RANGER AGAINST WAR: Whitewashed, Part Deux <

Friday, July 10, 2015

Whitewashed, Part Deux

As specialists of apparent life,
stars serve as superficial objects
that people can identify with in order to
compensate for the
fragmented productive specializations
that they actually live 
--Society of the Spectacle,
Guy Debord 

Well now home entertainment was my baby's wish
So I hopped into town for a satellite dish
I tied it to the top of my Japanese car
I came home and I pointed it out into the stars 
--57 Channels (And Nuthin' On),  
Bruce Springsteen 

Too much information
running through my brain
Too much information
driving me insane
--Too Much Information,
The Police

While Ms. Dolezal's choice to be black might make for an interesting study in Post Modern Culture or perhaps some journal on psychopathology, it is not national news. No moreso than if a woman with black genetics passed as white. Ditto the former Bruce Jenner's gender reassignment surgery and all of the other bosh which fills out the so-called news programming, the pseudo-news.

It fills someone's agenda of anger and outrage keeping the issues of blackness and transgenderedness on the front of the tabloids and news, which are indistinguishable today.

The television news always leads with a shocking event, the tragic or the sensational. On a dog day that might have to be a tornado in Kansas which does not affect the other 49 states (it is called "Tornado Alley" for a reason.) And while these sorts of things might credibly open a local news program, they have no place being featured on the national news 

Yet that is where they now perch, front and center.

All programs could be called "Entertainment Tonight" today, all created to gain your rapt gaze, to fix you and satisfy you as a mute voyeur. There is no need for you to cogitate or communicate what you have viewed as it is all masticated and predigested for you. Fast food for your brain.

One might wonder if there is anything beyond bread and circuses which motivates programing today. Rather than being motivated by exaltation at the inspiring, we are daily dragged through the muck in the media -- the ugliest places that policemen, doctors and social workers are paid to navigate.

In its early days t.v. featured playhouse events and straight news. Commentary was labeled as such. Broadcasting was not 24/7, and it's goal was not to lull the viewer into an insouciant dullness but to provide something provocative and substantive.

But it was not long before game shows and soap operas found their niche, and the hopes for a high-minded educational medium soon faded.

Today we have so much more connectivity than that provided by a few network stations, but our skills at living a good life alongside our media  masters have not increased. The majority of our days are spent in feverish communications via our electronic devices, but what exactly are we accomplishing?

With the new threat of death-by-lifestyle (=sitting while glued to our devices), so much for "better living through science".

As Science magazine reported, in causes of death, "infectious disease has been eclipsed by long-term chronic disease, closely followed by humans themselves." While man's ability to develop technology continues apace, his ability to digest it is limited. As Martin Luther King, Jr. said of our military capabilities, we have guided missiles but misguided men.

--Dodd Hall frieze

A frieze over the entrance to the first library at FSU (Dodd Hall) states,"The half of knowledge is knowing where to find knowledge". Until the last couple of decades that was true. One would scour the card catalogs and microfiche and conduct one's own "meta studies" to verify a thesis which one wished to investigate. Finding knowledge was a skill.

However, the "half" which was NOT knowing where to find it was taken care of. People thought about things. Without having to escape to an ashram, they somehow found the time to think and to determine meet concerns and what constituted rightness for themselves.

Now knowledge is a blitz. We have immediate access to a torrent of info from any place, but we do not know how to ask the questions. We lack for the "What" or the "Why"? The implications of this in our media-saturated world is, we don't know how to live.

We have continual media feeds from every source to which we subscribe, but it seems that the rate of flow of data has taken precedence over our ability to enlist our own discretion. There is no time for careful mulling over of the fitness of the question or of the answers. What has taken its place is a mute miasma of data scrolling through our lives on an unceasing dumb feed. Like lava erupting from a volcano, there is no way stop it.

In the meantime, while we are amusing ourselves to death, actual issues are marching across the nation's stage:

-- The UN reports the world faces a 40 percent shortfall in freshwater in as soon as 15 years (World Water Development Report)
-- salmon and trout are facing a die off in Oregon due to unprecedented drought.

-- accessible solar technology is ignored (Power to the People)

-- children are not learning to socialize (Screen Addiction Has taken a Toll on Children)

-- a superpower like the United States cannot rebuild parts of its rail line taken out several years after the last hurricane in the Southeast

In central Florida, Lake Apopka and its Chain of Lakes --what was once a renowned bass fishing resort -- now has transgendered fish and frogs, by no choice of their own (unlike former decathelete Ms. Jenner.) Their plight is due to decades of toxic runoff from the muck farming in the rich soil surrounding the lake.

That's the merest beginning of actual issues which might occupy our thought ... were the Marching Morons to halt and do an about face before their next video game session.

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