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Media, Mergers, Capitalism, and Popular Democracy

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Or, Why AOL Is Perfect for Huff-Po and Horrible for Majority Rule

           In this first of a four part series, by Arianna Huffington
           In this first of a four part series, giving credit where credit is due is a good way to start.   Arianna Huffington's How to Overthrow the Government performs a valuable service for anybody who both believes in popular empowerment and has an inkling that the rule-of-the-rich has gone too far.   The book offers at least a modicum of clear and apt guidance to those who would foment or fuel an uprising from below.

            The likes of this humble correspondent would vociferously suggest that 'the book doesn't go nearly far enough.'   Less charitable, and equally historically and socio-economically aware, critics have argued that, analytically and conceptually, the volume is at best irritatingly cautious and generally vapid.   Nevertheless, the work offers some useful advice to those who want to return socially democratic political action to the grassroots.   At least it conceives of public engagement as a necessary predecessor of political change.

            That said, the just-announced merger of Huffington Post and America Online is an entirely different kettle of fish.   Many honestly and erstwhile 'progressive' and 'leftist' commentators are celebrating this joining, or at least, giving it a 'wait-and-see' nod.  

            The only certain thing is that the writers and participants who have built Huffington Post won't see a slender cent from among the thirty billion pennies, or billion and a half pennies in stock, that change hands in this bargain.   Several already wealthy people, whose political and 'strategic' leadership have, for better or worse, guided the site, will, on the other hand make out like proverbial bandits.

            The idea that this $315 million conjunction, much to the benefit of Ms. Huffington's coffers, might also represent 'progress' or be in the best interest of the 'left' arguably has much more to say about the deficiencies that attend the language of political description in the United States than it does with any rationally defensible consideration about promoting the needs of common people.   The notion that this is in the popular interest also speaks volumes about the lack of class leadership among working people, who prove willing all too often to rely on the likes of a rich globe-trotting fashion moll with the opportunistic instincts of a coyote.  

            'Liberals' also cozy up to hyper-imperialists such as Hilary Clinton, or so some would say; 'progressives' commonly make common cause with Barack-the-Magnificent, whose wars will soon eclipse those of his predecessor; the 'left' is a hodgepodge collection of folks who a lot of times are trying to avoid the label that is at least honestly descriptive, that of socialist, or social-democrat.  

            This humble correspondent considers himself 'progressive,' and he'll only squirm and grit his teeth at the nearly meaningless moniker of 'leftist.'   However, he is avowedly and unabashedly socialistic in his approach and his analytical proclivities.   He has no problem noticing an obvious fact: without some sort of struggle for social and economic democracy, the worlds working people face further devastation and possible annihilation.

          And in this vein, the marriage of the mo by Daniel Borman
          And in this vein, the marriage of the modern defense and imperial establishment, in the form of America Online, with a fetishized, paltry, petty-bourgeois liberalism, in the form of Huffington Post, accomplishes a perfect union from the perspective of 'free-market', 'free-enterprise' fraud-mongers.   As such, the following prediction makes sense: it will turn out to be a disaster for working people, for those who care about more than political labels and actually worry about substance.

            One way or another, the lack of class leadership, and the explicit embrace of both imperial ideation and bourgeois marketing and markets, will mean at best 'friendly' misleadership for the average people of the planet who are suffering one body-blow after another to any hope that a 'middle-class' life will be even a credible fantasy.   One would have to acknowledge, at least as a possibility, that the time for a media of the people, by the people, and for the people is long overdue.

            Such an admission ought then to portend a serious effort in such a direction.   Whether folks are, even now, ready to admit the obvious--'But mommy, the king has nothing on!!--and whether, even now, such an acknowledgment will yield the radical, populist upsurge that recognition ought to call forth, remains to be seen.

   A Far-Too-Brief Background Precis of the News Media Context From Which this 'New Media' Deal Has Devolved

            People who fancy themselves media-literate, or even who believe that following the news is important, have a duty to understand how in the world the media that we take for granted has transmogrified to become the apparent digital phantasmagoria that it is today.   This is neither the time nor the place to go into copious detail.   On the other hand, readers may rest assured that more detail will be forthcoming.

            For now, this humble correspondent proposes that people consider one simple fact: media springs from the rich dirt of politics like magic mushrooms pop up from cow dung.   Ever since the creation of the secret, and sacred, codes that underlay the first written forms, publication has been a battlefield; the priestly and royal control--extended imperiously--always met a challenge from below, in the form of vernacular articulations of one sort or another.

           Need one consider such arcane interpr by Applied Nomadology
           Need one consider such arcane interpretations of such facts as Derrida's "The Mystical Foundations of Authority?"   Or perhaps a more straightforward recollection, that law--the legitimation of force in favor of some stated 'State,' heretofore unheard of without social class divisions--is nothing without the capacity to record and annotate it, would serve as a 'wake-up call' about media's social reality.   No matter what, from the 'dawn of history,' or text, as it were, the connection between writing and rule is unbreakable.

            In any event, much more recently, since Gutenberg, for instance, every communication medium's technological development and social deployment has entailed this combative dialectic.   The Bible may have been Johann's first big project, but not too long afterward, the press itself helped Martin Luther affix his challenge to various posting places.

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The original 'odd bird,' my stint as head of High School ROTC included my wearing MFS's black armband just before I turned down an appointment to West Point to go to Harvard. There, majoring in bridge, backgammon, and poker for my middle years as (more...)

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One sine qua non of reasonable conclusions is an a... by Jack Hickey on Wednesday, Feb 16, 2011 at 6:38:02 AM
The best nuts are the ones that grow farthest from... by Ned Lud on Thursday, Feb 17, 2011 at 6:27:00 AM
I'm a dandy editor. My wife does really cool, sem... by Jack Hickey on Thursday, Feb 17, 2011 at 9:02:16 AM
Today I brew, tomorrow I bakeAnd then the child I ... by Ned Lud on Thursday, Feb 17, 2011 at 9:57:23 AM
...that's the second book.We'll have learned eno... by Jack Hickey on Thursday, Feb 17, 2011 at 10:03:30 AM
A lady that has made $315,000,000.00?... by Debbie S on Thursday, Feb 17, 2011 at 10:46:10 AM
I trust the evidence that my senses detect, which ... by Jack Hickey on Thursday, Feb 17, 2011 at 11:00:59 AM