Archive for April, 2011

Chew your information

Friday, April 22nd, 2011

   As the conflict in Libya continues in stalemate, more than 200 protestors in Syria are gunned down by Bashar Assad’s regime.  Yet, there’s no help for the unarmed protestors?  In Libya we stepped in before that many people had died, so why not in Syria?   Where is the UN resolution?   Where are the US fighter plains bombing “air defence” targets?   Where is the protective custody of Syria’s civilian population?   Are they not worthy of any of these things?   Why do we leave them, or any of the other countries going through the same thing, to simply fend for themselves?    Not enough oil for it to be worth it?

   The fact is, this country has lost interest in the middle east.   Oh sure, it was front and center on many social networking sites and news media when Egypt was tearing it all down, but now…  Well, not so much.   We’re more concerned with gas prices going up.   And we’re not even asking why!   “Oh people are dying in the name of Freedom?   Yeah, but they’re not paying $4 a gallon.”   The media knows we don’t care.   Although you’ll still see the Lybian conflict in a broadcast, or in the paper, it’s growing smaller and smaller by the day.   You’ll hear even less about Bahrain, where a similar conflict still wages on.   When is the last time Afghanistan was in the news?    The media knows we have a weak attention span.   They should know, they developed it.   We have fed upon a meal of socially retarded cookies.   Everything in little tidbits of information, easy to digest regardless of content.  Easy to handle and  swallow, because there’s little room or time for conscious thought or examination.   We don’t chew our information anymore, we gulp and swallow, good information and bad.  

   This has bled over into our social awareness.   Today’s righteous cause will be tomorrow’s joke on late night TV.   We gulp, we swallow, we move on.   Never stopping to chew on how things may actually be.    Oh we’ll stop every now and then to chew on something that tastes good, some sweet little morsel of inane entertainment.   After all, it’s so much more enjoyable to eat candy than to eat the bitter vegetables of reality.

   Perhaps the problem is, there’s too much information, too many righteous causes, and there’s no possible way to chew them all?   We can’t possibly undertake each cause, or take the time to mull over all the information we’re constantly being bombarded with.  So we gulp and swallow, out of sheer need to maintain sanity.

   I have no suggestion for this situation, other than for each of us to attempt to sift through the cookies that are put before us, and try to pull out something healthy every once in a while, no matter how bad it may taste, and really chew on it.   And when you’re done, find your voice and tell us about it.

Lies in an informational age.

Friday, April 15th, 2011

   In a world progressing in its ability to supply the population with information, care hasn’t been taken to secure truth.  The line between truth in reality and lies of a virtual world have been so blurred, the two sides have become indistinguishable.   

   I often wonder if everything we’ve ever know has been a lie all along, or if now we are more able to determine fact from fantasy.   Have politicians always lied this much, or are we now more able to deduce that they are lying?    Or are we even able to determine the truth at all?   In fact we are being lied to so much and from all sides that it has become difficult to distinguish what is fact and what is a fiction.

   Lies are like opinions on art.  In a society unable to engage in rational analysis and comprehension, lies become validated by the amount of people willing to repeat them.   For example, I give you an experiment that my friend and I devised while he (not me) was in the art program at UCF.   He was a great artist, but I posed the question, “What makes this piece of blank canvas better than that one?”  It was posed in the context of, if both canvases were shown blank.   After much debate we came up with, “Lies”.   Or to be more specific, “Marketing”.   To test this theory he created three pieces of art.   Each was equal in its lack of consideration, technique, and appeal.   We had other students look at them and weigh in with their opinions.  All but one thought they were weak at best, and would be considered junk.   Please keep in mind, we’re not scientists, and this was the closest thing we could come to as a control group.   Hardly what I would consider unbiased, but that’s okay we’re not writing a thesis or anything.

   After much difficulty he was able to get the worst piece in the mid term art show.  The show was where we were really going to see some results.   We had an older friend who really looked the part of a mature, pretentious art snob.   He was our roaming ad, and was perfect, with a soft but deep voice, long silver hair that was neatly pulled back and a very friendly smile.   His job was to mingle with the show goers and really offer up some serious BS about the piece.   He was in a way, “selling” it.  Now days you’d say he was generating BUZZ.   He wasn’t the only one mingling.   I and two others were also roaming close to the piece.   But we weren’t talking it up, we were listening.

   Now, the piece wasn’t going to win Best of Show, or anything like that, due to our experiment.   There were too many truly good pieces of art for that.   But what it did do, amazed us.   On two separate occasions, separate people were overheard repeating the dribble that our roaming ad was spewing out.  And on one of those occasions a third party agreed with the gallery goers critique.    Overwhelming?  No, but to us that was a huge success.   Three people buying in to what amounted to a Lie.   Art, of course being one of the most subjective topics, was only a quick look into how some forms of art become popular, even if in reality…   It’s crap.   So too can bad information become popular policy, if no care is taken.

   I guess any ad agency could have told you this would work, but what did we know?   My point is, politicians and media lie to us every day.   Without our ability to engage in conscious analysis of what we’re being told, and the information we’re being given, we may actually repeat the lies.   In return giving them some sort of validation to people who might be listening to us.   And then they repeat it to people who might be listening to them.  It’s a nasty cycle.   So question everything you hear, and these days believe only half what you see.  Unless you see it first hand, RESEARCH it, and come to your own conclusions.   Pass along what you have learned, and what you know to be true, for there are many out there who mean to deceive us.

Lybia, easy pickin’s for the Greedy

Friday, April 1st, 2011

   Libya is a ripe fruit, just waiting to be plucked from its vine.  I found it difficult to start this article off.  There’s so many layers to the situation and to put a simple spin or label on it, isn’t easily done.   Or at least not for me.

I could have just as easily gone with “Libya, the humanitarian farce.”  Or perhaps, “Obama, Nobel Peace Prize winner, or another corporate puppet?”   Lets face it, there’s a hundred different titles that would have fit.

   Either way, there’s no getting Obama off the hook this time.   I can’t blast Bush for some of his down right tyrannical policies and then let Obama slide on something similar, even though it’s not quite with the same amount of evil aggression.  That wouldn’t be fair.   But something more, this isn’t just about his putting on a mask of humanitarianism then scraping the dead off the oil fields for fun and profit.   No.  It adds a new layer to something we already knew, but didn’t really grasp how bad it was until it showed up on a man we thought would be above it…    I’m referring to a government no longer controlled by its people, but by corporations.  ( get the feeling this could be a loooonng post?)

   Allow me to back up just a tad.   We’re living in an unprecedented time.   Never, in my (almost 40) years have I seen such rampant upheaval, nor have I seen it done in this manner.   A virtual rash of countries facing governmental ousters from its populous, all at the same time, all over a particular region of this planet.   I’m sure it’s probably happened to some scale, but I’ve not seen it like this before.  It excites me to my very core.

   In this fray, we have Lybia.  On the surface it seems no more important than any of the other countries that are experiencing protests calling for the current regime to step down.  But with one exception…   Oil.

   There are people dying in other countries while protesting their governments heavy hand.   Yet we do nothing.   Even as I write this there are people in countries like Syria and Bahrain, literally dying in the streets.   These people aren’t being shot up and murdered for going on a violent rampage through the cities.   They’re being killed because they dare oppose the leaders of their country.   Leaders that we supported, by the way.  Most die like solders, but have no weapons in their hands, only signs and banners.  Some, while holding their children.    The one thing they don’t have…  The one thing that could save them…   Oil.

   America, the great hypocrite.   Obama comes on TV and tells me we need to protect the innocent lives of civilians, and as a nation devoted to spreading democracy we must “Must” see that those values are able to be found by people seeking them.   As such, we will start a military action against the regime of General *Qaddafi   Okay, I get it.   But why not help the others?    Oh, that’s right…   Oil.

   Oil.   Oil is straight up sexy money that you pull out of the ground.  Some people have it, some people don’t.   In underdeveloped countries that have oil, you’ll find that the leaders are usually the ones that control the oil.   Sometimes, it’s the ones who control the oil that actually become the leaders.   Those are usually dictators whose choke hold on the oil reserves grant them obscene power.

   In well developed countries however, like the U.S.A., that same obscene power has to be shrouded in a complex game of smoke-n-mirrors.   The people must falsely believe they are in power and that their representatives are running the country in their interest.  In fact, it’s corporate giants that run the branches of government.   They allow our representatives to make legislation on small piddley affairs that have little consequence while they pull the strings of global proportions from lavish leather-filled offices amongst the clouds.  It’s these faceless men, that dictate world affairs, with little regard for you and me.  Never is this more evident then now.   With Obama’s bending to their will, we have a much better glimpse at how far reaching the corporations arm truly is.

   Lybia, the ripe fruit, will be picked ever so carefully… apart, and sold for its oil rights.

Sure we’ll help them win their “freedom”, but in return their fledgling fresh government will be hornswoggled out of every drop of black gold they rest on.   In the end, they’ll have traded a ruthless murdering dictator for a slow sublime bleeding.   At least they’ll have the illusion of control, if only for a while.

 

 

Side NOTE:   At what point do civilians cease to be civilians during a revolution?  Is it at the point when they arm themselves and form units?  Do they essentially become a military at that point?   If so, do they warrant the same standings as civilians if in fact they are “at war” with another faction?   I’m just asking because I’m not actually sure.  I’m not trying to make light of the conflict.  

   However, if they are in fact a military, why don’t we stop pussy-footing around and actually help out.   Stop insulting ourselves with ideas of humanitarianism and say what we really mean,  “We’re here to help you overthrow this guy we hate.  Please step aside while we go kill some shit.”   …If we’re being honest.  

 

 

*(PS. Why doesn’t anyone know how to spell is fuckers name?  I’ve seen it spelled; Kadafi, Caddafi, Gaddafi, and Gadafi.  WTF?!?! And that’s from legitimate news agencies, NY Times, AP, Reuters. )