July 27th, 2010 20:09 EST
Never Mind The Recycled News: Keep Your Eyes on The Internet
Keeping your spirits up these days may mean turning your television off. The alternative is to be water-boarded by dire warnings about disease and the consequences of taking drugs to combat them, deficits, failing banks, Wall Street casino, and every other manner of disquieting infotainment.
The alternative is, in fact, to be entertained to death.
Something will get us "that`s the word coming from the intrusive box. It will get us no matter what we do. We won`t get out alive, and the news is about hurrying us up. Television wants us to worry about our mortality "and to buy all sorts of remedies.
For this reason I rejoice in speculation that the Internet has overtaken television, made it obsolete. Something better make it obsolete before it turns us into golems, having already made us victims of post-traumatic stress. Television has fulfilled many of the dire predictions of its critics in the 1950s. It has not destroyed the film industry, as was once feared, but it has drilled large holes in our peace of mind.
When it is not breathlessly trivial it mongers dread. It is so bad for our health that it is little wonder its major support comes from the pharmaceutical industry in whose interest it is to scare us to death. Television understands the Stockholm Syndrome all too well and is adept at putting us in awe of our tormentors.
To say the medium is inherently anti-intellectual is a non sequitur of some proportion. The medium is in the business of redacting meaning and abbreviating inquiry to a few ill-spoken words. The mock-portentousness of so-called news obscures the fact that the news is really a commercial prospectus.
Television suffers from compulsive repetition disorder, repeating itself like a narcissist who fears we might not have noticed the first time.
If the web is a threat to television it is because it offers the prospect of real information and discourse. Television is the virtual opposite: the pundits yak at us weary day after day, selling us used ideas. They`re cars with potatoes stuffed up their pipes. When we see them Sunday after Sunday we`re not supposed to get the idea that they have nothing to do with us, that they do not reflect our concerns and do not enlighten us. But we do get it, and that is why we`re turning to the Internet on our laptops and smart phones.
The web enables us to have our say, while television enables only the elite to have their say. There is nothing on earth that the mainstream media would rather have than control of the Internet, the ability to limit and censor our access to a technology we paid for with tax money. They will tell any lie to achieve this end because they see the Internet`s danger more clearly than the rest of us do. It`s the danger of democracy in spite of everything the corporations and their political lackeys do to snatch it out of our mouths. Indeed, the democracy with which the Internet threatens Big Media is closer to the vision of our forefathers than corporate media are today. Big Media wants a piece of it, say 90 percent of the pie, because that`s what middlemen do, they eat our lunches. They charge too much interest, too many hidden fees, they write bad mortgages, they cheat the farmer of the rewards of his labors, they run up costs and ram them down our throats. Above all, they take care of themselves. If the middle class vanishes because they swindled it to death, what do they care? There is always cheap labor somewhere else.
Forget the deficit, forget immigration, forget your beefs on the left and the right "the action is in cyberspace. If the public loses its Internet freedom every other battle will be lost, no matter where you happen to stand. Every time you hear a politician howl about war, taxes, big government, small government, whatever, ask that politician where he stands on limiting access to the Internet. If he waffles he`s a rascal. If he would limit your access to the Internet, he`s your enemy.
This is a no-brainer. Don`t let the controversy du jour distract you from it.
Djelloul (jeh-lool) Marbrook was born in 1934 in Algiers to a Bedouin father and an American painter. He grew up in Brooklyn, West Islip and Manhattan, New York, where he attended Dwight Preparatory School and Columbia. He then served in the U.S. Navy.
His book of poems, Far From Algiers, won the Stan and Tom Wick Poetry Prize from Kent State University in 2007 and was published in 2008. His story, Artists Hill, adapted from the second novel of an unpublished trilogy, won the Literal LattÃ© first prize in fiction in 2008. His poems have been published in The American Poetry Review, Barrow Street, poemeleon, The Same, and other journals. The pioneering e-book publisher, Online Originals (UK), published his novella, Alice MIller`s Room, in 1999.
He worked as a reporter for The Providence Journal and as an editor for The Elmira (NY) Star-Gazette, The Baltimore Sun, The Winston-Salem Journal & Sentinel and The Washington Star. Later he worked as executive editor of four small dailies in northeast Ohio and two medium-size dailies in northern New Jersey.
Del`s book, Far From Algiers: http://upress.kent.edu/books/Marbrook_D.htm
New review of Far from Algiers: http://www.rattle.com/blog/2009/05/far-from-algiers-by-djelloul-marbrook/
Artists Hill, Literal LattÃ©`s fiction first prize: http://www.literal-latte.com/author/djelloulmarbrook/
His blog: http://www.djelloulmarbrook.com
His mother`s art: http://www.juanitaguccione.com
His aunt`s art: http://www.irenericepereira.com