“When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me.”
– Paul the Apostle, First Corinthians –
The Big Picture –
By Glynn Wilson –
FAIRHOPE, Ala. – It is time to grow up, people.
It’s time to put away childish things.
It’s time get some real information and stop playing politics with people’s lives.
I was walking my dog along the Mobile Bay waterfront the other day and stopped to talk to an old man by the sea who wanted to meet Jefferson, the English Springer Spaniel. He is quite an interesting character, I must admit, who looks a lot like an American founding father. Just about everybody who sees him wants to shake his hand and find out more about him.
During our conversation, as is always the case in the United States since we tend to be such damn capitalists, I was asked what I do. Of course as always I say I am a journalist, a photographer, videographer and Web publisher who travels around in a camper van looking for big news.
Even in one of Alabama’s most interesting places where you would think people might have an opportunity for enlightenment — perhaps more than old folks in the rural parts of the state where newspapers are small time and scarce, where you can’t pick up public radio and the only thing to listen to are religious shows, silly talk radio and country music, where even cable TV is still hard to find unless you purchase a satellite dish — it becomes obvious that the Newhouse model of journalism has polluted the minds of people even here.
It is not entirely their fault that they feel they must bow down to a Christian god and profess their conservative faith in the Republican Party. They have been fed that manna all their lives even by the newspapers they call “liberal” as if that was a bad thing, like a leper or a Communist.
It didn’t take two minutes into the conversation to learn that this old man who walks with his wife and little dog every day along the bay no longer reads the Mobile Press-Register, the monopoly newspaper owned by the Newhouse brothers in New York (not that anyone here knows that), because he is highly offended that they would even consider running an opinion column by someone with a “liberal” point of view. Nevermind that the owners are clearly conservative capitalists who are in the newspaper business to make money, not for ideology or politics, and even run an entire section on “Religion” for christ’s sake to try to please these people.
It also becomes obvious that the old man does not read any news or anything else on a computer. There must be evil lurking in that durn Internets, don’t you know. The devil might corrupt your mind and you won’t even know it and next thing you know, you are burning in hell.
“I had a computer a few years back but couldn’t read anything on it because of my eyes,” the old man said, a common excuse. “So I got rid of it.”
I tried to tell him that he could take any story on a computer screen downloaded from the Web over the Internet and blow it up big enough so he could read it, but he was having none of it. He heard 10 years ago that liberals post false things on the Internets, and that was enough for him to give it up for the rest of his life. Best to live out your retirement in blissful ignorance.
“Well, I guess you are stuck getting your news from Fox News and local television news then. They will read the conservative newspapers to you over the airwaves,” I said. “Fear not.”
Most people don’t realize that radio and television news people have and always will get most of their news from newspaper reporters, even after the newspapers are no longer published in ink on paper and everything moves to the Web Press.
It just goes to show you that even old men who live in a young state in a young country are still children who have not grown up and come to understand what politics is all about. It is not about whether you are liberal or conservative, which are ideologies anyway, not political parties. The parties just use the ideology to appeal to certain types of voters when they need to raise money and on election day.
Politics American style is supposed to be about choosing the most qualified people to run the government in a way that works for “the people,” not against them. Somewhere along the line we’ve lost that. In part because of the capitalist news media in this country, politicians get elected not because they are qualified to govern. They get elected because they appeal to people’s religious convictions, racist prejudices or ideological biases.
In my native state of Alabama, politics is still such a silly, childish game. This is also true of the United States, but it is much worse here, in part because the news media here does not know any other way to make money. They have to play the both sides game to get conservatives and liberals to pay attention to them and keep enough of an audience to sell enough advertising to pay their own salaries. That is how the game is played.
As long as you pretend to publish “both sides” of the story, the big oil companies like BP, the power companies like Alabama Power, the big insurance companies and the pharmaceutical giants and every other major multi-national corporate entity with something to sell or a point of view to push will use that channel to infect the public mind to buy their wares and see things their way. Advertising is not just all about selling things. It’s about influencing the news media and making sure the corporate, capitalist point of view remains center stage in the hearts and minds of the people. These days it is also about making sure at least some of the people are fooled into thinking government itself is a bad thing.
The only way the other side is going to get an alternative message out is to play a similar game and build a different model on the Web for getting better information out. There really is no other choice.
When I got back to Birmingham from this last trip to Mobile, I was called “narcissistic” by one conservative talk radio moron in Alabama on Twitter, as if he or his few listeners even know the meaning of the word. The good news is his idiotic conservative audience is far too old for Twitter.
Before that, I spent a week in Washington and was called “insane” by another conservative radio shock jock in Alabama, which is quite ironic considering that he makes his meager living saying crazy things about people he has never met and will never meet on the radio every day.
I simply replied to both with choice expletives, because I’m simply not interested in playing their childish games.
You see they have no choice but to behave as children, to play politics with people’s lives, because that is what feeds them. One of these days soon enough people will either die of old age or stop listening and the idiots will starve to death for lack of oxygen, and we can go about the task of building a more perfect, more mature state and union.
They might think they will be around to see the end of the world, but I hope to live long enough to see the world end as they know it. It is time for a new enlightenment. It’s going on in all kinds of places all over the world. One day it will come home to Alabamaland as well. Then maybe my people will be allowed to grow up.
© 2014, Glynn Wilson. All rights reserved.