Spectatorship Is Not “Optimism”

People say I spend too much time ranting about the problems with this country and what they will eventually mean for this world and for all the people I love who live here. They say its pessimistic to dwell on such things.

But pessimists don’t care enough to bitch in the first place. If you recognize that things are getting sketchy but don’t love your country enough to publicly acknowledge its corruption, then shame on you. By not bothering to talk about or worry about it, you’re essentially indicating that you believe there’s no hope–that getting hosed is inevitable, so you may as well go back to watching Clueless with the clueless.

Worse still are the spectators. Like the apologists, spectators make it a point to criticize absolutely nothing. They overhear people like me bitching in the background, but can’t be bothered to investigate whether or not our bitchings are warranted. We might be right as far as they’re concerned; the world just might be en route to hell via a brand-name, corporate hand basket. But even if such was the case–even if everything was completely fucked–let’s worry about that tomorrow. Informed citizenship requires being informed in the first place–how lame and boring is that?!

What better way to disempower the people, to see keep the public out of your big business, than to launch media campaigns that make political news seem boring and paint civic participation as uncool? That’s only step one, of course; step two is to distract us with catchy alternatives.

That’s why I doubt most of you are still reading. Right now there are football teams to cheer for and fashion trends to keep up with. I understand. Go back to rearranging your MySpace Top Eights; and don’t forget to support your favorite American Idol candidate. Remember you can vote multiple times, so feel free to blow an entire day clicking on Melinda Doolittle’s name. Over and over and over and over again. Oh yeah, and try to stay positive.

Cross Posted @ The Public Intellectual

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~ by Matthew Frederick on January 10, 2008.

10 Responses to “Spectatorship Is Not “Optimism””

  1. i read all the way through…… murdoch and other msm organizations KNOW that the more britney they continue to print, even the more talk about how they SHOULDNT talk about britney the spew — keeps a good chunk of the public completely numb.

    when schools wont even teach anything remotely related to civics or the constitution (plenty of stuff on the words of Kurt Cobain tho) — what do you expect?

    remember television is just stuff between the commercials — and the stuff of ‘real’ news is scary and boring and depressing — and how can you sell products when the public is scared, bored and sad?

    Rome 476AD

  2. ha! excellent MFV! i completelely agree with you.

    BUT, as i see myself as an inherent pessimist (although i do try to be more “positive” … i try pretty, pretty hard, actually), one cannot deny the fatigue factor. you can’t deny the sense that no matter how much one rails against the various and sundry ‘machines’ that drive public (and private) lives today, no amount of talking, writing, or even DOING is going to change things much. corruption, the way things are tilted toward the big monied interests against the little guy (hey, i’m sounding like john edwards!!) are all embedded into our culture.

    it’s funny though, it’s that dichotomy that is, on the surface, the one distinguishing difference between clinton and obama. obama mouths on and on about “change” … without say a whole lot about WHAT it is that he’s going to change and how. versus clinton, who says obama is in a “fantasy” world and that she’s already changed stuff (what?) and we have to deal with the dirty reality on the ground. and in the meantime, the people who really have the tools the change things, Congress, have been totally asleep at the wheel!!!

    grrr … i guess the word i’ve been trying to come up with is … FRUSTRATION.

  3. You are absolutely correct about the fact we are given the message that wanting to know about things other than pop culture is not hip and is a waste of time. The powers that be are going to do what they do no matter what we say, so let’s just focus on what brings us pleasure.

    It’s a tempting thing to do.

    And if you’re apt to point out issues, you’re labeled a trouble-maker, a whiner, a conspiracy theorist, a Cassandra. Why can’t you just ingnore it?

    Well, don’t Frederick. Don’t keep talking and caring and writing. That’s what we’re all do, searching for some way to express our concern and our desire for a better nation.

    And if we’re scorned for that? Well, fuck them. Just fuck them.

  4. Such is our burden, MFV, but if we don’t do it, who will? Look at what an influence the “well-knowns” like Kos and Huffington Post and Crooksandliars have had. They were once where we are.

    I, for one, like football and don’t mind gossip coverage of Britney Spears and that sort of thing. I can’t blame anyone for wanting to take some refuge from a hard, finite life. It’s the boring, insider, professional journalists who drive me up a wall. I’m no angel. I’m opinionated and aggressive and never politically correct. On the other hand, I try not to write about something I haven’t thought deeply about beforehand.

    As far as the American people are concerned, well, you can lead a horse to water but you can’t make him drink. I’m just glad I don’t live in America anymore.

  5. I love the new American Idol commercials. Looks like a fucking Nuremburg rally. And anita is exactly right. Change. That’s great. WHAT THE FUCK DO YOU EXACTLY MEAN BY CHANGE? Raising the fucking top tax rates? Pulling our troops out of foreign lands? Federally funding the arts? Universal health care? Destroying media monopolies? Or making the status quo even more entrenched? And don’t fucking say “check out http://www.democrat-tool.com for more!” I want to hear YOU say it, you fuck.

    Sweet Mephistopheles, I hate these fuckers.

  6. one last comment … i’m personally finding the britney coverage getting really, really bizarre. and i do wonder what it says about “us” as a people. and i include myself because i admit to being part of this voyeuristic mentality myself. again, i rail against it, but am oddly pulled into it.

    what is really weird, and i admit to never having seen anything quite so gross before, is how the media (and therefore “we”) cannot pull ourselves away from watching this tragic young woman’s mental collapse … the moment-by-moment of it all. i’ve even seen a video that morphs her into marilyn monroe (the message is clear on that one). and in another a blogger posted a video of an old judy garland interview, where she was extremely high, and the blogger made a comment that garland was dead within a year of that interview. the blogger questioned if that was what was going to happen to britney.

    the media is feeding on her like vulchers … and yes, i know she’s played her part in it, but is there anyone out there able to pull back and say that they are becoming part of her destruction? and if she does self-destruct, will there be any remorse?

  7. We are spoonfed bullshit because the media would rather give us that than the hard news..it wouldn’t suit their ’cause’ now would it?

    Since news departments have had to start showing a profit, we have seen the demise of real journalism. Add to that, the majority of the major news organizations are owned by Corporations, which really don’t give a rat’s ass about the common folk..just the bottom line for them and their shareholders. Its about the benjamin’s now..not telling us the truth, or investigating something to find out what went down and who did us wrong…there is very little profit in that don’t ya know?

    I don’t read the local newspapers any longer..because I have noticed that they all use the same sources..AP for instance. If you google a hard news story, you can actually see pages and pages of news organizations who have one thing in common..they use the same story from one of the wire services.

    That’s because it’s cheaper to use the wire services version than to actually send a fucking reporter to cover the event.

    If you want to actually be informed , you have to look hard, and past the fact that WaPo, the NYT, Chitown Tribune, LAT and all the other major news organizations use the same damn story.

  8. Hey, I should get a star, because when I saw the name Melinda Doolittle, I immediately assumed that was disgraced soon to be former congressman Doolittle’s wife. But I’m guessing she’s on American Idol, yes? Yeah, it’s good not having a tv.

  9. I really have been trying. It is hard to stay positive. I try.

  10. […] Spectatorship Is Not ???Optimism??? […]

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