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Posted on Feb 15, 2010

By Chris Hedges

(Page 2)

And yet the utopian promoters of the Internet tell us that the hive mind, the vast virtual collective, will propel us toward a brave new world. Lanier dismisses such visions as childish fantasy, one that allows many well-intentioned people to be seduced by an evolving nightmare.

“The crowd phenomenon exists, but the hive does not exist,” Lanier told me. “All there is, is a crowd phenomenon, which can often be dangerous. To a true believer, which I certainly am not, the hive is like the baby at the end of ‘2001 Space Odyssey.’ It is a super creature that surpasses humanity. To me it is the misinterpretation of the old crowd phenomenon with a digital vibe. It has all the same dangers. A crowd can turn into a mean mob all too easily, as it has throughout human history.”

“There are some things crowds can do, such as count the jelly beans in the jar or guess the weight of the ox,” Lanier added. “I acknowledge this phenomenon is real. But I propose that the line between when crowds can think effectively as a crowd and when they can’t is a little different. If you read [James] Surowiecki’s “The Wisdom of Crowds,” he, as well as other theorists, say that if you want a crowd to be wise the key is to reduce the communication flow between the members so they do not influence each other, so they are truly independent and have separate sample points. It brings up an interesting paradox. The starting point for online crowd enthusiasts is that connection is good and everyone should be connected. But when they talk about what makes a crowd smart they say people should not be talking to each other. They should be isolated. There is a contradiction there. What makes a crowd smart is the type of question you ask. If you ask a group of informed people to choose a single numeric value such as the weight of an ox and they all have some reason to have a theory that is not entirely crazy they will center on the answer. You can get something useful. This phenomenon is what accounts for price fitting in capitalism. This is how markets can function. If you ask them to create anything, if you ask them to do something constructive or synthetic or engage in compound reasoning then they will fail. Then you get something dull or an averaging out. One danger of the crowd is violence, which is when they turn into a mob. The other is dullness or mundaneness, when you design by committee.”

Humans, like many other species, Lanier says, have a cognitive switch that permits us to be individuals or members of a mob. Once we enter the confines of what Lanier calls a clan, even a virtual clan, it possesses dynamics that appeal to the basest instincts within us. Technology evolves but human nature remains constant. The 20th century was the bloodiest in human history because human beings married the newly minted tools of efficient state bureaucracies and industrial slaughter with the dark impulses that have existed since the dawn of the human species. 

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“You become hypersensitive to the pecking order and to your sense of social status,” Lanier said of these virtual clans. “There is almost always the designated loser in your own group and the designated external enemy. There is the enemy below and the enemy afar. There become two classes of disenfranchised people. You enter into a constant obligation to defend your status which is always being contested. It is time-consuming to become a member of one of these things. I see a lot of designs on line that bring this out. There is a recognizable sequence, whether it is pianos, poodles or jihad; you see people forming into these clans. It is playing with fire. There are plenty of examples of evil in human history that did not involve this effect, such as Jack the Ripper, who worked alone. But most of the really bad examples of human behavior in history involve invoking this clan dynamic. No particular sort of person is immune to it. Geeks are no more immune to it than Germans or Russians or Japanese or Mongolians. It is part of our nature. It can be woken up without any leadership structure or politics. It happens. It is part of us. There is a switch inside of us waiting to be turned. And people can learn to manipulate the switch in others.”

“The Machine Stops,” a story published by E.M. Forster in 1909, paints a futuristic world where people are mesmerized by virtual reality. In Forster’s dystopia, human beings live in isolated, tiny subterranean rooms, like hives, where they are captivated by instant messages and cinematophoes—machines that project visual images. They cut themselves off from the external world and are absorbed by a bizarre pseudo-reality of voices, sounds, evanescent images and abstract sensations that can be evoked by pressing a few buttons. The access to the world of the Machine, which has replaced the real world with a virtual world, is provided by an omniscient impersonal voice.

We are, as Forster understood, seduced and then often enslaved by technology, from the combustion engine to computers to robotics. These marvels of humankind’s ingenuity are inevitably hijacked by modern slave masters who use the newest technologies to keep us impoverished, confused about our identity and passive. The Internet, designed by defense strategists to communicate after a nuclear attack, has become the latest technological instrument in the hands of those who are driving us into a state of neofeudalism. Technology is morally neutral. It serves the interests of those who control it. And those who control it today are ravishing journalism, culture and art while they herd the population into clans that fuel intolerance and hatred.

“A common rationalization in the fledgling world of digital cultures back then was that we were entering a transitional lull before a creative storm—or were already in the eye of the storm,” Lanier writes in his book. “But we were not passing through a momentary calm. We had, rather, entered a persistent somnolence, and I have come to believe that we will escape it only when we kill the hive.”


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Anarcissie's avatar

By Anarcissie, February 17, 2010 at 6:15 pm Link to this comment

elisalouisa, February 17 at 8:42 pm:
‘You may ballyhoo all you like concerning my comment as to free speech. Who decides what is and isn’t porn? Each case must be assessed. Word can hurt and cripple. I stand by that.’

In other words, you won’t or can’t answer the questions.  No wonder you’re a fan of Hedges—he probably can’t answer them either.

But it’s something all the authoritarians here should start thinking about, because to get your way, to shut up speech you don’t like by force, you’re going to have to answer them.

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By 1_10001_10010_10001, February 17, 2010 at 5:46 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I take issue with your claims against the virtual slums.  I spend some time in these slums and I can assure you that it only appears vacuous from the outside looking in.  It’s a cultural phenomenon and takes some time to get used to. 

A significant aspect of this online culture is the concept that anything goes, and you can engage in any sort of dialogue.  It’s only as dumb as what choose to engage in.  After all there are a lot of know-nothing young people around. But, just the other day I was lurking in one of these intellectual slums when someone posted a link to site which was a virtual screening room where the original poster was projecting the audio and video from his screen.  So I and thirty or so fellow anonymous, slum dwellers and perfect strangers I might add watched Carl Sagan videos together, and engaged in chatting on the side while we watched. 

 

Part of getting by in this landscape is to learn how to filter out the garbage.  So they really aren’t slums, or wastelands as much as a metropolis.

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MarthaA's avatar

By MarthaA, February 17, 2010 at 5:27 pm Link to this comment

The internet must be allowed to remain free.  No one has to read or see anything on the internet they do not choose to see.  If a site is offensive to you, don’t go there, block it on your computer so you won’t be able to get the notion to go there and no one else will be able to.  This isn’t rocket science, sites are easily blocked. 

Freedom of speech must remain on the internet. 

There should be more concern about propaganda, sophism and vitriol spewed by Glen Beck, Rush Limbaugh, Bill ORiley and the conservative Right-Wing nut churches radio stations against the populace liberals, liberalism, socialists and socialism and less concern about the internet that is the populace liberals, liberalism, socialists and socialism’s only media exchange and must not be regulated.

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MarthaA's avatar

By MarthaA, February 17, 2010 at 5:26 pm Link to this comment

The internet must be allowed to remain free.  No one has to read or see anything on the internet they do not choose to see.  If a site is offensive to you, don’t go there, block it on your computer so you won’t be able to get the notion to go there and no one else will be able to.  This isn’t rocket science, sites are easily blocked. 

Freedom of speech must remain on the internet. 

I think there should be more concern about propaganda, sophism and vitriol spewed by Glen Beck, Rush Limbaugh, Bill ORiley and the conservative Right-Wing nut churches radio stations against the populace liberals, liberalism, socialists and socialism and less concern about the internet that is the populace liberals, liberalism, socialists and socialism’s only media exchange and must not be regulated.

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Anarcissie's avatar

By Anarcissie, February 17, 2010 at 5:10 pm Link to this comment

rolmike—Looks like Truthdig broke your links.  I managed to repair one and the page it pointed to ran off at the right; could probably be fixed easily enough.

I’ve been trying to read Handke’s play about Kaspar Hauser for some time (having seen Herzog’s great movie) but my German is not so good.  I’m working on it, though.

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By elisalouisa, February 17, 2010 at 4:42 pm Link to this comment

You may ballyhoo all you like concerning my comment as to free speech. Who
decides what is and isn’t porn? Each case must be assessed. Word can hurt and
cripple. I stand by that.

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By Anarcissie, February 17, 2010 at 4:36 pm Link to this comment

elisalouisa, February 17 at 8:12 pm:
‘I agree with Virginia, “racism” should not be protected by the right of free speech.  Human beings must be accorded some degree of respect and tolerance. Nor should there be a right to desecrate religion in the name of free speech. This is not politically correct I know. ...’

Well, it may be politically incorrect for a reason.  The tricky part is deciding who is going to judge what speech is forbidden, what their standards and definitions are going to be, and how much surveillance and force you’re going to use to suppress whatever is going to be suppressed.  What are your answers to these questions?  How would you rewrite the First Amendment?

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By rolmike, February 17, 2010 at 4:36 pm Link to this comment

let’s see now:
what is on the web will be what is in the culture
without the web.
e.g. you can go to a news stand and what is there
will be duplicated, both the good and the bad and the
indifferent
and then some which can only exist because of the
nature of the web and its digital possibilities…
one can agree with chris that the sewers of the
culture spew their effluent into the web, too…
the web can be entirely anarchic and it can have
great order and information….
e.g. this single link provides entry to everything
psychoanalytical:

http://soldzresearch.com/PsychoanalyticResourcesOnlin
e.htm

and this link get you not only to my specialty but
link to no end of information about Peter Handke and
his work

http://www.handke.scriptmania.com/favorite_links_1.ht
ml

You have the choice whether to act like a fire fly in
the jungle, or to proceed slowly and
thoughtfully. You can be promiscuous or monastic on
the web.
There are very beautiful sites… and there are…

As to advertising, who said that it was “the new
poetry”...
even the Bird of Paradise had to advertise itself,
just as the sparrows had to obscure themselves to
survive.

michae roloff

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By Arouete, February 17, 2010 at 4:34 pm Link to this comment

elisalouisa “Nor should there be a right to desecrate religion in the name of
free speech”?  You are exactly what Chris Hedges is talking about.  What part of the First Amendment don’t you understand?  All of it. Many people in America practice forms of religious dogma that deny Americans the most ‘fundamental’ of civil rights but, of course, you would never think of exercising ‘free speech’ in any manner that desecrates such depraved Bronze age insanity.  Your view is not merely politically correct but promulgates treason.  You betray your Constitution. Thank goodness we have a Bill of Rights to protect us from people like you. I encourage you to go live in Afghanistan where they totally agree with you and will assist you in desecrating our Bill of Rights and trashing our First Amendment.

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By Leefeller, February 17, 2010 at 4:23 pm Link to this comment

Attacking generalities by speaking in tongues most interesting. As for hitting it out of the park, seems a riddle using Self respecting law student the perfect oxymoron. Clap trap according to one who clap traps, most amusing, there is no shortage of hypocrisy as it hits the fan only thing it may be sticking to Hedges bat.

Chalk up another Hedges fan, XoXo!

Arouete, avoiding specifics by calling them rubbish may only accumulate around ones feet, though for some dissagreement is like that.

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By elisalouisa, February 17, 2010 at 4:12 pm Link to this comment

I agree with Virginia, “racism” should not be protected by the
right of free speech.  Human beings must be accorded some degree of respect
and tolerance. Nor should there be a right to desecrate religion in the name of
free speech. This is not politically correct I know.
Chris Hedges quotes Lanier: “The scenario I can see is America in some
economic decline, which we seem determined to enter into because we are
unable to make any adjustments, and a lot of unhappy people, the
preponderance of them are in rural areas and in the red states, the former
slave states.” It is my understanding that we are in decline because our
factories have been closed and sent to other parts of the world with the
blessing of our government and also because deregulation has allowed Wall
Street to go wild knowing Congress will bail them out. Yet Lanier describes us
as “determined to enter into this(decline) because we are unable to make
adjustments. It is our fault. Then he goes on to say that those in similar
situations may develop a crowd mentality on the Internet which is dangerous
because we just might revolt. We should be so lucky!
There are many sites on the Internet and whatever crowd frequents that site
determines the content. Better yet crowds frequent the sites that are
compatible with who they are. Yes, there is advertising, nothing new, money is
king in our society.Unfortunately, that is the bottom line Chris.  It may be true
that the Internet has been hijacked by corporate interests, I would say more to
make money and influence everyday people.  It may not protect intellectual
property rights and I agree that may be a legitimate bone of contention. Great
column.

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By Arouete, February 17, 2010 at 3:25 pm Link to this comment

Again, Chris Hedges hits it out of the park!  Thank you.  Yes, the Internet is an ideological wasteland.  With all due respect for Truthdig it is just as much a part of the problem and not much of a solution.  I have seen Truthdig publish outlandish intellectual rubbish by Christian preachers who misrepresent the law and trash our Bill of Rights and claim that when acting as public officials who perform their secular duty of civil marriage they retain the right to pick and choose to deny civil rights to others because of their religious beliefs.  Truthdig is their soap-box. 

Rubbish like that should not get past any self-respecting law student yet Truth dig has the balderdash to publish claptrap and intellectual rubbish that is beyond belief.  Call out Truthdig and it’s black propagandists and you are censored.

Thank you Mr.  Hedges.  I have great respect for you, I deeply admire you, but with all due respect, start by cleaning up your own house.  Chris Hedges is the best asset Truthdig has and I sometimes wonder if he degrades himself by some of the company he keeps here.  Why does Chris Hedges not speak out against the claptrap of his colleagues?  Because, if he did, he would inherit the wind.  He therefore must speak in non-specific generalities while never nailing one foot to the floor.  Like all those unwilling to risk parrhesia their language is ketman.

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By Fritz The Cat, February 17, 2010 at 1:48 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

See..Here we are 170 odd posts into this AGAIN.

‘Smart people’ writing books for responses..

And at the end of the day it all means NOTHING..
None of this will matter tomorrow because its off to the next fire..

This is enslavement right here right now.
You are being robbed of your lives in real time.

What have we accomplished as a people this last 8,9,10 years…Does anyone even remember why we are here??!!  I mean is this the ‘revolution’...?

I am out.

‘Power To The People Right On’
I sure miss John Lennon..

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Anarcissie's avatar

By Anarcissie, February 17, 2010 at 1:32 pm Link to this comment

This is very odd.  I submitted once, but TD’s site posted not only my final copy but a preview which has a typo in it.  Read the one further down; the preview was posted after the final version.  Unless you like typos.

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By MarthaA, February 17, 2010 at 1:20 pm Link to this comment

Clan monopoly behavior will be controlled on the internet by those who have money and can afford many different CRT’s, the same as money controls anywhere,  but money has less control on the internet.  One must recognize a monopoly of the conversation is being done and combat it appropriately with your own behavior, not regulate the entire internet just to control clan monopoly behavior that you don’t want to deal with.  You can still say what you want to say and that is all that is necessary for democracy.

Conservative EXTREMISTS do not care about you, all they want is for you to be foolish and fearful enough to give them authoritative rights over you, which is not democratic.

There should be no regulation on the internet.  Porn can be dealt with at your request by your provider or you can block the known porn on your CRT at home yourself; there is no reason to have the government regulating the use of the internet like they do the media and the newspapers.

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By herb, February 17, 2010 at 1:12 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I have been around a bit during a long life and, of late, I have trouble
distinguishing between those who self identify as either liberal or left.  My
specific problem is that both groups tend to respond identically to any seriously
radical, as in going to the root, proposals. 

I become more convinced that the most ordinary of people, often those least
motivated to become sophisticated political interlocutors, have a basic sense of
when justice is being served and don’t like it when it is not served. The choice
for change is always with this massive group of just folks. Ordinary folks spend
most of their energy worrying about those they love, not politics.

We are never as ordinary as when we are face to face as equals without rank. 
Some of us are ordinary all the time, all of us are on occasion, unless we labor
under some sort of severe uncompensated for disability.

When people stop feeling ordinary, and therefore lovable in an ordinary sort of
way, we have problems.  Lord Acton deserves to be quoted as the last word on
the issue.  Power corrupts.

The worst part of the problem, from my perspective as a lifelong pediatrician
and specialist in child abuse issues, is that these systems and institutions have
been set up to privilege a subset of individuals who have damaged moral
reasoning due to emotional trauma in childhood.  The traumatized seven year
old boys inside so many of our so called “leaders” are unhappy and are acting
out their unresolved issues on the world stage without a conscience as a guide. 

No really!  There was a time when, upon being introduced to a high ranking
individual in an organization, there was the chance of having an intelligent,
caring discussion.  We have turned the world over to management by the
emotionally delayed.  Think about it.  A lot of the worst behaviors on display
would be concerning in an unhappy seven year old boy, but not entirely
unexpected.  Now we have these people with their fingers on the trigger of
mutual annihilation. 

To my mind, in order to face these things squarely one must engage a sense of humor
about ones self, and especially about ones arguments.  To paraphrase that great
American Rodney King, “Why cant we all just stop being silly.”

Increasingly I find ordinary people much more open to radical political and
economic proposals, particularly if those proposals have an ironic character, no
doubt spurred by the current economic and political crisis which is affecting
nearly every family of every person I meet.  For
instance, try starting a conversation with
strangers (check out lines work well) about adult children still living at home.  Ordinary people are much more sophisticated than we let on.

In great peril lies great promise.

The basic problem from my very skewed perspective is that we have set up
systems and institutions that have run amok and are destroying our life support
system.  Any proposal that does not force change in the direction of dismantling
these systems is doomed to contributing to the accelerating positive feedback
loops that ensure a mass extinction that will include our human species.

Eventually ordinary people will come out on the street and begin to talk to each
other about practical solutions to their mutual problems and radical change will ensue.  Or not.

What an interesting time to be alive!

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Leefeller's avatar

By Leefeller, February 17, 2010 at 1:02 pm Link to this comment

Though, I seem in agreement with others posters comments here, it would be prudent of me not to say which, for saying so would make me part of a clan, mob or groupie!

By the way are Hedges supporters a clan or a mob?

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By Leefeller, February 17, 2010 at 12:52 pm Link to this comment

The clan/mob mentality has always been and will always be, internet or not.  Racism as bigotry seems permeated throughout most if not all peoples around the globe. Though I also find bigotry despicable, I would not ban peoples right to speak of it, only then may one begin or at least have potential for discussion of it.

Hate seems to be what some people love to promote, I would rather they had opportunity to vent their hate then forcing them to keep it pent up, even though hate seems most hideous to me.

Banning opinion of belief or the possibility of discussion is not a good starting point for open dialog, unless it is I doing the banning.  My problem is with who decides and what they decide on when controlling discussion or opinions.

Seems to me,  Hedges is saying listen to me for I am right and you are wrong if you do not agree as many here seem to portray.

Since I am bigoted against bigots this could mean my comments should be banned as well as Virginia777’s comments against racists.  according to great law banning of opinion on the web as presented.

My opinions not set in stone!

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By Anarcissie, February 17, 2010 at 12:44 pm Link to this comment

thebeerdoctor, February 17 at 4:40 am:
’... I have read the article repeatedly and concluded that many of Hedges’ bold assertions are often bombastic by their very nature. Take this beauty:
“Ask journalists, photographers, musicians, cartoonists or artists what they think of the Web. Ask movie and film producers. Ask architects and engineers. The Web efficiently disseminates content, but it does protect intellectual property rights. Writers and artists are increasingly unable to make a living. And technical professions are under heavy assault.”  It might be enlightening which artists and musicians Hedges is referring to….’

Hedges is worse than bombastic; he has no idea what he’s talking about.  He doesn’t know how the Internet works; he doesn’t know its history; he doesn’t know what people are doing with it; he doesn’t know how it affects people; he doesn’t know about present intellectual property laws—a different matter—or their history, or the content of the present controversies about them.  But he pretends to, in fact, he throws around hysterical abuse about the subjects.  One could call this “lying”, I suppose, but I think of lying as intentional, and it may be that Hedges doesn’t know what he’s saying.  I suppose this could be due to his being blinded by his hatred of popular culture.

I’d be glad to go into detail about any of these things, but as I said in my response to Géza Éder, I think this well has been poisoned and all we’re going to get now is Hedges’s amen corner and snarky one-liners by the skeptical, which is probably all that Hedges deserves.  Besides, I might, like Frank, a response to Hedges and his fans using the same sort of language they throw around might just get me censored.

(Which is pretty funny when you think about it—after all, isn’t that what Hedges seems to be leading up to as a proper response to the things of which he does not approve?  The association with Microsoft’s Lanier seems to support that hypothesis.  It is almost as funny as Amazon silently erasing 19841984!—from people’s Kindles.)

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By Diego, February 17, 2010 at 12:38 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

So… now we can all band together on the internet against the internet? Yeah,
awesome!

Give me a break. People are going to find a way to gather together and hate
people no matter what the internet “evolves” into. I agree that the internet is
contributing little to nothing of value to society, but at least there are some
websites and databases which make it useful.

The problem isn’t the internet- It’s the people using it and the seeming lack of
education these people possess.

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Anarcissie's avatar

By Anarcissie, February 17, 2010 at 12:38 pm Link to this comment

thebeerdoctor, February 17 at 4:40 am:
’... I have read the article repeatedly and concluded that many of Hedges’ bold assertions are often bombastic by their very nature. Take this beauty:
“Ask journalists, photographers, musicians, cartoonists or artists what they think of the Web. Ask movie and film producers. Ask architects and engineers. The Web efficiently disseminates content, but it does protect intellectual property rights. Writers and artists are increasingly unable to make a living. And technical professions are under heavy assault.”  It might be enlightening which artists and musicians Hedges is referring to….’

Hedges is worse than bombastic; he has no idea what he’s talking about.  He doesn’t know how the Internet works; he doesn’t know its history; he doesn’t know what people are doing with it; he doesn’t know how it affects people; he doesn’t know about present intellectual property laws—a different matter—or their history, or the content of the present controversies about them.  But he pretends to, in fact, he throws around hysterical abuse about the subjects.  One could call this “lying”, I suppose, but I think of lying as intentional, and it may be that Hedges doesn’t know what he’s saying.  I suppose this could be due to his being blinded by his hatred of popular culture.

I’d be glad to go into detail about any of these things, but as I said in my response to Géza Éder, I think this well has been poisoned and all we’re going to get now is Hedges’s amen corner and snarky one-liners by the skeptical, which is probably all that Hedges deserves.  Besides, a response to Hedges and his fans deemed to use the same sort of language they throw around might just get me censored, as Frank’s was.

(Which is pretty funny when you think about it—after all, isn’t that what Hedges seems to be leading up to as a proper response to the things of which he does not approve?  The association with Microsoft’s Lanier seems to support that hypothesis.  It is almost as funny as Amazon silently erasing 19841984!—from people’s Kindles.)

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By Night-Gaunt, February 17, 2010 at 12:29 pm Link to this comment

Actually I would call the Internet a stew of ideas many of them opposed to each other. More power to the e-Anarchy! I would rather have that then what the Chinese have. A two tier internet would and could do that too by the power of the pocket book.

Every one of our minds should be the filtering element in this not out side of it. So that is where I disagree with Hedges on this. He waxes authoritarian on this matter. Not the first time that someone gets uncomfortable when ugly ideas are let loos. At least they can also be criticized with equal availability. Such is freedom. A messy business. Dictatorship on the other hand is very clean.

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By gerard, February 17, 2010 at 12:16 pm Link to this comment

The internet is both a liberal education and demands a liberal education to use it wisely.  Problem is, of course, that most people using the internet do not have a liberal education, for one reason or another. (IMO)
  We all take our prejudices with us wherever we go and whatever we do, but the internet widens the possibility that more people will be liberalized by using it—though there’s mno guarantee.  It’s hit or miss accident—but better some chance than none.
(IMO)
  Keep it free except for porn which degrades humanity by “liberalizing” the exploitation of human bodies. (IMO again) What to do about porn is a huge question as it is closely related to another huge problem—violence—which is related to ... and on and on.  Think Af/Pak, PTSD and child slavery.
  But ... so long as there is life there is a chance that people won’t kill each other off completely, body and soul.

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By Virginia777, February 17, 2010 at 11:30 am Link to this comment

What are you talking about Leefeller? I know, I know, you want your right to dissent - go for it! but don’t expect others to disagree with you, something you don’t care for too much.

But I’m sorry, when it comes to racism, I say this should not be protected by the “right” to free speech. Racism is destructive, it destroys the fabric of our common humanity, it needs to be viewed as lethal as a virus. Most definitely not “free speech”.

And to ignore Chris’ message about the internet facilitating clan/mob behavior, is to ignore a very real danger.

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By Jeanbud, February 17, 2010 at 11:20 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I’m in love with Chris Hedges, I wish he wasn’t already married.

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By johannes, February 17, 2010 at 11:03 am Link to this comment

The last time I wash sitting in an fishing boat with Chris I asked him about internet, you know wath his answer wash, I don’t give a dam about the internet, but I think Chris had drunk to much beer.

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By Leefeller, February 17, 2010 at 11:01 am Link to this comment

Pandering while promoting ones self with chapped lips while eating a lemon seems most awkward.

Dear Chris,

I have written you numerous letters letting you know how great you are, but of course you already know that.

XoXo

Sadly, this is how the stomach turns!

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By Deena Stryker, February 17, 2010 at 10:29 am Link to this comment

Dear Chris,

I’m glad you’re acting on this problem, and hope you will soon take up the fact
that Amazon sells brand new just published books through resellers - as it did
your last book.  I wrote you about this when I sent you my book A Taoist Politics:
The Case for Sacredness, and am sorry the web keeps us all so busy that we have
no time to answer mail.

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By Deena Stryker, February 17, 2010 at 10:29 am Link to this comment

Dear Chris,

I’m glad you’re acting on this problem, and hope you will soon take up the fact
that Amazon sells brand new just published books through resellers - as it did
your last book.  I wrote you about this when I sent you my book A Taoist Politics:
The Case for Sacredness, and am sorry the web keeps us all so busy that we have
no time to answer mail.

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By ofersince72, February 17, 2010 at 9:43 am Link to this comment

Like Carlin said…

Opps,  there goes the neighborhood

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By ofersince72, February 17, 2010 at 9:38 am Link to this comment

Virginia777

and don’t know how much fun to be the SUPER-SEWER

to Liberal Elitist Intellectual Snobery….

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By MarthaA, February 17, 2010 at 9:31 am Link to this comment

Television and radio are the best brainwashing tools ever invented and are being used by the authoritative, autocratic, Right-Wing Conservative EXTREMISTS against the populace.  The internet is the only tool the populace has with which to combat the Right-Wing EXTREMISTS politically, so it is no wonder the Right is trying to convince the populace to regulate the internet against their own best interest.  One has to consider just who it is that is being hurt by the internet, because it definitely isn’t the populace, it is the Right-Wing Conservative EXTREMISTS losing authoritative, autocratic control of the populace, so don’t be deceived.

The internet must NOT be regulated.

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By ofersince72, February 17, 2010 at 9:20 am Link to this comment

Virginia

That is the FUN of the internet

But i really should not be on this blog for i care
next to nothing about intellectual rights on the
web…...........................................

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By Leefeller, February 17, 2010 at 9:18 am Link to this comment

Ban and control the sewer according to who and in what image may I ask?

Sure bigots love to spew their hate, and if this hate is accepted by the majority would that not be democracy as perceived by the ignorant majority?

If one judges others as they judge them selves, differences of opinion, ideas and how to live become controlled by the judges.

Virginia777, does it not seem self serving to be judge and jury as Hedges seems to do on a regular basis, to agree with someone is fine, but expecting or even worse demanding others to is not.

Absolutism’s provide no room for different opinion.

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By MarthaA, February 17, 2010 at 9:11 am Link to this comment

Single CRT control of the internet can be done by responsible people at home.  There is no reason whatsoever to regulate the entire internet so that the populace can be controlled completely by the authoritative autocratic Right-Wing Conservative EXTREMISTS, who will mandate that the internet not have any political information in the best interest of the populace, just like newspapers and television have done. 

It is not the populace’s fault that they quit buying newspapers and watching television for the news, it is the fault of the newspapers and television stations themselves broadcasting only conservative political news beneficial to the upper classes, leaving out the liberal populace totally, and making populace, liberal, liberalism, and socialism that represent the populace, dirty words.  This happened to newspapers and television, and if the internet is regulated, it will happen to the internet, and that must not be allowed, no matter how many foolish people think it should be so.

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By ofersince72, February 17, 2010 at 8:58 am Link to this comment

you gotta admit ,its hlps prve hedges pt about da
sewer

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By Virginia777, February 17, 2010 at 8:56 am Link to this comment

In my time blogging I have also noticed the incredible capacity for corruption of the individual, of the internet. I firmly believe that the internet is the best brain-washing tool ever invented.

It takes real strength of character to withstand the call to group mentality the internet is so good at facilitating. If not for the simple reason, that the one who does not agree with the crowd, is immediately pounced upon.

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By ofersince72, February 17, 2010 at 8:53 am Link to this comment

The neighborhood already screwed, jst wnted stir it
up sme more.
someone wnted the meaning of spirit, thought i wld
give several..
exuseme fer ineruptin intelctuseal thougt

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By Virginia777, February 17, 2010 at 8:35 am Link to this comment

Incredible, Chris Hedges! you are dead-on here to pinpoint the facilitation of “clan behavior” as the single biggest threat of the Internet. As a long-time blogger, I see this all the time and have been screaming about it for some time now.

Its a lot easier, to form a bigoted “clan” on the internet, easier than it ever has been. The anonymity of the venue, the privacy in which it is engaged, the lack of spoken language (only read), is a complete facilitator for this.

We are in big trouble here if we don’t recognize this threat and work to at least inhibit some of its negative effects. I have been asking for a long time now for internet regulation (come on!), and for people to stop being able to use the “right” to “free speech” as a protector (legal and otherwise) for the spread of racist hatred.

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By Leefeller, February 17, 2010 at 8:22 am Link to this comment

Outraged re:

Last time I was flummoxed was when someone stole my blowup doll!

Back when I was in High School here in Hoot Owl, after football games we used to hang moon out the bus windows as we drove through the much larger town of Soggy Tits.  It seems I used Sarcasm to describe sarcasm in response to what I perceived as Tao Walkers sarcastic dirty wash comment, not mine.  I may have not have interpreted Tao Walkers comment accurately, so then I should be the one to be flummoxed.

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By The Old Hooligan, February 17, 2010 at 8:07 am Link to this comment

There went the neighborhood!

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By Fritz The Cat, February 17, 2010 at 7:06 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

My, My, All the replies..This little ditty struck a nerve and it should…

Right on Tennessee-Socialist. Especially this:

‘People are getting dumber. And even 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,  unable to have the necessary musclular will aggressiveness and manhood that are necessary for any revolution, popular uprisings, rebellion and changes that the United States demands.’

So true. A nation of war mongering pussies…
Quick check me for typos… Useless..

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By ofersince72, February 17, 2010 at 4:41 am Link to this comment

according to Mrs. Eddy (the Mary Baker one)

Divine Spirit was a syn of God….

with all of todays definitions of god , not bad…

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By ofersince72, February 17, 2010 at 4:25 am Link to this comment

JOHNNES

I believe we both agree on the definition you spoke
of

Also….the net has made some slaves…
      especially porn…...and as I mentioned
      video games.

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By ofersince72, February 17, 2010 at 4:17 am Link to this comment

for my insomnia…

SPIRIT…

1. a) the life principle, esp. in man, orig.
regarded as in herent in the breath or as infused by a deity.

2. the thinking, motivating, feeling part of man,
often as distinguised from the body

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By johannes, February 17, 2010 at 4:09 am Link to this comment

The modern society makes of most men and woman slaves.
If you take an person who works to pay his home and car, to pay the endless incoming bills, this live is ending when he reads the age of retiring thats now 67, if he is lucky he can live some time maby with his famelie, unlucky in old age home sitting in your own shit, till the end of your days.

Well for me this is modern slavery.

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By Outraged, February 17, 2010 at 3:45 am Link to this comment

Re: John Ellis

Your comment: “Brain is one aspect of Mind which is one aspect of Spirit.”

This doesn’t make logical sense, to me at least.  The brain is a physical thing, the “mind” is not “the brain”.  Also, what do YOU mean when you use the term “spirit”?

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By Outraged, February 17, 2010 at 3:38 am Link to this comment

Re: Lefeller

Your comment: “Sarcasm provides a much needed hanging moon towards deluded reality, though somehow always seems to evade recognition by the deluded ones.”

Gee Lefeller, it escapes me…. what do you mean by “a much needed hanging moon”.  Probably it’s just me not understanding your “nuance”...  Exactly what are you referring to?

Your comment: “Tao Walker (this must be your shortest post ever?)
If indeed all this shit is to come out in the wash, one may take this to mean the missing sock?”

Additionally what is the meaning or reality of your “dirty wash”, “the hanging moon” and the “missing sock” inuendos?  I’m flummoxed.

Sounds threatening.  Can you elaborate?

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By ofersince72, February 17, 2010 at 3:31 am Link to this comment

Anyway,

I don’t believe it fit to well on the powers that be
having someone running all through Capitol Hill
and the Pentagon and all other Fed bldgs in DC installing communications
that they had illegally discharged with a
Reasons of Unfitness Dicharge.

Its funny stuff (now, it wasn’t at the time)

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By ofersince72, February 17, 2010 at 3:23 am Link to this comment

The irony,
i was in on the very first cell site constructed
on the East Coast, right outside DC.

Then was lead tech installing all the secure
communications for the 1985 presidential inaug.
(and my demise, oh well)

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By ofersince72, February 17, 2010 at 3:07 am Link to this comment

hold a 1st class FCC licence… made a livin off
communications…
still lookin for the usefulness the net has brought
to America.
Have a 24 year old son who spent almost three years
twiddleing his thumbs,  like millions of other
young men did and still do.
Glad he went back to school, but I blame the net
At least he made money when hustled pool.

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By ofersince72, February 17, 2010 at 3:01 am Link to this comment

Oh, we have ebay, i never been there
another boost to consummerism culture
Don’t even care to find out what Craig’s list is

and would turn this contraption completly off
but there is a woman in Florida that would get quite
upset….To make matters worse she sent me an
activated cell phone… I don’t touch it..

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By ofersince72, February 17, 2010 at 2:38 am Link to this comment

John Ellis,
You have more statistics in that old head….
I really liked the last ones..All the helmets?
That is some slave labor…

Also John,,, just what type of soil do these seedlings have…

are they just like our other farm soils…
just medium to hold a plant up while they inject it
with poisons ?????????

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By ofersince72, February 17, 2010 at 2:25 am Link to this comment

Pandora’s box has been opened…
so I do want it free and open

However,  I don’t see any signifigant use that the
internet has been to America…
Just where are we better off?

Information age has been out here a good while now,
we still get Bushes and Obamas.
I long for the days of no cell phones or internet.
I resisted the net until six months ago, it has
only proved to entertain my insomnia.

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By ofersince72, February 17, 2010 at 2:13 am Link to this comment

Johannes…

Much of the parts that make up these computer chips
come from a form of African slavery.

They are shipped to China and put together
by a form of slave labor.

They are then shipped back to America and used
by slaves and slave owners.

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By ofersince72, February 17, 2010 at 1:58 am Link to this comment

A condition of submission by some influence…
That is why I am for a free and open internet

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By johannes, February 17, 2010 at 1:45 am Link to this comment

To Ofersince72,


You do not understand the definition of slavery.

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By ofersince72, February 17, 2010 at 1:02 am Link to this comment

Porn and video games are the biggest hits
they need protection

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By thebeerdoctor, February 17, 2010 at 12:40 am Link to this comment

Anarcissie: Despite many articles from Mr.Hedges calling for an end to injustice. I suspect his religious training has metamorphosed his outlook to show disdain for anything that the common people, whom he supposedly champions, actually do care about. Even the title: “The Information Super Sewer” reveals an intellectual contempt for a subject of such complexity, that referring to his diatribe as shallow, is to actually be kind.
Since it seems that truthdig is worried about anyone calling the exalted former NY Times foreign correspondent names, it is best to simply say that when it comes to criticism of the Internet, he simply does not know what he is talking about. But even more disturbing is why does he spend so much time worrying about pornography, professional wrestling, and television shows like American Idol? You have to wonder what kind of cultural vacuum does he seek out, when going to the trouble of attending a pornography trade show in Las Vegas. His fascination with what he would call darker human activity is a rather lurid cheap shot at all he deems reprehensible, but still fascinating enough to investigate and report on. Since he is getting paid to write his stuff, how in the world can he justify condemning the sensationalizing by the mass media?
For some strange reason his NY Times background seems to lend him some journalistic street cred, that is employed by Truthdig for their own mercantile advantage. The hypothesis I gather, that if Hedges worked for “the paper of record”, he must have something important to say.
Many people on this site will make a casual perusal of a new Hedges posting and compliment his courage to speak “truth to power” if you will, but because of the many postings on this particular one, I have read the article repeatedly and concluded that many of Hedges’ bold assertions are often bombastic by their very nature. Take this beauty:
“Ask journalists, photographers, musicians, cartoonists or artists what they think of the Web. Ask movie and film producers. Ask architects and engineers. The Web efficiently disseminates content, but it does protect intellectual property rights. Writers and artists are increasingly unable to make a living. And technical professions are under heavy assault.”
It might be enlightening which artists and musicians Hedges is referring to, and which movie and film producers. Or course including “architects and engineers” gives his rallying cry a bit of Ayn Rand ala Howard Roark heroic flavor.
As for the “writers and artists are increasingly unable to make a living”, I say tell that to the many thousands of indigenous farmers swept aside by the corporate globalization of Agribusiness. That “many technical professions are heavy assault” is a given, since the Linotype machine replaced the typesetter, or the digital camera dispensed with the need for a dark room.
But what is most troubling to me about this article is Hedges quoting Jaron Lanier, a Microsoft funded oracle who is hustling a new book that complains about the Internet.
All you have to do is carefully examine the EULA (end user licensing agreement) from any Microsoft software to make you wonder if this not really a fascist complaint against human freedom.
Sorry Mr. Hedges, but your passionate screeds seem rather hollow, to say the least.

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By ofersince72, February 16, 2010 at 10:18 pm Link to this comment

Its kinda ironic anyhow….

All this stuff we are using at this minute
is built on the backs of slave labor.

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By ofersince72, February 16, 2010 at 10:10 pm Link to this comment

not to worry Tennesee…

The power grid is going to crash soon

All this will be moot

Mama will take care of this debate

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By racetoinfinity, February 16, 2010 at 9:42 pm Link to this comment

While I appreciate the arguments about mob mentality and “clan” ethnocentric violence, the author is under the misapprehension that human nature is fixed.  There are levels of development of human consciousness ready to unfold in history.  Levels of consciousness (and manifestations in culture) are nested holarchies like Russian dolls.  We have evolved from a slumbering, fused-with-nature animism to a postmodern rational interdependence (and some of us have grown even more in our potential to transcend and include postmodernism in an integral vision), unique individuals acknowledging interdependence; people in this state can be MORE creative together (while honoring each person’s creativity) than single individuals on their own; on the other hand, people can DEvolve to ethnocentric clan pre-rational pre-individualistic states of ignorance and violence.

Human evolution has not ceased and been taken over by technology.  We are MORE THAN OUR PHYSICAL BODIES.  Brain is one aspect of Mind which is one aspect of Spirit.

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By Amon Drool, February 16, 2010 at 9:31 pm Link to this comment

frank.. you and i probably have different world-views.  but i’m with u on the matter of your post being censored here at TD.  hedges is a big boy and can certainly deal with your tit-for-tat name-calling.  on other sites i frequent, like naked capitalism and new deal 2.0, writers will interact with commenters when those commenters question/respond to their articles.  the only TD writer who will participate with commenters is scott ritter.  maybe censorship could be avoided if TD writers would engage their commenteriat.  then, if a commenter continued to be abusive, TD would have some justification to delete his/her posts.

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By Tennessee-Socialist, February 16, 2010 at 9:29 pm Link to this comment

DEAR FRIENDS OF THIS SITE: I think that most of you are not really grabbing what Chris Hedges is really saying about the internet revolution, and the computerization of the whole society.  I think that what Chris Hedges is really trying to explain to us is that the excess of modernity, automization and computerization of our lives kills and crushes the human spirit, the will to power, and physical strength.  What he is saying is very linked to what the great philosopher Fredrich Nietzsche wrote in his book “The Will to Power” about technology, industrialization and modernity. 

He claimed that the man of the XV and XVII Centuries was more developed than the man of the XVIII and XIX.  And i agree with most of what Nietzsche wrote, since he was one of the best geniouses and one the most realist philosophers.

And i really do think that the people of the the XX Century were a lot smarter and better than the people of this internet culture of the XXI Century.

People are getting dumber. And even 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,  unable to have the necessary musclular will aggressiveness and manhood that are necessary for any revolution, popular uprisings, rebellion and changes that the United States demands.

F. Nietzsche said that the most important things for the development of a culture are the body, the diet and the physiology. And every thing else comes as consequence. And that’s why the greeks knew what they had to do and they did it.  However in this modern, industrial society of the spetacle, the body, the diet and the physiology is taken for granted.  People forget about their own selves (body) by hiding behind a computer, or an SUV with tinted windows.

But as we can read in the book The Geneology of Morals only those superior men with superior physical strength will be able to be the caste of lords to rule the world:

“The knightly-aristocratic judgments of value have as their basic trait a powerful muscular body, a blooming, rich, even overflowing health, together with those things required to maintain these qualities: war, adventure, hunting, dancing, war games, and, in general, everything which involves strong, free, happy action.” -On The Genealogy of Morals. F. Nietzsche

And in the book The Antichrist, it clearly states that those with superior knowledge and superior muscular strength will be able to lead the way:

“It is nature that sets off in one class those men who are very intellectual, and in another those who are marked by muscular strength, and in a third those who are distinguished in neither one way or the other, but show only weakness and mediocrity.  The last-named represents the great majority, and the first two the select.”  -The Antichrist

So I think that what Chris Hedges is trying to say is that the excess of internet, and computerization and technology is really the main destroying of the revolutionary hard working spirit of americans


.


.

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By Gina, February 16, 2010 at 7:29 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Wow. Pretty depressing post. I’m the first to rail against the people running around on the Internet trying to profit off of more of the same old corporate strategies that discount meaning or quality. But the Internet has opened up a whole new awareness for millions. We have the capacity to develop holistically as individuals and globally.

If you start with the basic premise that human beings are base by nature, then you will conclude that the Internet is tragic science fiction waiting to happen. But if you start with the premise that human beings are naturally part of a good and greater collective force, then it’s not so terrifying.

The article is based on an ugly premise. We can make the choice to start with a different premise, that we are capable of much better.

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By Frank, February 16, 2010 at 7:04 pm Link to this comment

Apparently, the criticism of Hedges in my original post was a bit too pointed
(or perhaps on target?) and it was deleted by the moderators. I received an
email explaining the reasons:

Hi Frank—

It has come to our attention that you have posted comments that are not in
keeping with our policy. As we clearly state at [URL], criticizing Truthdig
readers’ and writers’ ideas is fine, but name-calling, personal attacks—calling
a Truthdig author a “self-important schmuck” or a “hypocritical elitist,” etc.—
will not be tolerated on our site.  Please review our policy and help us keep
Truthdig’s comment community a respectful and enjoyable place to post for
everyone. Thank you.

Sincerely,
Truthdig Webmaster


to which I replied:

Dear Truthdig. Thank you for enlightening me as to the depth of your hypocrisy
and arrogance.

Apparently, Hedges is free to make personal attacks on others such as referring
to Avigdor Lieberman as Israel’s “racist in chief”  and is free to slander entire
classes of people, such as successful employees of corporations who in
Hedge’s own words are “vacant and supine” and who’s “intellect is narrow and
inhibited” and who “possess the traits often exhibited by psychopaths —
superficial charm, grandiosity and self-importance, a need for constant
stimulation, a penchant for lying, deception and manipulation, and the
incapacity for remorse or guilt.”  Hedges can refer to the United States Treasury
Secretary and various CEOs collectively as “deeply stunted and maladjusted
individuals” and makes sweeping statements about atheists being “starry-eyed
utopians” who “believe in nothing”.  He is free to refer to executives at AIG and
Citibank as “moral scum”.

But that’ is all OK, right? After all, he is a journalist, and is entitled to make
insults. However, it is not permissible for that an ordinary individual might
criticize Hedges in the kind of language he wields so often at others, and
certainly not where others might read it. That kind of personal expression is a
form of free speech that Hedges can’t abide, which is why he is railing against
it his diatribe on the Internet.

Well, at least I know that hedges has found a worthy home at Truthdig.

-Frank

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By MarthaA, February 16, 2010 at 6:54 pm Link to this comment

To the question:  Is the internet destroying society?  I ask the very important question.  Whose society are we talking about here?  Because it certainly isn’t the populace of the United States’ society.  The populace of the United States is overwhelmingly glad there is an internet, since the DLC convinced Congress not to represent the populace, not to talk about the populace, and even black balled the words liberal, liberalism and socialism as dirty words for the populace, and installed liberalism and socialism for the elite under a conservative agenda.  An open internet has been most beneficial in informing the populace as to their interests politically, while newspapers and all forms of the media squelch beneficial political populace news in the United States, then feign amazement when the populace no longer choose to purchase newspapers or listen to the news on television.  News beneficial to the populace since 1980 and the installation of the DLC in Congress has become like lettuce on a Big Mac.

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By omygodnotagain, February 16, 2010 at 6:41 pm Link to this comment

I generally agree with most of Hedges articles, but with this one I disagree. The internet has given control to people, reduced the role of elite gatekeepers, remember them, the ones that cow-towed to their corporate bosses about WMDs in Iraq, the ones that gives us endless crime stories despite falling crime in major cities through the 1990s, the ones that report what AIPAC or their corporate sponsors want them to say. The notion that musicians are not getting paid, is also nonsense, when Coldplay released its mega hit Viva La Vida a couple of years ago, it broke all download records on iTunes. Musicians get paid from the 99c downloads.  I don’t want to diss Chris, but what the Internet has done is free us from the Soviet like grip of vested interests which hide, distort and manipulate the truth. All The News That is Fit To Print what a joke eh Chris

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By Anarcissie, February 16, 2010 at 6:03 pm Link to this comment

thebeerdoctor, February 16 at 9:14 pm:
’... But this also throws light on Hedges: why does he quote as oracle, a so-called liberal hawk. who makes excuses for the injustices perpetrated continuously in the Middle East? ...’

It could be a case of birds of a feather.  Hedges’s overt hatred of popular culture and unregulated behavior could easily translate into the same sort of violent authoritarianism Lanier espouses.  That’s why I was wondering if Hedges has in mind some sort of state repression as a cure.  After all, that’s what they do in China and Saudi Arabia.

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By thebeerdoctor, February 16, 2010 at 5:14 pm Link to this comment

Thank you to prole for revealing what Jaron Lanier’s work is all about. One thing to add to this, Lanier receives funding from the Microsoft Corporation, according to The Wall Street Journal.
But this also throws light on Hedges: why does he quote as oracle, a so-called liberal hawk. who makes excuses for the injustices perpetrated continuously in the Middle East? It seems that Mr. Hedges, in his zeal to discredit the Internet, embraces some rather strange fellows indeed. In fact, when you examine these arguments in the light of who is making them, it becomes a total crock.

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By herb, February 16, 2010 at 2:54 pm Link to this comment

The prophet at the gates is ignored.

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By Leefeller, February 16, 2010 at 2:20 pm Link to this comment

Sarcasm provides a much needed hanging moon towards deluded reality, though somehow always seems to evade recognition by the deluded ones.

Tao Walker (this must be your shortest post ever?)
If indeed all this shit is to come out in the wash, one may take this to mean the missing sock?

Géza Éder appreciate your windy comprehensive answer, with a short thank you.

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By prole, February 16, 2010 at 2:12 pm Link to this comment

“The only income left for most of those who create is earned through self-promotion, but as Lanier points out this… fosters a social ethic in which the capacity for crowd manipulation is more highly valued than truth, beauty or thought.” Jaron Lanier, the “father of virtual reality technology” is no slouch when it comes to self-promotion either, so he’s perhaps well suited to comment on that aspect of it anyway. A self-promoting, middle-aged Jew in
dreadlocks is something to behold.
  But cheer up. Lanier may be mistaken, after all. It wouldn’t be the first time. This is the same Lanier who was a great supporter of Bush’s illegal invasion of Iraq. In an ‘05 blog piece touchingly titled the Agony of a Liberal Hawk, Lanier writes of his enthusiasm for the war: “One reason, which proved to be mistaken, is that I trusted Colin Powell and some other public figures on matters of fact”. He went on to try and assert that his earlier belief in the hoped-for benefits of the war were dashed largely because of Bush’s ineptitude, not because it was wrong in concept: “Some of the worst creeps, like Saddam, were so entrenched… the only plausible way to get rid of them in the near term was physical intervention.” But that, “…it wasn’t yet clear at the beginning that he [Bush] was almost the worst imaginable man for the job.” Curiously, Lanier claims that the, “core reason I was a Liberal Hawk was that I feared that without a successful intervention now, even worse wars would await us in the coming years.” Uh, huh. But despite his disdain for Bush, Lanier has no such problem with another grim reaper, opining: “It’s interesting to compare Sharon and Bush. Sharon is a hardliner by anyone’s definition, but ultimately he lives on planet Earth, so he withdraws from the Gaza Strip. I can live with hardliners who are forced into supporting enlightened positions they don’t like because of reality; in fact, I trust them more than people who rely only on beliefs.” But even if Lanier can trust war criminal Sharon and live in good conscience with him he has no such affinity for Israel’s enemies: “There’s sometimes a tendency in Western Left circles to place all blame on our own countries and cultures… Yes, the USA has supported reprehensible regimes. But that does not make us solely responsible for the rise of abhorrent doctrines like Sacred Murder by Suicide. The people who hold these beliefs do more damage to their own populations than we could ever do [!!!], and it is our moral duty to oppose them.” [and trust the moral Sharon!] Lanier also has bones to pick with other thorns in Israels side like the European Left which, “seems to want the Palestinians to make themselves pathetic in order to earn sympathy”. They’re not nearly as easy to live with as Sharon for Lanier. “A inadequate force on the ground has allowed insurgents to achieve a serendipitous reign of terror… By being destructive in all directions, they hope that their nihilistic idea of empire will eventually win by default.” A sinister monolith lurking there in the shadows! And he advocates, “An American citizens’ movement would reach out to the whole world, in order to say… ‘We screwed up before, and we ask the world to be pragmatically forgetful. We request that other countries get involved, to put enough boots on the ground in Iraq to give democracy a chance.’” Great thinking Jaron, we [you!] screwed up before – and now just forget all that and trust us, let’s do it all over again, and this time y’all can join us! Lanier was at least right in concluding, “these actions would anticipate the Washington that will come to be run by a new Democratic administration in three years.” Yes, now that the Liberal Hawks like Lanier are in power things are getting even weirder; their “social ethic” - like Lanier’s - is that of Ariel Sharon.

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By Anarcissie, February 16, 2010 at 1:49 pm Link to this comment

Géza Éder, February 16 at 12:54 pm:
’... Seriously, there *are* dark sides of the Internet.  Look at /b/ and a lot of other forums where half the people taking place in discussions are paid corporate shills, look at internet advertising (advertising violent entertainment to minors migrated very fast to the internet, after the 2001 FTC paper) and so on.  CH does paint things pretty dark (“he probably saw too many dead people” as some idiot said about him (paraphrasing)), but there are quite a few things right with what he’s saying.

In fact, this kind of superficial, demagogical discussion that tries to “win” arguments in the fastest and simplest possible way, with soundbites, snarky comments and ad hominem attacks (cf Thong-girl) is very typical on Internet forums.  It works if all you want is to prove to yourself (and people who already agree with you) that your “opponent” is wrong, but it doesn’t work if you want to know what’s actually true.’

In order to have a discussion which is not superficial and demagogic, it is necessary to have participants who are not superficial and demagogic.  Chris Hedges and his fans are superficial and demagogic as well as either consciously dishonest or very poorly informed about the subject; naturally, that kind of aggression—for instance, calling your writing, mine, and everyone else’s sewage—is going to color the responses to it.  This is aside from Hedges’s hatred of popular culture and his poor grasp of intellectual property issues.  I can’t understand what you see in it.

People who wanted to discuss problematic aspects of the Internet in a non-propagandistic manner would have to start off differently.  This particular well has been thoroughly and permanently poisoned from the outset by Hedges.

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By TAO Walker, February 16, 2010 at 1:30 pm Link to this comment

Damned good thing ALL this shit’s gonna come out in The Wash.

Meantime, washte and…...

HokaHey!

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By c.hanna, February 16, 2010 at 12:55 pm Link to this comment

chris hedges,

I have to thank you for bringing this subject up. And from the looks of this comment board it has struck a cord with many.

I was looking around at Truthdig site. Truthdig, in the alexa rating system, is high up the pole. Like I was saying in first post, many of these sites that have been around awhile, are now faced with increasing competition, not only from other well organized sites with good content, but from individuals that are throwing up free blogs by the millions with the expressed desire to disseminate the truth, be it through their own responsive articles they write or through articles they find (such as yours). I have found some of the best articles written by “amateurs”. They are honest. They don’t care that they may be talking about subjects that seem to be Taboo on MAINSTREAM Internet Media outlets such as The Nation, Huffington, and other libertal media joints.

What bothers me about this article most is it implies, as well as directly states, that the internet needs to have some new measures added to curb this free expression, that this free expression is parasitic and has no value. Well, that’s a matter of opinion. I appreciate the fact that “artists” are angry that some of their work is compromised by the internet.

NIGHT GAUNT states that you want to separate the wheat from the chafe. But that just gets into control and power struggles, because WHO decides who is wheat and who is chafe?

Frankly, I’m as sick of liberal media outlets as the conservative ones. And lately, maybe a little more sick of liberal ones.

Take the NATION, for example. In 2004 they came out a publicly endorsed Kerry, as well as Obama this last time. Any rudiment research on Obama done before the election showed Obama to be the same mold as Bush.

My point I’m trying to lead into is the problem with truthdig and the “creators”, etc is more about what is LEFT OUT than what is being published.

What good is it to rehash (and I take this from my browsing of this site) over and over the “politics” of washington when Obama is blatantly following in Bush’s path?

If writers and other artists really want to make an impact, really want to do justice to truth, then they need to quit avoiding the hard facts about WHY the Obama administration is now doing the same things and why they, too, are getting away with it as Bush and Cheney continue to be aired on Prime time TV with their twisted values. Who gives a rip about twitter? Twitter is of little consequence in the larger scheme of reality.

The reason we are being led to a feudal like system is because the hard facts about 911, which was the pivotal instigating point of this last 9 years of bloodbath based all on lies, IS AVOIDED by liberal media outlets that are still dominating the internet.

The “Good” artists don’t want to hurt their reputations by posing insightful arguments for 911 truth. If the truth were out about 911, most of the last 9 years of hell and over ONE MILLION people would still be alive. Not to mention the millions who are now handicapped from this bloodbath.

Elizabeth Woodworth presents a good article:
“Media Response to Growing Influence of 911 Truth Movement”
http://www.americanpendulum.com/2010/02/media-response-to-growing-influence-of-the-911-truth-movement/

All based on reputable Physicists, who are now being added to PEERS journals for their work on identifying IRREFUTABLE EVIDENCE of nano thermate in the towers dust.

Why don’t you folks really help humanity and start writing about these issues?

When you don’t, you come off as “parasitic” gatekeepers. No offense, just being straight with you.

Another site that is a PEERS organization and lists hundreds of well known military, aviation, physicists, engineers, intelligence community, professors, and many more is
http://www.wanttoknow.info/

THIS IS WHY making a living is getting tougher for some. Maybe not you in particular but the many artists who remain silent.

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By Michael, February 16, 2010 at 12:44 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Clearly there are compensation issues that need to be resolved in the digital world.

Perhaps a micro payment system will emerge.

The internet is remarkable.  Wiring a terminally ill culture to it only hastens the inevitable.

On the up side, I was introduced to Chris Hedges’s writing on Truth Dig. I subsequently purchased several of his books.

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By Géza Éder, February 16, 2010 at 12:35 pm Link to this comment

Leefeller wrote:
One is to believe a long windy dissertation is the only way to win an argument against an opponent? Pompous seems those who would shovel critical opinion as fact as I am doing now. Opponent, in the eye of the pious may be one who does not agree.

Nahh, “long and windy” doesn’t really mean accurate or deep, but brief, witty (and even funny) doesn’t mean no-nonsense and to-the-point (and true) either.  These interjections are mostly easy to make, and are also based on panels and cliches most of the time.  The argument Anarcissie made was approximately of that type too, imo, but the Thong-girl one is a much worse and more obvious offender.

Also, the reason I’m long and windy is simply my lack of talent, not that I prefer this way of talking (although I do prefer it, but I think I prefer it because that’s the only way I can work grin ).

Disagreement does not an opponent make, unless one wears their ego on ones shirt sleeves.

The argument made was wrong, independent of whether I agree with the poster or not (and I share the basic sentiment in the Anarcissie posts, but this doesn’t mean I have to accept faulty arguments grin ).  That you can freely post your thoughts on truthdig simply does not mean that there’s no “suppression of thought” on the Internet, just like Chomsky appearing on C-Span doesn’t mean that his views are not suppressed on TV in general.

Observations of me, who uses “superficial, demagogical discussion that tries to “win” arguments in the fastest and simplest possible way, with soundbites, snarky comments and ad hominem attacks,”.

I wasn’t directing this at you, but at the “Thong-girl” comment, and, more generally, at the simplistic and fallacious “you’re allowed to talk now, so it’s obvious that noone is suppressed on the Internet” argument.  My point was that this kind of argument, which I called demagogic and simplistic, and which is often put in a “snarky” fashion (implying that the person it’s made against is stupid), is in fact pretty popular on the Internet.  It’s often used to derail and destroy actual in-depth discussions.  It’s an easy-to-learn way of thinking/acting, and I think it’s mostly pretty anti-social.

Anyway, I think that the truth is somewhere between Anarcissie’s and CH’s opinion (and I hate saying stuff like this). 

First, the Internet does provide a large amount of democratising technologies, but the way the money flows is mostly in the opposite direction, towards centralisation and control of knowledge - and the reason for this is that people do actually recognise the threat that the internet poses for centralised power and that it has to be countered by force (mostly money, legislation etc).

Second, there’s indeed a lot of information and discussion on the Internet, but - apart from being hard to find - the lack of any kind of regulation means that manipulative techniques are the ones that work most effectively.  It’s easy to reply with “tl;dr” or an image macro to a post you don’t care about, or ridicule its spelling or make a snarky comment about a single unlucky sentence in it, and this is also very often a winning strategy in discussions. (Although I think that it may be just a matter of time until better moderation techniques are developed.)

I think that if a certain pattern of behaviour is easy to learn and is effective and successful in discussions (mostly in providing immediate gratification to the poster), people will learn it and use it and thus it will spread wider and wider.  What I’m talking about is such a pattern of behaviour (or maybe several patterns), and it seems to me that it’s (they’re) also spreading.

(does this qualify as snarky from one snarkster to another?)

Hehe, not really.  You’re not even close to what I’m talking about, or rather, you’re mostly on the opposite side.

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By Rusty, February 16, 2010 at 12:29 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Sideshow Hedges: “By the way, I’m aware of the irony of appearing on [the Internet] in order to decry it. So don’t bother pointing that out.”

P.S. Islam is not a race.

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By MarthaA, February 16, 2010 at 12:27 pm Link to this comment

Uncle Ernie is right, United We Stand, Divided We Fall.  In 1980 the Republicans’ corporate DLC divided the populace from the Democratic Party which began the downfall.  It is time to overthrow the DLC, the Democratic Leadership Council, and unite the populace under the Democratic Party without the corporate DLC and then seek to legislate and institutionalize a Three-Party Political System in the United States so the Progressives, the Liberals, the populace will actually have a political party to represent them, and so will the DLC.

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By thebeerdoctor, February 16, 2010 at 12:26 pm Link to this comment

tony_opmoc seems to point out that many of the intellectual property protections, before the Internet, are actually nostalgic delusions. Only recently I saw a Mountain Stage concert on television, where Arlo Gutherie stated that he received his first royalties for “Alice’s Restaurant” only 7 years ago. But there are many stories such as this; entertainment products that sold millions,, but through the genius of creative accounting, the actual creators received next to nothing.
frank, speaking frankly to say the least, may be off base about Hedges contributions as a journalist, but there is a sting of truth about elite professionals bemoaning the democratization of writing on the Internet. Hell, Larry Flynt, the multi-millionaire publisher has complained that pornography is (pun intended) a very hard dollar to earn these days, due to the availability of free porn on the Internet.
But critics of the Internet do themselves a disservice when they try to boil down the world wide web’s contribution to simply Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, and Wikipedia. This only reveals what a shallow perception they have. There are many tools available now that were once the sole property of the wealthy elite. Perhaps that is what really sticks in their crawl: the word demos means the common people. For the first time, those so-called uneducated rubes (like this toothless hillbilly) have access to tools once reserved for the monetary elite. Which makes me wonder, what does Mr. Hedges really know about the subject he is complaining about? Does he know the difference between Microsoft and Ubuntu? MS Office suite and Open Office Suite? Does he know the difference between a Windows media player and the Element Linux media player? And what corporate ulterior motive would he attribute to the wonderful backyard astronomical software known as Stellarium?

To follow up a thread started with Geza Eder, I found this in my (actual paper) newspaper this morning, by David Holthaus @ enquirer.com:
“EX-exec exits with millions
Converergys deal set
    Fired Convergys CEO David Dougherty will receive a severance package worth $3.4 million when he leaves the company, in addition to $5 million in pension and deferred compensation he accumulated during his years at the downtown-based company.
  (then 4 paragraphs down)...
  In 2008, Dougherty’s first year as CEO, Convergys suffered a net loss of $93 million. It reported a loss of $77 million for 2009. Its share price fell 59 percent since he took over. As CEO, Dougherty earned total compensation worth $3.1 million in 2008, the last year the company has reported.”
Cincinnati Enquirer, Tuesday, February 16, 2010

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By Night-Gaunt, February 16, 2010 at 11:24 am Link to this comment

The corporations, controlled by their uber-rich masters need us the herd in the way that it is done in the prisons across our country. Promote different antagonistic groups to keep them busy and allow them to be controlled without knowing it. To fight amongst themselves and leave the guards alone. A cruel way of doing it and productive to a point but not the best way to have a society. If they cared for it to be for everyone and not just the Elect (who do so themselves) keeping the rabble in line till they are needed. Or in this case to putter around while we lose all that is precious to us.

Chilisize, you are among the group that is anesthetized to everything and just want it to pass over. That too works in their favor. Short attention spans, lack of deeper cognitive thought etc are all part of it. You need to expand and energize your mind even if the stuff is gloomy. I do but then I have no personal life so I can, it beats getting drunk!

Now with so many time consuming but ultimately useless things like Twitter et al how can anyone do anything substantial in anything with such easy to use junk information systems around? Just like with junk food, it is fun and habit forming and legal! But ultimately a waste of time.

Kerryrose I can tell you that Rifikin has his doubts about Evolution and makes the same claims as Creationists if that is of any help. I read his book “Algeny” about a new way of industry and it was interesting and uneven. As with anyone else read carefully.


Christ Hedges has done it again (for those who actually read all of it) and an important resource for he sees what is germinating now will be the mighty oaks of tomorrow. (Rehash from what?) That is how it always starts unless stopped. We run the risk of being left out if the two tier internet is ever implemented. So much of what he talks about goes back to education & the impetus to do so on ones own. If you don’t have your own proof reader behind your eyes then the risk of gullibility is high. From that all else flows.

Nietzsche was for the creative person not the coach potato nor the hunter/aristocrat. He believed one should be a well rounded person as he considered the possible ubermensch would be as the best of all possible developments. {He thought that the coach potato man would be more inclined to happen.}

What Hedges wants is a filter to separate the chaff from the wheat in relation to information. That is the draw back of this near lawless, anarchic frontier. The good, bad and ridiculous all rolled into one, let the buyer beware,“caveat emptor.” But you must have the brains, education and ability to work at descrimination yourself of the material. You must be that filter. Whether it is TV, radio, internet and paper publications to do it. It takes work, mental work which is hard if you are a hard underpaid near slave in these United States. You are more interested in food, bills, sex and sports to bother with most of this other noise in the background. Which works in the oligarchs favor.

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By Leefeller, February 16, 2010 at 10:54 am Link to this comment

Thanks Tony, I appreciate the response and answer.

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By tony_opmoc, February 16, 2010 at 10:42 am Link to this comment

Leefeller,

Chris Hedges is one of the best journalists “out there”, because that is exactly what he has done. He has got off his arse, in much the same way, say as John Pilger and Robert Fisk, and travelled the World. He has spent years in war zones, to find the truth, and analyse it as best he can, formed his own opinions and done his best to get them published.

There are very few journalists left, who actually do the real job of a traditional journalist as it was done 50 years ago. The media is so controlled, by such powerful interests, that true journalism has become almost impossible. If your views don’t conform to whatever the editorial policy is, or are in any way critical of whatever your major advertisers interests are, then your work will not get published. Most “journalists” would provide a better service to the public, by becoming rent boys or prostitutes. They are part of the problem rather than the solution.

Why the hell didn’t journalists uncover the obvious truth that Saddam Hussein had been disarmed of WMD’s before the Iraq War started? I mean, even I could prove that by a simple Google search of US, UK Government and UN websites.

At least Hedges has been highly critical of both the Iraq War and Israel’s horrendous treatment of the Palestinians.

He doesn’t receive any payment from me for reading his views on the Internet, whereas 20 years ago I might actually have bought a Newspaper. I don’t think it unreasonable that he should receive a fair reward for his work, but complaining about the Internet is not going to help matters.

Tony

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By Leefeller, February 16, 2010 at 9:57 am Link to this comment

One is to believe a long windy dissertation is the only way to win an argument against an opponent? Pompous seems those who would shovel critical opinion as fact as I am doing now. Opponent, in the eye of the pious may be one who does not agree.

Disagreement does not an opponent make, unless one wears their ego on ones shirt sleeves.

Observations of me, who uses “superficial, demagogical discussion that tries to “win” arguments in the fastest and simplest possible way, with soundbites, snarky comments and ad hominem attacks,”.

Clearly Hedges does not own a monopoly on hypocrisy!

(does this qualify as snarky from one snarkster to another?)

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By Géza Éder, February 16, 2010 at 8:54 am Link to this comment

Anarcissie wrote:Yes, nine paragraphs was unnecessary.  The idea is absurd on its face.  Here you and Hedges are, complaining on the Internet that you’re being suppressed by the Internet.  Both of you appear incapable of simple reason and common sense.

So, because Chomsky was on C-Span a couple of times, TV is democratic? o_O

Seriously, there *are* dark sides of the Internet.  Look at /b/ and a lot of other forums where half the people taking place in discussions are paid corporate shills, look at internet advertising (advertising violent entertainment to minors migrated very fast to the internet, after the 2001 FTC paper) and so on.  CH does paint things pretty dark (“he probably saw too many dead people” as some idiot said about him (paraphrasing)), but there are quite a few things right with what he’s saying.

In fact, this kind of superficial, demagogical discussion that tries to “win” arguments in the fastest and simplest possible way, with soundbites, snarky comments and ad hominem attacks (cf Thong-girl) is very typical on Internet forums.  It works if all you want is to prove to yourself (and people who already agree with you) that your “opponent” is wrong, but it doesn’t work if you want to know what’s actually true.

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By Géza Éder, February 16, 2010 at 8:42 am Link to this comment

@truedigger3: you really don’t seem to understand the problem hmmm  “Responsible” TV consumption (if it’s at all possible) needs a large amount of constant attention, that initially puts a high pressure on parents, and later on, as children grow, becomes impossible, as parents simply can’t control their children’s social interactions in kindergarten, schools etc.  It’s a constant overwhelming pressure, and while it’s not enough to avoid it most of the time, it’s impossible to avoid it completely. 

Bringing up a child is indeed the responsibility of parents, but this doesn’t mean that everyone else is allowed to prey on them and that if this attitude succeeds, it’s only the parent’s fault.  It’s essentially like allowing motorists to hit jaywalkers - breaking the law does not give anyone else a right to hunt rule-breaking pedestrians.  Similarly, if the parents are too busy (chances are that they indeed are) or just are inattentive parents who let their kids be brought up by TV, it doesn’t mean that the right to educate their children belongs to the first taker.  This is predatory, “dog eat dog” attitude, and it works in one direction, from top down.

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By Leefeller, February 16, 2010 at 8:36 am Link to this comment

May I start by saying the quote by Tony below may be part of the problem, the part before the comma? What is meant by “out there”?

“I rate Chris Hedges as one of the best journalists out there, but this is one of his worst contributions.”

It seems to me Hedges creates his weekly pissing contests with a blatant premise of promoting responses.  Hypocrisy seems a most noble tool for Hedges, especially this week just as Anacrissie mentions below.

Hedges promotes visions of dancing Tea Baggers complaining about tea bags!

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By Anarcissie, February 16, 2010 at 8:08 am Link to this comment

John Ellis, February 16 at 9:43 am:
‘Comes now Outraged, a poster so outraged at Chris Hedges that he devoted nine (9) paragraphs to try and destroy the reality that,  “The Internet… hijacked by corporate interests to accelerate our cultural, political and economic decline.”...’

Yes, nine paragraphs was unnecessary.  The idea is absurd on its face.  Here you and Hedges are, complaining on the Internet that you’re being suppressed by the Internet.  Both of you appear incapable of simple reason and common sense.

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By truedigger3, February 16, 2010 at 7:39 am Link to this comment

Re:By Géza Éder, February 16 at 12:07 am #

Geza Eder,

The key word is to use DISCRIMINATELY with open critical mind and for little children it is the responsibility of the parents or guardians.
Of course you don’t get your political views from “faux” News or as a mater of fact from the television.
All the problems you alluded to are also present in all other media , books, movies, newspapers and the internet.
But the internet offers freedom to the user and access to many sources of information and opinions with the added bonus the users can reach each other and exchange opinions or critisism.
Nothing is perfect and the key workd is bing curious, critical and with open mind or are you suggestion everyone just gives up and go live in a log cabin in the wilderness

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By tony_opmoc, February 16, 2010 at 5:37 am Link to this comment

I rate Chris Hedges as one of the best journalists out there, but this is one of his worst contributions.

Sure I sympathise with people who used to get paid for their work to be published in a traditional manner, who now perceive that it as being stolen. Newspapers, Music Publishers and Computer Games Publishers are going out of business. That’s tough, but in all these businesses, the actual creator of the material, was always at the bottom of the food chain and lucky to get a few crumbs. It was the publishers, distributors and the army of middle men who ended up with 99%. Often the actual creator got less than 1% if anything. There are loads of famous musicians who got robbed blind, and the only way they made a living was through ticket sales for live performances.

Content can be protected on the internet, and if its good enough people will pay for it. Its also possible to self publish for free and request donations or offer enhancements that are paid for. In so do doing, the army of middlemen are by-passed, and the creator can be far better off than if he used a traditional publisher.

But that is not the point. The internet is a wonderful educational tool which can empower small groups of people to start of their own creative businesses providing products and services, that large corporates would never even think of. To actually create something new of real value, rather than merely exchanging information, requires people to meet in the real world and build real things using real physical materials. The internet can be an enabler of such activities.

Its kind of equivalent to how leading edge technology is or was developed with specialists all over the world freely communicating new ideas to each other, even if they were being paid by competing companies. The development of the ideas was far more important to the researchers than revenues from the ultimate products. Whilst much of that pure research has now been corrupted by powerful political and financial interests, this had nothing whatsoever to do with the internet. In fact its the internet that is keeping such communication alive.

If Chris Hedges thinks Jaron Lanier, the ”father of virtual reality technology” is of any importance to the development of computing and the internet, then he is sadly misinformed. Its roughly equivalent of believing Al Gore was responsible for anything useful.

Tony

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By johannes, February 16, 2010 at 5:26 am Link to this comment

This is playing in France,


I had the feeling of eating a Hamburger, I love them with Bacon, but no not possible, they are now with smoked chicken, this is Halal, Bacon out, slowly, slowly, they eat us as well.

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By Outraged, February 16, 2010 at 2:17 am Link to this comment

Quote: “The Internet has become one more tool hijacked by corporate interests to accelerate our cultural, political and economic decline.”

Absolutely.  I can certainly attest to the difference from a few years ago and now.  Here in the comment section nasty comments, misleading information and outright lies are commonplace.  If one takes the time to fact check (which btw, can at times be difficult to do) you will find a myriad of misleading and/or misconstrued “facts”.

Of course, then there are those odd happenstances of events.  Why, just the other night my sister went out with her friend.  At one point, her cell phone was “stolen”.... her friend called my sister’s cell and STRANGELY ENOUGH, the thief answered.  This “particular” thief then gave them an address where they could find the phone, “on the front porch”.  They went to the address and voila there was the phone, just as the thief had said.  Musta been a really “nice” thief.  Go figure.

Aside from this “thief” having access to the NEW NUMBERS of several members of my immediate AND extended family, they also had access to my new number.  They also left a “msg” of sorts.

These particular “thieves” (very specific and obliging thieves btw) called two Chinese Restaurants which would be KNOWINGLY CLOSED by midnight or thereabouts, since there aren’t any chinese restaurants open that time of night around here.  Of course an interesting aspect of this “episode” is that the first chinese restaurant number just happened to be MY favorite take-out, and the other, one which others in my family tend to order from. 

That was just the other night, the next morning, I found this UNREGISTERED comment.

“By Fundamentalizer, February 13 at 11:27 am #
(Unregistered commenter)

If only it were true. My research indicates something quite radically different. Rather than a hologram, we are living in the reflection of a puddle left behind by a drunken deity stumbling home from the divine tavern. And worse, it is evaporating! Soon there shall be nothing left of us but the fading scent picked by Cerberus as he winds his way along on his morning walk.”

Hmmmm.  But such as it is these things are difficult to prove or track down.  But the conundrum continues for me and mine, and these are not the good people, of course they definitely portray themselves that way.  It seems to me that they’re getting more creative.  Before it was blantant, now it has a bit of…. oh… maybe a flair.  Personally, I guess they’re upping the ante, seems the toyboys didn’t get the job done right, at least in their minds…...  They’re getting more creative… hey, we can at least give them that the LIARS.

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By ofersince72, February 16, 2010 at 2:15 am Link to this comment

I have recieved a course in creative writing

for free !!!!

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By Samson, February 15, 2010 at 11:40 pm Link to this comment

In a healthy society, this wouldn’t even be a problem.

In a healthy society, each of us would do our share of the work needed to survive.  Today, each of us does that same work, plus the extra work to pay the salaries of middle managers, plus the extra work to pay for executive salaries and bonuses, plus the extra work to pay for profits for the banks that loan the corporation money, plus extra work to pay for the profits of the shareholders of the corporation.

Its all that extra work that is the issue.  Its all that extra work that says a young person with artistic vision instead has to spend their time working 70 hours a week at two crappy lowpaying jobs just to pay for their survival ... plus all the profits for everyone else.

Strip out all that extra work that each of us has to do to pay for all the salaries of managers and executives and all the profits for the banks and shareholders, and then each of us would find that we have the time to not only do our daily work to survive, but also time to create.

Its our time that’s been stolen from us.  We live in a world full of time-saving technological advances, yet each of us works longer and harder and more hours than ever before.  That’s not because what we need to survive has changed. That’s still food, water, clothes, shelter.  Instead, its because each of us is more and more and more told that we have to work harder and longer to make more profits for other people.

There are parasites involved in this discussion. But its not someone who dares to download something from the internet without giving a credit card number first.  The parasites are the people who constantly say that we have to work longer and harder in order so that they can get richer and richer ... without working themselves of course.

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By c.hanna, February 15, 2010 at 11:00 pm Link to this comment

Chris Hedges,

I agree with much of what you are saying.

But you have to look at it this way too (in regards to the “parasites” that are using content):

When someone links to your article, or perhaps puts it on their own board, this is FREE advertising for your article, AS LONG AS THEY are correctly sourcing the article.

People who may not have heard of Truthdig may connect to truthdig from linking from another site.

Also, when it comes to Anti-war, anti-torture, and anti-Big Bankers….This kind of information and writing should really not be, in the mind of the writer, profit oriented…..BECAUSE then YOU too become a parasite, using the destruction, corruption, and the pitiful state of others as means to gain financial reward, recognition, and a feeling of superiority.

No matter how hard one tries to think they are “different” or set apart as an individual from the “hive” or collective, we can never become entirely separate from it.

Lanier, the man you quote, makes great points on the collective and hive. I’ve seen it alot on the internet, and in many of the so-called Truth and Anti-War sites.

But you have to understand that the internet is, still, an open source communication vehicle. There needs to be caution when formulating the ways and means of protecting the creative talents of others, so that we don’t forget about the free and openness for many of us “lessers”.

Without much of the “free” techy stuff that so many are contributing to on the internet, many of us would not even be able to afford it.

I have a wordpress site I started. I make NO MONEY, don’t advertise, nor do I seek out donations. I pay about $100 dollars a year for the hosting company. I have donated money to plugin developers, when I like what they create. I do this not for profit but because I care about the murder going on around the world that is mostly done by my own country and I care that so many people (just in the area I live) seem to know nothing about the facts. So, there may be a lot of sites now….WHEN a few years ago, people like you, here at truthdig, informationclearinghouse.info, and a few others…ACTUALLY dominated the anti-war sites, because there WASN’T VERY MANY. NOW they are a dime a dozen and still growing. THIS IS WHY YOU MOST LIKELY NOT MAKING THE MONEY AS BEFORE. There are just too many of these sites now.

Back after 911 (when I started realizing something was not right about the media) I got my first computer. There was few sites then….now, so many.

If you want to be in this business, expect not to make anything from it. You should be in it because you feel passionate about the crisis in our world.

I feel a bit tiffed by your calling people like me a parasite, when it is people like you, who get free advertising to your site, when ever I link to you.

Sure, there ARE those who are trying to make an easy buck off others. I got a bunch of spammers that try to leave comments for all kinds of products. But at least when someone is linking to your article or sourcing it, at least realize they are giving you FREE advertising.

Meanwhile, Humanity IS a collective. But we need to realize that we are ALL individuals that make up this vast enterprise. Like an ocean, which without all the life within, would be nothing but a void; empty. Or like a forest with all the fauna and varieties of species that make it a forest.

Since I started that little wordpress site, I’ve been so consumed with trying to get everything working, that I have written only ONE article. That will change….meanwhile I continue to dole out free advertising for other people’s work.

Its too bad that some of these sites are not making the big bucks they were…but that is COMPETITION for you. Thats what you call REAL free market.

Don’t get me wrong. I really like your writing!! Just don’t turn into a snob about it. I get what you are saying. Just try to see my point of view.

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By Géza Éder, February 15, 2010 at 9:32 pm Link to this comment

thebeerdoctor wrote:You are correct about the MBA problem. I actually saw it applied to established industrial corporations, where a fresh wunderkind, right out of business school would come on board to tell them how to “fix” their operating business model, which usually meant (hell, nearly always) slash and burn the work force, outsource as much as possible, and crack into any unused revenue streams, such as pension funds and matching contributions to 401k retirement accounts.
What is truly unnerving is that such unethical, greed-driven behavior is not only acceptable but applauded. The question arises: how many of these executive captains of the board room can this lousy ship of state stand?

Thing is, they often know so little of the actual business that there’s nothing else they can do grin Other issues, like a substantial increase of executive power compared to shareholder power, the need for constant, continued growth, the increasing inability of stockmarkets to objectively evaluate company value in the real economy, lacking/distorted information on performance, and the increasing ability of corporations to control the parameters of the market instead of themselves being regulated by it, make this even worse.  As with a lot of complex systems (like the press or education or democratic institutions), it slowly becomes a tool for centralising control, as opposed to being a tool for distributing it, going towards a more authority-centered society instead of a more democratic one.  This is why the rules governing its behaviour have to be very strict and play very safe - the risks to democracy that a power concentration like a larger MNC poses are simply not worth it. Same with democracy - if elections are supposed to work, they have to be really tightly controlled (mostly meaning options for propaganda).

After all, these are not games.  There should simply be no place for this “winner takes all, haha suckered” predatory attitude in these systems.

If it’s not acceptable for a doctor or a teacher or anyone doing real work to have such a malevolent attitude towards you (or your children), why is this acceptable, even preferred behaviour high up?  If your doctor is lying to you to extract more medical fees, you simply don’t consider him to be fit for his profession, market success be damned.  If a teacher lied to your kid to sell them one of their textbooks, you’d be outraged - but if a politician lies to get elected, that’s all right.  At the top, this behaviour is considered smart and is applauded. You’re accountable if you’re at the bottom, but you’re free to do whatever you want at the top grin  This is why there are integrated databases for tracking individual people’s potential terrorist-like behaviours, but no integrated systems for tracking Pentagon spending :-D

Oh sorry, I forgot political and economic “accountability”, the “vote with your wallet” and “not being reelected is enough control for elected officials” myths of “liberal” “democracies” (way too many quotes, but damn, none of those words actually mean what they should).  Seriously…no.  These are obviously not enough.  More power should mean more responsibility, not less.  It took me a long time and quite a bit of effort to sort of “believe” these things, but damn, I was right when I was 14 and thought they were obviously bull :-D

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By lichen, February 15, 2010 at 8:57 pm Link to this comment

John Ellis, the universal declaration of human rights states that we do indeed have a right to live, as well as to food, housing, education, and healthcare.  So yes, we do deserve those things 100%; no one should be homeless, everyone deserves to not be homeless.  It sounds like an ‘ingrate’ to you is someone who demands human decency and human rights for all.

I don’t think that there should be starving artists, yet we know that many people still make a living and actually benefit from the promotion of having been file shared on the internet; indeed, it is not mostly the artists themselves who complain about piracy, but the billionaire corporate middlemen who still make profits no matter what.  And of course books aren’t pirated very much at all compared to other forms of media.  And yes, people still buy dvds, go to concerts and movie theatres.  There is already a service, bandstocks, that allows the audience to have a direct connection to the artist by personally investing in the album upcoming—the money goes to the musicians, and the bandstockers get a copy of the album when it is finished. 

So yes, the next action to take is trying out new plans to cut out the middleman and make sure that everyone makes a living wage.  This will not be acheived by letting corporations police the internet to protect their profits, or trying to make some petty ‘moral’ arguments as if they will stop downloading.

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By Anarcissie, February 15, 2010 at 8:50 pm Link to this comment

I’ve discovered that most people who argue the corporate side of the intellectual property wars don’t know what they’re talking about; they haven’t done the reading.  While they’re catching up, it might be more interesting to discuss Chris Hedges’s authoritarianism and hatred of popular culture.  Intellectual property is only one aspect of the authoritarian drive to control what we see, hear and think.  I am wondering what other measures he would advocate to suppress the Internet.

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By Desert Hermit, February 15, 2010 at 8:35 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

My poor heart bleeds for all those writers, singers and actors who won’t be able to
continually receive oodles of money for work they performed years and years ago. 
To them I say, GET A JOB!  If you want money for your work, then work.  Live
performance still pays even if you have to pass a hat.

Quit your whining.  If you can’t make money in your chosen profession, there are
still jobs you’re suited for, like flipping burgers.

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