7.5.06

When the western press becomes a comedy, comedy takes over to inform

Never before a president lost the respect of the people of his country to this point.
Watch the video of Stephen Colbert at the 2006 white house correspondants dinner which took place on April 30th.
I felt sorry. Sorry that the US media have so much deserted their real job that it was taken by Comedy Central and the Today Show. Sorry that Comedy is now tragic because it bears the burden alone of criticizing the excesses of Politicians. Sorry that the leader of the leading country in the world, the US, has let his foreign, domestic and environmental policies to be hijacked by groups of interest (Energy groups, extreme right christian groups, pro-israel neo-con groups...) seeding the world with more destruction while conducting a totally incoherent approach to Politics. I felt sorry for my fellow Americans because they don't deserve this. I felt sorry for my fellow Iraqis because they are dying each day as a result of this absurdity. I felt sorry for Palestinians who are seeing the hope of a better life and the hope of a future for their children dimming every day as a result of these policies...I felt sorry for the press of the free world because this press is becoming itself a real comedy and letting Comedy do the job to inform...

Colbert's nearly thirty minutes performance were a hilarious and eloquent condemnation of the Bush administration andI have not seen any such condemnation from a mainstream magazine or journal before and probably will never see. Watch for yourself.

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

Thanks Sophia,
It is all a joke to the corporate press who are adept players in this imperial game.

I can only conclude that American's deserve this bunch .

Issam

Sophia said...

Issam,
''I can only conclude that American's deserve this bunch .''
Let me not agree with you on this one. There is actually a vigourous dissent in the states. They are waking up. I find the video alarming because it crossed some red lines and this is clearly symptomatic. Americans agreed a lot with Bush after sept. 11 but the this was a national trauma and I understand the consensus that followed. However Americans are waking up now to a harsh reality.

cosmic duck said...

Bush' trick was to call it a "war". That secured consensus. The population is generally behind the President, when a war is on. Now he has even called it the "Third World War". Let's see, if the population buys that one. I doubt it.

Anonymous said...

Sophia,

The Media and the elites are complicit in these lies that make this "fourth world" war possible.

Americans have very little political choice to give voice to their dissent.

The politicical ruling class are laughing all the way to the bank.

I know of no democratic country in the world where their politicians could get away with these lies, deception and mismanagement.

Issam

Elizabeth said...

It's not always that the press isn't covering what's going on, it's that it couches the news in such careful, vague and obfuscatory terms that people have a hard time grasping its significance. So we have comedy that just tells it like it is.

Yes, there's dissent in the U.S. The biggest obstacle us dissenters have is the apathy of the general public. As long as most people can pay their bills, take their vacation in Florida and watch what they want on tv, they don't get all worked up about what their elected representatives are doing. Sometimes things have to get worse before they get better. But things have been getting worse--a lot worse--so maybe we are on the brink of some kind of change.

Wolfie said...

I thought the closing section of Colbert's performance the most poignant because it centred on a point which is as true here in the UK as it is in the US. That is that the sections of society most likely to be most critical of a government are either being kept busy fighting for their daily survival or are disappearing altogether, and that is the educated/intellectual middle-class. In the UK we are beleaguered by the threat of a shrinking job market, sky-high house prices, burgeoning taxation and flat-line pay deals. Where are we to find the time and energy to hold the government to account? Its nose to the grind-stone, day-to-day survival these days and it leaves the government free of our ire.

Sophia said...

Elizabeth, Wolfie,

Your comments are convergent. Either people are struggling or they are too much addicted to a certain way of life that protest and dissent become secondary.

Well lets think the other way. What if people are being deceived and lied to about the war in order to distract them from dissent, to keep them under constant fear for their lives, thus paving the way for more agressive and detrimental (for the majority) social and economic changes ?
I mean this can be one of the many purposes of the war, not the only one of course. There was no vigourous dissent to the tax cuts Bush made for the Rich. Similarly, Blair has been trying to pass some very unpopular reforms in health care and education but with less success than Bush ?

One of the many features of the Bush administration is its ideological affiliation with Leo Strauss's thought.
Canadian academic Shadia Drury is a specialist of Strauss's thinking which is a tailored to suit an ambitious political elite the same way sophists in ancient Grece used to tutor the young elite on the means of ruling and becoming powerful. She says this about Strauss:
''He (Strauss) argues that the wise must conceal their views for two reasons – to spare the people’s feelings and to protect the elite from possible reprisals.''

What is then left for us to do, as a civil society is to uncover the truths and the lies of the Bush and Blair adminstrations with more commissions, more audits, more prosecutions, more judiciary processes until the liars are pushed in a corner and judged.
I think this is possible. I don't think it is easy but our democracies have got the means to do it. We are not asking people to take on the streets every saturday and sunday, although this would be nice specially when it is sunny. We can only ask few to engage and reengage in judicial procedures against our corrupted rulers. This takes only few determined people.

Wolfie said...

Sophia, I'm impressed.

"Either people are struggling or they are too much addicted to a certain way of life that protest and dissent become secondary"

A bit of both I suspect. The easy availability of unsecured loans that has become the norm over the last ten years or so has helped fuel this situation. I see a connection there, the ghost of Edward Longshanks perhaps?

Already draconian legislation is available to the British government to deal with dissent and I fear that it may soon be too late to halt the tide. It takes a lot to stir the British to action and while the wars are on foreign soil the ordinary man will be content with his beer and telly.

This is not a local problem, the whole western world is sleepwalking into a NWO nightmare.

Sophia said...

Wolfie,

Sorry for having answered late on this one.
What you say is true. Revolutions are not for our children. However I am sure that the criminalisation of dissent on one side and the increasing challenges for indiviudals to even think about dissent, including economic challenges, is only having a momentary effect in silencing dissent.
I am optimistic that, may be it is too late for my generation (I am in my forties), the next generations will find other ways to dissent.
Communism hypothesised that egalitarism and collective good is what humans need and communism collapsed because it neglected individuality and the personal desire for wealth, success and differentiation from the other. Neo-capitalism-liberalism is based on the hypothesis that we live to fulfill our animal desires in a mimetical way, meaning the only thing we want in life is physiological satisfaction (called happiness) and to be like others in attaining this satisfaction. I think neo-capitalism-liberalism will collapse because it ignores the spiritual aspect of every human being and with it the idea of good. I consider the rise of the communautarian aspect of religions, either in the states or in the Arab world and immigrant communities in europe, as well as the rise of a collective will in civil society as it reflected by social forums, are a sure sign of a dissent which is growing in society. It is not very well organised yet and it may take some time to organise but its seeds are already planted.
However, I don't consider religious fundamentalisms, which are a direct consequence of the radicalisation of the communautarian apsect of religions, as a good thing. In order to combat fundamentalisms we must let people live their faith in complete freedom so this faith will be declined in as many different versions as there are individuals. Religious experience, when it is diverse and individualised, not communautarian, can be a good thing. But as long as we fight a certain religion, we risk uniting the individuals of this religion against us in a communautarist identification fuelling hate, wars and problems.

 
Since March 29th 2006