Friday, March 27, 2009

Political Despair

Everything that I seem to have to consume has been completely constructed for me. That just fills me with… despair. I have always thought that democracy was the best way to run our government. But from the looks of things, it is simply the worst. Huge multi-national corporations are now so large that they have the political and economic muscle to pass any legislation that they feel is in their interests, even if it is not in the good of the public. I have always thought that our legislative representatives were corrupt, but I could do something about it. I could run for office, or at least, campaign for someone who had some decency. But now I know that I don’t have enough money to do a damn thing!

Rather than listening to consumers, like years ago, corporations now only give us a single voice to listen to. They censor everything that we hear or see all in the name of capitalism. It is so disheartening.

I feel like I’m stuck in Plato’s allegory of the cave. All I ever see are the shadows on the wall. The media is the fire and the corporations chose what objects we see. I just can’t imagine what the world outside of the cave would look like. Is it a world where the acquisition of wealth is no longer the driving force in our lives? Is it a world where those we chose to represent us look out for the public good, and not their wallets? Or does this world even exist?

There are two things you have to do to keep a civilization from an overthrow. First, create a disaster that requires something that you have to resolve the problem. Preferably something that is scarce. Next, while giving the people the solution, blame someone the whole civilization is afraid of. In a panic of fear, people give up rights in order to become safe again.

Congress lied to us and took our rights after September 11th 2001. People believe there is nothing that they can do about it. In the last midterm election less than twenty percent even voted. Political efficacy is at the lowest point that it has ever been at in America. The people are so in debt that they can’t even begin to see the sun, which only adds to the despair that the public feels.

And in America, people don’t react the same way to abuse of power by lawmakers and public officials. In France there was a riot when government officials tried to get rid of a social program that gave people without much money the option for cheap housing. There was a riot. If this happened in American, we wouldn’t even notice… Americans don’t have the will to fight the corporations of the world.

We don’t have the economic muscle to defeat the power of the corporations. We, as Americans, are supposed to have the most economic freedom in the world, but when corporations tell us what to buy and we don’t have another option. How free is that?

I feel so much political despair…

Friday, March 20, 2009


With all of the talking about conglomeration within media, I just keep thinking about anti-trust laws. Anti-trust laws prohibit groups from forming large scale monopolies. In 2001 Microsoft was accused of violating anti-trust laws when they started packaging the product “internet explorer” with the Microsoft office bundle for free.

Anti-trust laws are meant to protect consumers from price fixing and price gouging. But with media, the protection is different. Anti-trust laws that are written for media protect consumers from self mitigated censorship. When one message is the only one that is heard, then it is the only one believed, is the idea behind pushing all media ownership.


Friday, March 6, 2009

Now Things Are Getting Scary

The whole time that we were talking about media control in class, I kept thinking about a television show called “Bullshit”. The show airs on Showtime network and is hosted by Penn and Teller (well more by Penn). In its second season the show tackled the important issue of censorship and profanity. The discussed at length the legal, societal, and personal sides of the issue. The show is very well researched, but I would only recommend it if you are ok with heavy use of the “F” word. There was a part where the FCC was discussed and quoted as saying something to the effect of: When they [the FCC] get the go-ahead from congress they intend to start regulating cable and pay TV. They don’t have the ability to do so now.

Right now the FCC only regulates what you can pick up with an antenna. So this means they have no say about what happens on cable, the internet, or subscription service TV. They only have the ability to regulate basic channels and radio.

This is the single most horrifying thing that I think I have ever heard. I still can’t get it out of my head. Thomas Jefferson once said, “A government big enough to give you everything you need, is big enough to take everything you have.”

Think about that!