Sunday, September 07, 2008

Fear Mongering

On the Subject of: The People Really Do Get the Government They Deserve

If you love fear, that's what you'll get

For some reason, at this point , my Net Flix' queue is loaded up with documentaries. I finally got around to watching Michael Moore's Bowling for Columbine.

I happen to think that Moore is a terrible film maker, but he's incredibly lucky. His message is so important that it vastly overshadows his failings of craft. Whatever the truth is about Moore's film making abilities, I believe his heart is in the right place and that's why people watch his movies. He has a message that the people of America are getting the shaft by the big boys and that resonates with the populace. That's why people like me, a firearms owner, will watch Bowling for Columbine which was a terrible documentary, yet one with a compelling subject.

One of the problems with Moore's movies which was particularly evident in Bowling is that he asks a lot of really important questions yet he never comes up with an answer. It is a testament to the gravity of Moore's subjects that he can get away with asking so many earthshakingly fundamental questions and never come up with an answer.

That's why so many of us firearms owners keep saying, "It's not the Guns!!" Moore's own movie makes that point. Many of the people he interviews say as much even though Moore himself seemingly can't bring himself to blurt it out.

Anyway, one of the points Moore seems to make in Bowling for Columbine is that in the US, the media bombards us continually with images and news to scare us. And it's true. And one of the examples, other than the nightly news, is, for my money, the absolute best indication that people in this country love to be scared. That's the series Cops and all its spinnoffs.

Moore was right on the money asking the purveyor of the show, why they always show some poor black guy or some seedy white trash running from the police? Why don't they show the cops running down some corporate CEO who's chemical plant blew up and killed 8,000 Hindu and Muslim Indian villagers?

The producer mumbled something to the effect that the footage is rare, people don't watch that, blah, blah, blah. The truth is, that a CEO perp walk IS rare and hard to get. Police don't usually have the opportunity to make an unnegotiated arrest of the rich and powerful. The real truth is that his audience doesn't require him to work that hard. The people who watch Cops type shows are more than happy to see the dregs of society get beaten and arrested.

You don't think so? How long has Cops been running? How many viewers does America's Most Wanted have? How many people can think of nothing finer than to sit back and watch Maury Povitch or Jerry Springer trot out another young woman who is accusing her 7th boyfriend of being the father of her child after the first six passed the paternity DNA test?The viewers will get the cheapest, easiest to produce shows that they will settle for.

If people didn't watch Cops and America's Most Wanted and Maury or Jerry, they'd be off the air in less than a season.

If people watched PBS more, it wouldn't be sliding into a merry-go-round of 'Anti-Fat' and 'How to Make a Billion by Investing Your Money Wisely for Six Generations' shows.

But if the question Moore fails to answer is, "Why do the American People settle for second, third, fourth best and even wallow in the corporate Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld & Rice Inc. worst?", what is MY answer?

My answer, I'm ashamed to say, is that there is a great deal of evil in the American People. It is the 'Cover My Ass, Forget About the Next Guy' kind of evil which creeps up on you. It goes from the bottom to the top and back again. Why else would a country of laboring consumers be so pro business?

You can see this evil in the smallest of things in the most ordinary day to day places to the provinces of the greatest and once most well respected: Why else would I notice in the parking lot of a my neighborhood's brand new supermarket that people had left shopping carts all OVER the place even though no place in the lot was more than 5 steps from the next cart coral.

What else but evil greed could turn so many of the doctors in a nation and their national organization into a hog about to suffocate because its snout is so deeply buried in the trough that it would allow insurance companies to usurp their (the doctors) fiduciary responsibility to their patients. How can you possibly take an oath to "First, do no harm" and then prescribe drugs based on the kickback you get from the drug companies rather than the symptoms of your patients?

The answer is not that we've all been taken advantage of and we are just trying to get back a little of our own. That's not even a good reason, let alone an excuse. The answer is that because of the loss of the sense of community, we have become evil toward our neighbor. The answer is that because of a lack of faith in a Creator we have become so concerned for our own safety that we are willing to climb over others to keep our heads above water.

Until we become confident enough in our own ultimate end and begin to help the other fellow into the raft first, he will never be there to extend a hand and pull us out of the water. The sharks will have us all. - © 2008 The Chewed End All rights reserved.

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Seamus O'Bròg is an artist and freelance writer who tries to turn life's irritations into life's lessons.

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