This is our brave new world
Confront the Delusions
By Jim Kirwan
November 20, 2008 "Information Clearinghouse" --In the 1970s, the film NETWORK was made; but its commercial success was more about the message that it brought than it was about the caliber of its cinematic excellence. From that film several video clips have survived on the web, but since they may not continue to survive as videos I have made partial transcripts of them for this article.
What the film dealt with then, was nothing less than what far too many people now still seem to have virtually no idea about. That was, and still is about the power of television, and the inherent corruption of the host society, that is continuing by way of subliminal messaging coupled with the Orwellian power of Big Brother; enhanced by the New World Order that has combined to surpass anything that might have been even remotely possible forty years ago when NETWORK was made.
Yesterday Chris Hedges wrote: “America the Illiterate,” in which he said:
“There are over 42 million American adults, 20 percent of whom hold high school diplomas, who cannot read, as well as the 50 million who read at a fourth- or fifth-grade level. Nearly a third of the nation’s population is illiterate or barely literate. And their numbers are growing by an estimated 2 million a year. But even those who are supposedly literate retreat in huge numbers into this image-based existence. A third of high school graduates, along with 42 percent of college graduates, never read a book after they finish school. Eighty percent of the families in the United States last year did not buy a book.
The illiterate rarely vote, and when they do vote they do so without the ability to make decisions based on textual information. American political campaigns, which have learned to speak in the comforting epistemology of images, eschew real ideas and policy for cheap slogans and reassuring personal narratives. Political propaganda now masquerades as ideology. Political campaigns have become an experience. They do not require cognitive or self-critical skills. They are designed to ignite pseudo-religious feelings of euphoria, empowerment and collective salvation. Campaigns that succeed are carefully constructed psychological instruments that manipulate fickle public moods, emotions and impulses, many of which are subliminal. They create a public ecstasy that annuls individuality and fosters a state of mindlessness. They thrust us into an eternal present. They cater to a nation that now lives in a state of permanent amnesia. It is style and story, not content or history or reality, which inform our politics and our lives. We prefer happy illusions. And it works because so much of the American electorate, including those who should know better, blindly cast ballots for slogans, smiles, the cheerful family tableaux, narratives and the perceived sincerity and the attractiveness of candidates. We confuse how we feel with knowledge.” (1)
Kirwan: In NETWORK, Howard Beale had this to say to these people, many of whom had not even yet been born. The video clip is "Network – We’re in a lot of trouble."
“Edward George Ruddy died today. Edward George Ruddy was the Chairman of the Board of the Union Broadcast System and he died this morning at eleven o’clock of a heart condition, woe is us—we’re in a lot of trouble!
So; a rich little man with white hair died - what has that got to do with the price of rice - right! And why is that ‘Woe to us.’ Because you people and sixty-two million other Americans are listening to me right now: Because less than three percent of you people read books! Because less than fifteen percent of you read newspapers! Because the only truth you know is what you get over this tube. Right now there is a whole, an entire generation that never knew anything that didn’t come out of this tube!
This tube is the gospel, the ultimate revelation. This tube can make or break presidents, popes or Prime Ministers; this tube is the most awesome god-damned force in the whole godless world! Woe is us if it ever falls into the hands of the wrong people, and that’s why ‘Woe is us’ when Edward George Ruddy died: Because this company is now in the hands of CCA, the Communications Corporation of America. There’s a new Chairman of the Board called Frank Hacket sitting in Mr. Ruddy’s office on the twentieth floor and when the twelfth largest company in the world controls the most awesome god-damned propaganda force in the whole godless world: Who knows what shit will be peddled for ‘truth’ on this network!
So you listen to me! Listen to me: television is not the truth—television’s a god-damned amusement park. Television is a circus, a carnival a traveling troupe of acrobats, story tellers, dancers, singers, side-show freaks, lion-tamers, and football players. We’re in the boredom killing business!
So if you want the truth go to God, go to your guru’s—go to yourselves—because that’s the only place you’re going to find any real truth! Ha-ha – because man - you know you’re never going to get any truth from us. We’ll tell you anything you want to hear. We’ll lie like hell: we’ll tell you that Kojack always gets the killer and that nobody ever gets cancer at Archie Bunker’s house. And no matter how much trouble the hero is in don’t worry just look at your watch at the end of the hour he’s going to win – we’ll give you any shit you want to hear! We deal in Illusions man, none of it is true! But you people sit there day after day and night after night; all ages, colors, creeds: We’re all you know! You’re beginning to believe the illusions we’re spinning here! You’re beginning to think that the tube is reality- and that your own lives are unreal! You DO whatever the tube tells you, you dress like the tube you eat like the tube, you raise your children like the tube, you even think like the tube!
This is mass madness you maniacs! In God’s name you people are the real thing—We are the illusion! So turn off you television sets, turn it off now, turn them off right now: turn them off and leave them off—turn them off right in the middle of the sentence I’m speaking now – Turn them OFF!”(2)
Chris Hedges:“The illiterate and semi-literate, once the campaigns are over, remain powerless. They still cannot protect their children from dysfunctional public schools. They still cannot understand predatory loan deals, the intricacies of mortgage papers, credit card agreements and equity lines of credit that drive them into foreclosures and bankruptcies. They still struggle with the most basic chores of daily life from reading instructions on medicine bottles to filling out bank forms, car loan documents and unemployment benefit and insurance papers. They watch helplessly and without comprehension as hundreds of thousands of jobs are shed. They are hostages to brands. Brands come with images and slogans. Images and slogans are all they understand. Many eat at fast food restaurants not only because it is cheap but because they can order from pictures rather than menus. And those who serve them, also semi-literate or illiterate, punch in orders on cash registers whose keys are marked with symbols and pictures. This is our brave new world.
Political leaders in our post-literate society no longer need to be competent, sincere or honest. They only need to appear to have these qualities. Most of all they need a story, a narrative. The reality of the narrative is irrelevant. It can be completely at odds with the facts. The consistency and emotional appeal of the story are paramount. The most essential skill in political theater and the consumer culture is artifice. Those who are best at artifice succeed. Those who have not mastered the art of artifice fail. In an age of images and entertainment, in an age of instant emotional gratification, we do not seek or want honesty. We ask to be indulged and entertained by clichés, stereotypes and mythic narratives that tell us we can be whomever we want to be, that we live in the greatest country on Earth, that we are endowed with superior moral and physical qualities and that our glorious future is preordained, either because of our attributes as Americans or because we are blessed by God or both.” (1)
Network – Money Speech: “You have meddled with the primal forces of nature Mr. Beale and I won’t have it—is that clear! You think you’ve merely stopped a business deal - that is not the case! The Arabs have taken millions of dollars out of this country and now they must put it back! It is ebb and flow,~ gravity, it is ecological balance.
You are an old man who thinks in terms of nations and people’s – there are no nations – there are no people’s – there are no Russians – there are no Arabs there are no third world’s there is no West! There is only one holistic System of Systems: One vast and ~ interwoven, interactive and multi-variant, multi-national dominion of dollars. Petrol-dollars, electro-dollars, multi-dollars, Reich marks ~ rubles, pounds, and shekels. It is the international system of currency, which determines the totality of life on this planet! That is the natural order of things today! That is the atomic, and sub-atomic, and galactic structure of things today! And YOU have meddled with the primal forces of NATURE- AND YOU WILL ATONE!
Am I getting through to you Mr. Beale? You get up on your little twenty-one inch screen and howl about America and Democracy: There is no America, there is no Democracy—there is only IBM and ITT and AT&T and DuPont, DOW, Union Carbide, and Exxon: those ARE the nations of the world today!
What do you think the Russians talk about in their counsels of state—Karl Marx? They get out their linear programming charts, their statistical decision theories, mini ~ solutions and compute the price-cost probabilities of their investments and transactions, just like we do. We no longer live in a world of nations and ideologies Mr. Beale. The world is a college of corporations; inexorably determined by the immutable by-laws of business the world is a business Mr. Beale. It has been since man crawled out of slime. And our children will live, Mr. Beale, to see that perfect world in which there’s no war or famine, oppression or brutality. One vast and ecumenical holding company for whom all men will work to serve the common good: In which all men will hold a share of stock: All necessities provided, all anxieties tranquilized, all boredom – amused.” (3)
Chris Hedges: “As we descend into a devastating economic crisis, one that Barack Obama cannot halt, there will be tens of millions of Americans who will be ruthlessly thrust aside. As their houses are foreclosed, as their jobs are lost, as they are forced to declare bankruptcy and watch their communities collapse, they will retreat even further into irrational fantasy. They will be led toward glittering and self-destructive illusions by our modern Pied Pipers—our corporate advertisers, our charlatan preachers, our television news celebrities, our self-help gurus, our entertainment industry and our political demagogues—who will offer increasingly absurd forms of escapism.
The core values of our open society, the ability to think for oneself, to draw independent conclusions, to express dissent when judgment and common sense indicate something is wrong, to be self-critical, to challenge authority, to understand historical facts, to separate truth from lies, to advocate for change and to acknowledge that there are other views, different ways of being, that are morally and socially acceptable, are dying. Obama used hundreds of millions of dollars in campaign funds to appeal to and manipulate this illiteracy and irrationalism to his advantage, but these forces will prove to be his most deadly nemesis once they collide with the awful reality that awaits us.” (1)
Kirwan: There can be only one pre-requisite for this ever-deepening cauldron of destruction.; and that is for each of us to follow Howard Beale’s example, each in our own way, as his now infamous call that prompted the foregoing two outbursts. That speech is abbreviated here:
Network- I’m Mad as Hell: “I don’t have to tell you things are bad – everybody knows things are bad. It’s a depression, everybody’s out of work, or scarred of losing their jobs. The dollar buys a nickels worth: Banks are going bust; shop-keepers keep a gun under the counter. Punks are running wild in the street and there’s nobody anywhere seems to know what to do and there’s no end to it!
We know the air is unfit to breathe, the food is unfit to eat, and we sit watching our TV’s while some local newscaster tells us that today we had fifteen homicides and sixty-three violent crimes as if that’s the way it’s supposed to be! We know things are bad, worse than bad—they’re crazy—it’s like everything everywhere is going crazy. So we don’t go out anymore, we sit in the house and slowly the world we’re living in is getting smaller and all we say is PLEASE at least leave us alone in our living room, let me have my toaster and my TV and my steel-belted radials, and we won’t say anything—just leave us alone!
Well I’m not going to leave you alone! I want you to GET MAD! I don’t want you to protest, I don’t want you to write to your congressman; I wouldn’t know what to tell you to write. I don’t know what to do about the depression and the inflation or the Russians or the crime-in-the-streets. All I know is that first YOU’VE GOT TO GET MAD! You’ve got to say “I’m a human being—DAMNIT—my life has value! So I want you to get up now, I want all of you to get up out of your chairs. I want you to get up right now and go to the window, open it, stick your head out and yell: “I’m as mad as hell and I’m not going to take this anymore!” Things have got to Change! (4)
Kirwan: We are just over two-weeks into the twilight zone that is the period between the election and the swearing-in ceremonies. This is the last chance we shall have to weigh-in on all the shit that’s coming down, in the process that is defining just how much more of this we’re going to have to put up with in the extension of Cheney-Bush that will be overseen by a different face, but by the same controllers that have been running this show since 1838: “The Rise of the House of Rothschild “Permit me to issue and control the money of a nation, and I care not who makes its law.” Mayer Amschel Rothschild, 1838 (5)
That last statement was made 230 years ago, and just look at what it has brought us to: Last chance people – GET MAD and then DO something!
1) America the Illiterate
2) Network – We’re in a lot of trouble
3) Network – Money Speech
4) Network – I’m Mad as Hell
5) The Rise of the House of Rothschild