Monday, October 18, 2010



Below is an excerpt from an interview
with Pulitzer Prize-winning author
Chris Hedges, who has a Masters of Divinity
degree from Harvard, and has spent almost
twenty years in global "hotspots" as a
foreign correspondent, fifteen of
them with The New York Times.
His most recent book came out last year:
Empire of Illusion: The End of Literacy
and the Triumph of Spectacle.
The interview is from the August 2010
issue of the Catholic Agitator.
There has been a huge assault against
the capacity for moral autonomy,
especially within the church, so that
those figures who speak with any kind
of moral autonomy are immediately labeled
"political" and banished. We have a
corporate-controlled media that determines
almost everything that we watch, hear, or read.
What they have done on the airways in
the news industry is to turn it into entertainment.
It is all about spectacle and debauchery.
Given what is happening in our country today,
the fact that the national news revolves
around John Edwards' mistress or Tiger Woods
replicates the kind of folly that embraces the
twilight days of civilizations. People are so
disconnected from reality that they do not
know how to read what is happening -
they cannot grasp that the walls are tumbling
down - and so they retreat into absurdities.
Cicero wrote about it at the end of the
Roman republic; Joseph Roth wrote about it
at the end of the Austro-Hungarian Empire;
and I saw it in Yugoslovia. This is the disease
gripping American society today, giving a
kind of absurd quality to political and
civil discourse.
The undercurrent of a world like ours,
where people are reduced to objects and
where there are no higher values,
where national myths collapse,
triggers a similar longing for annihilation
and a moral decline into hedonism and
giddy communal madness.
This is precisely what we are doing.
Everything that we are doing does ensure
our own annihilation, and yet there is a
kind of intoxicating quality... There is
something very seductive about disconnecting
yourself from the real and entertaining
yourself through the basest forms of
hedonism and selfishness.
That is what reality programs on TV
are about. It is about promoting values that,
if you ticked them off in any psychology
textbook, belong to psychopaths:
self-aggrandizement; a capacity for
deception; a lack of remorse; an inability
to form friendships; betrayal.
These are all psychopathic qualities and
yet these are the very qualities that seem to
run Goldman Sachs or Citibank.
The actual qualities that maintain
communities: sharing; honesty; the
capacity for self-sacrifice; loyalty; these
are the qualities that are ridiculed
in the culture, both at the top
and at the bottom.
Chris Hedges has a column on -
Reality TV is sleazy, it is manipulative.
 It is as momentary as anything in popular culture.

Morley Safer
Mostly, it's a medium created BY white trash,
FOR white trash.  "White trash" has a new meaning.
  It's no longer people in west-Texas trailer courts who wear grimy clothes,
 drink cheap beer, smell strange, and have bad teeth.
These are the unfortunates who have been around since
the time of Christ, and much earlier actually, ever since
the rich and poor got divied' up.  No, it's not them.
It's the people who are horrible examples of their race -
shallow, idiotic cretins with bad values, NO class, and really
 ought to be sterilized....and reality TV is their new medium.
Human waste.  Donald Trump comes to mind.
As for the handful of Asians, Blacks, and Hispanics
who are caught up in it....well, sterilize them too.
 Society needs to get a handle on this, or
 it'll just get worse, and worse, and....
Jeff Mulcahey

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