I believe the disturbing phenomenon of “reality t.v.,” coincided roughly with the equally disturbing introduction of what’s called “FOX News?” I’d like to begin by stating up front that I may be guilty from time to time of “lecturing” but sadly, I’ve learned that I can’t take for granted what so often seems like common wisdom. In fact, the older I get, the more I feel like a living anachronism.
These sinister forces began to creep into our culture roughly 20 years ago & I believe that the T.V. series “Survivor” was among the first, if not, the first of these “reality t.v. shows?” I watched perhaps two or three of this series with my wife & was immediately struck by its crassness or celebration of the worst in people I.e. backstabbing, lying, cheating, etc. In-other-words, win by any means necessary. I remember saying to my wife, what is this teaching our children, this is unhealthy, etc. I never watched it again nor any of the plethora of other “reality t.v.” programs that followed. Yeah, I know, many will probably dismiss me as an elitist snob, etc. Well, I wear that label as a badge of honor especially in this time & day where we have a reality t.v. show host as our president who is a national disgrace & embarrassment.
Before I proceed, here’s something to mull over; Trump’s supporters represent roughly a third of the American public, and coincidentally, approximately a third of our citizens also deny the Holocaust ever happened, & as of three years ago, roughly 32 million Americans are “functionally illiterate.” If you’re not one of Trump’s fans who has completely shut-off the rational side of your mind, reflect on the hundreds of times you’ve seen Trump address the public & his bumbling efforts to put together a single, coherent sentence. Moreover, he’s stated publicly many times his aversion to reading & that he doesn’t care to read the daily presidential briefings that all our other presidents read & knew was of critical importance. If this doesn’t worry you, congratulations, you are definitely one who has drunk the Kool Aid of our Jim Jones in the oval office.
Yes, this is very snide or sarcastic of me but I’m not really that far off the mark I.e. like Jim Jones, Trump has repeatedly advised his “base,” to ignore everything written about him or said about him if it doesn’t come from him. Yet, that isn’t even possible because we have tons of videotape of his public comments & he’ll deny having said what he said the very next day. It’s all a vast, left-wing conspiracy designed to make him look bad. If it weren’t all so serious & dangerous, it’d be laughable but it’s not! I remember how they labeled John Kerry a “flip-flopper” when he was running for the office of the presidency, Donny flip-flops often within the same sentence that just came out of his mouth, or at most, two or three “sentences” after whatever garbled string of words he let flow.
Trump has been seeking the approval & acceptance of what’s sometimes referred to as “the New York City Cultural or Intellectual Elite,” for decades, don’t forget that New York City is his hometown i.e. where he grew up & where his dad & he built their crooked, real estate empire. Naturally, they—the New York “elite” have shunned him because of his obvious ignorance & disdain for culture & intelligence as well as his crude, crass, & contemptible opinions & behavior over the decades. He now seeks to destroy their credibility like a boy seeking revenge for being bullied or socially ostracized. By-the-way, New York City is considered the intellectual capital of America & has been for quite some time because it is where the overwhelming majority of American publishing corporations are located. And, the New York Times has long been dubbed, “The Paper of Record” because they were the paper that represented the highest standard of American journalism. In brief, almost all the other major newspapers in America take their lead from the New York Times i.e. their lead stories are basically reprinted in the other major papers across the country.
Notwithstanding, there is a sliver of truth to Donald of the Duck Dynasty Klan’s label of “fake news.” But “fake” isn’t the correct adjective to use, no, cowardly or sell-out would be more appropriate adjectives to describe the mainstream media. It’s really quite obvious, we are down to five or six megalithic corporations that own perhaps 95% or even more of our media (television, radio, magazines, books, newspapers, etc.) and they are certainly not going to allow serious critics of “our” media to be heard because it would undermine their business i.e. hurt them financially by causing them to lose advertisers which are their bread & butter.
As far as “journalistic integrity” is concerned, the American media have clearly betrayed the U.S. public because they have largely ceased to act as a watchdog on the government & the corporate interests. They more accurately should be referred to as “lapdogs.” And this again is why it’d be laughable if it weren’t so deadly serious that we have a “president” who is clearly proud of being an anti-intellectual. Trump is, if we are to believe that he’s actually a billionaire—who knows, he refuses to show us his tax returns—is part of that 1% who keep on reaping the lion’s share of the tax breaks & most notably the trillion & a half dollar one that he gave himself & his cronies just recently. My intellectual hero, Noam Chomsky, & his co-author, Edward Hermann, wrote the modern classic on how “our” media system really operates, it’s called “The Manufacture of Consent.”
Here it is in a nutshell;
“ The essential ingredients of our propaganda model, or set of news “filters,” fall under the following headings: (I) the size, concentrated ownership, owner wealth, and profit orientation of the dominant mass-media firms; (~) advertising as the primary income source of the mass media; (3) the reliance of the media on information provided by government, business, and “experts” funded and approved by these primary sources and agents of power; (4) “flak” as a means of disciplining the media; and (5) “anticommunism” as a national religion and control mechanism. These elements interact with and reinforce one another. The raw material of news must pass through successive filters, leaving only the cleansed residue fit to print. They fix the premises of discourse and interpretation, and the definition of what is newsworthy in the first place, and they explain the basis and operations of what amount to propaganda campaigns.” https://chomsky.info/consent01/
You see, my imaginary reader, the conservatives started a myth decades ago there’s a “liberal media bias” & poor conservatives have been unfairly attacked & criticized roughly ever since the New Deal was established. And the New York Times is the bastion of liberalism in America. Yeah, right! That’s why the New York Times beat the war drums for our invasion of Iraq every bit as strongly as FOX “News.” Every time I hear FOX referred to as news, it almost makes me nauseous. For all you Trumpsters, if you weren’t so blinded by Trump’s dog whistle politics of hate, fear, & racism, you might begin to realize that FOX is truly the epitome of “fake news.” And FOX “News” is where Donny, the girly-man with small hands, gets his “facts” daily along with Alex Jones who claims the massacre of those schoolchildren at Sandy Hook Elementary School was a hoax to name only one of his most egregious & shameful ‘news stories.” And don’t forget that Donald Duck also relies on The National Enquirer to keep him up to date on the latest happenings.
Let me share with you another actual fact, not an alternate reality “fact” from Kellyanne Conway’s warped mind i.e. Russia’s national newspaper “Pravda” (Russian for “truth”) was Russia’s official newspaper from 1912 to 1992 when it was sold to a private company but still retains the name. The Russian people were well aware though that it was the government’s propaganda tool & was used in an attempt to manipulate their minds/opinions. Well, FOX “News,” is America’s version of Pravda but sadly, far too many Americans aren’t aware of this. And it’s so depressing that they aren’t aware. How FOX has been allowed to get away with this sham for 20 years again reflects the cowardice of “our” media’s owners & reveals that the almighty dollar is the only thing they are loyal to. And for-the-record, I hold the left-wing media in America partly to blame as well because every time they refer to FOX as “news,” they’re only helping to legitimize this dangerous farce.
Here’s the brick & mortar of what real journalism is supposed to be, you determine for yourself whether FOX “News” gets anywhere close to this;
“…. the principles of truthfulness, accuracy, objectivity, impartiality, fairness, and public accountability, as these apply to the acquisition of newsworthy information and its subsequent dissemination to the public.”
To return to the connections between “reality t.v.” and its contribution to the rise of the Duckmeister, a “clear and present danger” to not only America, but the world as well, here are some more thoughts for your consideration. I read & dissected a classic titled; “Anti-intellectualism in American Life,” by Richard Hofstadter, years ago & it was mind-boggling to say the least. Seems we’ve had a long & ignoble history of anti-intellectualism almost from the very beginning of our nation. They used to be called “nativists” & today, they’re Trump’s “base” with their mantra of “America First,” etc. And there have been movements such as the “Know-Nothings” that were proud of their ignorance as well.
One only has to consider the climate deniers to realize the real danger these people represent. Of course, they prefer to not look into the corporations & individuals who are funding all the propaganda behind the denial. And like Donny, science is only theory & is akin to opinion and since everybody has an opinion, and all opinions are equally valid, the 99% of the world’s scientists’ “opinions” aren’t any more valid than the Duck Dynasty Klan’s opinions. Makes perfect sense, right? Yeah, if you inhabit the alternate universe of Trump, Kellyanne, Sarah Huckabee, et al. where facts aren’t facts but only suggestions or theories. Let’s ponder this a bit? The laws of gravity aren’t scientific facts so, just because you jump out of a tree, it doesn’t necessarily follow that you will always fall.
Moreover, electricians, engineers, nuclear scientists, medical doctors, mechanics, etc. etc. etc., don’t need to follow “scientific facts” because they’re just theories & we don’t need to follow those speed sign warnings when we’re driving on dangerous, winding mountain roads because they’re not facts, they’re only suggestions. How open-minded, democratic, & liberating of the Trumpsters. Thanks guys!
Admittedly, I am not of Trump’s world of delusions of grandeur & self-righteousness and call me a stubborn Irish mule but I will continue to believe in the world of science, not superstition & Alex Jones’ absurd “reality.” Here is a snippet regarding “reality t.v.” that I feel is pertinent:
“…. are intended to humiliate and/or exploit participants. They make stars out of infamous (well known for some bad quality or deed; wicked; abominable) personalities. The actors are untalented or unworthy of fame. They glamorize vulgarity & materialism. “Sound like anyone you know? In other words, with the advent of “reality t.v.,” the powers that be in Hollywood have lowered the bar of basic decency to the lowest common denominator. And for-the-record, I said from the beginning of this sick phenomenon, something seems mighty strange here i.e. people watching an artificial medium (t.v.) to see “reality?” Seemed to me to be a collective stepping through the Looking Glass into Alice in Wonderland.
Continuing on this merry-go-round of American progress, almost every time I get in a conversation with a Trump supporter, it doesn’t take long at all for them to repeat the mantra; “I like Trump because he tells it like it is.” I never ceased to be amazed at how consistent this remark is from Trump loyalists. Is it something they put in their Kool Aid? Let’s reflect on this, So, if Trump asserts that Big Foot is real, that we have the bodies of aliens in Area 51, the landing on the Moon was fake, etc. etc. etc. he’s telling it like it is? Remember, he’s a staunch supporter of Alex Jones, FOX “News,” the National Enquirer, etc. Tell me again who’s in touch with “reality,” and who’s not?
Believe it or not, I will concede that I do understand to some extent why so many have fallen prey to Trump’s fear & hatred tactics to manipulate them and I even have a bit of sympathy, well at least for those who aren’t physically or verbally assaulting the rest of us. You see, the powers that be, the status quo, the power elite, or however you prefer to label them, have indeed been very clever in an extremely critical respect i.e. they have succeeded brilliantly in keeping us focused on the government’s failings & betrayals of us. But, the ignorant (remember, ignorant simply means “uninformed”) public fails to realize that the corporate cockroaches—the behemoth corporations—actually pull the strings of the politicians all the way up to the presidents. And most importantly, if it weren’t for “our” government subsidies, tax breaks, etc. of these corporate cockroaches, they’d go out of business. So, keep the rabble distracted & divided and scapegoating the victims of the crony capitalists, and the song remains the same. What saddens me to the marrow of my bones is that so many of us don’t remember the simple fact that we all bleed red when we’re cut, we all put our pants on one leg at a time, & we all want our kids to grow up in a better world, a world of equal opportunity, true justice, freedom, & a clean environment.
Let me review & perhaps add a bit here; If you recall in the blurb about “reality t.v.,” materialism is one of the hallmarks or “values” of a good “reality” t.v. star. Obviously, this is Trump in spades —pun intended—this moron who was an instant millionaire not because of any intelligence or talent on his part but because daddy gave it to him, struts the world stage like a self-made man. Yet, he managed to go bankrupt four times, lose his glorious gambling “empire,” be cut-off from any more loans from America’s “super banks,” and be saved by Russian gangsters who bought large chunks of his apartments & condos to launder their dirty money.
Donald, the Dick, has failed in every way that is humanly possible i.e. financially, socially, intellectually, & morally yet a third of the American public, including millions of self-proclaimed “Christians” think he’s the greatest thing since sliced-bread? Maybe it’s true, maybe I’m the one living in an alternate world? Oh yeah, for you “Christians” who love your furher, while I definitely don’t call myself a “Christian,” I do seem to recall something called “Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount & the simple guidelines he laid out for being a true Christian. Guess that just escaped your mind & your spirit?
Of course, those who don’t remember the lessons of history or more likely, never enjoyed history in high school, the frightening parallels between Trump & the most heinous dictators from the past as well as the present, can’t disturb your glorious dream of Donald, perhaps America’s first Fascist president, saving us from “fake news” and the liberals? But for those of us without the political as well as the moral blinders on, it’s damn hard not to notice the frightening delusions of grandeur that Trump entertains. [some deny this quote was from Mussolini but I feel it’s appropriate; “Fascism should more rightly be called Corporatism because it’s a marriage between government & corporations.”
I’ll start with the superficial, out of respect for Emperor Trump. Simply do a Google image search of your idol & note his striking poses not unlike those of Mussolini, another popular fascist leader during WWII, you know, that trivial episode in our history where we fought against the Nazis & the fascists who Trump thinks contain many “good people.” And our fearless leader (who sadly couldn’t participate in the Vietnam war because of bone spurs) seems to have a real affinity for dictators & despots while insulting & alienating our “allies.” But don’t forget, these aren’t facts, because the Duck denies them. No worries, Donald will save the day, or will he? Could his colossal ego & ignorance be the wet-dream of Mike Pence and the “Christian right’s” desire for Armageddon & the Apocalypse to come about?
I have been concerned about the “Christian” fundamentalists for over 30 years & the fact that we now have one as our vice-president, is very spooky. My first book is about this scary phenomenon & as many have observed, the thought of Pence taking over in the not unlikely scenario of Trump being led out of the White House in chains, would be a nightmare surpassing any of the Freddy Kruger movies. Why? Because quite simply, Pence would surely set about in quick order of turning America into a “Christian” Taliban nation but with our nuclear arsenal, it wouldn’t take but a tiny spark to make their dream a reality.
You might doubt my assessment of Trump’s ego? Okay, fair enough, but have you heard of his overwhelming obsession of having a military parade in Washington D.C.? The news headline the other day said that the original cost estimate of $12 million has now been updated to over $92 million dollars. And maybe, just maybe, you might wonder why we need or rather, our fearless leader wants this parade? Well, when he was in France recently, they had one and if you research it, he’s actually wanted one from the day he took office. Again, let me remind you of Donny’s admiration of dictators & his boundless ego. Yep! I can just picture him now, standing on some elevated platform with that Mussolini smugness as the troops file by & salute El Duce!
We can’t afford to fix our infrastructure, pay our teachers a decent salary, offer health care to our citizens, etc. but there’s always money available to stroke Donald the Dick’s ego & keep on feeding the military/industrial complex.
Continuing on, this “intellectual snob or elitist” whichever term of derision you care to choose, came from a single parent, my mom, who worked two or three jobs as my brother & two sisters grew. I got 40 cents a day for lunch when I was in high school & basically raised my brother & sisters i.e. made them do their chores, their homework, get to bed on time, fought their battles against bullies, etc. Yeah, I really had it easy compared to poor Donny. Oh yeah, you may choose to dismiss my criticisms as mere jealousy of Donald, the billionaire populist who speaks for all the downtrodden Americans. If you go that route, all I can say is that you are clearly a member of the Walking Dead, Donald’s constituency. Oh yeah, it took me 14 years to earn my B.A. in English literature because of not knowing what I really wanted to study, financial difficulties, and lack of discipline but I did it and I proved all my “friends” and “family” wrong. But far more than this accomplishment, I am proud of the conservative estimate of at least 49,000 hours I’ve spent over the last 30 years or better informing myself on matters of politics, history, & philosophy primarily. Yeah! I’m light years ahead of that mental midget in the White House and I challenge anyone to a mental competition! (except Noam Chomsky)
Throughout my adult life, and especially since my confidence in my intellectual reasoning skills began to grow, I have heard the mantra of “All you need is common sense.” And it became very clear that this was a standard put-down of all us “bookworms,” etc. It was inferred that we were so book-smart that we were complete idiots and didn’t even know enough to come in out of the rain. Well, I eventually realized that this was a common defense of those who felt academically inferior because they had unfortunately been the victims of shitty teachers. I have realized slowly though, that I do in fact have an ample supply of “common sense,” and I have surprised myself as well as several of my friends who were/are carpenters, mechanics, plumbers, etc. over the years. Because I am humble & know what I don’t know in many of these trades, etc., I’m not afraid to ask what may appear to be stupid questions. And from time to time, I have surprised my skilled tradesmen friends with some of my suggestions for solving a seemingly unsolvable obstacle in a project we were working on. So, yeah, call me a braggart, but unlike your babbling buffoon of a president, I and everyone else I’ve ever met, know that those who feel the constant need to keep telling people how wonderful, how brilliant, etc. they are, are full of shit!
By-the-way, the next time the I.R.S. tells you that they’re going to audit you, tell them that you refuse to give them your past tax returns like your buddy Donald has done. See how long before you’re sitting in prison. Remember, he’s telling it like it is!
Believe it or not, I am getting close to winding this up but it’s hard to do because there’s just so much evidence & so many examples of this brain-dead & soulless miscreant’s trail of human wreckage, & although I have little to live for since the passing of my soul mate, Jeri, I do still care about & feel the pain of the billions of suffering souls around this planet due to the ugly greed of “people” like Donald Trump.
If I were forced to narrow down to its simplest form, the danger of Trump, I would have to say it’s the deadly combination of his ignorance & his arrogance. And because of the position of power that he holds, we should all be trembling unto our death (I believe this was Kierkegaard’s phrase?) This vile creature that walks upright like a primate but is more like a cold-blooded reptile or spineless crustacean, haunts my waking hours and if he doesn’t haunt yours, your children & your grandchildren will reap the consequences of a world which allowed such a creature from the Black Lagoon to become president of the United States which, don’t get me wrong, has a very long, and immoral history of which I’m deeply ashamed!
The mendacious, malicious, miscreant, megalomaniac (a person obsessed with their own power) creature known as Trump, is a reality that unfortunately, we have no choice but to deal with. And no, he’s not an aberration, he’s a symptom of a dark, underlying force not only in America, but around the world. Trump has made it okay for the worst in human nature to rear its ugly head & although I’m not a religious person, God save us from the likes of him!
The American Press stands on the shoulders of the giants from our past i.e. Walter Cronkite, dubbed “the most trusted man in America,” Edward R. Murrow, who broadcast from London through the entire 56 days of what was dubbed the Blitz—the continuous bombing campaign with the aim of completely destroying London. I.F. Stone, called the “conscience of Washington” for his amazing investigative journalism in which he poured through the official documents/reports/etc. of D.C. to find the nuggets of truth often buried in thousands of pages of the Congressional Record & many other government documents. And George Seldes, perhaps the grandfather of modern free press, who lived through WWI & interviewed everyone from Lenin to Mussolini, covered the Spanish Civil War & often just barely escaped being captured by the fascists.
In fact, as I’m writing this, it’s very pertinent to the subject of Little Lord Fauntleroy i.e. Donny, born with the silver spoon in his mouth. Why? Because Trump’s number one mentor without a doubt was the infamous Roy Cohn who represented countless mobsters on the East Coast who just coincidentally became “business associates” with Trump & Cohn was Joseph McCarthy’s right-hand, hatchet man i.e. totally ruthless in destroying peoples’ lives with baseless, smear campaigns & assorted dirty tricks. And it was Edward R. Murrow who had the balls to go after McCarthy and his witch hunting tactics on his nationally broadcast CBS news program, “See It Now,” which led to McCarthy’s censure.
Furthermore, it’s a sad fact that I feel I must remind far too many of my fellow Americans of what facts are. Trump walks around gloating because he has suckered so many of our citizens into believing whatever he says. Reflect on this truth if you will, “alternative facts” didn’t build the Golden Gate Bridge, put an American on the Moon, or find a cure for polio, no, these & countless other wonders were accomplished due to good old solid, scientific facts, mechanical, electrical, engineering, biological, chemical, etc. verifiable facts. And the fact that Donald, like the oil corporations have managed to confuse the general public to such an extent with the billions they’ve spent on their covert propaganda campaign to plant the seeds of doubt regarding climate change, is truly frightening. My hero, Noam Chomsky has been dubbed “Perhaps the most important intellectual alive,” by The New York Times but he often smiles & reminds his audiences that they leave out, the Times goes on to ask, “So why is he so often wrong?” Chomsky is on a list of the top ten most quoted people in Western Civilization which includes Plato, Aristotle, & the Bible and he’s the only one alive.
Excuse me for going on about Chomsky but I can’t honor him enough & again, it really saddens me that the overwhelming majority of Americans don’t even know who he is, including many self-proclaimed liberals. But, Chomsky says the two greatest dangers facing humanity are climate change & the threat of nuclear war. And we have this proud moron in the White House doing all he can to eliminate every regulation holding back the major polluters & he openly asks, “What good are these nukes if we can’t use them?”
No, my friend, what’s far scarier than this delusional dip-shit is the fact that a third of the American public are so blinded by his fear & hate rhetoric that he probably could get away with shooting someone in broad daylight on 5th Avenue in New York City? And the fact that people actually believe this delusional, would be American Caesar, shows that they are the ones who don’t have common sense.
—Rob DeLoss, August 31, 2018 Trinidad, CA
EARLY WARNING SIGNS OF FASCISM
- Powerful and continuing nationalism
2. Disdain for human rights
3. Identification of enemies as a unifying cause
4. Rampant sexism
5. Controlled mass media
6. Obsession with national security
7. Religion and government intertwined
8. Corporate power protected
9. Labor power suppressed
10. Disdain for intellectual and the arts
11. Obsession with crime and punishment
12. Rampant cronyism and corruption
A true patriot will point out the relevant warning sign of approaching fascism when engaged in a conversation/debate with a Trump supporter.