If media corporations were to respect their biggest and most lucrative market - the decent, patriotic, family-oriented, hard-working Americans - wouldn't this trump the rights of every man, woman, or child who happens to be a deviant? What about the America-hating minority? What about all the degenerates, maniacs, crooks, drug addicts, perverts, and leftist radicals who are constitutionally entitled to their daily ration of filth, gore, and conspiracy theories? Have you no sympathy towards the miserable consumers of rubbish who will not go to a movie, turn on the TV, or open a magazine unless it contains smut, violence, and profanities? Who will protect the Depraved-Americans in the hour of their demise?
You can read the rest of this rabid vindication of capitalist greed at Pajamas Media yourselves. It's mandatory. If you are a progressive public school student, ask your pet gerbil to read it to you. We're only posting the illustrations.
Since at some point Pajamas Media upgraded its platform, some links and images in the old posts became broken. I'm posting the whole thing here at it was supposed to appear originally.
Unfettered capitalism and globalization could give "rise to a worrying degradation of personal dignity through drugs, alcohol and deceptive illusions of happiness." ~ Pope Benedict XVI, speaking of capitalism and Marxism in Latin America
"The mainstream corporate America supports and enriches the worst of the worst." ~ Laura Ingraham, talk show host, speaking of corporate sponsorship of rap music
"With adequate profit capital is very bold... 300% and there is not a crime at which it will scruple, nor a risk it will not run, even to the chance of its owner being hanged." ~ Karl Marx, speaking of his anti-capitalist conspiracy theory.
Was it Adam Smith's invisible hand that choked human spirit in so many American movies, shows, and music videos, replacing it with filth? Is capitalism to blame for the depravity of mainstream corporate media? Is the excess of freedom causing creative elites to promote gratuitous sex, violence, and sociopathic behavior? In short, is the supply of media degeneracy a response to the demands of the media market?
If your answer is "yes" then you must also believe that America is "awash with degenerate perverts" who spend their lives rolling in filth, and that "the greedy corporate media" is responding to this by making "idiotic shows designed to dissolute drug addicts fixated on sex, violence, and depravity."
In the vanished world of Soviet propaganda this was a core dogma; something all good Soviets were required to believe or face excommunication and the Gulag. Today ten out of ten Middle Eastern dictators and firebrand Muslim clerics will also tell you that freedom and democracy result in chaos, immorality, and a media filled with unrestrained debauchery; so if you don't want your little Fatima to start acting like Paris Hilton, prepare to fight the infidels and defend your freedom from their filth!
"Freedom and democracy result in chaos, immorality,
and a media filled with unrestrained debauchery."
If you were a tyrant of a socialist or Islamofascist persuasion, that's exactly what you'd be saying to divert your people's anger, foster anti-American sentiment, and keep your citizenry on a leash. But if you are the "conservative radio talk show host Michael Savage," what's your rationale for blaming America's problems on corporate greed?
A month or so ago Mr. Savage went on a trademarked tirade blaming Don Imus's antics on the "greed of the corporate media" that was guilty of both hiring Imus and firing Imus. The penchant for "immoral profiteering" on the part of CBS and MSNBC, he said, had prompted these media giants to employ the insulting shock jock in order to line their pockets at the expense of public decency. Therefore, claimed Mr. Savage, it's the greedy corporations that must take the heat - not the shock jock who was only following orders.
Mr. Savage might reflect that the least greedy media institution in the world is Air America Radio which has never shown a cent of profit.
Though it was set up as a capitalist venture, money was never the issue for Air America: its prime reason for existence was the spreading of anti-capitalist ideas . In the words of its own host Randy Rhodes, when times got tough, she was happy to work without monetary compensation, as every good anti-corporatist leftist should. Perhaps Mr. Savage would like to take the seat vacated by Al Franken and help them fight corporate greed as part of the collective? That would come with a hefty pay cut, but should give him a chance to prove to the world that Michael Savage is not in the business of talk radio because he likes to get paid.
The Progressive Protection Racket
"Corporate," "Greed," and "Profiteering" are fighting words commonly used by the Left to bludgeon the usual villains: Big Oil, Big Tobacco, Big Firearms, and everything else that's Big and profiting from the sales of a product that somehow harms individual consumers and the society at large. (A notable exception here is Big Government).
"Corporations will pay top dollar to get off your hit list."
Once you've convinced your listeners that there is a corporate conspiracy against the consumers, you've initiated them into the biggest conspiracy theory of all time - the Marxist concept of "class struggle." Now you're just one small step away from exposing "the immorality at the core of the capitalist system" and presenting "Socialism as the only moral alternative." It is a very effective way to win converts to the cause of "progress" from among the well-meaning public. As an added bonus, corporations will pay top dollar to get off your hit list - a scheme known in other circles as protection racket.
There are many ways a corporation can appease the "progressive protection racket." Often it's called "giving back to the community," which sounds like returning stolen goods to the crime. As a result of this element, the more one "gives back to the community," the heavier the aura of shame and guilt on the one side - and the bigger the sense of entitlement on the other. For example:
Businesses also donate directly to "progressive" charities and campaigns. If it's not cash it's food, free space, free advertisement, free product placement, or free product itself. The Big Media usually "gives back" their product - news, opinions, commentary, and shows politically correct viewpoints that validate "progressive" beliefs. It's also a common practice to hire "progressive" anchors, reporters, producers, and editors. This has been going on for such a long time that a friendly takeover of the media by Leftist activists is now almost complete.
Have you ever wondered why it's often impossible to distinguish a mainstream media institution that's supposedly in the business of making profit, from an activist "non-profit" group that's in the business of propaganda and re-education of the masses? While this change may stimulate some audiences, most Americans respond to it by turning off their TVs. Over the past decade the entire corporate media product has become a big turnoff, forcing people to avoid movie theaters and cancel newspaper subscriptions.
"You've lost that lovin' feeling....
'Cause baby, something in you is dying."
As the Righteous Brothers sang, "You've lost that lovin' feeling.... 'Cause baby, something in you is dying." Now, if capitalist forces were at play here as before, the mainstream media would sound the alarm and try to realign itself with the markets to get that lovin' feeling back. Instead, it stubbornly stands its ground and continues to lose money. Where's the corporate greed when you need it? It's gone, gone, gone, as the song goes. Wooooooh. It has been replaced by an anti-capitalist ideology. Every time that happens anywhere in the world, the result is an inferior product.
Yet the profit requirement remains. And the precarious balancing of profit with ideology results in the duplicitous media model we see today. On the one hand it's the endless procession of lame "progressive" clichés; on the other hand, it's the appeal to the baser instincts - a poor replacement for that lovin' feeling - but still a way to attract audiences to otherwise emasculated content.
As a visual analogy, imagine an art gallery repaint Brueghel's gloomy "Blind Leading the Blind", undressing the characters to their private parts in order to make it more interesting to the visitors. That's the gist of the media humbuggery; it's repulsive both ethically and aesthetically.
If rock and roll seemed like "sinful music" to some of the older types in its heyday, what would they call today's rap lyrics?
["Quit your old-fashioned nagging, pop! You can't stop progress; you'll only make a fool out of yourself."]
Seems like a reasonable formula for all ages, doesn't it? Except that it also implies that there are no absolute moral values or criteria in art or public decency. When the only absolute is "progress," everything else becomes relative. If we accept this in our personal lives, ten years from now we might well be singing obscene raps to our children before bedtime but still cringing at the newest crop of mainstream culture. By then it would probably become so "progressive," it would make Eminem blush like a pansy. It is a process without the possibility of an end.
After rock and roll had valiantly won the battle for acceptance and the formula was already in place, rap music crashed the party. It didn't have to fight any old battles; it simply pushed elderly rock music with its veiled innuendos away from the microphone and filled the airwaves with the open depravity of the drug-infested welfare ghetto. This time, a universal acceptance of the "old-fashioned pop can't stop progress" formula gave the Big Media a license to open the gutter wide and mainstream any marginal content under the category of "progress," or what Laura Ingraham describes as "mainstreaming of pornographic lyrics, misogynistic, sexist, racist, defamatory, derogatory words." Whatever happened to the innocence of the hippy ballads?
* * *
"Depravity in the media is not the result of capitalism, and corporate greed is not the disease - but it may be the cure."
In the days when capitalism ran wild, depravity in the media stayed harnessed; today when capitalism is harnessed, depravity in the media runs wild.
To verify this assumption let's look back at the state of American media and entertainment a hundred years ago, when capitalism was unfettered and the media was unregulated by the FCC. Of course the media was different - and not just technologically. It was also positively cleaner, healthier, and aligned with essential moral values. Was there junk and gratuitous filth? To some extent, marginal content could always be found on the margins where it belonged. But filth surely wasn't mainstreamed - because the cursed capitalist mass market, consisting of people with strong family values and a moral backbone, would be repelled by it. The markets wanted a wholesome nourishment for the mind and soul - and they received it because, under capitalism, the customer is always right.
In the early decades of Hollywood, when corporate greed thrived in its classic form, the studios' main concern was to please their biggest market - honest, upright, hard-working, family-loving, patriotic Americans. That sort of "profiteering" by the movie (and later television) studios resulted in a profusion of brilliant classic movies, family shows, comedies, and dramas that explored and elevated human spirit. The customers, otherwise known as the American people, demanded shows and movies they could identify with - and "corporate greed" responded by giving the world a magnificent gallery of original and unforgettable characters who, just like their intended audiences, were honest, upright, hard-working, family-loving, and patriotic.
Did Hollywood artists have to "sell out" in the process - a possibility that frightens every modern run-of-the-mill "progressive" celebrity? Not if they personally believed in the moral truth of their mission, as did John Wayne, Ronald Reagan, and Jimmy Stewart. These stars never had to compromise artistic integrity to affirm American values, loving this country with all the power of their red-white-and-blue hearts. They didn't need to "bring back that lovin' feeling." They already had it.
"The product of Hollywood is no longer the
projection of the American psyche."
My, how things have changed. Based on the current Hollywood productions it's easy to assume that today's Americans are the most crooked, violent, dissolute, foul-mouthed, sex-crazed, drug-addicted degenerates on the planet. And many people in far-away lands do assume that, having few sources of information about this country other than Hollywood. This assumption would be true, of course, if the same forces of supply and demand were at play in Hollywood as they had been during the Golden Age. But they're not. The product of Hollywood is no longer the projection of the American psyche.
The changes began around 1960s with a "paradigm shift" towards a "progressive" mentality among the elites who saw America as some sort of Jurassic Park in need of modernization. A significant part of the supposedly greedy Big Media was on the frontlines, selflessly fighting the campaign to swipe traditional American values into the dustbin of history - while gradually losing touch with the majority of Americans who selfishly refused to treat their traditional values as garbage. Having to choose between the consumers and the ideology, the media elites chose the ideology, denying Americans a voice in their programming. Thus the Big Media broke the first rule of capitalism. It breached its contract with the consumer. The customer became always wrong.
They may have thought of it as a victory of "progress" over "corporate greed," but they could no more abolish the law of supply and demand than they could abolish the law of gravity, no matter how gracefully they could dance on their tiptoes. This brief celebration of a "glorious ideological monopoly" was followed by a rude awakening. The Big Media began to lose big money.
It didn't happen overnight. First it took time for Americans to realize the lovin' feeling was gone. Then alternative media began to emerge, responding to the market demands. The ease with which Fox News swiped a large chunk of the mainstream news and opinion market is proof and continuing evidence of how unappealing the Big Media had become. New competition exposed more of the old timers' flaws, making it even harder for the media corporations to justify their existence.
Of course their colleagues in the old USSR weren't bound by the need to make money. Vis-a-vis an audience that had no other choice, the Soviet media comrades were gloriously subsidized by the state even if nobody used their product. There were no commercials, no ratings, no seasons, no competition, no feedback. Even more financially independent of their consumers than PBS and NPR, the Soviet media was free to do whatever it pleased - within the radius of the chain padlocked to the kennel in the back of the Communist Party headquarters. The "financially independent" media feasted on the juicy leftovers from the master's table and never bit the hand that fed it. They knew full well through constant example that any attempt to go astray would end up in the dogcatcher's box.
Meanwhile back in the West, the Big Media's duplicitous need to advance "progress" and remain profitable was causing creative schizophrenia to erupt across the vast wasteland - MTV, Jerry Springer, and glamorized hip-hop culture. The propensity to write scripts based on mind-numbing "progressive" formulas made movies and TV shows empty of real-life conflicts, creating the need to pepper them with bits of depravity and foul language to continue to shock the senses. Thus the spiritual excitement of human conflict was replaced with the mechanical excitement of sex, violence, and special effects. Spiritual functions became bodily functions; the drama of characters became the drama of dueling genitalia.
"Two Worlds, Two Ways of Life" was a common Soviet headline preceding a story about the advantages of "progressive" Soviet socialism over the vile Western capitalism. Indeed, relieved of the stresses of profit-making, the Soviet media workers could devote their undivided attention to generating pure and clean propaganda, while their less fortunate Western comrades-in-arms were forced to mix their propaganda with filth and ugly sensationalism in order to sell it to the masses. Any good "progressive" will tell you this alone is a clear proof that socialism is better than capitalism. If you need a comparison with America, the Soviet programming was in many ways similar to that of the government-subsidizedNational Public Radio (NPR) and Public Broadcasting Service (PBS).
Depravity in the media is not the result of capitalism,
and corporate greed is not the disease - but it may be the cure.
The standard argument runs thus: if the totalitarian state-run media is clean from smut and sensationalism while the free capitalist media is full of it, such depravity must be the inevitable result of freedom and capitalism. An important fact omitted from this argument is that in the days when capitalism ran wild, depravity in the media stayed harnessed; but today when capitalism is largely harnessed, depravity in the media runs wild. In addition, the media is now almost entirely in the hands of the "progressive" elites who advocate for an even greater harnessing of capitalism by expanding government controls. A paradox or a paradigm?
Apparently the injection of "progress" into capitalism is making the patient sick. A "progressive" solution, of course, would be to get rid of capitalism altogether. But how about a pro-life solution: discontinue the treatment, shut down the clinic for malpractice, and let capitalism run wild again, free of radical toxins. Bring back that lovin' feeling.
Is this too much to ask? While you're making up your mind, let's take a quick look at how a purely profit-driven media would work.
Media: In It For the Money Once Again
If media corporations were concerned with nothing but profits, they would make a calculated business decision - to respect their biggest and most lucrative market: the decent, patriotic, family-oriented, hard-working Americans. They would make sure their patrons receive family-friendly programming that is spiritually and intellectually fulfilling. Clean quality entertainment would become profitable again, as would standing up for American values. When patriotism means business, the Big Media might finally start championing its own country again. Hollywood would remember its WWII fame and support the war effort with inspiring pro-American movies and documentaries. It would create material that would encourage the rest of the world to join us in the fight for freedom and democracy against the medieval barbarism and terror.
What such media would not have, is the gratuitous sleaze permeating so many movies and shows. It would not hire perverts to make children's comedies. It would not act as PR agents for al-Qaeda and other of America's enemies among the socialist and Islamic tyrants. It would not disclose classified intelligence in a time of war. It would not try to con their audiences with inane conspiracy theories and insult their intelligence with the likes of Bill Maher, Rosie O'Donnell, Michael Moore, Keith Olbermann, and Al Franken. It would become commercially impractical to promote marginal characters so averse to mainstream values.
You might say, hey, wouldn't this trump the rights of every man, woman, or child who happens to be a deviant? What about the America-hating minority? What about all the degenerates, maniacs, crooks, drug addicts, perverts, and leftist radicals who are constitutionally entitled to their daily ration of filth, gore, and conspiracy theories? Have you no sympathy towards the miserable consumers of rubbish who will not go to a movie, turn on the TV, or open a magazine unless it contains smut, violence, and profanities? Who will protect the Depraved-Americans in the hour of their demise?
A refreshing change from the upside-down Big Media of today
that mainstreams the marginal and marginalizes the mainstream.
Nothing could be further from the case. The beauty of capitalism is that it provides for the existence of niche markets for marginal audiences. In a free society, where there is a demand there is a supply. Totalitarian societies don't have this feature - only capitalism allows its citizens to live on the margins if they choose to; that's why capitalism is incompatible with total ideological monopoly. After all, a world without margins may well become too tight for comfort. We are all humans; once in a while anyone can get overwhelmed with virtuous labors and seek a temporary escape in the alternative reality of the marginal.
However, if I choose to plunge into deviancy I want it to be my personal decision, not the whim of some sneaky TV producer who suddenly feels like mixing his otherwise insipid didactic jumble with sleazy nuggets, sending me and my family, along with millions of other TV viewers on an unsolicited communal trip into the gutter. And I certainly don't want them taking my children for a ride in the deviancy amplification spiral; a media roller coaster attraction that glamorizes depravity, making it seem common or acceptable.
A truly free market would not only allow a diversity of media content, it would also sort the markets in the order of magnitude, keeping the mainstream in the mainstream and the marginal on the margins. This would be a refreshing change from the upside-down Big Media of today that mainstreams the marginal and marginalizes the mainstream. This compulsion furthers an elitist perception of the American audiences as some harebrained violent perverts with the attention span of a fruit fly, the mental aptitude of a walnut, and the moral fortitude of a gerbil. This isn't just an insult: according to analysts such perception generates aversion and hatred of this country among more socially conservative and less tolerant populations overseas, especially in the Muslim world.
The elitist media's view of its customer base as nitwits is the rationalization of its own failure, after decades of proselytizing, to convert America to the ideas of "progress." After all the marvelous columns, news stories, movies and shows with filtered facts, exaggerated failures and understated successes, after all the free unsolicited advice bestowed upon them by the media, the American people went ahead and reelected George W. Bush. Who would the media elites rather blame for it - themselves or the unworthy recipients of their wisdom? Come to think of it, one group in this equation deserves to be called nitwits, and it's not the American people.
A mind-boggling admission of the media's
arrogance was a research program that
measured the increasing stupidity
of American audiences.
Some years ago I happened to catch an NPR program that discussed a research project conducted on behalf of major media institutions with a peculiar purpose: how to adapt their programming to the increasing stupidity of the American audiences. Of course, the stupidity part was euphemistically referred to as "shortened attention span," "dwindling education levels," and other symptoms of mental debility.
Moderated by a predictably condescending NPR host, the researchers and media representatives bemoaned the drama of falling ratings caused by the inability of consumers to understand their carefully crafted programming. The experts recommended shortening the segments, lightening up the content, removing obscure references, and pimping up the news with entertainment. In other words, a universal loss of audiences due to stupidity was forcing the Big Media to follow the markets and dumb down its content.
The show left me with more questions than answers. For example, what was more arrogant: to request such a research project - or to discuss it on the air before the same "stupid" audiences the same way an owner might discuss neutering his Rover in front of the unsuspecting mindless dog? And if none of them had a clue as to how obnoxious it sounded to the listeners, doesn't that alone disqualify them as media experts? Or did they think we would be too stupid to figure it out?
Why even go on the air with this? Unless, of course, someone wanted to make it official that Americans have lost the mental capacity to understand what's happening around them - and so, for their own good, all decisions should be made for them by enlightened and progressive elites.
A likely result of the thinking behind such research was the appointment of Katie Couric to lead CBS Evening News. Someone must have decided she was the most attractive anchor for a demographic with measly attention span, dismal intelligence, and preference for shiny objects. Was anyone surprised that the resulting meager ratings were blamed on sexism and racism of the American audiences and not on the public's assessment of CBS policies as arrogance wrapped in a smugness inside a conceit?
Crazy Like a Fox News
Fox News was the first media network that stopped pretending not to notice the elephant in the living room - a large and intellectually diverse majority of underserved viewers who were sick and tired of the mainstream media's condescending indoctrination. As a result, within only ten years, this conservative-friendly and openly pro-American network was able to leave behind the staggering old media and rise from a startup to a leader in cable news - without a single complaint about the viewers' attention span or intelligence.
The media elites remember about Fox News at every opportunity to put it down, but they suffer a collective Fox News amnesia when they discuss their own drooping ratings. This is rather peculiar: to measure their failure against the success of Fox News would be so much more productive than wasting money to measure the audience's stupidity against their own sophistication. At least that's what an honest media executive would've done if he were genuinely concerned about profits as his primary responsibility before the shareholders. So what's stopping the Big Media from learning the lesson and following the winner?
The answer is in what makes Fox News the winner. It negates everything the old media had worked to promote. Fox News has cleared America's TV screens of the decade-old patina of "progress," exposing the reality of a vast ideological landscape where every voice is heard, from left to right. "We report, you decide" - instead of "We decide for you." The almost forgotten concept of an open exchange of opinions in a free society was restored to its rightful place - despite the fierce opposition by the "progressive" elites. It's amazing how deeply people who insist they are smarter than you are fear an open debate.
The old Big Media by definition can't follow the Fox News model. It can't peel off the patina because it is the patina. That's why the guests on the NPR program were willing to examine every microscopic detail affecting their ratings - while the colossal success of Fox News wasn't even mentioned. Apparently in the world of media elites, ideology trumps profits. The expensive research and the NPR show about it were little more than a scam to cover their sophisticated behinds in case their failing "progressive" policies would ever become a subject of investigation by shareholders.
"Oh, Karl Marx, if it were true,
I'd put my axe to work for you,
And the wicked old social tree
Would fall right down."
- Gary Snyder
Karl Marx famously stated in Das Kapital: "With adequate profit capital is very bold. A certain 10% will ensure its employment anywhere; 20% certain will produce eagerness; 50%, positive audacity; 100% will make it ready to trample on all human laws; 300% and there is not a crime at which it will scruple, nor a risk it will not run, even to the chance of its owner being hanged."
How ironic it is then that the American "greedy capitalist media" elites are proving old man Marx wrong every time they knowingly lose money and hurt their business by sacrificing profits to an ideology that is derived from his anti-capitalist conspiracy theory. In this show of self-canceling absurdity, there is not a crime at which the Big Media will scruple, nor a risk it will not run, even to the chance of being hanged, only to avoid losing any territory to American capitalist values. Sounds almost like the famous JFK quote: they shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, in order to assure the survival and the success of "progress" in the media.
* * *
"Surprising, isn't it -- in a time of war, the studios don't realize that Americans would rather see an uplifting war movie in which the good guys win. Well, they do realize it -- but they won't do it anyway."
With Hollywood's box-office sliding for many years in a row, experts are painstakingly scrutinizing every minuscule reason for it except, of course, the most important and obvious one. Just as the news media elites have a collective blind spot for Fox News, movie experts refuse to notice one reason for Hollywood's failure that's so immense, it overshadows the entire industry. That reason being that the majority of decent Americans can't relate to the current Hollywood characters, themes, and values - while the movies they could genuinely relate to are either not being made, or are being rejected and snubbed.
Regardless of what you think of Mel Gibson's "The Passion of the Christ", in terms of pure capitalist profits it was a clear winner with a broad appeal to audiences, earning $612 million worldwide ($370 million in the U.S.) against a budget of only $30 million. Yet Hollywood not only objected to the project, but unleashed a negative PR campaign against it in the name of a "progressive" boycott of Christianity. As a result they lost over half a billion dollars in profits that studios and investors could have made if the elites had not been so fixated on ideology. That's some real profiteering, baby.
Anti-religion critics may object that since religion itself is depraved, the success of "The Passion of the Christ" is an illustration of how capitalism enables depravity. That's where objective artistic and moral criteria come in. These critics might have a point if the movie had no intrinsic artistic value and required religion as a crutch to uphold bad film-making. But "The Passion" can stand perfectly well on its own without the "religious crutches."
Even if one knows nothing about Christianity, one will still see a compelling story of a conflict between a moral, determined man and the corrupt establishment that tolerates no independent thinkers and stops at nothing to break them, including torture and death. The film demonstrates the infinite fear and hatred that phony opinion makers can have of truths that threaten their power - while featuring a role model who wins by merely holding on to the truth until the end. Hollywood immediately proved the universal quality of this story by playing the part of the hateful and corrupt establishment, ostracizing Gibson. Such irony has a specific name: the self-canceling absurdity of media activism.
You are free to think of religion as depravity, but it's simply illogical to call the artistic rendering of a biblical story depraved if it doesn't require faith as a crutch to stand on. Just as the inclusion of sex or violence is not depravity if it serves a higher artistic purpose and makes a dramatic point - as opposed to being a mere crutch for poor plot and directing.
At about the same time that Hollywood rejected "The Passion of the Christ", it invested a whopping $135 million in a star-studded revisionist anti-crusader flick that denigrated Christianity and promoted Osama bin Laden's version of history called "Kingdom of Heaven". It was a box-office failure in the U.S. and Canada, earning only $47 million. Director Ridley Scott blamed it on... drum roll please... bad advertising. To be fair, 20th Century Fox was generously compensated for the domestic failure by foreign box office, especially in Arab countries. That does come pretty close to "trampling on all human laws," although it's not exactly the crime Karl Marx had in mind when he wrote that.
This year, in the absence of modern-day cinematic examples of heroism and moral clarity in the fight for freedom and democracy, millions of Americans flocked to watch cartoonish heroes of ancient Sparta doing in 480 BC what American Marines are doing today, standing up for the free world. That may not be what the makers of "300" had intended, but that's what made the film a bigger blockbuster that it would've been otherwise, earning $208 million domestically ($440 million worldwide so far) against a relatively modest budget of $60 million.
Compare it to the botched "Alexander" (2004) - a "historical" drama as morally confused as its creator, Oliver Stone, himself. That's why it only earned a measly $34 million domestically, against an exorbitant $155 million budget. The director's biggest fiasco was the failure to capitalize on a universally shared positive memory of Alexander's conquest of Asia and the Middle East as a benevolent transforming force of a Western civilization bringing the light of reason and science to the world's darkest corners. But had that aspect been realized, he wouldn't be the Oliver Stone we know, would he?
So goodbye Aristotle - and hello far-fetched
incestuous pervert of a mother.
The real Alexander was tutored by the world's most influential philosopher, Aristotle, father of Western thought founded on logic - not by some B-grade-movie-type hot mama (Angelina Jolie) whose seedy voodoo tricks were the only guiding light in the life of Oliver Stone's parody character. The most relevant story of Alexander's contests was not his alleged gay affair but the spreading of the Hellenistic culture of reason throughout vast areas engulfed by irrational mysticism. Until the present, regardless of their current faith, the natives of Asia and beyond long for Alexander's heritage as exemplified by the popularity of names like Iskander, Eskandar, Sikandar, and other local variations of Alexander. How hard was it for a right-minded artist, in the times of an escalating global conflict in Central Asia, to recognize Alexander as a unique common denominator, a uniting force that predates and excludes Islam from the equation?
But then again, if such a movie were made, it wouldn't be the "progressive" Hollywood we know, would it?
So goodbye Aristotle - and hello far-fetched incestuous pervert of a mother. As a result, instead of showing us the glory days of a Hellenistic civilization, basking in the light of reason and science, using its position as a superpower to spread this light around the world (modern analogies all too obvious), the movie has shown us a reeking pile of rot in a small American town called Hollywood whose residents have abandoned logic and are basking in self-destructive depravity. But logic exists independently of Hollywood producers, so it punished them with a domestic box office that returned less than a quarter of what they had invested.
If the success of Fox's "24" is any indication, Hollywood could easily redouble its audiences by being patriotic about the global war against Islamic extremism. If profiteering means "making excessive profits on goods in short supply," a modern patriotic movie would be it. There are exactly zero of them in circulation.
Osama bin Laden will sooner befriend a Jew
than American media elites will help their country
win a war that goes against their idea of "progress."
Iraq and Afghanistan alone provide enough dramatic material for a host of successful movies and TV series. Besides boosting studio revenues, such movies could certainly boost morale at home and inspire foreigners to root for Americans and their mission abroad. But the best Hollywood could do was "Syriana", an anti-American spy fantasy that barely broke even at home - although it was highly regarded in the Middle East, especially where it's now being used as a recruitment video for jihad. It's definitely something George Clooney should put under his belt right next to the Oscar.
Surprising, isn't it - in a time of war, the studios don't realize that Americans would rather see an uplifting war movie in which the good guys win. Well, they do realize it - but they won't do it anyway. In the "progressive" world of Hollywood elites that would mean to "sell out" - a bad career move for a modern celebrity. Never mind that depicting a virtuous patriotic American would only mean a "sellout" to a person who is neither virtuous nor patriotic. This logic escapes Hollywood airheads. In their drugs-and-alcohol laced minds, warped by meaningless sex, vanity, envy, and sleazy betrayals of spouses, children, and friends, "selling out" to patriotism may indeed seem like a personal failure.
If it's true that capitalists would do anything for profit, why aren't they trying to condition foreign markets by projecting American ideas of freedom, democracy, and capitalism? Considering the high propaganda value of mass media, that could really help this nation fight the global war against terrorism and establish a peaceful world in which more people would prosper, spending more of their money on Hollywood products. But Osama bin Laden will sooner befriend a Jew than American media elites will help their country win a war that goes against their idea of "progress."
The media corporations are proving Marx wrong at every step of the way - just like millions of dollars spent nation-wide on diversity programs and sensitivity training do. It begs the question, why are the "progressive" elites still so eager to debase, defame, and destroy capitalism when such actions contradict their belief in the immoral absolute power of capital over humans? But one can hardly expect rationality from those who don't care about the consequences as long as they can have their tantrum.
Radio Daze: Don Imus
Which brings us back to Don Imus who might still have his job if he had not made the error of straying away from the usual white-only depravity and wandering right into the black-only depravity of the rap culture. His crime: emulating the degeneracy of a rapper while wearing a big cowboy hat. That, in the world of today's media, is trespassing.
Imus should've known better. As a liberal talk-show host he was in part responsible for the way the speech turf got divided among minority pressure groups, separated by the barbed wire of taboos and the booby traps of political correctness. He was there; it happened right before his eyes. He contributed to the building of the edifice. The Big Media was part of this contraption, so when Mr. Imus accidentally set off the trap, the system came into motion and he got fired automatically, by the very logic of its creation.
The firing happened with such ease and rapidity because Mr. Imus, a lightweight, walked into a trap set up for a much heavier game - someone conservative like Michael Savage, or perhaps the ultimate dream prize of every liberal trapper - Mr. Rush Limbaugh himself. Just how much corporate greed went into the creation of those PC traps? Zilch. It was an unofficial parallel project of the entire Big Media community fueled by pure "progressive" enthusiasm.
The same brand of enthusiasm also fueled the creation of Air America Radio - a venture that was meant to be a "progressive" alternative to conservative radio not only ideologically, but also as a business model. To say that it never showed a cent of profit would not be the whole story.
Air America's "adversaries" each had an independent syndicated show airing usually two or three hours a day. Each talk-show host had started small but grew national and commercially successful owing only to the host's personal effort and merits. Previous attempts to counter them with "progressive" talk shows based on the same individual model had all failed.
That's why Air America approached this issue with its sweeping quasi-socialist collective model: first it acquired sufficient funding to become national; then it hired a bunch of hosts to deliver all-day-long groupthink propaganda on a fixed salary. With all the ensuing hoopla, excitement, and free promotions on various mainstream media channels, no one ever bothered to actually test the market.
The real victims of this "capitalist" crime were investors who lost their money on a pipe dream - and a kids' charity in the Bronx that got swindled out of $875,000 on a loan that the advocates of "social justice and progress" knew they could never repay since their on-air struggle against corporate greed wasn't bringing any money.
Granted, Air America wasn't a mainstream media institution - they were honest about their ideology and didn't pretend to be neutral as the Big Media does in order to stay in the mainstream market. But both of them have paid for their addiction to ideology by squandering the investors' money.
Now, if a corporate executives' addiction causes his business to lose markets and millions of dollars with it, isn't this called a violation of responsibility to shareholders and employees? Marx could never imagine this particular sort of capitalist depravity - but if you are a shareholder of a media corporation, you just might have a case for a lawsuit due to breach of fiduciary duty and negligent damages from the lack of greed and profiteering.
All things considered (and no pun intended), the only profiteering that seems morally acceptable to the media elites is the one that leads to the spreading of depravity as part of a continued war against America's values, culture, society, traditions, reputation, and security. A culture war is a dirty job but someone's gotta do it, baby, especially if the paychecks are fat.
Talk Radio: The Fountain of Funding
There's one unique kind of profiteering, however, that Big Media does reluctantly, out of pure greed, and against its own moral principles: it uses its AM radio frequencies to carry syndicated conservative talk radio shows.
Even though the media elites must honestly believe that Rush Limbaugh, just like firearms, tobacco, and alcohol, causes irreparable harm to individual consumers and the society at large, they daily broadcast his three-hour show because it's the biggest source of revenue in AM radio and has consistently high ratings. How can they ever live with themselves after knowingly "harming the children?"
Conservative talk radio is the biggest compromise the Big Media has been forced to make in order to sustain its AM radio operations. One can tell it's a compromise by the contrast between the talk show content and the news segments at the top and the bottom of every hour - delivered by ABC staff announcers in New York - on a station that features Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Mark Levin, Laura Ingraham, Matt Drudge, and others. While the facts discussed on the shows and the news segments seem to be the same, the intended message is often so strikingly different that the two might as well originate in parallel universes.
To give credit where credit is due, it takes a professional haiku-like perfection on part of ABC news editors and presenters to cram a "progressive" take into meager few minutes every half-hour, with almost no commentary.
The effect is achieved by careful selection and stacking, repetitions and understatements, changing the order of magnitude, juxtaposition of unrelated news to make them seem related or to strike a sarcastic note, using some quotes and not using the others, playing voices of opinionated Democrats while not playing voices of opinionated Republicans unless they are somehow embarrassing and can be used against them - and many other precise techniques that must keep the editors really busy in between the news breaks.
Topped with occasional snide comments and a ringing female voice that, depending on the context, may be happy, gloating, or sarcastic when it is not obnoxious - ABC radio news segments often sound like unsolicited public service by a group of vigilante journalists enforcing some unofficial fairness doctrine to neutralize the possible "harm" done by the talk show into whose territory they are intruding. And when they don't sound like this, it means they're not trying hard enough. Nobody's perfect 100% of the time.
The same goes for WOR in New York that airs Michael Savage. Savage would certainly be interested in the taste of the news salads served during the breaks on his shows. They are a constant reminder that he is only free to dish out his views across the fruited plane for one and one reason only - the obscene corporate greed that forces the Big Media to keep conservative cash cows on the air.
Conservative hosts bring in advertisers. They are the best example of how capitalism works. So instead of disparaging it, Mr. Savage should be thankful for whatever little corporate greed still remains inside the Big Media, and hope that the media never grows independent of the markets and gets funded by something other than commercial sponsors. Because the day the media loses the last of its greed will also be the day conservative talk radio ends.
Great Stalin's GhostNone of that is very funny
Zampolit BlokhayevIn another irony, I found this anti-socialist and counter-revolutionary while surfing the Internet. He's a KGB defector from the cold war days. It's a good the useful idiots in the Democratic parties P.R. Dept. (ABC, CBS, NBC and CNN) keep him off the air for us. What this is saying is very dangerous.
Red SquareWhy, it is quite funny because just yesterday I started reading Eric Hoffer's "The True Believer" - of course, purely out of academic interest, to see what the ideological enemies are up to. (I bought it on advice from Professor Kurgman, PhD,PhD,PhD). Other books by the enemy of progressivism, Hoffer that I forced myself to read (bathing in Volga water immediately after) are The Ordeal of Change and The Temper of Our Times. Fortunately, since so many recognize the threat that his kind of thinking brings to true Progressivism, his books don't show up in book stores as often as ideological heroes such as Al Franken and Jimmy Carter, so they are harder to find. Who knows what could happen if an easily swayed comrade were to read too much Hoffer? All of Comrade Yuri Bezmenov's hard work would be as dead as the Venezuelan economy.
Quote:it would be enough to pay for the masonry spade used to apply Katie's makeup - which is a good thing, of course!
Chairman M. S. PunchenkoTHOUGHT CRIME! Venezuela is doing just fine thank you very much! Even I thought Stalin's ghost would have known that. What are they feeding you down there in non-existent Hell? Get with the times, man -- Venezuela is on the march! Did I say Venezuela? That's what I get for turning my back on that practical joking little scamp, Walter Duranty (speaking of tools), who shares a dorm room down here with me and the rest of the Politburo. He must have done some "revising" when I wasn't looking. Of course I meant to say that the U.S. economy has tanked. According to the comrades at the BBC,
Quote:The US economy grew at a pace of 0.6% in the first three months of 2007, its weakest rate in more than four years, official figures have shown.
Zampolit BlokhayevIn another irony, I found this anti-socialist and counter-revolutionary while surfing the Internet. He's a KGB defector from the cold war days. It's a good the useful idiots in the Democratic parties P.R. Dept. (ABC, CBS, NBC and CNN) keep him off the air for us. What this is saying is very dangerous.
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