Here there be monsters (socratic) wrote,
Here there be monsters

Orwell Rolls in His Grave is an interesting movie that stitches together a lot of stuff I already knew (Most documentaries I watch these days tend to do that. Maybe I read too much.) It's heavily slanted and a bit alarmist, but that doesn't change the validity of the underlying point.

What does alter that validity, however, are certain blatantly false statements made in the film regarding "The Public." Politicians and political activists of all types like to talk about what "The Public" wants in an attempt to make their (sometimes) radical ideas seem founded in populism. It's almost always bullshit. In this case the subjects of the documentary talk about how the public doesn't like all the money in politics and all the media consolidation, but they don't know what to do about it. There are probably some polls to back this up.

But it's bullshit.

The public, by and large, doesn't know and/or doesn't care. There are significant communities of activists and academics who are alarmed, but the public is mostly ignorant and uninterested. If the public, as a whole, did care about these things they could change them easily. We could throw all the bums out of Washington in 2008. We could elect people who will impose strict controls on lobbying and on media consolidation. We could organize these efforts relatively easily through the unregulated Internet, and usher in a new era of clean American government.

But we won't. And the irony is that if we had the desire to do this, we wouldn't have to. Capitalism would take its course and Internet based news organizations would expand and push out old media altogether. There's no reason why a perfectly good text/video hybrid website couldn't run circles around ABC and the NYT when it comes to reporting, if the audience were there and willing to pay.

And why won't we? Because it would take effort. We'd have to log on to the internet, debate policy, organize, contribute cash to the project, and ignore all the hysterical lies that would be spewed back at us by the powerbrokers. That's a lot of effort. It's easier to watch Grey's Anatomy or play World of Warcraft. Which is, in fact, what we DO.

That's what the public cares about.

Empires collapse through decadence. We are an extremely decadent society. I don't exempt myself. Most humans tend to take the easiest path available, and there are a lot of easy paths in America right now. We don't care about the longterm consequences, we'd rather have bigscreen TVs and big-ass cars than energy independence or a stable environment.

And as long as big media keeps us entertained they can HAVE the democracy. Gawd, it's not like we were using it anyway.
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