Media and credit

These readings all agree on one thing: Capital lies to maintain and grow itself.

I recently read the book, Parecon, by Michael Albert. Albert – who recently spoke at the New School (although I did not see him) points out that at this point in history, even the left, even the radical left, puts all discourse in terms stated by Big Capital.

That is, the goalposts have shifted. As an example, in the public sphere, we do not discuss the virtues of the very existence of globalization, but only its degree. The goalpost on the Big Capital end of the field does not shift, but the opposite goalpost – the one that opposes inequality – does shift because Big Capital owns the goalposts.

Basically, the agents of Big Capital lie in order to continue the current mass shift of wealth from the lower 99.9% of the socioeconomic strata to the top .1%.  And, as the top .1% or even .00001% of wealth concntrates more and more wealth in itself, it has progressively less incentive to do anything even to satisfy the next .1% underneath it. This, of course, is the cause of the current world financial crisis.  However, because the top .00000001% already own everything, they don’t really care what happens and they sure aren’t going to tell us about it.

Their goal, of course, is to convince the other 99.99999999% of the people that the current situation benefits them. This is the entire strategy of the Bush/McCaiin camp, and of modern conservative parties generally – to trick the population by using the media to the advantage of their super-capitalist patrons.

As I wrote before, the super-capitalists manipulate the public using nausea, fear and shame to keep the public in line. (They can’t use truth or principle, since the truth is that they own more than they deserve or could ever use, and principle demands that people not be allowed to starve in the street or die of illnesses because they cannot get medical care. This cannot of course be stated.) Actually, you could even say that the entire structure of the media is based on fear, since for a journalist, not staying within the “pro-globalization vs. slightly decreased globalization” goalposts results in the fear of being fired, which brings with it the fear of being shamed and the revulsion at lower socioeconomic groups (which is caused by transference). And then the media project this nausea, fear and shame on the public in a mass system of control.

Joselit points out that Jerry Springer et al only seem to be spreading a message that “perversion exists everywhere under the tranquil surfaces of the middle class,” when in fact, Joselit writes, “by far the more important lesson is that we must domesticate these pervasive impulses and urges,” shoving them “into the narratives of normalcy which are blandly touted.” In other words, the pupose of Jerry Springer et al’s programs is to trick the public – who are all perverts themselves, really – into separating themselves from perverts. This maintains a false dialectic, a false normalcy, and fear, shame, and revulsion at anyone who is “not like us” – a system which by keeping society under control maintains the upward flow of capital.

As we might expect, our protocommunist friends Marx and Engels saw perfectly well that the ruling class sets the goalposts. That much is obvious, but I’m more interested in Marx and Engels’ criticisms of historians, e.g. they point out that even history is not the truth, even though, as they write, “The ruling class itself on the whole imagines this to be so.” (Actually, though, I am a bit more cynical about the ruling class, being a member of it.)

Marx and Engels write, “whilst in ordinary life every shopkeeper is very well able to distinguish between what somebody professes to be and what he really is, our historiography’ has not yet won this trivial insight. It takes every epoch at its word and believes that everything it says and imagines about itself is true.”

In a way, one has to wonder whether the financial crisis in fact serves the ultra-wealthy. If that turns out to be the case, they won’t use their media outlets to tell us. It will be no surprise that the media present the question only as “how badly the ultra-wealthy are harmed by the credit crisis, along with all the rest of us.” But the ultra-wealthy won’t be sleeping in their cars due to a lack of credit, I don’t think.

I’m taking a course on Picasso, and we keep reading stuff about Picasso which is a “utterly insane” in the words of the teacher, who is himself a writer for the liberal-leaning New Republic. We can see the writings’ insanity now because the writing is 100 years old. Unfotunately, the more wealth is concentrated, the less society is going to be willing to see the truth in itself. The last decade has seen more of a, and less justified a, concentration of wealth at the top than at any time in the last 100 years, with the predictable result that the media have been terrorized, shamed, and repulsed (or faux-repulsed, which looks the same) into become less and less truthful. The agenda of the media, like that of the public itself, is to keep society’s other members in line because of nausea, fear and shame.

Unfortunately for the masses, this is not in their interest because it results in mass poverty through mass wealth transfer from the masses to the ultra-wealthy, which was the goal of Big Capital in the first place.

The growth of “new media,” which we all tout as some kind of equality-producing phenomenon, does not seem to me to lead to equality. Because “new media” requires venture capital, I fear it will silence us yet.

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One Response to “Media and credit”

  1. mediasaucy Says:

    “Joselit points out that Jerry Springer et al only seem to be spreading a message that ‘perversion exists everywhere under the tranquil surfaces of the middle class,’ when in fact, Joselit writes, “by far the more important lesson is that we must domesticate these pervasive impulses and urges”…

    OMG! Did you jump ahead to the Foucault reading for this week? This part of your entry closely reflects the idea in “Discipline and Punish” about the constructs of the watchful eye of the rule-keepers keeping us all under surveillance–or at least perpetuating the suspicion of constant surveillance– to keep us in line.

    I do not quite consider myself an anarchist, but I’s starting to lean more in that direction each time I find more evidence that the methods of control seem to go further and further to silence the individual.

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