Friday, October 9, 2009

Rewards Are Like Steroids (If Everyone is Watching.)

this post is a rant. you will not find many like it here but I mean this one and here it is:

Barack has won the Nobel Prize. The award was given so that he might gain some political clout for future peacekeeping efforts. Why should we care if he doesn't "really deserve it"?

Whatever media you take in defines your reality. By telling us what's going on with our government, the news shapes what we think is going on. No? Yes. We listen! "This happened today, this did not."

Such a system makes it economically advantageous for both sides (CNN, you) to create centralized celebrities like Obama. Making an equally compelling character out of every member of congress would use up too many resources, too many scriptwriters.

So they have fashioned a global hero for us.

We have inadvertently designed our current system of political discourse (power/memetic transfer) in a manner that is more centralized than we can admit. Bush couldn't handle the pressure that comes with it: he folded under our eyes.

Obama now stands in the center of a telecommunicative forum that is only beginning to grow in its power and scope. Every computer screen on the planet sits facing him, eyes wide. He is what we will listen to because he is all that we make time to listen to.
By making Obama our only source for _____... we hand him everything.

What does he give us? Hope? Information? Orders?

I'm not one to pick sides, but men are still dying in Afghanistan and Iraq. More catch bombs from remote drones in Pakistan than did under Bush. Nothing is being done about the slaughter in Africa.
Guantanamo stays open. Rarara... yet we thank our hero for "peacekeeping." Of course these are difficult issues and no one person could possibly fix all of it...

And yet we expect him to. We gave him the award so he would. Our perceptions of real world affairs blurr with the hum of telescreens as important men thank our man for "a new climate in international politics."

That climate only exists in print, between broadband nodes, tweeting out of telephones or flashing across overused laptop screens.

Nothing is being done, but we thank him for
playing along with us.

The media hands us stories that are cut and formed like lego bricks. It's what they do. Eye-catching and easily added to our collection we can only nod in agreement and throw what we will into our given "political reality." Hey! Mine's a dinosaur! I need to go buy some more preformed world understandings so I can really delude myself...

(cable gets charged monthly, don't worry)

"Okay okay, whatever, let the masses nod along," you might say, "I'm educated and I know what's going on so that's okay!" Ah, but powerful networks of noddings can be directed anywhere with enough spin; they hold power:

"Iraq caused 9/11!" boom

So who is pointing our eyes toward this new Hero in the first place? Who designs avenues of information trade? They're people trying to make MONEY. Employees at places like are hired to build a reality for you to watch and paid to keep you watching.
... just scared enough to need a hero, just happy enough not to act.

I feel as though I am no longer involved in what's going on in my country. We're a generation of observers, of watchers. Not doers.

Nod... nod.... nod.

From Satire X of the Roman poet Juvenal (c A.D.200):

"… Already long ago, from when we sold our vote to no man, the People have abdicated our duties; for the People who once upon a time handed out military command, high civil office, legions — everything, now restrains itself and anxiously hopes for just two things: bread and circuses"

bread is still our bread, cable our circus. Obama? He's a famous Lion Tamer standing in the middle of the ring who has yet to place his head anywhere sharp. Who can blame him?

So he stands there between reruns of friends and the weather channel and we listen for a few moments before changing the channel, assured that he's keeping us safe.

We need to get out of our tent and go put out some fires. The Visigoths are coming and no one remembers how to fight. Ask the lion tamer to do something quick or to give you your money back.

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