"How did it come to pass that an opposition's measure of a president's foreign policy was all or nothing, success or "failure"? The answer is that the political absolutism now normal in Washington arrived at the moment--Nov. 7, 2000--that our politics subordinated even a war against terror to seizing the office of the presidency." - Daniel Henninger - WSJ 11/18/05
"the slovenliness of our language makes it easier for us to have foolish thoughts." - George Orwell

Friday, January 20, 2006

Oprah's Truth, James Frey and What I Started Thinking

I must apologize in advance for the following. My readings this morning have sparked a firestorm of thoughts in my mind; all of which are proving extremely difficult to order based upon my mental state today (I just can’t seem to slow it down, maybe it’s just Friday?) and the demands of my present physical location.

This editorial’s subject is the James Frey fracas; however, I’m not going to be much help in passing a summary onto as much as I’m using it as the impetus for the following rant. If you want to read it in its entirety (very worthwhile), go here or click on the link at the end of my tirade. Also see, the Smoking Gun.

“Morris Dickstein of the Graduate Center of the City University of New York described this world as "always at the edge of falsehood" (the manipulation of images, “interpretive news,” Photoshop improved images etc.) and so people come to tolerate it "as part of the overall media buzz of their lives."

“There is a political dimension to this,” “Before all this, most people operated from a common personal standard, a broadly held superstructure of right and wrong, integrity and dishonesty, which they probably learned in Sunday school. You can see and hear it in hundreds of old Hollywood movies. "The Maltese Falcon," written by Dashiell Hammett, a Communist, is full of this moral tension and resolving clarity.”

“We all know those widely shared categories were broken and blurred the past 38 years, leading to terrible political fights between social conservatives and liberal liberators over disintegrating standards of personal behavior. Welcome to what it has wrought: The mass marketers and their accepting publics are skipping past the politics and simply pocketing the value added in the new controlling value--whatever "works" for us personally, no matter how meretricious. It's hardly James Frey's fault that the culture really is in a million little pieces.”

I don’t think I would blame liberalism entirely (the angry right-wing fascist in me wants to), but liberalism (at least the loudest part of it), speaks as though it is the only “right” way – all else is wrong or else out right evil.

I see, hear, read the yelling down of those with contrary arguments as something those with a liberal mindset would want to listen to, consider and possibly expand upon. Most people, I believe when younger were more liberal, I was and I think that is because it is a natural human tendency to be such. However, in the political realm, “liberal” is the antithesis of its dictionary definition. Those that proscribe to the liberal line close off debate as though they, in their super-intelligence know what is right for me and everyone else. That just isn’t the case for anything in the real world.

Which brings me to another piece with a different subject, yet to my muddled mind inextricably linked with the Daniel Henninger piece. Another worthwhile read, by Peggy Noonan, about the "liberal media monopoly" and it's demise. A portion of which fits in right here and that is “We are in a time when the very diminution of the importance of network news leaves some old news hands to drop their guard and announce what they are: liberal Democrats. Nothing wrong with that, but they might have told us when they were in power.”

My view of news media, MSM, whatever you want to call it fits very snuggly within an “age when controversies are a dime a dozen.” “As with reality TV shows, people now enter into these new kinds of experiences with the conceit that it’s somehow true or real, and when they find out later the truth was staged, they don’t care. If you think this doesn’t compute, tough. That, so to speak, is current reality.”

PERSONALLY I pretty much detest all these reality shows and the non self-acknowledged lean of the media. At my basest it is due to my ever so slight understanding of the theory behind this statement: "The more precisely the position is determined, the less precisely the momentum is known in this instant, and vice versa." Heisenberg, uncertainty paper, 1927.

Reality cannot be manipulated and still be considered reality. It just doesn’t fit into/onto the TV tube, especially coming from organizations whose purpose is entertainment and advertisement revenue. I would be lying if I said I’ve never watched any, but I don’t care for “reality” being the term used to categorize them.


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