Wednesday, October 3, 2018

The Entertainment Division

Image source: A Thousand Words Graphic Arts

When Frank Zappa commented that "politics is the entertainment division of the military-industrial complex" we laughed through our tears about the Vietnam War. Now that the horrors of our complicity in killing so many innocent Vietnamese people have been sanitized by a Ken Burns documentary that is being used in high school history classes as a sort of war porn that blames no one, we go on ignoring our complicity in killing so many innocent Yemeni, Afghan, Syrian, Somali, and Iraqi people. It's easier now that contemporary imperial wars are not shown on tv.

Source: The Atlantic "A man walks through the rubble of an air strike on a college in Saada, Yemen. NAIF RAHMA / REUTERS"

And where do we find ourselves today? On the one hand is the shit show that Supreme Court nominations have become, where one corporate party refuses to hold hearings for the other corporate party's nominee -- only to bring forward its own wretchedly unqualified candidate and try to ram him down the people's throats. But talk about great ratings for televised coverage of this show!

On the other hand is the vastly unequal dark, dark sources of campaign funding for elections where the people are presented with a choice of two corporate-controlled candidates or else. This is why I won't waste my time on elections anymore. Sure, I'll vote because I'd be ashamed not to. But the system of representation is broken beyond repair and pretending that "resistance" is meaningful when it consists only of electing the other warmongering corporate party's candidates is beyond my capacity for denial.

This entertaining show may come to an end even for the empire's citizens if massive Pentagon budgets and borrowing to fund them tank the economy sooner rather than later.

Image source: Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space 

Even more ominous is the specter of star wars for real, along with vast increases in spending for nuclear weapons. The Union of Concerned Scientists is worried about this, and we should be too. You can sign their petition here. Petitioning the government is probably about as effective as voting at this point but old habits die hard.

The best antidote to all this unwholesome entertainment is finding some real information while we still can. I recommend this recent essay by the insightful Caitlin Johnstone, an Australian who is particularly able to see the U.S. empire from afar, "Any effective antiwar movement must readjust its understanding of what war is."

Johnstone is routinely blocked by Google's search engine, has subscribers removed in the tens of thousands by YouTube, and her Twitter and Spybook accounts are often suspended for telling a little bit too much truth. The thing about Johnstone is: she's not only truthful, she's entertaining. Kind of like Frank Zappa.

No comments: