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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 3/16/11

From Celebrities To Tsunamis: "If they can get you asking the wrong questions, they don't have to worry about the answer

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The Koch Brothers were born into a family of oil-rich multi-millionaires. They have never known anything but wealth beyond any reasonable measure. Yet it is never enough. The brothers seem akin in character to a spoiled malicious brat whose greed for gifts can never be sated, a nightmare child, who not only breaks the expensive toys he demands and receives, but breaks the toys of other children, simply because they're not his.

In deranged opposition to both common sense and common decency, the actual children of the US, those who were careless enough to be born into poverty, will just have to suck it up -- and give up their school lunch programs so that the billionaires of the plundering class can continue to receive tax write-offs.

That's right, good people of the US, it is high time we nipped this problem in the bud: Those damn spoiled brats have just gotten too damn fond of eating. Fortunately, the roar of the engines of fleets of private Gulfstream jets will drone out the rumblings of those entitlement-maddened little monsters bellies.

What is equally disheartening is the public at large has internalized the narrative of the dissemblers of the ruling elite, to such a great degree, that: Even before being defeated by legislative weasel maneuvers in Wisconsin, union members were willing to give up their benefits; they only agitated to keep "the right" to go to the table and ask for their master's scraps.

This is a "rock bottom" situation. Liberals working within the system are like drunks who need to be told, just go out there and do some 'controlled drinking." Perhaps when the situation grows painful enough, then we'll talk about the problem.

"Discontent is the first step in the progress of a man or a nation" Oscar Wilde

Short of a mass awakening on the part of the US public (one can have ones little fantasies, right?) and an attendant Islamic world style uprising against the soft totalitarian structure of oligarchic rule in the US, the consolidation of power by the plundering class will continue unabated.

A couple of circumstances have to be present for freedom to flourish and economic exploitation to be mitigated: (1) Have the propitious presence of an enlightened elite in place willing to contribute to the common good by curbing their cupidity and obsession with retaining power; (2) An aware, civically engaged citizenry willing to risk all to secure their dignity. Or: We can just wait around for an enlightened monarch or dictator of benighted intent to arrive on the scene.

"We do not know what is happening. And that is what is happening." - Ortega y Gasset

In numerous ways, due to a confluence of constant inundation by distracting media influences and enervating, time-decimating financial burdens, the act of discerning the agendas of veiled corporate power, and the manner by which this nebulous, yet almost implacable structure, impacts ones life becomes difficult. Still, continually, I'm startled when I hear US citizens state: "It is a free country."

At present, we are at liberty to hold and voice our opinions, as long as doing so has almost no effect on the status quo. The US corporate media has endowed us with the right to decide for ourselves and voice, unfettered, our opinions on the destructive choices made by celebrity millionaires or wax feckless before our televisions about the devastation wrought by natural disasters. In our faux republic, we are guaranteed the right to free speech, as long as it remains marginalized and ineffective. 

The Gnostics had a term germane to the shallowness of thought that passes for discourse in our time, political or otherwise -- "hylicism," which means an inability to see below the surface of things. This is why, over and over, "news consumers" are diverted by news as gossip and, on a political level, fall for the demagogic ploys of Republicans and the phony populism of married-to-the-status quo Democrats. It is the mode of mind of the duopolistic state.

As a result of the contrivance of powerful mass media interests, combined with a complicity on the part of the general public, the witless indulgences and perpetual excesses of the idiot empire of celebrity news and gossip grip the popular imagination and provoke a greater degree of indignation from the populace than the tearing to tatters of the social contract, ongoing since the Reagan era, by the nation's government and business classes.

The proliferation of news as celebrity gossip serves as a kind of corporate propaganda e.g., Charlie Sheen's private contretemps being hyped to public spectacle and topping the news cycle, as opposed to, let's say, a series of investigative reports exposing the degree of wealth inequity in the US, how it was established, and is maintained. Or why large-scale news events, such as the very likely catastrophic effects of the meltdown of a nuclear power plant, are treated with all the depth of a mindless Hollywood action movie, devoid of a deepening historical context.

To paraphrase Warren Buffett, his side has won the class war. At present, we are experiencing the mopping up operation in progress. In this cultural milieu, there should be little mystery regarding which stories the ultra-wealthy owners of huge media conglomerates would prefer their underlings to investigate and expose.

Another reason, Charlie Sheen has been placed in the media's electronic stock and pillory is the manner in which a persistent strain of Puritanism in the US endures, and engenders, in the nation's collective psyche, both a compulsive curiosity about excessive behavior merged with an intolerant, punitive reaction to it. Hence, aberrant behavior seizes the cultural imagination and fosters powerful, repressed desires.
 
First arrives the secret desire to make a daring, perhaps violent escape from the quotidian prison of everyday obligation and restrictive social nicety, as Pablo Neruda limned in verse, "to terrify a law clerk with a cut lily,/or kill a nun with a blow on the ear./It would be great/to go through the streets with a green knife/letting out yells until I died of the cold."
 
Next, one is seized with the compulsion to make somebody pay for evoking such untoward, vile thoughts in a good person like me"I'm still a good person"right? That spoiled celebrity should be made to pay for this, damn it.

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Phil Rockstroh is a poet, lyricist and philosopher bard living in New York City. He may be contacted at Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/phil.rockstroh

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