The One

OK, it is time to fess up here. I have a Facebook account and check it daily. I watch TV, though not news. I like intrigue and good acting, and there is not much to be had. I am currently watching Season Three of Bosch, the detective created by Michael Connelly, and played sort of okay by Titus Welliver. (I think the lead character should be taller and have more muscular legs. This guy is supposedly a former Green Beret but looks more like a Lt. Detective Fife. [Now that I published that I realized it is false. Welliver is a very muscular man.]

This has nothing to do with Bosch. It’s not like Game of Thrones, where they routinely kill off lead actors. Bosch always wins. Boring. What I notice, and I know we all do, is that every time Bosch ends up in court, the judge is either going to be a woman, or a black, usually both. Why do they do that? It is so predictable. If I ever see a white male judge on TV, as we have in real life, I think it will signal end times.

This ties into Facebook, as one if my “friends” is smug and morally superior, and has been ever since she voted for and helped elect Obama, not that they count votes. She’s annoying, but I am too. I needle her. She put up something comparing Obama to Trump, and I mentioned Obama’s missing college transcripts. 

She wondered why she should care about his college grades. “Whoosh!” I told her. He never attended Columbia, so the whole of his background is up for examination. It is not about his grades. It is about his CV.

A light went on, for me anyway. Of course! This answered the question of why Obama’s handlers made him a “legal scholar.” He was scheduled to be the first black president, and as such, he had to be extraordinary. So they created a fake background for him, gave him fake degrees, and even created a super family, beautiful wife and two perfect kids, probably fake too. They can do this stuff. These people have resources. And don’t get me wrong, Obama is smart and a polished actor. He was up for the part.

Why? To assuage liberal guilt. My Facebook friend did not so much vote for him, imagining her vote was counted, as that he validated her. He made her feel good, wholesome, smug, morally superior, all of those traits that drove us nuts about liberals for eight years.

Politics are not real. But people are completely invested in it. Why would someone give up the comfort of moral and intellectual superiority? That is part of the purpose of propaganda, to make people feel good about themselves. Ellul said as much … people are not victims of propaganda. They literally need it to survive. Without it, they have no reason to live on.

13 thoughts on “The One

  1. I’ll be honest too.
    I also have a facebook account – I haven’t logged into it in years (yeah at least 3 or 4 and even then only sporadically), I hardly watch tv as well.
    Poli-ticks is for the birds. Never voted – never will.

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    1. It is kind of like “Going Galt,” these fantasies that not participating in life as it is are in any way noticed by those who are invested. You might imagine you are on a high hill looking down on the business of fools, but it is not so. The force of life is transmitted through the living, not the dead, not the passive observers. Your knowledge will not be compromised if you come down the hill, pretend not to know things you know, and take part.

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    1. Hey Mark, Lookin’ back, “Hindsight is always 20/20″…A lot has been lost along the way. I lost my only son in a tragic accident near the closing of 2019. My home town team ( The Patriots) just lost 20 -13. and the country is crying about a downed General in Iran. Glad to see your site is still up and running. Let’s all hope for a better 20/20.

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        1. Mark T. Thank you for the kind words. as they say, the show must go on. sometimes the wound heals,But the scars remain. Lately when people say “Have a nice day” I just say, No Thanks..I Have better things to do. But your condolence is greatly appreciated. Keep up the good work and be well yourself. Much Thanks.

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  2. Watching the impeachment trials, I enjoyed it as reality television. What really horrifies me is just how strongly people feel on one side or the other. I am, very happily, not associated with either of these extremes. My beliefs on the issues that supposedly matter are scattered almost randomly about the spectrum. What horrifies me is just the level to which these two extremes have formed and have been completely captured with intensive brainwashing. I leave my TV off as a matter of good practice, because even innocent programs have insidious aspects which function to fuel this brainwashing. Very subtle things, found almost ubiquitously. It is best to just unplug.

    This feeds into the point you make at the bottom of this post, about how none of this actually matters. It is true, this is all theater. Meaningless theater. It appears now that the military has strong armed Trump into provoking Iran. A horrifying thing, even with the fact that this Iranian general was a valid enemy of the US. The military in the US largely acts independently of elected officials. It is scary, and the propaganda on both sides have scrambled up a huge portion of the population into submission.

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  3. For reasons I won’t justify, I saw Clint Eastwood’s Richard Jewell movie at the theater. Despite the ham-fisted script, the performances were strong enough that I was able to suspend my disbelief and get caught up in the drama. I’d never looked into the Jewell affair, but the numerology alone screamed “fake.” (Happened when he was 33, 111 people were injured, the list goes on.) Nevertheless, I admit I choked up in places.

    What’s interesting is the controversy around the movie’s fictional depiction of a real, female, Atlanta newspaper reporter. In the movie, she has sex with an FBI officer in exchange for information, which film critics and reporters declare never happened. I’m supposed to be even more outraged because the actual reporter is dead now and can’t defend herself. Hilariously, some film critics declare the movie is “pro-Trump” because it questions the integrity of news organizations and the FBI. When Trump began his presidential campaign by questioning the legitimacy of Obama’s birth certificate, and began his presidency by declaring war on “fake news” and railing against intelligence agencies, it was obvious to me that he was being used to blackwash “conspiracy theorists” who see through propaganda and recognize modern-day fascism for what it is. I’m now seeing this perception spelled out in bold relief with the manufactured controversy surrounding Richard Jewell.

    Even more interesting is that, as obviously fake as the Jewell story is, I find myself forgetting about that sometimes when I read about the controversy in a way that I don’t normally do with other fake stories. The film provided me with an emotional experience, making me feel good about the vindication of a poor sweet simple man who loved his mama and just wanted to do the right thing. Now I have a completely illogical investment in the “reality” of the story to justify the reality of the emotions the movie evoked. It doesn’t matter that my intellect was picking up all the aces and eights in the numerology while watching the film. It doesn’t matter that I don’t believe a goddamn thing the media tells me. At a very primitive level, the reality of the feelings the movie stirred up in me prompts me to lean toward belief in the reality of the story. If it works on me even with all the defenses I have up, no wonder it’s so effective on people who aren’t members of our little club.

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    1. Thanks for the link, Steve. Have you read the book?

      I’m inclined to think some famous entertainers–more than the Mathis site would concede–have, at best, a superficial understanding of how the propaganda machine they’re a part of works, and believe the sincerity of their “message” will transcend or (if they’re really ignorant) transcend the medium. Moreover, I think it’s in the Hollywood system’s best interest to have earnest, talented, well-intentioned artists, actors and writers who are as naive, misinformed and misguided as the majority of their audience. Talented in-the-know propagandists like Spielberg and Eastwood will never be able to do more than artfully mask their cynical disingenuousness with cheap sentimentality, corny platitudes, pretentious moralism and fake outrage. But real artists (I won’t open myself to pointless criticism by speculating who they might be) inspire audiences in ways that cynical entertainment leaders like Spielberg cannot. And even if their work poses an effective challenge to or subversion of the mainstream narrative, it doesn’t matter, because their work lends artistic credibility to the medium, and the medium is what’s REALLY fucking with our heads.

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  4. I kind of like Eastwood’s body of work, what I’ve seen. I know it has a propaganda angle, but it has some kind of personal quality or integrity of sorts. Maybe Eastwood tries to be true to himself within the bounds he works in? Whereas Spielberg is so impersonal and smooth, just a pure propaganda conduit with no voice of his own.

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