Thursday, September 30, 2010

Is America Stupefied?

The most visited post on this blog is "The Stupification of America" so perhaps I should elaborate on that. First I did not mean to intimate that many Americans are playing dumb on purpose, only a few, a very few. I started writing the posts for this blog shortly after I read a lengthy report  that detailed the Bush Administration's proposal to sell the Port of Miami to the United Arab Emirates almost 4 years after 9/11. I had heard little about it when it occurred. After finishing the report, I nearly fell out of my chair. Not so much because the Bush/Cheney team tried to pull it off, but because there was little press coverage and virtually no public outrage.

The theme that I have tried to weave through the posts in this blog is: What has been going on for some time in this country is crazy and we better realize that and stop the insanity, or we will loose the American way of life soon and surely for our posterity. It is lunacy, in a democracy, for people to support or even allow, policy that is detrimental to their children and the future of this country. I have no definitive answers for why this is going on but will posit a few ideas.

(1) Television and the World Wide Web     I will not get into the Wilde/Aristotle controversy on whether life imitates art, or vice versa. However, it goes without saying that television and the internet have a profound impact on young people and many adults. And it appears that much of the content is escapism and void of moral guidance or intellectual stimulation, more so than it was decades ago.
(2) My Time Will Come     A significant number of Americans believe the notion that they are impervious to what goes on in the world and that by staying focused, ruthless, and by working hard, they will make it.
(3) Some Americans are Doing Well and Living Full, Rewarding Lives.     Until a crisis disrupts them, they are too occupied to get involved.
(4) Some Americans are Stupid.     And if you tell them an untruth, in a very simple manner, over and over again, they will eventually believe it to be the truth. Flatter them for their brilliant insight and patriotism, and you have the supporters for reactionary movement in this country.

Finally, support not liberal but sane causes. It's OK to have fun doing it. All comments, including ones that call for my head on a stick, will be posted.

Monday, September 6, 2010

The Time of the Newspaper

My first job, as was the case for many boys during the early 60's, was a paper route. I was compensated for delivering newspapers with a monthly salary and a commission based on the number of customers I delivered papers to and collected money from. The newspaper I worked for was an evening edition. I delivered the paper Monday through Saturday. For most of my customers, this was one of two or three newspapers that they subscribed to.

In those days, newspapers were virtually everywhere: on the counter of the local hardware store, in the break rooms of factories, in the offices of physicians, and on the coffee tables of neighbors. Most of the people I was familiar with, regardless of their occupation, religion, or politics, read newspapers, kept up on current events and formulated opinions. Whether a plumber, a teacher, a foreman or an accountant, it was just something one did. And, reading the Sunday paper was almost a ritual.

Today, few of my neighbors subscribe to any newspaper. Though most of them have an opinion, few can articulate a reasonable argument for why they hold that opinion, or enumerate facts to support the position. Since the 60's many newspapers have gone out of business and many newspapers are loosing their prominence. We have a new breed of television and we have the internet, mediums where anyone can voice their opinion or position without being encumbered by facts or truths.

Back in the time of the newspaper, it seemed to me that people were more informed and more patriotic. And most of the people I knew in the time of the newspaper took real pride in their jobs. They felt good about themselves if they performed their jobs well.

Today we have a faux patriotism, a love of America because it affords some individuals the opportunity to get rich by subjugation and exploitation. Multi-level marketing has spawned multi-level employment where the product or service is of little matter. The object is to derive income from many subordinates, who do the work, without regard for their future or welfare. The big picture or long term health of American is not a consideration.

In the last decade, we essentially have been strip mining or overfishing, the middle class. If we continue to drive Americans into poverty, soon there will be no coal to mine and no fish to catch. For the Republicans the race is on. In the time of the newspaper few cared about celebrities who forgot to wear their underwear and most cared about the future of America.