By Jason Miller
31 October, 2006
“'But I don’t
want to go among mad people,' Alice remarked.
'Oh, you can’t
help that,' said the Cat. 'We’re all mad here. I’m mad.
'How do you know I’m
mad?' said Alice.
'You must be,”
said the Cat. 'or you wouldn’t have come here.'”
to a masochistic impulse last Sunday, I opened the Op-Ed section of
my local paper, The Kansas City Star. Throwing caution to the wind,
I plunged headlong into the mind-engulfing thicket of sophistry. Running
for my intellectual life, I felt the collective breath of the ravening
wolves thirsting to rip the jugular vein coursing with the life-blood
of my capacity for independent thought. Driven by an insatiable hunger
to devour the cognitions of those who strayed from the herd, the voracious
pack pursued me with a vengeance. Yet today I was moving with the agility
of Brer Rabbit navigating the Briar Patch. Powered by critical thinking
and a fierce determination to maintain my noetic integrity, I evaded
the ferocious canines’ furious bid to sink their razor-like fangs
into the succulent gray matter they craved. Emerging from the tortuous
copse, my psyche was bloodied but intact. And more importantly, it remained
Consider that The Kansas
City Star, a paper that “serves” a metropolitan population
of 1.9 million, is but one of 29 publications owned by The McClatchy
Company, a corporate entity that raked in a net of $160.5 million in
2005(1). With McClatchy backing them and a daily subscription of 270,000
people, the Star can afford to publish the scribblings of the best propagandists
money can buy. And they desperately need them.
Burdened with a task as daunting
as the Twelve Labors of Heracles, the mainstream media strive with a
fury to satisfy their demanding corporate paymasters. Yet unlike Heracles,
they can’t luxuriate in the knowledge that quiescence awaits.
For theirs is a Sisyphean challenge. Truth, the eternal and immutable
one, anxiously anticipates the moment his would-be assassins crest the
summit where he is poised to hurl them violently back to the base of
the hill. Powerless to prevent their relentless prevarication, Old Man
Verity delights at the opportunity to condemn them to perpetual toil.
Ostensibly fragmented and
autonomous, the MSM duplicitously peddle their perversions of reality
in a seemingly cacophonous din of independent truth-seekers. Yet how
could such an incestuously entangled group of entities owned by a handful
of leviathan corporations possibly adhere to a spirit of integrity?
Acting in unison to protect the interests of opulent shareholders and
maleficent politicians, print, radio, and television media embody the
Ministry of Truth Orwell envisioned.
Thomas Carlyle once commented:
“Burke said that there
were Three Estates in Parliament; but, in the Reporters' Gallery yonder,
there sat a Fourth Estate, more important far than they all.”
Wallowing in a fetid sewer
of avarice, speciousness, sensationalism, and pornography, Carlyle’s
Reporters’ Gallery has all but abandoned its crucial role. The
Fourth Estate has evolved from a fierce watchdog of the public interest
into a massive swarm of winged vectors infecting the body politic with
the parasitic disease of fascism.
While Rush Limbaugh and his
ilk ply their craft with obvious glee, others providing grist for the
propaganda mill apologize and plead the “mortgage and family”
defense. Those who defy the corporatocracy by employing journalistic
integrity often find themselves relegated to obscure roles or wrangling
with government bureaucracy over meager unemployment benefits. Bearing
the “fools license” of medieval court jesters, a precious
few mainstream journalists reach the pinnacles of their profession despite
their honesty. Their satirical styles of presentation save them from
the axes of the censors and “down-sizers”.
Like eager equestrians breaking
green horses, the mass media endeavor to provide the pecunious stratum
of society with obedient beasts of burden. Conditioning begins at our
earliest moments of cognition. With the ubiquity of TV, radio, newspapers,
and billboards, steady barrages of thought manipulation continue throughout
Mere extensions of the exploitative
perversion of Capitalism which has emerged as a means of imposing economic
tyranny in our constitutional republic, the glorified spin doctors of
the MSM act as priests shepherding their flock. Espousing a doctrine
promoting the Seven Deadly Sins, the prelates of the mainstream media
have replaced the spiritual progress of their steadfast adherents with
a moral regression that leaves Satan green with envy.
Banishing human reason and
compassion to distant exile, the media barons and their minions perpetuate
a chronic state of group psychosis. Reality and morality? Who can be
bothered with such trivial matters when Playboy Spice Platinum is on
the 60 inch flat-screen, frosty bottles of Coors are in the fridge,
the NFL has its own network, and we have enough military fire-power
to obliterate the Milky Way Galaxy. And the likes of Fox, CBS, and Time
Magazine are there to quash those nasty occasional doubts and quickly
restore our shining vision of America the Beautiful.
While the corporate media
entities manipulate consumers, exercise a virtual monopoly on the flow
of information, rewrite history to suit political agendas, unduly influence
the outcome of elections, and perform a myriad of other tasks to advance
the interests of those in power, the holographic image of the United
States as a benevolent beacon of democracy they work so tirelessly to
etch into people’s minds is beginning to fade.
However, that represents
no crisis to them. They simply flood our minds with more of the narcotic-like
ideas and images they dispense to mask the pain from the festering wounds
on our agonized souls. Undaunted, they continue to merrily guide us
down the well-trodden path to the Inferno.
Nimbly disabling the mind
and conscience, corporate-supported propaganda shock troops have enticed
and manipulated untold millions of people to embrace severely distorted
realities and spiritually vacuous lives.
Consider our nation’s
repeated and egregious perpetrations of the Seven Deadly Sins and our
information tsars’ complicity as instigators, enablers, and participants:
Pornification is rampant in our culture. Television, movies, catalogues,
and nearly every form of media imaginable are teeming with salacious
photos of women wearing little or no clothing. Waves of new pornographic
print publications and Websites leave Larry Flynt’s Hustler Magazine
looking almost puritanical. Sexual taboos are on a path to extinction.
Inducing ravenous appetites for carnal pleasure, the mass media have
tapped into major veins of pathological obsession and the exploitation
of women and children. Yet they don’t care. Because sex does indeed
sell. It sells so well that Dante’s vision of spiritual cleansing
by the flesh-searing flames of a raging conflagration doesn’t
even give them pause.
Imagine that the United States is a hog amongst a herd of swine that
represents the world population. And that the world’s resources
are their slop. America would be one of twenty pigs. Yet come feeding
time, the US porker would leave only three fourths of the pig swill
for the remaining 19 squealers to share. More than 850 million people
around the globe face starvation (2). 33% of US Americans are obese
or overweight (3). Like Tantalus, the gluttons in Dante’s Purgatorio
spend eternity yearning for food that is in sight but just out of their
Avarice is the black heart of rapacious capitalism and corporatism in
the United States. Enron, Halliburton, Lee Raymond, Big Oil, Big Tobacco,
Tyco, Bernard Ebbers, 33% of the wealth concentrated into the hands
of 1% of the population (4)…examples of obscenely acquisitive
entities and individuals are nearly infinite.
SLOTH (ACEDIA): Sloth
is perhaps best exemplified by the shocking indifference many US Americans
show toward the innocent victims of their pitiless war machine. The
United States’ economic and military juggernaut has been waging
genocide against Iraqis since the Gulf War. So naturally, instead of
focusing on culpability, remorse, or demands to end the state-inflicted
murder of millions, our high priests of the temple of information fuel
a debate over how much (or how little) “collateral damage”
has been caused by US military aggression. Sloth also entails avoiding
spiritual work. In a society of people indoctrinated to worship wealth,
physical beauty, quick fixes, themselves, and immediate gratification,
there is not much danger of over-exertion to reach self-actualization.
Throughout much of its relatively brief existence the United States
has inflicted misery upon billions around the globe through intervening
militarily and wielding its economic power like a mighty cudgel. When
the oppressed finally realized they could resist by employing asymmetric
warfare, those crafting Goodthink whipped the multitude into a fury.
Directing US Americans’ wrath against Islam enabled the Bush Regime
to invade and occupy two geopolitically strategic nations. And the millions
of dead or suffering human beings in Afghanistan and Iraq were and are
the illegitimate targets of the vengeance and unwarranted rage of wrath.
The moneyed elite in the United States have long coveted their neighbors’
land, resources, and cheap labor forces. Eager to invade, annex, and
exploit, the plutocracy began to disseminate the warped notion of Manifest
Destiny in the Nineteenth Century. Purporting to have the unwavering
support of the Almighty, the “superior” Anglo-Saxons rationalized
slavery, the Native American Genocide, the conquest of half of Mexico,
the annexation of Hawaii, and their eradication of over 300,000 “savages”
in conquering the Philippines. With its vast and sophisticated media
network at its beck and call, those monopolizing power in the United
States continue to cull popular support for obtaining the objects of
their envy. Complex obfuscations and demagoguery may sell their agenda
to today’s more sophisticated audiences, but the underlying goals
and results have changed little. The power elite want what others have
and employ whatever means are necessary to get what they want.
Considered by many to be the most grievous of the Seven Deadly Sins,
pride was the impetus for Lucifer’s fall. Before their umbilical
cord is even severed those born as citizens of the American Empire begin
receiving a barrage of assurances from the media matrix that theirs
is an exceptionally superior nation. Brimming with hubris and a pathological
nationalism, those who have internalized the Big Lie wave their blood-drenched
flags in open support of fire bombings, nuclear assaults, the installation
and support of ruthless dictators, neocolonialism, and brutal invasions
of tiny and vulnerable nations. Enmeshed in the protective cocoon of
the Empire, we are imbued with the warped psychological capacity to
pursue our narcissistic fantasies while callously disregarding the misery
we are inflicting upon other human beings. Many US Americans regard
hubris and narcissism as their natural rights. And they exercise these
“rights” with the zeal of a jonesing crack addict hustling
for their next fix.
To paraphrase Bon Scott,
Angus Young, and Malcolm Young: We’re going down. All the way
down. We’re on the Highway to Hell.
So revel in the mass delusions,
suck the marrow that the wretched may gnaw upon the bones, and excise
And for God’s sake,
savor each second of the ride….Because Hell awaits, America.…
Jason Miller is a wage slave of the American Empire
who has freed himself intellectually and spiritually. He writes prolifically,
his essays have appeared widely on the Internet, and he volunteers at
a homeless shelter. He welcomes constructive correspondence at email@example.com
or via his blog, Thomas Paine's Corner, at http://civillibertarian.blogspot.com/.
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