Ever get the feeling that you are living inside a George Orwell novel? Ever get the feeling that you’re being lied to, cleverly deceived, patronized or just plain distracted? Our print, radio and TV media universes are getting smaller and smaller while the internet swells ever larger with a more diverse range of opinions, news stories, pictures, conversations… So it is that the media changes the message and acts as gatekeepers in print, but their stranglehold on our opinions and world views is slippery, at best, on the web. For a picture says a thousand words and unless something drastic (like SOPA?) happens little folks like us will be able to take screenshots like this, which will live on long after the media outlets realize their mistake and rewrite history:
Want to know where legislation like SOPA, the Patriot Act and increasingly broad interpretation of federal and state imminent domain by the Supreme Court is taking the United States? Look no further than the UK…
You may not agree with the political views, lifestyles, and hairstyles of the 99% protesters involved in the Occupy movements around the globe. Or maybe you’re out there protesting yourself. But I can tell you one thing: Criticizing and pigeonholing them as lazy, dirty hippies is exactly what the Powers That Be want you to do. The day when then Tea Party and the Occupy movement realize how much they have in common (not that their differences aren’t profound in many ways) and get together to reinstate the INDIVIDUAL CITIZEN as the unit from which the government derives its power – not corporations; not churches; not political groups, SuperPACs, lobby groups, Centers for This or That – is the day the Orwellian nightmare comes crashing down.
But that won’t happen. I’m sorry, but I just don’t have that kind of faith in us. Instead, we’re all going to continue pointing fingers and sitting on our high horses because it’s easier than turning on the light, pulling back the shades, opening our eyes and seeing that WE sanction this distopian world in which we live. What will happen is an all-too-familiar and violent cycle will repeat itself.
When I was in college taking journalism classes I remember two Chinese students who claimed that China “liberated” Tibet from the evil Dictator, the Dalai Lama. They claimed also that the soldiers in Tiananmen Square were just protecting themselves from the violent, rioting students and that the rest of the world just didn’t like China, which is why they (as in we) made it seem like the government was being cruel. One could almost believe them for their insistence and the fact that they were geographically closer to those important points in history. That is, until I heard one of them say to the class that the reason she, and most other journalism students in China, wanted to be a journalist is so they could get rich by digging up dirt on powerful people and accepting bribe money to not print the story. Yes, she really and sincerely said that.
Looking at our TIME cover compared with the rest of the world reminds me of that experience. It reminds me how astonished I was at how brainwashed these students were, at how much control their communist government had over their media consumption and world-view through the process of propaganda, rewriting history and censorship. And it reminds me that power tends to centralize until it becomes corrupt and abusive, at which point a revolt happens, power decentralizes, anarchy and chaos rule the day for awhile, order is regained, society prospers, and power begins to centralize all over again. We are STUCK in this cycle. Remember this cycle, or something similar to it. Think about where we are in that cycle and you may have a good idea about what comes next.