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Fri

01

Feb

2008

Caught in the glare of history’s headlights
Friday, 01 February 2008 00:25
by William Bowles

“I did not reveal when I sent that fw’d that no amount of hugging idealism, myths and privilege for sooo long, is over. ‘International law’, a moment of bourgeois holding onto long gone rationalisms that deny the immutable movement of capital. I have lived within the consciousness of the personification of capital for many years and I now am faced with their feelings of panic and the historical ending of their fantasy consciousness of right, privilege, philosophical exercises, to fill and fool themselves out of the basic reality that without labor there is no world. That recognition is not possible so deeply penetrated is the defense of denial. In their eons … of trying to control us, they are approaching the full reality [that] they have lost. And, momentarily so have we for all the magnificent awakenings that bloom us and die, the fruit of those dead and dying blooms you and others struggle to nourish. That fruit is consciousness of the real, we who work with our bodies and minds do know this. And I struggle proudly to reflect that reality as soo many before I existed did.’
— An email from Patricia Murphy-Robinson, 29 January 2008
Trying to capture the moment, that brief glimpse of reality that penetrates the defences we erect to protect our fragile selves, is, I suppose one of the objectives of a writer, or indeed any creative act, at least that’s my experience. Occasionally, by some miracle we succeed in communicating it, that frozen moment of time when all is revealed, before our eyes move on, are urged on even, to the next ‘event’.

I think we’re in that ‘frozen moment’, right now for once, if we care to look that is, when the awful truth of our predicament is caught in the glare of history’s headlights. Of course, the media, courtesy of its professional peons, are paid to make sure the headlights move on before it reveals that what is caught in the glare is the ‘roadkill’ of capitalism.

Thus events are presented to us like some kind of stop-motion movie, where us, the viewers, are jerked on to the next all too brief glimpse of the next awful tragedy to befall our fellow humans, jerked on before we can put two-and-two together.

Disconnected, we labour to asssemble the pieces into some kind of coherent picture of reality as it is actually lived. Inevitably, I have to take sides, to declare where my allegiances belong. For me the act of writing is an extension of my conscience and consciousness, borne out of my experiences and desires, which is why I could never work for a corporate (in any case, I’d probably not last the day out).

Meanwhile, back in the make-believe world of the corporate media, where the ‘news’ is no more than a commodity, a vehicle to carry advertisements which in turn keep the vehicle more or less roadworthy, careers on regardless that chaos rules in the world made by Capital, flashing its headlights this way and that, desperate to keep on track.

‘A Washington Post piece written by David Simon, entitled “Does the News Matter To Anyone Anymore,” has caused quite a lot of uproar among the public and news industry insiders. Is the general audience as removed from news as some may claim, and “isn't the news itself still valuable to anyone?”’ — Editors Weblog Newsletter, 30 January, 2008
The illusion persists that the ‘news’ is all about informing when in reality it’s all about deforming. That otherwise intelligent individuals devote their professional lives to deforming reality is an indication of the addictive power of this alternate reality and the lengths such individuals will go to in order to be a part of it. But can such a life continue? 
‘Well over half of the content in a given daily [electronic] edition is commodity content, such as feeds from The Associated Press and syndicated comics and columns.’ (ibid)
Note that in the Editors Weblog quote, ‘news’ is an internalised object, disconnected from that which it purportedly describes. In the make believe world of ‘journalism’ they would have us believe that it’s we who are disconnected, not those who manufacture it! The damn nerve of these self-inflated, smug, arrogant sons of bitches who stand reality on its head!

Okay, calm down Bill, take a deep breath, make a nice, strong cup of café con leché and continue.

For what the media/propaganda machine has done is to create an idealised world which nobody real actually inhabits, an electronic world, a ‘real time’ Virtual Life™ world, a world we’d all like to live in, wherein lies its allure for it’s a world composed of commodities, slickly packaged in such a way that puts us in the picture along with the products. This is the alienation that Marx so eloquently unpacked, a frightening world where we are all transformed into commodities to be packaged, bought and sold.

‘Politics Daily: After Romney's Barrage, McCain Stands Tall’ — Washington Post, 30 January, 2008
Stands tall eh? Intellectual midgets of the world unite! Next to it, in the email the WP has an advert, walden.jpg

But whose world is it? Yours, mine, or theirs? The message is clear, we each live in our own world, disconnected from all the other ‘worlds’.

And I find these messages without even trying, they’re everywhere. I just happen to notice the WP email arrive as I write and took a look and lo and behold, there it was.

Picture if you will, a media peon in some DC office (more likely an entire posse) tasked with communicating the ‘Walden Message’ to people who are desperate to escape from their existing world into this bright, new world of Walden or perhaps any world as long as it’s not the one they currently inhabit.

The problem, as we are all aware (or damn well should be), is that the carefully constructed world of Walden U’s advertisers is falling apart at the seams even as I write (rather, read the book with the same name by Henry David Thoreau. Download it for free at Project Gutenberg).

Virtual Life as we know it is coming to an end to be replaced by, well what? The real world when the real world’s a disaster waiting to happen? Small chance of the real world intruding in on the comfortable, predictable one constructed with a multitude of ‘green screens’ in eg, Channel 4’s new ‘virtual studio’ and where better to construct the ‘virtual news’.

The barbarism’s already here, so all it can do is to get worse unless we stop them. But stopping them means first acknowledging that we live in their world, not ours. Ours has yet to be constructed.
 
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