I feel my will lagging — this not reading the newspaper — not listening to NPR in the morning — cutting out Democracy Now! — my droogies, is having its toll on your loyal blogger. But this is an experiment — in Democratic Communication? Defining my purpose for #NNM4N is another blog on: What is my thesis? Oh, god, I am back writing my dissertation: “Mr. Winson — what is this about, please?”
I’m a space ship floating just out of reach of Mission Control. Sometimes a signal comes in, but now, rather than the Voice of the News Media Authority, the static is in the form of human voices. Voices full of feeling — not journalists, pundits, editorial writers — those well-meaning, professional voices have betrayed me — it is why I went on this sabbatical in search of another way. No — I am hearing voices of feeling, living voices, filled with uncertainty.
This is a sphere of reality that needs to be explored — not as a “human interest” article placed on a back page, behind the “real” news. We are the real news — the human news that must be up front and real and detailed and listened to, directly — by us — that which is real. The individual talking to other individuals about what is going on in their lives —
I am getting the news from what could emerge as a public sphere of liberated voices searching for a democracy that seems to be floundering. At some point — in a distant future — those other voices who see the Trump Nation as a positive development need to be engaged — because we have to start talking to one another — to share our opposing ways of seeing life on this common earth — we need to try to understand each other’s feelings, ways of being — while respecting all humanity — all that liberal blah blah of critical thinking and open mindedness — that must become relevant. But Right Now, we are not ready for that whole-human conversation — and if we continue to focus on corporate news feeds, we will never ever ever get there.
Paddy Chayefsky expressed this idea a lot better 40 years ago in Network (1977). Howard Beale (Peter Finch) a former news anchor, now entertainer, speaking to a studio television audience during a broadcast of “The Network News Hour”:
The only truth you know is what you get over this tube. Right now there is a whole and entire generation that never know anything that didn’t come out of this tube. This tube is the gospel, the ultimate revelation. This tube can make or break presidents, popes, prime, ministers. This tube is the most awesome goddamn force in the whole godless world. And woe is us if it falls into the hands of the wrong people. … when the 12th largest company in the world controls the most awesome, goddamn propaganda force in the whole godless world who knows what shit will be peddled for truth on this network. … Television is not the truth. Television is a goddamn amusement park. Television is a circus, a carnival, a traveling troupe of acrobats, storytellers, dancers, singers, jugglers, sideshow freaks, lion tamers and football players. We’re in the boredom killing business. So if you want the truth, go to God. Go to your gurus. Go to yourselves. Because that’s the only place you’re ever going to find any real truth. [chuckles] But, man, you’re never going to get any truth from us. We’ll tell you anything you wanna hear. We lie like hell. We’ll tell you that Kojack always gets the killer. And that nobody ever gets cancer in Archie Bunker’s house. And no matter how much trouble the hero is in, don’t worry, just look at your watch at the end of the hour he’s gonna win. We’ll tell you any shit you want to hear. We deal in illusions. None of it’s true. But you people sit there, day after day, night after night — all ages colors, creeds. We’re all you know. You’re beginning to believe the illusions we’re spinning here. You’re beginning to think the tube is reality and your own lives are unreal. You do whatever the tube tells you. You dress like the tube, eat like the tube, you raise your children like the tube, you even think like the tube. This is mass madness, you maniacs! In God’s name, you people at the real thing. We are the illusions. So turn off your television sets, Turn them off right now. Turn them off and leave them off. Turn them off right in the middle of this sentence ….[Music up. Audience big applause] https://youtu.be/c5Gf0VKXk5Q
Today’s Mass News Media is the tube on steroids.