- "'But I don't want to go among mad people,' Alice
- 'Oh, you can't help that,' said the Cat. 'We're all mad
here. I'm mad. You're mad.'
- 'How do you know I'm mad?' said Alice.
- 'You must be," said the Cat. 'or you wouldn't have
- ---Lewis Carroll
- Awakening to a masochistic impulse last Sunday, I opened
the Op-Ed section of my local paper, The Kansas City Star. Throwing caution
to the wind, I plunged headlong into the mind-engulfing thicket of sophistry.
Running for my intellectual life, I felt the collective breath of the ravening
wolves thirsting to rip the jugular vein coursing with the life-blood of
my capacity for independent thought. Driven by an insatiable hunger to
devour the cognitions of those who strayed from the herd, the voracious
pack pursued me with a vengeance. Yet today I was moving with the agility
of Brer Rabbit navigating the Briar Patch. Powered by critical thinking
and a fierce determination to maintain my noetic integrity, I evaded the
ferocious canines' furious bid to sink their razor-like fangs into the
succulent gray matter they craved. Emerging from the tortuous copse, my
psyche was bloodied but intact. And more importantly, it remained free.
- Consider that The Kansas City Star, a paper that "serves"
a metropolitan population of 1.9 million, is but one of 29 publications
owned by The McClatchy Company, a corporate entity that raked in a net
of $160.5 million in 2005(1). With McClatchy backing them and a daily subscription
of 270,000 people, the Star can afford to publish the scribblings of the
best propagandists money can buy. And they desperately need them.
- Burdened with a task as daunting as the Twelve Labors
of Heracles, the mainstream media strive with a fury to satisfy their demanding
corporate paymasters. Yet unlike Heracles, they can't luxuriate in the
knowledge that quiescence awaits. For theirs is a Sisyphean challenge.
Truth, the eternal and immutable one, anxiously anticipates the moment
his would-be assassins crest the summit where he is poised to hurl them
violently back to the base of the hill. Powerless to prevent their relentless
prevarication, Old Man Verity delights at the opportunity to condemn them
to perpetual toil.
- Ostensibly fragmented and autonomous, the MSM duplicitously
peddle their perversions of reality in a seemingly cacophonous din of independent
truth-seekers. Yet how could such an incestuously entangled group of entities
owned by a handful of leviathan corporations possibly adhere to a spirit
of integrity? Acting in unison to protect the interests of opulent shareholders
and maleficent politicians, print, radio, and television media embody the
Ministry of Truth Orwell envisioned.
- Thomas Carlyle once commented:
- "Burke said that there were Three Estates in Parliament;
but, in the Reporters' Gallery yonder, there sat a Fourth Estate, more
important far than they all."
- Wallowing in a fetid sewer of avarice, speciousness,
sensationalism, and pornography, Carlyle's Reporters' Gallery has all but
abandoned its crucial role. The Fourth Estate has evolved from a fierce
watchdog of the public interest into a massive swarm of winged vectors
infecting the body politic with the parasitic disease of fascism.
- While Rush Limbaugh and his ilk ply their craft with
obvious glee, others providing grist for the propaganda mill apologize
and plead the "mortgage and family" defense. Those who defy the
corporatocracy by employing journalistic integrity often find themselves
relegated to obscure roles or wrangling with government bureaucracy over
meager unemployment benefits. Bearing the "fools license" of
medieval court jesters, a precious few mainstream journalists reach the
pinnacles of their profession despite their honesty. Their satirical styles
of presentation save them from the axes of the censors and "down-sizers".
- Like eager equestrians breaking green horses, the mass
media endeavor to provide the pecunious stratum of society with obedient
beasts of burden. Conditioning begins at our earliest moments of cognition.
With the ubiquity of TV, radio, newspapers, and billboards, steady barrages
of thought manipulation continue throughout our lives.
- Mere extensions of the exploitative perversion of Capitalism
which has emerged as a means of imposing economic tyranny in our constitutional
republic, the glorified spin doctors of the MSM act as priests shepherding
their flock. Espousing a doctrine promoting the Seven Deadly Sins, the
prelates of the mainstream media have replaced the spiritual progress of
their steadfast adherents with a moral regression that leaves Satan green
- Banishing human reason and compassion to distant exile,
the media barons and their minions perpetuate a chronic state of group
psychosis. Reality and morality? Who can be bothered with such trivial
matters when Playboy Spice Platinum is on the 60 inch flat-screen, frosty
bottles of Coors are in the fridge, the NFL has its own network, and we
have enough military fire-power to obliterate the Milky Way Galaxy. And
the likes of Fox, CBS, and Time Magazine are there to quash those nasty
occasional doubts and quickly restore our shining vision of America the
- While the corporate media entities manipulate consumers,
exercise a virtual monopoly on the flow of information, rewrite history
to suit political agendas, unduly influence the outcome of elections, and
perform a myriad of other tasks to advance the interests of those in power,
the holographic image of the United States as a benevolent beacon of democracy
they work so tirelessly to etch into people's minds is beginning to fade.
- However, that represents no crisis to them. They simply
flood our minds with more of the narcotic-like ideas and images they dispense
to mask the pain from the festering wounds on our agonized souls. Undaunted,
they continue to merrily guide us down the well-trodden path to the Inferno.
- Nimbly disabling the mind and conscience, corporate-supported
propaganda shock troops have enticed and manipulated untold millions of
people to embrace severely distorted realities and spiritually vacuous
- Consider our nation's repeated and egregious perpetrations
of the Seven Deadly Sins and our information tsars' complicity as instigators,
enablers, and participants:
- LUST (LUXURIA): Pornification is rampant in our culture.
Television, movies, catalogues, and nearly every form of media imaginable
are teeming with salacious photos of women wearing little or no clothing.
Waves of new pornographic print publications and Websites leave Larry Flynt's
Hustler Magazine looking almost puritanical. Sexual taboos are on a path
to extinction. Inducing ravenous appetites for carnal pleasure, the mass
media have tapped into major veins of pathological obsession and the exploitation
of women and children. Yet they don't care. Because sex does indeed sell.
It sells so well that Dante's vision of spiritual cleansing by the flesh-searing
flames of a raging conflagration doesn't even give them pause.
- GLUTTONY (GULA): Imagine that the United States is a
hog amongst a herd of swine that represents the world population. And that
the world's resources are their slop. America would be one of twenty pigs.
Yet come feeding time, the US porker would leave only three fourths of
the pig swill for the remaining 19 squealers to share. More than 850 million
people around the globe face starvation (2). 33% of US Americans are obese
or overweight (3). Like Tantalus, the gluttons in Dante's Purgatorio spend
eternity yearning for food that is in sight but just out of their reach.
- AVARICE (AVARITIA): Avarice is the black heart of rapacious
capitalism and corporatism in the United States. Enron, Halliburton, Lee
Raymond, Big Oil, Big Tobacco, Tyco, Bernard Ebbers, 33% of the wealth
concentrated into the hands of 1% of the population (4)examples of obscenely
acquisitive entities and individuals are nearly infinite.
- SLOTH (ACEDIA): Sloth is perhaps best exemplified by
the shocking indifference many US Americans show toward the innocent victims
of their pitiless war machine. The United States' economic and military
juggernaut has been waging genocide against Iraqis since the Gulf War.
So naturally, instead of focusing on culpability, remorse, or demands to
end the state-inflicted murder of millions, our high priests of the temple
of information fuel a debate over how much (or how little) "collateral
damage" has been caused by US military aggression. Sloth also entails
avoiding spiritual work. In a society of people indoctrinated to worship
wealth, physical beauty, quick fixes, themselves, and immediate gratification,
there is not much danger of over-exertion to reach self-actualization.
- WRATH (IRA): Throughout much of its relatively brief
existence the United States has inflicted misery upon billions around the
globe through intervening militarily and wielding its economic power like
a mighty cudgel. When the oppressed finally realized they could resist
by employing asymmetric warfare, those crafting Goodthink whipped the multitude
into a fury. Directing US Americans' wrath against Islam enabled the Bush
Regime to invade and occupy two geopolitically strategic nations. And the
millions of dead or suffering human beings in Afghanistan and Iraq were
and are the illegitimate targets of the vengeance and unwarranted rage
- ENVY (INVIDIA): The moneyed elite in the United States
have long coveted their neighbors' land, resources, and cheap labor forces.
Eager to invade, annex, and exploit, the plutocracy began to disseminate
the warped notion of Manifest Destiny in the Nineteenth Century. Purporting
to have the unwavering support of the Almighty, the "superior"
Anglo-Saxons rationalized slavery, the Native American Genocide, the conquest
of half of Mexico, the annexation of Hawaii, and their eradication of over
300,000 "savages" in conquering the Philippines. With its vast
and sophisticated media network at its beck and call, those monopolizing
power in the United States continue to cull popular support for obtaining
the objects of their envy. Complex obfuscations and demagoguery may sell
their agenda to today's more sophisticated audiences, but the underlying
goals and results have changed little. The power elite want what others
have and employ whatever means are necessary to get what they want.
- PRIDE (SUPERBIA): Considered by many to be the most grievous
of the Seven Deadly Sins, pride was the impetus for Lucifer's fall. Before
their umbilical cord is even severed those born as citizens of the American
Empire begin receiving a barrage of assurances from the media matrix that
theirs is an exceptionally superior nation. Brimming with hubris and a
pathological nationalism, those who have internalized the Big Lie wave
their blood-drenched flags in open support of fire bombings, nuclear assaults,
the installation and support of ruthless dictators, neocolonialism, and
brutal invasions of tiny and vulnerable nations. Enmeshed in the protective
cocoon of the Empire, we are imbued with the warped psychological capacity
to pursue our narcissistic fantasies while callously disregarding the misery
we are inflicting upon other human beings. Many US Americans regard hubris
and narcissism as their natural rights. And they exercise these "rights"
with the zeal of a jonesing crack addict hustling for their next fix.
- To paraphrase Bon Scott, Angus Young, and Malcolm Young:
We're going down. All the way down. We're on the Highway to Hell.
- So revel in the mass delusions, suck the marrow that
the wretched may gnaw upon the bones, and excise your conscience.
- And for God's sake, savor each second of the ride.Because
Hell awaits, America.
- (1) http://www.mcclatchy.com/114/index.html
- (2) http://ipsnews.net/news.asp?idnews=35166
- (3) http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/guidelines/obesity/e_txtbk/ratnl/20.htm
- (4) http://www.stateofworkingamerica.org/intro_exec.html
- Jason Miller is a wage slave of the American Empire who
has freed himself intellectually and spiritually. He writes prolifically,
his essays have appeared widely on the Internet, and he volunteers at a
homeless shelter. He welcomes constructive correspondence at email@example.com
or via his blog, Thomas Paine's Corner, at http://civillibertarian.blogspot.com/.