Monday, September 24, 2012

We Must Remember This... As Time Goes By -OR- Breaking The Cycle

I don't have eidetic memory, but I'm no etch-a-sketch head either. I'm a firm believer in memory. My 58 years are filled with all kinds of recollectables. Some are painful reminders of hard-lessons learned. Others are uplifting snippets of pure, unadulterated joy. Still others are abhorrence and abomination that I wish I could simply erase, but know that it's important to retain for future reference.

What I don't remember from times past is a period in which blunt-force ignorance was given prime-time, center-stage, center-ring to be validated; unchallenged, without any disclaimer whatsoever by LEGITIMATE broadcast journalism.
I remember local station "editorials" and the occasional "rebuttal". I remember Johnny Carson's "Floyd R. Turbo" crankily illustrating the wacky, borderline unhinged nature of our society's flip side. I remember Gilda Radner's send-ups over Soviet Jewlery. Ackroyd and Curtin's Point/Counterpoint. So I remember that their spoofs were loosely based on actual events. I also remember when this happened;

Now I like an unhinged free-for-all as much as anyone. I also like the challenge to absurdity to be strident. Notice how civility has to be put aside? How ad hominem is used, but also called out. See, our disagreements are nothing new.

Compare and contrast...

What the fuck is Georgie's function? Watch him as this exchange unfolds. Contemplatively stroking his chin, blankly accepting? Considering the after-show catering? Wondering if the curtains match the drapes? I smell an EMMY!!! This is great! I wonder if we can get her to come back next week for more of this fascinating banter...What?

The setup:
"You made some interesting comments in your new book Ann, why don't you spew for a while. Don't worry, the rest of the panel won't react uncivilly and call you a hate-filled harpie."

When the bullshit "Both sides do it" stalking horse is deployed, PLEASE consider the context. One person is spewing some dog-whistle fear-mongering warmed over Bircherisms and the rest of the "panel" is PAID to sit there and react as if this is a valid discussion of issues. Don't take my word for it, do your own study.

As you watch ANY of what passes for issue-based newsfotainment issue driven shows, identify the false premise as it is presented. See what the framing parameters are.
Then realize that what "both sides are doing" is pure Kabuki theater wherein no reasonable discussion can take place. Multiply that by the landscape of opportunity to stage these productions and the economy this product drives... [shudder]

I remember when the Sunday and evening talkies weren't pandering to a blood-feud audience. I remember when they weren't propping up a whole resource-sapping industry
based purely on reacting to the batshit crazy and knuckle-dragging dog whistles being booked as LEGITIMATE spokespeople for ANY rationally-based school of thought.

Meat and potato issues? Guns or Butter ideological battles? Paper or plastic? Mousse or Gel? Nope, lets waste some time talking about how Aynnie Coultergeist pwned `lil Georgie!???

We live in Opposite World because despite our constant plea to STOP this crap, the clown cars are backed up all the way to Oxnard.


amber ladeira said...

Dear B,
As I'm nine years older than you, I DO recall a violently segregated, KKK-operating, HUAC-dominated U.S. I've observed current events for 60 years, beginning back in D.C.

Bill Moyers had Mike Lofgren, a moderate republican on a recent PBS segment. M.L. served as a staffer on the Hill for 33 years, but quit this year, having had quite enough of the GOP nuthatches and do-nothing Dems.

His book, The PARTY Is OVER: How Republicans Went CRAZY, Democrats Became USELESS, and the Middle Class Got SHAFTED, is terrific! He royally skewers the radical right with specifics. Published in 2012, it's still timely. Available at local libraries.

Best Wishes!

amber ladeira said...

Yes, INDEED, Coulter is a hate-filled harpie! This crap gets published because WAY-TOO MANY just love the fighting always and everywhere, a dark corner in the human psyche. Also droll is your poetic, pre-Hallowe'en "Aynnie Coultergeist".

I wish you had tabs for scary, cool,
interesting, like one of our blogging pals.