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Retribution for a World Lost in Screens

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Posted on Sep 26, 2010
AP / Mary Schwalm

A woman takes a photo of a large format Polaroid of Lady Gaga at the MIT Art Museum in Cambridge, Mass.

By Chris Hedges

(Page 2)

We confuse this happy talk with hope. But hope is not about a belief in progress. Hope is about protecting simple human decency and demanding justice. Hope is the belief, not necessarily grounded in the tangible, that those whose greed, stupidity and complacency have allowed us to be driven over a cliff shall one day be brought down. Hope is about existing in a perpetual state of rebellion, a constant antagonism to all centers of power. The great moral voices, George Orwell and Albert Camus being perhaps two of the finest examples, describe in moving detail the human suffering we ignore or excuse. They understand that the greatest instrument for moral good is the imagination. The ability to perceive the pain and suffering of another, to feel, as King Lear says, what wretches feel, is a more powerful social corrective than the shelves of turgid religious and philosophical treatises on human will. Those who change the world for the better, who offer us hope, have the capacity to make us step outside of ourselves and feel empathy.

A print-based culture, as writer Neil Postman pointed out, demands rationality. The sequential, propositional character of the written word fosters what Walter Ong calls the “analytic management of knowledge.” But our brave new world of images dispenses with these attributes because the images do not require them to be understood. Communication in the image-based culture is not about knowledge. It is about the corporate manipulation of emotions, something logic, order, nuance and context protect us against. Thinking, in short, is forbidden. Entertainment and spectacle have become the aim of all human endeavors, including politics, which is how Stephen Colbert, playing his television character, can be permitted to testify before the House Judiciary Committee. Campaigns are built around the manufactured personal narratives of candidates, who function as political celebrities, rather than policies or ideas. News reports have become soap operas and mini-dramas revolving around the latest celebrity scandal.
Colleges and universities, which view students as customers and suck obscene tuition payments and loans out of them with the tantalizing promise of high-paying corporate jobs, have transformed themselves into resorts and theme parks. In this new system of education almost no one fails. Students become “brothers” or “sisters” in the atavistic, tribal embrace of eating clubs, fraternities or sororities. School spirit and school branding is paramount. Campus security keeps these isolated enclaves of privilege secure. And 90,000-seat football stadiums, along with their millionaire coaches, dominate the campus. It is moral leprosy.

The role of knowledge and art, as the ancient Greeks understood, is to create ekstasis, which means standing outside one’s self to give our individual life and struggle meaning and perspective. The role of art and scholarship is to transform us as individuals, not entertain us as a group. It is to nurture this capacity for understanding and empathy. Art and scholarship allow us to see the underlying structures and assumptions used to manipulate and control us. And this is why art, like intellectual endeavor, is feared by the corporate elite as subversive. This is why corporations have used their money to deform universities into vocational schools that spit out blinkered and illiterate systems managers. This is why the humanities are withering away.

The vast stage of entertainment that envelops our culture is intended to impart the opposite of ekstasis. Mass entertainment plays to the basest and crudest instincts of the crowd. It conditions us to have the same aspirations and desires. It forces us to speak in the same dead clichés and slogans. It homogenizes human experience. It wallows in a cloying nostalgia and sentimentalism that foster historical amnesia. It turns the Other into a cartoon or a stereotype. It prohibits empathy because it prohibits understanding. It denies human singularity and uniqueness. It assures us that we all have within us the ability, talent or luck to become famous and rich. It forms us into a lowing and compliant herd. We have been conditioned to believe—defying all the great moral and philosophical writers from Socrates to Orwell—that the aim of life is not to understand but to be entertained. If we do not shake ourselves awake from our electronic hallucinations and defy the elites who are ruining the country and trashing the planet we will experience the awful and deadly retribution of the gods.

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By Alan MacDonald, November 24, 2010 at 7:32 pm Link to this comment

Chris needs to accept that people like Michael Moore can use ‘screens’ to help people like Chris reach a broader audience for knowledge and truth.

Michael Moore has done great populist/progressive AND broadly popular documentary films on several specific aspects of our biggest problem, EMPIRE.

He’s done films exposing the imperial mind-set, arrogance, hubris, and greedy power of the auto industry, the insurance industry, the weapons industry, and the unbridled capitalist thievery Ponzi schemes of the Wall Street financial looters.

Now is the time for Michael to take-on and expose the common thread of the disguised ruling-elites’ global corporate/financial/militarist EMPIRE, which hides behind the facade of its paid TWO-party ‘Vichy’ sham of democracy, and to attack that underlying EMPIRE itself.

Michael Moore has a nearly unique talent to speak to the working-class——which now includes the formerly comfortable middle-class, who are getting the “spear of the Empire” in their own faces (through economic oppression) almost as much as the working-class, and some of whom are now realizing that they actually are working-class themselves.

Given Moore’s unique talent in using what Chris Hedges unfortunately criticizes as an overly emotional, non-literate, visual, and “World Lost in Screens” technique with film,

http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/retribution_for_a_world_lost_in_screens_20100927/

I had suggested to Moore that he leverage his truthful AND emotive language of the screen to convey the message that Hedges and many others have less emotionally developed through the Renaissance enlightenment of rational critical literate thought, along with George Lakoff’s newer enlightenment of ‘analogy-thinking’—- and that message is the horror and deceit of EMPIRE.

Certainly, watching a Michael Moore film on the horrors of the modern 21st century ruling-elite corporate/financial/militarist EMPIRE, that hides behind the facade of its TWO-Party ‘Vichy’ sham of democracy (with the help of its deadly side-kick, the corporatist media) would present some cinematic challenges even more difficult than putting a death-mask face on a single element of that Empire—- such as Michael did in “Sicko”—- but from someone of his talent, the result could well be a much more informed public across all sectors of this well disguised Empire right in our own homeland.

At the time I suggested such, Michael was consumed with getting out the “Capitalism; A Love Story” film, and Empire was not yet on the tip of everyone’s tongue (or a spear in everyone’s face) as it is now both “abroad”, in the form of endless imperialist wars for oil and weapons sales, and “at home”, in the form of increasing police-state tyranny and crushing economic oppression to cover its massive looting.

However, perhaps now, before the 2012 election illusion, is a great time for Michael to bring out a boffo movie on EMPIRE, which would visually and viscerally grab the attention of the far wider audience of ‘screen oriented’ learners, but utilize the knowledge and awareness of Empire’s deceits and tricks that have been more dryly developed and informed by the literate, organized, critical thinking of progressive intellectuals like: Sheldon Wolin, Michael Parenti, Noam Chomsky, Christopher Hedges, Andrew Bacevich, David Korten, Michael Hardt, Antonio Negri, Justin Raimondo, Ralph Nader, (the late) Howard Zinn, Chalmers Johnson, and some of the hundreds of others who understand the horror, deceit, and methods of this 21st century global guileful EMPIRE, but who are not so good at visually expressing the truth to the majority of the multitude as Michael Moore clearly is on his passionately emotional and learning “screens”.

Alan MacDonald
Sanford, Maine

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By Hydra, October 18, 2010 at 6:16 pm Link to this comment

This is one of the best articles I have ever read. Although I’m not on board with
the theological/religious aspects, it’s well-written, passionate, hard-hitting,
and has many excellent points. As a sociology major I agree with the spirit of
this piece, a spirit which is the driving force to my personal pursuit of
minimalism, slashed consumption of mass media, and cultivation of positive
values in my relationships with others.

Our social fabric resembles cheap kitchen cheesecloth where is should and
could be resembling a rich silk brocade. And the worst part is, everyone thinks
they possess a real understanding of the world around them; that they are
socially aware, free, and not subject to suggestion.

Those of us who are aware of the game have a responsibility not to engage in
nor encourage the type of herd behavior and mentality that’s destroying our
social capital and sense of interconnectedness with one another. Independent
media, quality literature, independently owned businesses, fairly traded
products, and activism are worthwhile endeavors for us. Complimenting friends
on their personality traits and accomplishments rather than their possessions
or looks, and sharing news about what we learn, rather than what we have
purchased or seen on TV….these small activities can make a big difference.

Thanks and be well.

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By Napolean DoneHisPart, October 13, 2010 at 6:07 pm Link to this comment

That’s hilarious Ardee:

“school marm” lol!

Moles abound, always underground, sneaky and searching, trying never to make a sound…

I wonder how many of us are really having a conversation with 3 when we think there are 6 individuals?

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By RenZo, October 13, 2010 at 2:06 pm Link to this comment

Accurate but a bit preachy. I won’t quibble though. Two things can be done. Turn off your TVs permanently. Take back the education of our children. Both of these together will result (after two or so generations) in sanity, and restoration of some semblance of humanity in our values. Until then, alas, all is lost.

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By Inherit The Wind, October 13, 2010 at 9:54 am Link to this comment

“Idiot” “DINO” “Fool” “mole”

The list of name-calling just keeps building up. From one who pretends he’s an advocate of intellectual debate.

I have only one epithet for him: “liar”, but that’s not an insult or a name.  That’s a description of his false depiction of events.

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By elisalouisa, October 13, 2010 at 7:30 am Link to this comment

Sorry, wrong thread.

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By ardee, October 13, 2010 at 6:52 am Link to this comment

Napolean DoneHisPart, October 13 at 12:04 am

When you are appointed school marm here I might just think you had a reason for posting such. I believe it important to note that this neoliberal fool, including the wearing of bells and pointed hats,distorts and runs away. He has been doing such for my entire stay at this forum, over a year and counting.

When asked questions he ducks them, when asked for proof he insults instead. His last effort is another in along and continuing lie, he never responds , to me or anyone else in fact, with proofs or even opinions, only with insult. I give what I receive and he hates it.

That you seek polity and maturity in a forum is a very nice ideal, that I seek to uncover a mole who actually hinders dialogue and chips away at possible progressive solutions is important to me.

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By elisalouisa, October 13, 2010 at 2:58 am Link to this comment

You do have a way with words Joan which brings me to a question: How would you define that experience which is part of believing? Why do some feel unity with God and others do not? My only motive for asking is to find a better way to discuss such matters with those who do not believe. Just putting that out, no need for response.

Another possibility concerning Sam, he could have used 9/11 as a basis to advance atheism and denigrate religious belief and as a sidebar pursue his vilification of Muslims. Sam wants “religious fanaticism” stamped out. All religion goes out the window so to speak. Using a moral point of view concerning the killing of the innocent at 9/11 might not have suited him as the New Atheists are redefining the word “moral”  also.

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By Napolean DoneHisPart, October 12, 2010 at 8:04 pm Link to this comment

ITW and Ardee are enthralled with one another… I can’t get away from their banter….

KNOCK IT OFF ALREADY children!!!!!

It’s obvious you two need to have a Guinness and get to know how similar you two are… and then you poke eyes about how you can’t agree on things because you are BOTH narrow-minded when dealing with indifference.

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By Inherit The Wind, October 12, 2010 at 5:24 pm Link to this comment

Ardee,

I don’t deal with the issues you bring up because I’ve done it many times before and don’t see any point. If you refuse to accept that the Sun rises in the East, the disease is in YOUR brain, not mine.  It doesn’t rise in West, the North or the South, and no matter how you position it, or what you call me, it doesn’t change.  Your continued assertion that there is no difference between the Dems and the GOP, between the Tea party and the left-most wing of the Dems is pure utter BULLSHIT and you KNOW it but don’t want to accept it.  It is YOUR assertion that they are the same but you can’t prove it.

You demand I prove your unprovable assertion wrong, yet the fundamental basis of logic is you don’t prove a negative.

Now you call me “Liar” to go with “Idiot” and “Middle Schooler” and “DINO”.  Obviously, you are desperate to try to shut me up and you are just gonna have to learn the hard way that it’s been tried many times here before, by tougher and more persistent posters than you.  And I’m still here.  I don’t get intimidated so you might as well stop trying.

I’m old enough and smart enough to know every dirty trick guys like you use when you find you cannot make a point you’ve been able to make with less well-equipped opponents.  So you drag out the name-calling and the attempts to challenge my intelligence, my integrity, and even pretend I haven’t laid out facts.  You try to marshal others against me, as if I actually care.  I don’t.

I’ve seen every tactic you’re trying because you don’t have the only ones I acknowledge: Unimpeachable facts and ironclad logic to draw sound inferences from them.  I have no problem turning on a dime when I see them, and I’ve done it many, many times here, given in to superior facts and logic.

You don’t have that.

Until you can come up with those two things, you are stuck with insults, name-calling and aspersions of my character, which only piss me off, but don’t change my POV or intimidate me into shutting up.  To attempt to intimidate me is simply futile.

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By Napolean DoneHisPart, October 12, 2010 at 9:33 am Link to this comment

Denial is a very powerful thing.

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By Leefeller, October 12, 2010 at 9:20 am Link to this comment

Still the bickering goes on, when after the dust settles if either side gets its fantasist agenda fulfilled, what is to say it will not be a mistake?

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By ardee, October 12, 2010 at 9:04 am Link to this comment

Inherit The Wind, October 11 at 9:44 pm

By my own count this is the umptey eighth post in which you have refused to deal with the issues or with the Democratic Party actions and inaction that I have posted on several occasions.

Is it any wonder I continue to diminish your value and your methods? You are become a tiresome and boring little liar and your ridiculously over the top loyalty sans backbone is only worthy of a middle school debating contest.

I do apologize to middle schoolers everywhere.

Now, go back to your twilight zone world in which all progressives are the enemy.

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By Inherit The Wind, October 11, 2010 at 5:44 pm Link to this comment

Ardee:

Please keep your advice to yourself, with your hypocritical pompousity.  You have heaped insults on my by the cartload solely because I won’t concede that your outlandish misreading of history and politics have any validity whatsoever.  You live in pipe-dream of bizarre fantasies and are outraged and incensed because I not only refuse to join you in it, but because I name it for what it is—nonsense. 

You continue this because I refuse to be intimidated by you so your abuse increases each time.  Now, on another thread, you called me an “idiot”. Who’s the childish one?

I have simply defended myself against your repeated ad hominem attacks, taunts and insults. Tougher and nastier posters have tried your tactics on me, Ardee, and all have failed.  Many no longer post here, for reasons I can only guess.  I have out-lasted them all.  If you make it necessary I can and will out-last you, too. 

But it’s not necessary.  Cease insulting and calling me names.  That ball has always been in your court. 

Are you going to be an adult or continue to imitate a spoiled brat?

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By ardee, October 11, 2010 at 11:32 am Link to this comment

Inherit The Wind, October 9 at 11:40 am

I urge you to stop this before you have completely destroyed all your remaining ( and very scant) credibility. You condemned yourself by your version of a political history in which progressives became the scapegoats for all the incompetence of your beloved party, for the failure of the Carter administration as well.

You said it, now you must live with it. I think this entire debate is over and done. You are become as a raving lunatic and no one I would wish to continue a conversation with as your end is a diatribe based upon your own needs and interpretations. Sad for you, but tedious for me, and perhaps for the forum as a whole.

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By Inherit The Wind, October 9, 2010 at 7:40 am Link to this comment

Ardee,

You’ve lost all perception of what honest debate means. So you persist in insulting me and deliberately mis-characterizing me and my beliefs.  Now it’s as “Blue Dog”. 

I ask the following rhetorical question:

How can someone who constantly asserts that there’s no difference between Democrats and Republicans determine the fine (or even blunt) differences between different groupings of either?

Thus, you, by your own premise, recognize no difference between Teaparty, religious right-wingers, moderate Republicans, Blue Dog Democrats, Centrist Democrats, Liberal Democrats and Progressive Democrats.  Your premise asserts they are all one and the same.  That has always been your premise and assertion.

The conclusion is that your calling me a “Blue Dog” is utterly meaningless since you could call me a Progressive Democrat or a Teabagger Republican and they’d all mean the same thing…to you.

Therefore your selection of “Blue Dog” can only mean that you intend it as an insult, pure and simple, because it cannot be a description of my political POV.

I find your continued attacks on me despicable and indicative of a childish and infantile mentality.  That is my opinion.

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By ardee, October 7, 2010 at 3:13 pm Link to this comment

Inherit The Wind, October 7 at 12:44 pm

By your own words you confess to being a blue dog at best. It was you that condemned progressives for daring to criticize the democratic party, in fact you said that they were “destroying” that party, had destroyed the Carter Presidency and other such crap as that. Now you intimate that you are one? Oh no little man it doesn’t work that way at all.

Thus your reference to words and meanings may simply be a case of your projecting your own miserable failure to convince anyone that your party is worthy of ones vote upon another target, in this case all progressives.

There is nothing wrong with standing alone, certainly, if your beliefs are sound to you. But it is rather obvious by your inability to express those reasons for loyalty to your party, your refusal to come to grips with the numerous and factual points I have laid out for your perusal and rebuttal, and on numerous occasions too.

Oh no, instead you slip into ranting about how your party has been prevented from doing good things by those dreadful and wascally wabbits, progressives. Now you call me am elitist and worse, all because I pose questions that would crack your insane and inane loyalty should you dare to let them enter much less attempt rebuttal.

Phony little fellow, insult away, but as long as you do not enter into an honest debate you only betray yourself and show your beliefs to be small, as small as are you in fact.

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By Napolean DoneHisPart, October 7, 2010 at 9:05 am Link to this comment

Too bad the bozos in CONgress don’t hear hear too well… but they will… soon.

The ‘average’ Amerikan needs to DISCONNECT from feeding the troughs of the rich by supporting their systems of finance, retail AND electorate.

FOLKS, DO NOT THROW AWAY YOUR VOTE!

Vote for ANY OTHER THIRD PARTY other than the two headed dragon.

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By Inherit The Wind, October 7, 2010 at 8:44 am Link to this comment

Ardee:

Join GRYM in his “Humpty-Dumpty Club” where words mean exactly what you want them to at that moment, no more, no less.

If you think I’m a right-winger then you have re-defined the word, lumping me in with Newt, Palin and O’Donnell.  And that means you are now truly delusional.

Or just a vicious and deliberate liar.  One of the two.  Sadly, there’s no third option for you.

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By Anarcissie, October 7, 2010 at 7:06 am Link to this comment

jdelassus, October 6 at 10:47 pm:

‘There’s a number of idiot dilettantes posting here that think they are doing something by not voting.  That’s stupid!  You have no power.  Zero, except for that one, tiny little vote.  That’s all you got and you’re going to throw it away. ...’

Well, you’re certainly throwing it away if you vote for what you think is a lesser evil.

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By jdelassus, October 6, 2010 at 6:47 pm Link to this comment

There’s a number of idiot dilettantes posting here that think they are doing something by not voting.  That’s stupid!  You have no power.  Zero, except for that one, tiny little vote.  That’s all you got and you’re going to throw it away.

That’s exactly what right wing extremists want - from the Koch brothers on down.  Maybe you are actually stooges for them and getting paid for your pathetic comments that attempt to nullify the left.  The right is wrong.  They were wrong about Vietnam, they were wrong about weed, they are wrong about Iraq, they are wrong about Afghanistan.  They are wrong about the future of this country.  And just like them, you are wrong also. 

All this apocalyptic writing is preposterous.  Yeah, we could be incinerated in an instant in the next moment.  The sword of Damocles hangs over all our heads all the time.  You could be gone tomorrow never to be heard of again.  BUT, is that likely.  No, so we all have to play the game of percentages.  Most of us will live many years if we are lucky.  The vast right wing conspiracy is NOT going to usher in a fascist state.  Yeah, I could be wrong but the overwhelming odds are that it ain’t gonna happen.  Some people get carried away with all this conspiracy non-sense.  There are those that get off by seeing how gullible some people are. You’re being duped and you are an idiot!  Try thinking for yourself and watch out for the paid stooges!

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By ardee, October 6, 2010 at 2:28 pm Link to this comment

Inherit The Wind, October 4 at 11:50 pm Link to this comment

Ardee, insult away. I’m tired of your pointless venom.  Why don’t you take it on some right-winger?

That is exactly what I am doing.You, by the very definition of your blaming Progressives for the failures of your party, are such. I still gotta chuckle whenever I am reminded of your screed regarding the progressives responsibility…A great deal of scary madness indeed, ITW.

Also, this is your umpteenth post avoiding any specifics to the questions I posed regarding the worth, veracity and competence of your beloved Democratic Party. It seems that all you got is ‘vote against the GOP’ repeated ad infinitum and ad nauseum. It is understood as defending said party seems an impossible task, especially if facts are required.

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By Thorne, October 6, 2010 at 11:38 am Link to this comment

Chris, An outstanding piece with so many irrefutable awarenesses… But helping people reach “EKSTASIS”... that is the question. Please point out workable solutions to our societal quandary. We know the masses ignore the pursuit of wisdom and intelligent living. And until this changes, we cannot look for world trajectory to alter course in any meaningful way.

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By Inherit The Wind, October 4, 2010 at 7:50 pm Link to this comment

Ardee, insult away. I’m tired of your pointless venom.  Why don’t you take it on some right-winger?

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By isound, October 3, 2010 at 2:02 pm Link to this comment

Reading this… I need to post:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DQsk_Hfgi6E

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By melanie, October 3, 2010 at 8:25 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

as usual, i feel eviscerated after a hedges article.
and i couldn’t agree more…however, i do love gaming;
i was given an atari and a tv at age 5 and have had a
gaming system ever since; i’m 35.

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By ardee, October 3, 2010 at 6:39 am Link to this comment

Inherit The Wind, September 30 at 7:00 pm

Bottom line oh reactionary one…Why is it that you point to no accomplishments of this Democratic administration these last two years? Oh, yes, because there arent any!

Dont even try to use health care as a prop because all that rancid bill does is assure insurance industry continued usurious profits.

Out of Iraq? Well, excepting for fifty thousand heavily armed “peacekeepers and unknown and unmentioned hoards of mercenaries spreading the words of democracy and acting like fascists.

Ending torture? Or rendition? Closing secret and not so secret prisons? What you got oh far right wing and deluded little phoney?

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By thisisnotmybeautifulcapestfranciswave, October 2, 2010 at 10:49 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The sharp image of the screen is difficult to pass over. Thus, the mesmorized say the path to salvation is difficult.

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By kukai, September 30, 2010 at 11:16 pm Link to this comment

Wonderful writing, de profundis; I couldn’t agree more.  For more truth on the disastrous impact of corporate dominance on the everyday lives of Americans, take your shovel and dig into Michael Moore’s latest movie, “Capitalism: A Love Story.”

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By Inherit The Wind, September 30, 2010 at 3:00 pm Link to this comment

Buell, huh?  OK.  Enjoy your air ride for as long as you can afford it.  And I’ll enjoy my FJR—as long as I can afford it.  Luckily it requires far less maintenance and parts are ‘WAY cheaper.

There’s one absolute way to prove you wrong, but the problem is that requires the Re-thugs sweeping into power and completing the destruction they’ve been bent on.  Frankly, it’s not worth it to prove you wrong.  Otherwise, you’ll have to sell the Harley and I’ll have to sell the Yamaha.

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By ardee, September 30, 2010 at 2:24 pm Link to this comment

Inherit The Wind, September 29 at 9:43 pm

You should continue to try and spell “Buell” sooner or later you will get it right. My air ride HD is comfort personified. But the darn thing does leak air and needs refilling often!

You may continue to believe that a democratic vote achieves more than one for the GOP but the history of our politics these last two years shows you to be plainly wrong. What can you point to about the democrats “achievements” with a majority in Congress and the White House as well…Not very damn much and certainly nothing of consequence.

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By Sodium-Na, September 30, 2010 at 11:54 am Link to this comment

ITW,

It is Churchill Down,not Kentucky Downs as you have claimed in your conversation with good ol’ardee;and as you usually err in your wild imagination,like the FDA cure. You probably need it more than I do!!

Cheers….

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By jdelassus, September 30, 2010 at 11:25 am Link to this comment

By Anarcissie, September 30 at 3:19 pm Link to this comment

Well, as Uncle Karl said, the point is not just to understand the world, but to change it.

==================================================
Yes, very true!

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By Anarcissie, September 30, 2010 at 11:19 am Link to this comment

Well, as Uncle Karl said, the point is not just to understand the world, but to change it.

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By jdelassus, September 30, 2010 at 10:46 am Link to this comment

By Leefeller, September 30 at 12:33 pm Link to this comment

Anarcessi,...... preachy is what it is!

It seems some people are so very at home with preachy.  Am I the only one who sees the hypocrisy here, it seems hypocrites never see their own, but this weeks Hedges article seems most blatant preachy and hypocritical, as his following of gadflies seem to love rolling in their own preachy hypocrisy.

Let’s see;.....  The electronic world is so bad for you while the Catholic church abuses children. Isn’t it so terrible and disgusting for the whole world this electronic crap which I love to hate, as the world burns, .......My I-pad is the bane of society announced by the flocking gadflies in their usual mode of hypocritical excellence.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

I would say it’s not the electronic devices but the way in which they are used.  They say the West is seduced by the image of itself.  Maybe that is why we are so obsessed by this stuff.  I think Hedges is warning us of this and that there are negative consequences to the misuse of technology.  Clearly we could be using information technology in better ways than just entertainment.

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By Inherit The Wind, September 30, 2010 at 10:30 am Link to this comment

I have followed his (Hedges) writings for more than 20 years and I somehow developed a sense of understanding of what he is after.

****************************

I think the FDA just approved a cure for that!  smile

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By Sodium-Na, September 30, 2010 at 9:55 am Link to this comment

For Anarcissie:

Anar,

I wish I have the time to engage you in a constructive dialogue and prove that Chris Hedges writings encampass not only Television but much much more.

Yes,on the surface it does appear he was talking about TV and pop culture. His target is the whole social order or disorder,not only TV.

I have followed his writings for more than 20 years and I somehow developed a sense of understanding of what he is after.

At any rate,nothing is really worth getting depressed about. Nothing! I wanted to mention this to you sometimes way back,but for some reason I had forgotten all about it.

Cheers….

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By Napolean DoneHisPart, September 30, 2010 at 8:59 am Link to this comment

Any riders going to Vegas Bike week this week?  All my buddies except for me are going :(

Maybe I could just rent something and make it!?!?!

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By Napolean DoneHisPart, September 30, 2010 at 8:57 am Link to this comment

Sodium-Na, thank you for your kind words and for appreciating my efforts / what I write…. I’m trying to bring things to light… and trying to be as objective and unbiased as possible ( good luck to us all on that one, huh? ).

Also, just for the record:

I am probably the BIGGEST hypocrite this side of the rocky mountains…. but who isn’t… at least who isn’t to some degree… all of us are on slippery slopes my friends… even when you don’t admit it.

“In politics, absurdity is not a handicap.”

  - Napoleon Bonaparte

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By Leefeller, September 30, 2010 at 8:33 am Link to this comment

Anarcessi,...... preachy is what it is!

It seems some people are so very at home with preachy.  Am I the only one who sees the hypocrisy here, it seems hypocrites never see their own, but this weeks Hedges article seems most blatant preachy and hypocritical, as his following of gadflies seem to love rolling in their own preachy hypocrisy.

Let’s see;.....  The electronic world is so bad for you while the Catholic church abuses children. Isn’t it so terrible and disgusting for the whole world this electronic crap which I love to hate, as the world burns, .......My I-pad is the bane of society announced by the flocking gadflies in their usual mode of hypocritical excellence.

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By elisalouisa, September 30, 2010 at 7:04 am Link to this comment

                    When all the while we know

                        The problem is within

 

New Subject: I shall be away from the blogsphere for a while,for health reasons. Meanwhile,I will take care of my website with the little time I may be able to squeeze at the end of the day,if I am not totally exhausted.
************
So sorry to hear that Sodium-Na: We shall miss you. We will be checking your website. Not to worry Sodium-Na for one of the ways a columnist’s popularity is measured is by posts after a column. Thus we also know that those who seek to discredit Chris Hedges actually do him a favor for the controversy is of
benefit to such a writer, especially knowing that, unlike talk show hosts, he does nothing deliberately to perpetuate this controversy. We know that those wonderful words of truth comparable to fine lace as one poster put it, anger some; we are saddened that not all have the capacity to appreciate fine art
expressed through the medium of the pen. Not being in that realm of understanding we know creates anger toward Chris Hedges, thus we feel some posters vent out negative moods thinking Chris Hedges is the problem when all the while we know the problem is within for those posters who put him down week after week perhaps because, we feel, Mr. Hedges does not promote their agenda. Perhaps? That is what we sense. Perhaps. Ciao.

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By Anarcissie, September 30, 2010 at 6:43 am Link to this comment

Sodium-Na, September 30 at 7:32 am:

‘Although I personally have appreciated reading your quote of Frederick Douglass,some posters who are anti-Chris Hedges’ writings for their own reasons/agenda may consider the quote another “hysteria?”,which in reality is not,under the coditions and circumstances of the massive problems America facing now-adays.’

There are some differences between Douglass and Hedges.  For one thing, Douglass was talking about slavery, not television.  For another, Douglass proposed to do something about slavery, not just bemoan it.  Hedges occasionally seems to rise to the point of suggesting that something might be done, but by and large he is satisfied with his role of Jeremiah.  As, apparently, are most of his audience.  ‘Everyone must do such-and-such’ fantasies don’t count; they are not actual plans to do anything.

What most offends me about Hedges, though, is his preacherly ‘we’.  As it happens, ‘we’ do not spend out days gaping at Lady Gaga on TV.  You may; Hedges may; I do not even own a television and haven’t for decades.  If you find the media are raddling your brain, don’t say ‘we’; say ‘I’.  Now you have agency.  You can pull the plug, and cart your television down to the local free store, or old age home, or prison, or other dump, and get rid of it.  Then maybe you’ll be able to do something besides sit around in sackcloth and ashes beating your breasts and tearing your hair out.

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By Sodium-Na, September 30, 2010 at 5:57 am Link to this comment

Re: JDmysticDJ,September 29 at 1:48 pm.

Quote
=====

But I whole heartedly agree with his analysis of current realities and his desire for a more rational and humane reality.

Unquote
=======

JDmysticDJ,

In essence,that is the WHOLE POINT,exactly as you have expressed it in your comment quoted above.

If anyone fails to detect that from Hedges’ relentless,honest and eloquent writings,it is just too bad.

Thanks,JD,for saying it better than I could.

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By Sodium-Na, September 30, 2010 at 5:32 am Link to this comment

Re: elisalouisa,September 28 at 5:11 pm.

Quote
======

You(r) post Sodium-Na 9/28 8:59 a.m. elaborates further on this Chris Hedges column,substantiating his writing with proof. Especially in this age where altruistic undertaking is not in the vogue and technological barbarism not only exists but is admired,posts that contains facts add dimension to this thread.

Unquote
========

elisa,

As you put it,“technological barbarism not only exists,but admired”,may be the case,that’s indeed admired,I must say,by the thoughtless who cannot see further than the tip of thier noses.

When financial bankruptcy is no longer can be hidden or denied,admiration of the technological barbarism will end up as something to be reckoned with: most likely,admiration will abruptly change to rejection of the technological barbarism,when it is too late,since admiration of TB has already bankrupted the country.

Thanks,elisa,for your sensible comments.

New Subject: I shall be away from the blogsphere for a while,for health reasons. Meanwhile,I will take care of my website with the little time I may be able to squeeze at the end of the day,if I am not totally exhausted.

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By Sodium-Na, September 30, 2010 at 3:32 am Link to this comment

Re: Kanomi Blake,September 29 at 4:34 pm.

Although I personally have appreciated reading your quote of Frederick Douglass,some posters who are anti-Chris Hedges’ writings for their own reasons/agenda may consider the quote another “hysteria?”,which in reality is not,under the coditions and circumstances of the massive problems America facing now-adays.

Thank you,Kanomi,for a fine quote that fits the occasion,indeed.

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By Sodium-Na, September 30, 2010 at 2:55 am Link to this comment

Re: Napolean DoneHispart,September 29 at 6:27 pm.

Quote
======

What is this world of illusion Chris talks about?

http//freedocumentaries.org/teatro.php?filmID=87&lan=en&size=big

Unquote
========

Napolean,

Although a lengthy lik,it is worth every minute I spent watching it. Some of the discourse in it is well known to me since I read couple books written about it. But,I also learned plenty from watching it.

I hope that everyone who is truly interested in expanding his or her horizon about what Chris Hedges has been talking about would also watch it and learn.

Thank you,Napolean,for graciously providing a documentary link which gives more credence to what Chris Hedges has been pointing to all along.

Who really lives in a closed world of illusion is not Chris Hedges but those who have their own covert reasons for attacking him week in and week out. One is compelled to raise the question: Since some posters are so critical of Chris Hedges and his writings,why they bother reading his column every week,in the first place??

Ten or twelve years ago,I used to watch Rupert Murdoch’s FIXED NEWS. Gradually,I realized that I was watching nothing but cheap propaganda,an insult to me as a human being with five senses I could use to differentiate between right and wrong. I had decided then that FIXED NEWS was not for me and stopped watching it and never looked back ever since.

Why others do not do the same about Chris Hedges,the talented and honest writer/journalist,whom they seem to enjoy either attacking or ridiculing,while in fact,they ridicule themselves,not Chris Hedges.

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By basho, September 30, 2010 at 1:14 am Link to this comment

excellent post Chris

reading some of the comments that it generated are convincing evidence that you are spot on with your analysis.

sheeple, bahh

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By Inherit The Wind, September 29, 2010 at 5:43 pm Link to this comment

You ought to try an FJR on your trip…In addition to the same comfort, you’ll have handling that will be a lot closer to the Beuhl, and power far greater.

I guess you think I should be “looking through your personal lens of opinionated loyalty to all things…” that doesn’t face reality and pretend, like creationists, that the Everest of evidence that Republicans are ‘WAY worse than Democrats doesn’t exist.

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By ardee, September 29, 2010 at 3:15 pm Link to this comment

“Buehls were cool but far to extreme for me to fit on one.  I’m sorry they are gone. “

..but not forgotten, the Buell 1125RS is still being made, racing version only ..I’ll take my Road King Classic for comfort , excellent handling for a road machine and its slightly ‘modified for more guts’ internals. If you want to go from my home to Vegas I doubt you’d find a more comfortable two wheel experience. It sure beats the crap out of my old hardtails, which I twice rode from SF to NYC…ahhh youth, ahhh bleeding hemorrhoids!

As to the order of commentary;

You posted first, a snarky critique.
Seven laudatory comments follow and mine was the eighth…..sheesh dude.

As to the comparison of Hedges with your cartoon harbinger of doom, I think you need to stop looking through your personal lens of opinionated loyalty to all things democratic. The article would hardly fit on a sign, it contains far more specificity than “the end is near”, and is a quite refreshing truth about our present condition. It is also a clarion call to wake the hell up but then you slumber with the democratic fishes don’t you.

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By Napolean DoneHisPart, September 29, 2010 at 2:43 pm Link to this comment

Who does care for the chattel?

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By jdelassus, September 29, 2010 at 2:28 pm Link to this comment

By omygodnotagain, September 29 at 3:02 pm Link to this comment

One can write any number of articles about what is wrong with any society, past or present. The main issue today is none of the reasons Hedges gave, the main issue is the one identified by Nietzche. When we have dispensed with religion as most of the West has, what is the purpose of life. Everyone rich and poor if they are honest is looking for purpose. Wealthy connected people that purpose can be how much can I accumulate before I die, for another it can be travelling around the world, for another disappearing into the fantasy world of celebrity or even worse being an avid Yankees fan. All modern technology does is give momentary distraction from the pointlessness of everything. Even reading books is pointless, I have spent thousands of hours reading thousands of books, and none have given me the answer… what’s the purpose of it all. Books are just another distraction

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

I believe you are right.  You are not going to find answers in books although they may guide you in the right direction.  We all need to listen to that voice inside for answers.  No matter how feint or weak.  And, of course, that requires a certain amount of time and blocking out all other distractions.  Answers will come.  You might start with the question of what is it that you really, truly want?

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By Napolean DoneHisPart, September 29, 2010 at 2:27 pm Link to this comment

What is this world of illusions Chris talks about?

http://freedocumentaries.org/teatro.php?filmID=87&lan=en&size=big

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By Inherit The Wind, September 29, 2010 at 2:09 pm Link to this comment

Remember in the 50’s and 60’s a popular image was of a guy in a robe, barefoot, with a long white beard, and long unkempt hair, partially bald, skinny, with a crazed and glazed look in his eyes, carrying a sign saying “Repent! The end is near!”?

That’s what I think of when Chris Hedges writes one of these tirades—him in that robe, barefoot, with the sign…...

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By Anarcissie, September 29, 2010 at 1:45 pm Link to this comment

My goodness, lots of people have a case of the we’s today, don’t they?  Caught ‘em from Hedges, I bet.

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By NellieO231, September 29, 2010 at 1:18 pm Link to this comment

I agree with a lot of the article, like “We can ridicule the poor, the ignorant and the weak all day long on trash-talk shows and reality television shows.” and his point about while all the world is running-a-ground around us, instead of becoming engaged many people ritually “flick on a screen and are entranced”.

However, the author totally missed the point about the outpouring of “grief” when Michael Jackson died. I firmly believe that it was just the opposite. The vast majority of the public never felt like they “knew” him. The grief (or whatever it was) was not about personal “loss”. The only “Michael Jackson” that most of the public knew was the one that had been fabricated by the for-profit media. The same kind of media-machine that uses Lindsay Lohan etc. for fodder to increase profits. He wasn’t thought of as a “dear loved one”. He was widely thought of as “weird”, “whacko’ or worse a “child molester”. All based on lies that the press used, fabricated & manipulated for their own profits. The same public that enjoys watching people on these reality shows be embarrassed, ridiculed & ruined, enjoyed the spectacle that the press had made out of Jackson. It was all good fun. Right? But, deep-down I believe that many knew that it wasn’t true. They were just too “entertained” to step back and see what they had become.

I firmly believe that the “outpouring” was more out of a collective guilt and realization that perhaps the “bullys” in our society had taken it a bit too far and now it was too late to take any of it back. It’s like that verse from “Big Yellow Tax"i, “Don’t it always seem to go, That you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone”

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By Kanomi Blake, September 29, 2010 at 12:34 pm Link to this comment

Thank you Chris for another eloquent and incisive critique of the passive narcissism and technophilia that afflicts us.

I’ve known too many otherwise intelligent, supposedly educated individuals who fill the gaping void in their lives, who combat that swirling sense of wrongness, with naked techno-idolatry and the worship of worthless brands.

And to those who complain about Hedges’ Jeremiadian style, I am reminded of a famous quote:

“For it is not light that is needed, but fire; it is not the gentle shower, but thunder. We need the storm, the whirlwind, and the earthquake. The feeling of the nation must be quickened; the conscience of the nation must be roused; the propriety of the nation must be startled; the hypocrisy of the nation must be exposed; and its crimes against God and man must be proclaimed and denounced.”

  - Frederick Douglass

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By omygodnotagain, September 29, 2010 at 11:02 am Link to this comment

One can write any number of articles about what is wrong with any society, past or present. The main issue today is none of the reasons Hedges gave, the main issue is the one identified by Nietzche. When we have dispensed with religion as most of the West has, what is the purpose of life. Everyone rich and poor if they are honest is looking for purpose. Wealthy connected people that purpose can be how much can I accumulate before I die, for another it can be travelling around the world, for another disappearing into the fantasy world of celebrity or even worse being an avid Yankees fan. All modern technology does is give momentary distraction from the pointlessness of everything. Even reading books is pointless, I have spent thousands of hours reading thousands of books, and none have given me the answer… what’s the purpose of it all. Books are just another distraction

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By JDmysticDJ, September 29, 2010 at 9:48 am Link to this comment

Hedges is tormented by his version of reality, this torment, I believe, causes him to use his consummate skills to seemingly overstate his concerns to near hallucinatory proportions.  Unfortunately, Hedges version of reality is, in my opinion, very real in most respects.  Fearful of reality, many are unable, or unwilling, to see reality. Blinded by screens, screeds, trivialities, personal prejudices, personal beliefs, and ideologies that Hedges doesn’t endorse, we become critical. The little dogs always yip at the big dog’s heels.

Sometimes not readily apparent, and concealed within his seemingly cynical, gloom and doom scenarios, is his anguished cry for a more rational and humane reality. Oddly, many who denigrate humanity and human potential ascribe to Hedges’ gloomy observations while ignoring Hedges’ intended message.

I personally disagree with Hedges on strategic issues, and I object to what I consider to be his counter productive condemnations of those most inclined towards humanitarian concerns, and are our only rational hope of improving conditions, but I whole heartedly agree with his analysis of current realities and his desire for a more rational and humane reality.

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By Napolean DoneHisPart, September 29, 2010 at 7:13 am Link to this comment

Good stuff those last few posts.. making sense of the division found upon ALL the Amerikan public because of the media and messages of governNerds with their chattel managing policies…

True, in order to ‘rise above’ the daily deluge of the working stiff, one need to divide his labor among others… or rent others out to do his labor / business completely… and those folks who manage their own chattel still have their eyes on the Joneses and what they just bought this summer.. and on up the food chain.

Folks are sold on Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous… and fall for it everyday.  Look at your shopping habits, your Starbucks… and consider the sheeple who are into Stock Car racing… or hunting…

So dog eats dog and blames who?

The biggest dog on the block?

Or the fat cat having everyone for dinner at the end of the day?

People don’t particularly ‘know’ they have been enslaved psychologically and have been lead to ignorantly ‘accept’ the way things are… and thus pledge blind allegiance to the flag… and further pursue that fiat fake green toilet paper regardless of who’s promoting the public’s suicidal public policy.

The boob tube is the ‘ALL AGES PACIFIER’ isn’t it folks?

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By Anarcissie, September 29, 2010 at 5:35 am Link to this comment

Bageant sells books.  Books are bought, mostly, by middle-class, in fact, upper-middle-class people, who enjoy self-deprecation as a pastime.  In the ‘60s and the ‘70s it was mostly about race; the environment and the White working class followed.  It’s something like (White) mall rats buying all the Hip-Hop records denouncing Whitey.  The curses of the injured and defeated are yet another adornment of the victorious.

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By mj, September 29, 2010 at 2:46 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Thanks to the few rational people (“Inherit”) who see through Hedges’ absurd and idiotic act. He is a high-culture religious drone, rehashing the same anti-popular culture piety that priests and old folks have been bashing the Kids with since the dawn of laughter and sex.
The problems do not originate with the TV shows and Internet pron and entertainment spectacles, which reflect people’s leisure-time choices, but with the high culture and elite political systems that Hedges represents: Harvard, Christianity, ascetic speechifying, self-ennobling intellectuals.
Those institutions, reeking always of unearned superiority, are what animate Hedges and support the reigning social order, as he intones over and over in his plodding, bizarre, stupefying way.
He is our modern Parson Weems, locked in irrational veneration of religion, autistic reading, tedious depression, and unreflective thinking. Who is he to see such folly in others yet none in himself?

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By jdelassus, September 29, 2010 at 2:06 am Link to this comment

By ChaviztaKing, September 29 at 3:20 am Link to this comment

Political Writter Joe Bageant hates the middle class. he says that the middle class is like an alternative oppressor class. They live with the wealth created by lower class workers.  Take a look at Joe Bageant talking about how evil the middle classes are, they are fascists, and don’t care about the poors

———————————————————————————————

I think what Joe Bageant doesn’t see is that probably to a large extent this has been a Republican strategy.  That explains why their political message has been dumbed down.  Apparently their strategy is to divide the middle and lower classes with the politics of resentment.  Also Joe doesn’t seem to realize that there has been considerable economic pressure on the so-called middle class that makes it more difficult to be empathetic towards those of lesser financial resources.

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By truedigger3, September 29, 2010 at 2:01 am Link to this comment

Re: By ChaviztaKing, September 29 at 3:20 am

ChaviztaKing wrote:
“Political Writter Joe Bageant hates the middle class. he says that the middle class is like an alternative oppressor class. They live with the wealth created by lower class workers.  Take a look at Joe Bageant talking about how evil the middle classes are, they are fascists, and don’t care about the poors”
—————————————————————————-

ChaviztaKing,
I think you misunderstood what Joe Bageant said and put some words in his mouth that he didn’t say.
Joe Bageant doesn’t hate the middle class but he does not like the liberals or ,to be exact, the “neo-liberals” class of the East and West coasts who forgot that liberalism is about shaing and protecting and defending the average Joes/Janes against the avarice and exploitation of the moneyed/corporate class.
Those “neo-liberalrs” forgot the real true spirit of sharing and of economic and social justice of true classical liberalism and now look with smugness and arrogance down on the working average people.
Those “neo-liberals” care only about some cultural , gender, sexual orientation issues and completely forgot about the right of average citizens to living wage jobs, secure decent retirement, good public education, affordable health care etc etc.
Most ot those neo-liberals talk and care about is gay marriage, glass ceiling, abortion etc etc which doesn’t resonate with the average citizens with their current plight.

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By Textynn, September 29, 2010 at 12:20 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

My family doesn’t watch tv anymore. We haven’t had cable for over ten years but with the switch to dtv we don’t even get the few channels we did get.

I actually really like it. My home and the people in my home are the starring characters at any given moment. We aren’t spending uncountable hours a week watching tv and basically doing nothing. We are more focused on our actual real lives. I feel more focused overall. We read books and use the Internet. At least this focuses on our specific interests and we choose second by second what we want in front of us.

I hope America can wake up and stop the insanity.  I hope America can find its way out of the two party house of mirrors and take back our country and regain our democracy, starting with prosecuting for false flags and anything corrupt leading to war.

Single Payer for all would lift all boats and get the money flowing in our economy.  The outsourcing bill that tanked today shows just how corrupt the controllers are.

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By ChaviztaKing, September 28, 2010 at 11:20 pm Link to this comment

Political Writter Joe Bageant hates the middle class. he says that the middle class is like an alternative oppressor class. They live with the wealth created by lower class workers.  Take a look at Joe Bageant talking about how evil the middle classes are, they are fascists, and don’t care about the poors

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vYaqEgyrh1M

.

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By Napolean DoneHisPart, September 28, 2010 at 9:32 pm Link to this comment

ChaviztaKing, true that intellectuals would rather suggest the solution or tweet it / blog it than actually have to go out the front door and stand in front of a crowd and speak it.

Nice who could do that and more.

We also need to see how those attempts failed through already tainted words and definitions like ‘socialist’ something or other, we need to come up with some new words defining a new shift in application of human resources.

Let’s look at how attempts to forge an equitable path apart from ‘state’ or ‘system’ control have been defeated and how to learn from that… One I know for sure is ‘who prints the money’ and how that system is founded and funded. 

Anything downwind of the IMF, FED, etc. smells of debt / economic slavery to me, especially when what happened time and time before and has happened just the same in 1929 and screwed all those folks that time too… as we see also today sadly folks who ‘didn’t’ know the game, were played and lost. 

Thus the need for a Fiscal Education.

Anarcissie, what you wrote is a nice blueprint of the new paradigm shift ‘to be doing’ list.  I don’t think anything short of violating someone’s personal rights or property to be too radical at all…

de profundis clamavi, that’s a great one for barbecues, and I like mine well done!  The irony is too close to home sometimes, don’t you just hate it?

If folks had not fallen for the carrot on a stick trick, WE wouldn’t be in this mess.. and if the shysters who committed the fraud were found out from top to bottom, well… People would call it a witch hunt instead of ‘bringing justice to people’ or whatever wink

But it seems when you know how to game the system and all participants are well-compensated associates, you are sure to slide on by with simply a nod and a hand shake, aren’t you Hank Paulson and company?

What scholars and gentlemen, cheers!

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By Inherit The Wind, September 28, 2010 at 7:50 pm Link to this comment

Actually, Ardee, by the time you posted there were three….but if it’s so trivial why do YOU see fit to comment on it?

Enjoy your ride. But you can’t make a Clydesdale into a Thoroughbred.  Both are fine horses (for the little I know about horses—they pull stuff, race, leave INCREDIBLY large piles, and attract horseflies).  But one ain’t built to run at Kentucky Downs and the other is.

Buehls were cool but far to extreme for me to fit on one.  I’m sorry they are gone.

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By Anarcissie, September 28, 2010 at 7:14 pm Link to this comment

I’ve seen several homeless people with working televisions over the years.  Where there’s a will there’s a way.  There is some way of getting power out of a lamppost if you know what you’re doing.  I suppose the new digital-only order complicates things, though.

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By jdyf333, September 28, 2010 at 7:06 pm Link to this comment

Being homeless, I never have to worry about having a television in the house…

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By cheyennebode, September 28, 2010 at 5:32 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

“THE YELLOW ASTIGMATIC EYE RESOUNDS…BLEAK IS ALL THAT DOTH
SURROUND…”

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By Anarcissie, September 28, 2010 at 5:02 pm Link to this comment

I find it quite possible to avoid television by not having one in the house.

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By jdyf333, September 28, 2010 at 4:45 pm Link to this comment

I agree with Mr. Hedges. I am pretty certain that watching movies (or television)
is not a good idea!!!!!!!!!! (“Don’t tell me there is something good on TV.”—-Eric
Rasmussen, January 2009, in ‘FarWest Almanac’,Vol.2 Issue 5, published in
Topanga, California.) Unfortunately, to make sense of most of what is being
presented on a television or movie screen, people have to suspend the obvious
disbelief they should have. Apparently it doesn’t take long for most people to
permanently forget that they are suspending disbelief and as a consequence
actually buy into delusional mainstream propaganda….(Television
“programs”...television “programming”...yikes!!!) ACTORS AND ACTRESSES ARE,
BY DEFINITION, LIARS. PEOPLE WHO ENJOY BEING LIED TO ARE FOOLS. When
Picasso accurately noted that ‘art is the lie that shows us the truth’, he was
referring to genuine art, not to movies or television. The extent to which
disbelief must be suspended in order to comprehend and/or enjoy a movie or a
television show is much, much, much greater than the extent to which disbelief
must be suspended, if at all, in order to understand and/or enjoy a drawing or
a painting. In the painting of a tobacco pipe, “La trahison des images” (“The
Treachery of Images”) by Belgian surrealist René Magritte, the words “Ceci n’est
pas une pipe” (“This is not a pipe”) are written beneath the image of the pipe.
To contemplate and/or enjoy the meanings of the painting does not require the
viewer to assume the pipe depicted is really a pipe even for a moment. (I am
not, of course, entirely able to avoid viewing television and movies, but mostly I
try to limit myself to reading written reviews so that I can be well-educated
about American television and movie “culture”...)

Please click here to read my unusual “Curriculum Vitae”:
http://thewordsofjdyf333.blogspot.com/

My Flickr “profile” page may be viewed by clicking on this link:
http://www.flickr.com/people/jdyf333/

And a randomly-edited selection of approximately 600 of my pictures may be
viewed here:
http://www.flickr.com/groups/psychedelicart/pool/43237970@N00/

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By Anarcissie, September 28, 2010 at 4:32 pm Link to this comment

The large quotes are generated by Truthdig’s blog-managing software; this happens if you enclose something in HTML blockquote tags, and if there’s enough of it, like two or three lines.  I hesitate to attempt to give the exact characters here because the software is likely to interpret and run with them.

As for the hamburgers, I’m a vegetarian.

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By let down american, September 28, 2010 at 3:28 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

kill your televison,join the movement!

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By ardee, September 28, 2010 at 2:57 pm Link to this comment

Well, ITW, At the time I posted yours was indeed the only negative comment to be seen, and the first one of the thread as well. Being able to count to one I was rather correct in my comment.

Your rather shallow and rather brief criticism of the article gave no specifics, not even to mention which “meds” you assume Hedges must be writing under the influence thereof. I understand, from your history here, that any and all articles daring to diminish your beloved party and its potential, or lack of, for reform is subjected to your “scathing” criticism.

Perhaps Mr. Hedges is a bit on the emotional side these days, but those who are not are ,perhaps, unaware of exactly what is going on. I re-read the article in question and found little if any falsehoods within it, thus I didn’t criticize it. As you did perhaps you might enlighten this forum as to exactly what within it you found “drug addled”.

I admit that my 2004 FLHRCI may not do 120mph, or at least I wont in my current dotage. But, since rebuilding the engine, adding SE211 cams (twin)and my screaming eagle megaphone exhausts I do 85mph all day long, or at least until the flashing red lights indicate it time to pull over. My youngest son bets he can do 120 on it, but the heck with that, I bought him a Buell and he can damn well kill himself on that.

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By sallysense, September 28, 2010 at 1:13 pm Link to this comment

re-convey…

a herd of moments got rounded up…
as a rancher put ‘em to pasture…
a passing cowboy out lookin’ to buy…
wondered how much he’d ask for?...
“well” said the rancher gazing over his stock…
“them moments ain’t worth too much…
been used darn hard by my cattlemen…
that they’s run plumb outta touch!”...
the cowboy spun his spurs in the dirt…
then dug up an offer or two…
“so to take them moments off’a yer hands…
gives ya land fer somethin’ new!”...
“not quite” the rancher answered back…
eyeing those points still spinnin’...
“ya see them acres they’re grazin’ on?...
well that barren ground goes with ‘em!”...

(things need to change to get better… lotsa stuff to do… keep telling the lawmakers… ((no matter when their terms come to an end… and hopefully better workers begin!))... to wake up this government!... to care about the basics!... and stop misleading!... and end all the war!... and don’t waste anymore!...

and here’s one of many links that can be used to do that… and get congressional information etc too)... http://www.congress.org/congressorg/dbq/officials

(and there’s lotsa other stuff to do too!)...

the best of wishes’n'ways’n'todays to each’n'everyone!... smile

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By elisalouisa, September 28, 2010 at 1:11 pm Link to this comment

You post Sodium-Na 9/28 8:59 a.m. elaborates further on this Chris Hedges column, substantiating his writings with proof.  Especially in this age where altruistic undertaking is not in the vogue and technological barbarism not only exists but is admired, posts that contain important facts add dimension to
this thread.
You are correct Napolean about solutions and patronizing a local restaurant certainly is a start.
On the contrary, WriterOnTheStorm Mr. Hedges tells us what the other doctors see but do not wish to divulge. As one who exams quite thoroughly, Christopher Hedges knows the patient’s days are numbered.
Additional note: I also love the song clamavi. Does any writer take credit or ? for such lyrics? No hamburger for me, just the spicy chicken.

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By Sodium-Na, September 28, 2010 at 12:31 pm Link to this comment

Clamavi,

I have appreciated your song:

I like my hamburger FLAME GRILLED,inspite my heart conditions.

Thanks for the song,but blaming every thing went wrong on President Obama does not make sense,friend.

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By de profundis clamavi, September 28, 2010 at 12:15 pm Link to this comment

Way back when, before God ordained Saint Ronald McReagan as our first modern visionary president in 1980, this country was called “The United States of America”. Now, the glorious revolution Saint Ronald began is complete. In gratitude and recognition for the generous corporate sponsorship that has made that revolution possible, our illustious President Barack Hussein Obama is at last ready to unveil the Change he exhorted us to Believe In two years ago. Our country is to be renamed McMerica: the Theme Park. And the name isn’t all that’s new. There’s a new national anthem, which, rather than dwelling on outdated, irrelevant concepts like “spacious skies”, “shining seas”, “purple mountain majesties”, or, worst of all, “brotherhood”, instead extols and celebrates the free enterprise culture that has made our country and our Way of Life(TM) a beacon of hope for all the World’s people.

Let’s all sing together now!

Oh beautiful, for hamburgers
Flame grilled and supersized,
For carbonated beverages
And heaps of crispy fries!
McMerica! McMerica!
God save our Way of Life!
Obese are we
Because we’re free
(To eat and drink and drive)!

Oh beautiful, for military
Bases round the world
For trigger happy mercenaries
Where’ere our flag’s unfurled!
McMerica! McMerica!
Thy Market rules the Earth!
When ev’ry Iraqi’s
Chomped Big Mac, he’s
Tasted Freedom’s birth!

Oh beautiful, for infrastructure
Crumbling ‘neath our feet
Collapsing bridges, levees ruptured,
Holes in every street!
McMerica, McMerica!
Thy cities bankrupt are!
We’ve closed the schools
And public pools
To pay for endless war!

Oh beautiful, for corporate boards.
In Wall Street and DC,
Whose CEOs, like feudal lords,
Dictate thy policy!
McMerica, McMerica,
Thou’rt no democracy.
A system which
Just aids the rich
Is called plutocracy.

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By WriterOnTheStorm, September 28, 2010 at 11:11 am Link to this comment

<<The breathless admiration for this sort of thing I find around here is
depressing.>>

Unfortunately Anarcissie, I’m unable to produce those impressive oversize
quotation marks. You’ll have to make do.

Hedges’ writing has always appealed to a certain kind of social hypochondriac,
and he seems to relish playing the role of the diagnostician who sees what all
the other doctors missed. But after all his incendiary language, his tenuous
logic, and his playing to the crowd, you and I might at least agree with the
others that the patient could use a thorough exam.

Beyond this, however, there is a trace of authoritarianism, both in Hedges’ more
trenchant pieces, as well as in the attendant comments. That so few object to
this is cause for alarm. Or at least would be, if Chris had the sort of followers
Sarah Palin attracts. Luckily, it’s just us political bankrupts,  intellectual effetes,
and motley TD misfits.

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By hopefullist, September 28, 2010 at 10:49 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Chris,
Don’t sugarcoat it, just tell it like it is:)

Geeze, bring it down a notch. Some valid general points, but you sound like you are without hope.

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By ChaviztaKing, September 28, 2010 at 10:44 am Link to this comment

Napoleon: !! IT IS TIME FOR THE USA-LEFT TO MOVE FROM ANTITHESIS, TO THESIS, TO THEORY, TO ACTION !! In other words, it is time for the left to move from its paradigm of critisism toward a paragidm of organization and formation of a United Socialist Front for the coming presidential elections.  Because as Leon Trotsky said without a party the oppressed are hopeless and helpless:  “Without a party, apart from a party, over the head of a party, or with a substitute for a party, the proletarian cannot conquer state power.”  -Leon Trotsky

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By ChaviztaKing, September 28, 2010 at 10:37 am Link to this comment

“Arnold Shwarzenegger was correct when he claimed that this modern society of lap tops, playstations, nintendos, xbox, computers, ipods, cell phones is turning american males into girly, soft afeminate, muscularly weak men, low in testosterone levels, low in dopagimergic-drive, emotionally and passionately weak, unable to have the necessary muscular will, violence and manhood that are necessary for any revolution, popular uprising, rebellion and changes that the world demands.” -Joe Bageant, Political Writter

.

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By Anarcissie, September 28, 2010 at 9:55 am Link to this comment

There are lots of things to do.  Of course, they may not be to your taste.  I spend about one day a week on political and cultural activism, mostly involving free food these days, although some of the people I work with give away clothes, books, kitchen utensils, and used household tools.  I could easily spend seven days a week on those and similar efforts.  If that’s too radical for you, see what you can do about forming a buyers’ cooperative, a credit union, a cooperative HMO, or forming cooperative businesses.  Prefer working within the system?  Electoral politics stands ready to use up your time and energy.  It’s a bit late for the 2010 season, but you could be preparing now for 2012.  Prefer more narrow focus?  Environmental groups, homeless shelters, animal welfare, community gardens, schools, libraries, cry out for your help and concern.  Don’t wait for the good state.  It’s gonna be late—real late.  You’re the man!  Or the woman!  The story is about you!

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By Napolean DoneHisPart, September 28, 2010 at 8:47 am Link to this comment

Chris isn’t supposed to talk about solutions, just point out the problems ( whether obvious to all or not ) and WE are supposed to come up with the solutions…

Or at least think we are supposed to..

If Chris were to proclaim solutions, well, he might just run out of things to complain about and then who’s going to read and click-revenue his articles / websites?

One solution is NOT supporting big business anymore.

Not to boast or toot my own horn, but to encourage and spur others to action and deed-

Last night, although tempted to go to a regular food place which is familiar, fast and the food is expected… I instead of fattening the corporate greed structure and supporting all that…

I instead ate at a local, privately owned eatery… where, believe it or not, had a 30 minute conversation during and after my meal with the proprietor… and the discourse managed its way from politics, to money, to SOLUTIONS!!!! And boy, did I have allot to share!

I made a new friend, really stimulated the local
“real” economy and had a good meal too.

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By Leefeller, September 28, 2010 at 7:58 am Link to this comment

We find the “Never Ending Story” not as illuminating as most people here seem to find it. not only because it has been played before so many times , with eloquence or crudeness by Chris Hedges and others, not because it may not be true, but because we seem to find absolutely nothing new.

We are already aware of the abuses perpetrated by the self proclaimed decider’s in alleged palaces of power.  We are acutely aware of the   constant inequities protracted on the world. We are knowledgeable of the plutocracy, of the self righteous few and their manipulations, illusions, deceptions and constant ineptitudes of what seems the same saga every day of every year, probably since the dawn of human kind.

So what can we do about it,....something different, something new, something never been done before, is there a solution?  If there is, we have not heard one new idea or plan, less seen one in action! (Ralph Nader?) ...... So the Story has no ending?

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By Anarcissie, September 28, 2010 at 7:34 am Link to this comment

WriterOnTheStorm, September 28 at 12:28 am:

Anarcissie, if the Society of the Spectacle is “played out”, do you think it has evolved into something else? And does this mean the medium has stopped being the message?

One of the conditions of paying attention to the present—a considerable disadvantage for pundits, whose job is to pretend to know everything—is that one doesn’t know what is going on.  It’s pretty obvious that some major changes are occurring, such as the appearance and growth of the Internet, which has altered the landscape of media radically and whose effects are still growing and exfoliating as people discover new uses and abuses of it.

The medium is as much the message as it ever was, but we have a new, different medium in which publication is not few-to-many but many-to-many and available to almost everyone.  In a sense this returns us to the village square far more effectively than McLuhan’s idea of television, but he saw the way things were going.  Will the corps(e) get control of it?  God knows.

Hedges has already deplored the Internet, of course, because some people look at LOLCATS instead of whatever he wants them to look at.  Judging by his attitudes about copyright and his hatred of popular culture, it seems that, if he could have it, he would prefer the media world of our 19th century which was mostly dominated by business, academic and religious elites, the great mass of humanity having been turned into beasts of burden.  There was plenty of linear thinking in those days because everything was officially under control.

The breathless admiration for this sort of thing I find around here is depressing.

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By William W. Wexler, September 28, 2010 at 6:48 am Link to this comment

It’s tempting to lump American culture into a large pile of manure and then say “we” all embrace it.  There are many who do, but they don’t actually live in America, they live in Idiot America.

It’s true that our educational system has failed us in many ways.  This is a complex problem that doesn’t lend itself to generalizations.  We live on the cusp of time between an America that revered education and parents who scraped and squeezed every way they could so their kids could go to college and have better lives.  On the other side of the cusp is Idiot America, where anyone can be an “expert” just by getting on TV and keep repeating the same assertion loudly.  One of the best tools in Idiot America’s political quiver is the charge that your opponent is “an east coast liberal”, which everyone understands to mean that they have gone to college.

Graduating from college doesn’t actually prove that you know anything, at least in some colleges.  But asserting that you know more by NOT graduating from college is absurd.

I’m reading “Idiot America” by Charles Pierce.  Check it out, it explains a lot of what Chris is talking about.

-Wexler

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By Go Right Young Man, September 28, 2010 at 6:19 am Link to this comment

Yes, Mr. Hedges certainly knows his mind.

I was able to read through the first page of this article.  Mr. Hedges opinions, frankly, bore me to tears.  His constant whining about how brilliant he finds himself to be is, well,  fatiguing.

In 2004-05-06 Mr. Hedges was going on incessantly about the “Worst Constitutional Crisis in American History” - as caused by the phantom Neo-Cons in the White House.

GITMO, extraordinary rendition, enhanced interrogations, domestic surveillance, the Patriot Act, predator drones and Afghanistan were, according to Hedges, all sure evidence of the “frightening Neo-Con cabal” trouncing the constitution and taking over the world.  We can all recall the comments on this Web space regarding the brilliance in his opinions and observations of the day.

Interestingly enough, however, not only are each of the above still in full effect but, much of it has been expanded. Now internet usage and E-mail are to be added to the government monitoring matrix. Americans on the Kill or Capture list has tripled.

So rendition and integrations are bad things worth railing against.  Summary executions via Predator drone attacks, which have doubled this past year, are not newsworthy.

Not only is Mr. Hedges completely quiet on all of the above, he’s going on about how “others” confuse the electronic image with the divine. 

How very brilliant.

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By elisalouisa, September 28, 2010 at 5:05 am Link to this comment

Dissenting natives are indeed getting restless, each encouraging the other toward that end. To prove my point, kindly compare ITW’s opening post, the first on this thread,  with his last post.
As Chris Hedges tells us: We have been conditioned by electronic hallucinations to expect happy talk. We even demand it from him. To me (not “we”) this column describes the negative aspects of our culture, something we don’t want to hear and also rarely hear as most who speak and write on msm are trying to sell you something. Thus, the only problem to such ones is Chris Hedges who points out the problems in our pop culture and “offers no solutions.”
Could it be that just verbalizing what so many feel and cannot put into words does help the many who choose to relate that fact with their posts?

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By Sodium-Na, September 28, 2010 at 4:59 am Link to this comment

Some gems from Chris Hedges’ column;and short proofs follow:

~ “Hope is about protecting simple human decency and demanding justice.”

PROOF: The hope in both human decency and justice were expandable,because one powerful politician said ‘empeachment was off the table’.

~ “Hope is not the belief,not necessarily grounded in the tangible,that those whose greed,stupidity and comlacency have allowed us to be driven over the cliff shall one day be brought down.”

PROOF: Greed and its adherents continue to flourish in Wall Street at the expense of the taxpayers.

~ “Hope is about existing in a perpetual state of rebillion,a constant antagonism to all centers of power.”

PROOF: Like spending a life time struggling against and exposing the abuses of CORPORATE AMERICA,as Ralph Nader has done since the early 1960’s till present time. Same could be said about the relentless HONEST WRITINGS of Chris hedges.

~ Campaigns are built around the manufactured personal narratives of candidates,who function as political celebrities,rather than policies and ideas.

PROOF: The elections of Ronald Reagan and Al Franklen are the proofs that immediately have come to mind. Moreover,all politicians have been treated as celebrities when they are interviewed by the main stream media except of the likes of Dennis Kucinich who has constructive “ideas”,like one payer for healthcare. In the last presidential election he was totally removed from the debates and deliberately ignored.

~ “News reports have become soap operas and mini-dramas revolving around the latest celebrity scandal.”

PROOF: Just watch Rupert Murdoch’s FIXED NEWS and see how true the above statement is.

~ “Those who change the world for the better who offer us hope,have the capacity to make us step outside ourselves and feel empathy.

PROOF: Jimmy Carter’s HAPITAT FOR HUMANITY,Albert Schweitzer’s MEDICAL EFFORTS in Africa(believe in Gabon),Mother Teresa’s DEDICATION to help the poorest of the poor in India and every other country she could financially reached,Gandhi’s PEACEFUL SOUL OF INDIA and lastly but not least,Maani’s DEDICATED MINISTRY TO HELP THE HOMELESS IN THE CITY WHERE HE LIVES.

~ “We enter an age of technological barbarism”

PROOF: Technological barbarism had already taken place when Iraqi soldiers were buried alive en masse conveniently under the Kuwity sands,in the war of 1991. Technological barbarism occurred in Ron Rumsfeld’s SHOCK AND AWE in March of 2003,as technological hell after technological hell poured from the sky on the helpless city of Baghdad. Technological barbarism took place when the sleeping sister cities of Hiroshima and Najazaki were turned into ashes by the new technology that was/is called Atomic Bomb that had to be tested on REAL HUMAN BEINGS. The claim of the barbarians that it was done to shorten the war and save lives could not hold water as it was/is examined under the microscope. Read what Eisenhower had said about the use of the newly invented technological barbarism agaist Japan. 

The foregoing outline is only the tip of the iceberg. An intelligent mind can extrapolate accordingly.

Cheers for the HONEST WRITINGS of Chris Hedges….

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By jdelassus, September 28, 2010 at 4:53 am Link to this comment

Good post Dillon.  You are certainly correct that the whole history of humanity has been a sad affair.  Wars, violence, domination of the weak by the strong.  Man’s inhumanity to man even if the total violence has subsided over time.  One has to wonder if this has been pre-ordained and the collective we are destined for this fate in perpetuity. Yet change does occur.  Sometimes so slight that it is practically imperceptible or sometimes in plain sight yet we often times live our lives in chains without knowing we have the key.  The tools are there for us to use.  The answer lies within.

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By Druthers, September 28, 2010 at 4:45 am Link to this comment

I think Chris Hedges’s articles are like a composition in lace.  As the situation evolves the pins are displaced on the cushion, the threads intertwined and the knots drawn; another pattern appears on an ongoing piece of work.
We know that all needlework comes to an end and Chris Hedges articles, as the pins are displaced, tell us not quite yet, soon perhaps, but not yet.

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By Inherit The Wind, September 28, 2010 at 3:56 am Link to this comment

No Leefeller:

“We” are supposed to leave the dog poop on the lawn and be disgusted by its smell as divine retribution for not training the dog to poop in the proper place.
“We” cannot win.
“We” cannot break even.
“We” cannot even get out of the game.

“We” are disgusted by yet another of Chris Hedges’ wild, negative sermonizing rant about what is wrong with “us” but with no solution.

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By Philip Toal, September 28, 2010 at 3:05 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

To the point Chris. Expanding your column on the fashion of ignorance that
prevails here in Europe would admirably complete the picture. The culture of
silence here among the populace can be reflected on the double endorsement of
a celebrity clown with the likes of S. Berlusconi. The xenophobia which is rampant
here is merely exposed in elections but never discussed in public. I don`t wish to
elaborate on the horrible t v channels we have here of which there are many.
Europe is a close tie.

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By Leefeller, September 28, 2010 at 2:55 am Link to this comment

We feel Chris Hedges diatribe is mostly worthy of reflection, we also feel Chris Hedges Sermon of the we is ditrabing to the Choir!

It seems the comfort zone may be in the chastising nature of the diatribe is what the choir loves most about these sermons, we think this is reflected by the high number of posted testimonials. People sitting in the comfort zone of their pews reflecting on their usual oblivious testwemonaials after having been scolded.

What we find most difficult is the glaring lack of direction on what to do? It is like we are scolding the dog for pooping on the lawn, but not showing the dog were to poop! 

So is seems according to Chris Hedges, we have pooch poop on our lawn so we must develop a strong stomach and acquire a big shovel?

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By C.Curtis.Dillon, September 28, 2010 at 2:30 am Link to this comment

I have little expectation that mankind will rise up against what is happening until reality becomes impossible to ignore.  I can testify, from personal experience, that humans will accept almost any oppression if it is wrapped in an acceptable wrapper.  In the USSR, most people (probably 99%) accepted the Communist party’s domination of their lives and even loved it.  My wife is fond of waxing nostalgic about how wonderful it was in her younger years.  She got free or almost free everything.  Free flat, free utilities, free university, free healthcare and very cheap food.  They wanted for little in that time.  The downside was a prohibition on criticizing the party or openly advocating for freedoms.  No freedom of speech, no freedom of religion, no freedom of movement, no real freedom to think outside the party’s orthodoxy.  Most people accepted these limitations gladly as they had security ... of a sort.  And those few who stood up were crushed ruthlessly by the KGB.  The union collapsed because the powerful wanted it to.  There was money to be made by opening up the society to free enterprise.  Has anyone besides me wondered why so many former KGB are highly placed in the current Russian government?

So Chris’ plea falls mainly on deaf ears.  The 80% who are working fear any agitation would bring about retribution (a common situation in the USSR too) so they stand silent.  Everyone will stand by while the vultures eat America.  Only when the 80% face the same fate at those who have already fallen in the abyss will there be political action.  Of course, by then it will be too late but that’s the history of humanity, isn’t it?

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By Psychobabbler, September 28, 2010 at 2:02 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Bad mouthing the all mighty Lady ga ga will get you nowhere. She holds press conferences now like Madonna. Her fan club with throw lollipops at you like little ninjas. Her opinions will soon carry more weight than the pope and president.

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By Steve E, September 28, 2010 at 1:12 am Link to this comment

The real crime is that humanity will probably leave this earth eventually in a very
sorry state. So bad that the animal kingdom and nature itself will have a hell of a
time existing. Hopefully a plague will wipe out all of the human species as soon as
possible before the ecosystem is totally fucked. Or maybe aliens will finally land
and read out the riot act. I gave up on the second coming of Christ a long time
ago. Love your articles Chris. Judging by some of the comments the quasi-
intellectuals can’t stand reality in their faces. I will now go and rent a good Disney
video with a happy ending, maybe Old Yeller.

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By ChaviztaKing, September 27, 2010 at 11:47 pm Link to this comment

I just wanna say something about the most americans. Most people in USA are smart not dumb.  People in USA are just like the populations of other nations.  The only differences is that US citizens are so smart and awake of the satanism of US government that they don’t want their children and them selves to be murdered by Uncle Sham US government because they know the truth that US government has been a killer government since 1776, and that US government is almost un-overthrowable.  Another thing of why most americans are very far from politics is that they are too smart to wage a revolution if there are no other people protesting in the streets, because people know that rebellions require millions of people rebelling all at the same time.  And since nobody is protesting in America, they don’t want to protest alone by themselves.


.

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