. rhetoric that caused the build of nuclear arms in the cold war. Most of what we know about Russian expasionism during that time is based off American propaganda and is therefore innacurate. America has more nuclear weapons than any of the other nations put together and has absolutely no need for them. it does however keep a great many greedy defense contractors in business.

    There’s no evidence to prove that Third World would be worse off without us, one factor that has caused problems is how the U.S. continues to ship arms to both sides of many of the conflicts there, or at least tolerating arms dealers to continue their trade. Without that, it would make Africa much more a united series of countries, something that the U.S. does not want as then in can’t send it’s corporations to extort the local populaces for resources e.g. Shell in Nigeria etc. America preaches world peace and then proceeds to sell munitions to those dictators that cause genocide and wars. It’s politicians are a joke and its rhetoric hypocritical.

    Many NATO forces comprise of multiple nations, and I think you seriously understate both England, Germany and many other European nations participation in peace keeping operations. America is not ‘responsible’, it’s sole aim is to achieve a global hegemony. It has rarely if ever placed a boot in a nation unless it thinks that later on it can achieve some kind of political leverage there for economic ends. The American system is not the only system that works, and America will not remain a superpower for long, it will fail because of its arrogance and it’s short sighted foreign policies, evidence of which is occuring now.

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  6. Steve says:

    So, the Russians were sitting in Moscow, drinking vodka, and not plotting world domination? They were peacefully rebuilding European cities with no mind to the west? 1945-Yalta- Stalin “promises” to hold fair and free elections in Poland (guess how that turned out). 1946-Churchill’s “Iron Curtain across continent” speech. 1947-Truman Doctrine to help stop spreading communism in Turkey and Greece (the birthplace of Democracy). 1947-Marshall Plan $13 Billion of U.S. taxpayer’s money (with a B) to rebuild Western Europe from 1948 to 1952 (“Those Imperialist Bastards!”). 1948-Berlin Airlift to help the people of Allied controlled Berlin survive because of Russian blockade. 1949-Sino-Soviet Treaty of Mutual Assistance with Communist China and Russia with plans to dominate Asia. 1950-Communist North Korea “invades” South Korea, not the other way around (I know, I was stationed there). 1961-Berlin Wall-Why would the peace loving, non-threatening, non-propaganda producing Eastern Block make a wall to keep people in? I guess to keep them safe from the “Imperialist” American forces and their propaganda. Or, were we all lied to and the Berlin Wall was actually made by the Americans in East German uniforms? (My favorite)-1968-Prague Spring-Peaceful Warsaw Pact and Soviet forces send 650,000 troops to squash rebellion and kill thousands of protesters. 1987-INF treaty, 2,600 missiles decommissioned from Europe by the U.S. 1989-Berlin Wall falls. 1991-Soviet Union collapses.

    The U.S. did not invade North Korea. South Vietnam was a recognized nation since 1954, Viet Cong invaded south. 1959-Communist invasion of Cuba. Soviets invaded Afghanistan. Communist Vietnamese forces invaded Cambodia and Laos. China invaded Tibet and has an awesome human rights record. Is this all “inaccurate American propaganda” or did I read different history books? I don’t believe it was “rhetoric” that forced an end to the Cold War. We built so many missiles to out spend the Russians, like I said before, to make them the ‘hollow-man’ that they became. Would it be a better world with the oppressive Soviet Union? Do you seriously think they were better than the U.S. as far as individual freedoms and government goes?

    What two opposing groups are we sending aid to? Unless you are counting past deals made with non-existing past governments in the present context. From 2000-2006 the U.S. sold $45 Million in arms and a close second was Russia who sold $41 Million in arms. A majority of the U.S. arms sales are military/tactical aircraft and spare parts, not small arms (Blackhawks to Colombia and F-16s to Israel). Russia sells mainly small arms. That is why you see every “freedom fighter” in the world with an AK-47 and not an M-16. The Rwandans killed each other with local machetes. Janjaweed has bolt action rifles, and Bosnians had Warsaw Pact weapons.

    Africa was split up by the Europeans in Berlin in 1885. If America is getting anything out of Africa, it is a surprise since it was continually raped by the British, Germans, Belgians, Spaniards, and Portuguese for centuries before America showed up(like I said before, we were forced on top of the heap and have to clean up the messes of the “Old Countries”). What African country was invaded and kept as a colony by the U.S.? America gives out $100-$120 Billion in foreign aid a year and a majority (11%) goes to Sub-Saharan Africa, i.e. AIDS tests, food, shoes, clothes, cooking oil, clean water, education. Nobody else gives that much. Not to mention the Billions of Dollars the U.S. invests in the Third World, so I would say that is evidence. That is why most manufacturing jobs are going overseas (supplied by American companies). The African Union cannot even make decisions on Darfur, let alone get rid of their artificial borders made by Europeans (but I guess that is the fault of the U.S.). If U.S. politicians are a joke, then what does that say about the rest of the world? They must be mentally incapacitated. I do underestimate Europe’s contributions because if you look at any U.N. or NATO force, they are in the low percentages and in areas where there is little or no fighting. They do not want responsibility so they cannot be blamed. I did not pick those numbers and officers out of a hat, that is what was seriously at my base on the DMZ in South Korea in 1999(UN controlled). What has the UN done for Darfur or Rwanda? Are we giving aid to Myanmar for economics? Nothing is permanent. Rome burned and they thought they would last forever. Although, we are far from being the worst.

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  7. Steve says:

    So, the Russians were sitting in Moscow, drinking vodka, and not plotting world domination? They were peacefully rebuilding European cities with no mind to the west? 1945-Yalta- Stalin “promises” to hold fair and free elections in Poland (guess how that turned out). 1946-Churchill’s “Iron Curtain across continent” speech. 1947-Truman Doctrine to help stop spreading communism in Turkey and Greece (the birthplace of Democracy). 1947-Marshall Plan $13 Billion of U.S. taxpayer’s money (with a B) to rebuild Western Europe from 1948 to 1952 (“Those Imperialist Bastards!”). 1948-Berlin Airlift to help the people of Allied controlled Berlin survive because of Russian blockade. 1949-Sino-Soviet Treaty of Mutual Assistance with Communist China and Russia with plans to dominate Asia. 1950-Communist North Korea “invades” South Korea, not the other way around (I know, I was stationed there). 1961-Berlin Wall-Why would the peace loving, non-threatening, non-propaganda producing Eastern Block make a wall to keep people in? I guess to keep them safe from the “Imperialist” American forces and their propaganda. Or, were we all lied to and the Berlin Wall was actually made by the Americans in East German uniforms? (My favorite)-1968-Prague Spring-Peaceful Warsaw Pact and Soviet forces send 650,000 troops to squash rebellion and kill thousands of protesters. 1987-INF treaty, 2,600 missiles decommissioned from Europe by the U.S. 1989-Berlin Wall falls. 1991-Soviet Union collapses.

    The U.S. did not invade North Korea. South Vietnam was a recognized nation since 1954, Viet Cong invaded south. 1959-Communist invasion of Cuba. Soviets invaded Afghanistan. Communist Vietnamese forces invaded Cambodia and Laos. China invaded Tibet and has an awesome human rights record. Is this all “inaccurate American propaganda” or did I read different history books? I don’t believe it was “rhetoric” that forced an end to the Cold War. We built so many missiles to out spend the Russians, like I said before, to make them the ‘hollow-man’ that they became. Would it be a better world with the oppressive Soviet Union? Do you seriously think they were better than the U.S. as far as individual freedoms and government goes?

    What two opposing groups are we sending aid to? Unless you are counting past deals made with non-existing past governments in the present context. From 2000-2006 the U.S. sold $45 Million in arms and a close second was Russia who sold $41 Million in arms. A majority of the U.S. arms sales are military/tactical aircraft and spare parts, not small arms (Blackhawks to Colombia and F-16s to Israel). Russia sells mainly small arms. That is why you see every “freedom fighter” in the world with an AK-47 and not an M-16. The Rwandans killed each other with local machetes. Janjaweed has bolt action rifles, and Bosnians had Warsaw Pact weapons.

    Africa was split up by the Europeans in Berlin in 1885. If America is getting anything out of Africa, it is a surprise since it was continually raped by the British, Germans, Belgians, Spaniards, and Portuguese for centuries before America showed up(like I said before, we were forced on top of the heap and have to clean up the messes of the “Old Countries”). What African country was invaded and kept as a colony by the U.S.? America gives out $100-$120 Billion in foreign aid a year and a majority (11%) goes to Sub-Saharan Africa, i.e. AIDS tests, food, shoes, clothes, cooking oil, clean water, education. Nobody else gives that much. Not to mention the Billions of Dollars the U.S. invests in the Third World, so I would say that is evidence. That is why most manufacturing jobs are going overseas (supplied by American companies). The African Union cannot even make decisions on Darfur, let alone get rid of their artificial borders made by Europeans (but I guess that is the fault of the U.S.). If U.S. politicians are a joke, then what does that say about the rest of the world? They must be mentally incapacitated. I do underestimate Europe’s contributions because if you look at any U.N. or NATO force, they are in the low percentages and in areas where there is little or no fighting. They do not want responsibility so they cannot be blamed. I did not pick those numbers and officers out of a hat, that is what was seriously at my base on the DMZ in South Korea in 1999(UN controlled). What has the UN done for Darfur or Rwanda? Are we giving aid to Myanmar for economics? Nothing is permanent. Rome burned and they thought they would last forever. Although, we are far from being the worst.

    Like

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