It has been about a year since I wrote about the Committee for Our Children’s Future - which according to the Star Ledger’s ‘PolitiFact’ is a 501(c)4 organization.
Today their website is gone, like they never even existed. The ads that ran nearly every commercial break a year ago remain in people’s heads - I won’t let the nitty gritty go down the memory hole. Organizations like this can receive unlimited, anonymous donations to buy ad time. If they do the right legal-fu they can be tax-exempted as a ‘social welfare’ organization. The media firestorm is the IRS using ‘patriot’ and ‘tea party’ as flag words in handling all these tax-exemption requests. ‘Committee for Our Children’s Future’ could squeak right by. All this tax free revenue from who knows buys mass media ad time - so commercial media has no incentive to explain this corruption to the public. Fly by night organizations are paying no taxes and telling you who to vote for, with no obligation to facts.
Must-See movies for some insight into Occupy. The TV says there “is no message”, but they are full of it. Movies available on Netflix denoted with (N)
If you have more suggestions please pass them along!
All Watched Over by Machines of Loving Grace
The Great Dictator
Century of the Self
It’s a Wonderful Life
Manufactured Landscapes (N)
King of the Hill (N)
The Other Guys
The Manchurian Candidate (1962)
Boondocks (Adult Swim Cartoon)
Children of Men
A Dangerous Method
9th Company (N)
We say we have a free society but, like terror, freedom is not something that can be rationally parsed out in a “perfect” way.
Gonzo Dissent – With the possible exception of box scores, race results, and stock market tabulations, there is no such thing as Objective Journalism. The phrase itself is a pompous contradiction in terms
I read “Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail ’72” by Hunter S Thompson this year. Nothing about the political process has truly changed in the last 40 years. Thompson saw Reagan as being a conservative nut compared to Nixon, and the objectivity of the stock market has gone out the window. Otherwise the polarization, madness, and spiteful perversity of the two party system has just kept on rolling. He blew his head off in the Bush years.
Gonzo dissent recognizes the divide of the left and right; that the media perpetuates and agitates to play people off each other to create ratings and drama. Gonzo dissenters realize there is no one, unifying truth, but many truths; personal, historical, and scientific. We are shaped by our place in the world, the unique intersection of gender, race, class, and generation that makes us who we are. You are not an objective, rational individual, you are not always right; you are biased the moment you are born in a certain place and time.
Gonzo dissenters acknowledge tribalism. This is a major weakness of the left; white male libertarians against feminists, communists against anarchists, patriots versus pacifists. Group identities encourage otherization, a tic of the human mind.
Gonzo is about the truth of art, confronting and even embracing the eccentricity and perversity of humanity.
We are all humans living on a specific piece of land. Utopias are forever unattainable, there is just the here and now, and the past can only hold us back when we let it. We, and our organized society, are forever flawed and frail. No individual (a person, a state, or a company) is a pure Saint or Devil. Nothing is fixed, but in impermanence there is a certain grace. Machines are unthinking tools, they cannot save us from ourselves. In the written word you can speak to millions and echo through time. The show must go on.
“Left” Dissent – Viva La Revolution!
The more cognitive, “intellectual” dissent. Based less in personal outrage and more in history and academic discourse. Left dissenters know that those who don’t learn history are doomed to repeat it. However this strength is also a flaw, because this dissent carries the baggage of the past. Old Revolutions of Liberation (which are both loved and reviled), Emma Goldman, The Labor Movement, Radical Suffragettes, The Yippies, The Hippies, Civil Rights, Black Power, Drug Culture, Gay Rights.
We live in a liberal democracy, and many who are “left” have blinded themselves from the danger of liberalism - a world where “Nothing is True, and Everything is Permitted”. We are seeing the world in decline because of the selfishness of a world with only negative liberty (freedom to consume, freedom to profit, freedom to be deceived)
Authority figures, hero worship, and a quest for mainstream legitimacy affect left dissent, though not as strongly as the Right.
Left Dissenters can be just as petty and butthurt as anyone. However they might employ more complex forms of their outrage in an attempt to convince people, instead of just berating them. “A Modest Proposal” comes to mind. It’s good to put yourself in uncomfortable positions or consider extreme examples of your arguments, but it is difficult not to be condescending.
“Right” Dissent – I’m Mad as Hell, and I’m not gonna take it anymore!
The permitted version of dissent. Usually personal anger and outrage at the state of the world. Easily controlled and commodified, especially since this form of dissent does not allow for much trust (pretty much every institution and organization can and will screw you). Birthers, Truthers, etc rely on validation from the Mass Media for their ideas having weight and truth. Right Dissenters dream for a movie moment of mass catharsis, where we all just “get it”.
Paradoxically Right Dissenters can be radically anti-establishment but yet highly dependent on established authority figures (Rush Limbaugh, Sarah Palin, Herman Cain). Their political identity is very personal and they can get very butthurt if confronted with facts that challenge their worldview.
This is a highly emotional state of dissent that usually involves a petty superiority complex over opinion “I am smart and my opinions are right, you and your views are dumb, wrong, and bad” “The world would be perfect if everyone were like me”
We live in a world of increasing dissonance and dissenting sentiment. The unprecedented smallness of the world and the paradoxes of human nature are becoming difficult for society to bear. Politics is a sideshow like Pro-Wrestling, but those “in the know” feel lost in a turbulent sea of apocalyptic terror.
So what does it mean to dissent? To speak out? There are many attributes and flavors, and any individual will be shaped and carry these views in different ways.
To be American is to civilly dissent. But we must not let polarization tear the country apart and paralyze it in the face of danger.
First I was going to mock right wing types for saying how Occupy are violent thugs working for Obama, since an Oakland march threw a brick into the window of the local Obama campaign.
Then I checked CNN and Fox News and remembered that the national media avoids mentioning Occupy as much as it can.