The Totalitarian Press
cameras, screens, and the new underclass
If only criminals thought first how unforgiving the press will treat them once they commit crimes, or allegedly do so. The press, in general, indifferent to questions of balance and equality (except Fox), broadcasts their bodies and faces on screens over and over. They do not look so good, do they, in chains, hunched over, fully knowledgeable that the more they squirm the better their salivating onlookers like it? Certain groups are smarter than others, it seems, despite objections to The Bell Curve, and other racist studies, which purport to prove white ethnicities superior to non-white. The mostly white faces of the elite and exempt are rarely shown on television in compromised positions. Unless they lose that unholy dermatological privilege. Therefore, they seldom if ever do anything wrong. Right? Photograph, crime, guilt -- your basic Russian montage from the early 1900s. Three shots, edited, with the intended conclusion. The press does not do this to its own. Hmm? Strangers from certain ethnic groups, however, who have not yet organized effectively, are fair game. Aren't they? Digital portraits are the most damning piece of evidence ever, stronger than courtroom legal maneuvers. Aired again and again, they render perfunctory proceedings meaningless. Does it register that this is someone's child, parent, spouse, or sibling? Not to the press. It is a cut above. After a while, it becomes apparent that some ethnic groups are real troublemakers, or, again, so it would seem. For this reason, one can only assume that news stations, a few at any rate, are basically Balkanized hate groups, as biased as rival street gangs.
The power to demean, vilify, stigmatize, humiliate, ridicule, discomfort, and ultimately destroy must not be allowed to reside in the predaceous grasp of purveyors in imagery. Is this a jab at the liberal press? No. First off, the term, liberal press, is an antiquated notion. Almost all liberal concerns evolved, splintered, disappeared, re-emerged, and, after being re-defined, have reorganized on the right. Gays, by way of the military, are armed. Their activism is aggressive. The four-eyed academic demand word changes and wording ignored only at one's own peril. Black power is not negotiable. Hyphenate Americans are not second class. Pity parties are over. Women's organizations mean to do the chauvinist in, not plead for his understanding. Every leftwing cause from the sixties is now positioned squarely on the right. If guns are not drawn, well, that is because rightwing hippies have not progressed to such an extreme. But they are headed in that direction. Protesters have developed into fascistic cells. For example, eco-terroristic environmentalists are, to be blunt, unscrupulous and mean. Second, the press or media very rarely strives for neutrality. The news is not the news, not anymore, but the raw exercise of influence. It now consists of a number of diverse politicized groups, some with totalitarian agendas. Few live in dread of a television mogul's kill list, such as the doomed, loose-cannon in Network. But that is the whole point. The media targets only a handful at any given time so that the majority, lives, thankful for having been spared. Unless an end is put to the use of images to smear individuals, bread and circuses will undoubtedly become an eventuality.
Freshmen film students from NYC to LA by way of Madison, WI know that no image is utterly innocent or transparent. And yet, the use of countless slanted images on the malleable minds of unsophisticated viewers goes on on a massive scale with only a few scattered objections subject to fade. The televised mug shot is the singular focus of this hub. With it, a man or woman can be thoroughly tainted in the eyes of viewers. Guilty in a millisecond. But there are many, many other abuses as well. Obviously, the temptation to play God with television signals has proved too alluring, so as a result, many people whose faces have been singled out by videocams might just as well dig a hole and crawl in. Their days are over. But this phase of the fight, predominantly on behalf of the marginal and disenfranchised, and sundry, assorted unfortunates, has not yet reached a conclusion. It has not even been joined. No one is fighting back. Talk about appeasing yet another tyrant! And not a man but technology. Thus far, the media does all the drubbing with next to no resistance. Put our likenesses on television, write a scathing scrawl underneath, provoke matinee hisses and murmurs, and we are finished. Thumbs down.
LA Law and Miami Vice,as well as other shows, have taught us this one liner: anything you say can and will be held against you. But what about our own faces? Our morphology? The sound of our voices? Our clothing? Our likes and dislikes? Our habits? Our body language? Our eyeglass prescriptions? Our diagnoses? Our fingernails and facial hairs? In short, every descriptive, human-all-too-human element? On Sunday we are told that God loves us. On Monday, talking heads usurp that heavenly throne and willy nilly send various lives into interminal tailspins. And one need not be arrested to be convicted and sentenced. The totalitarian press does all this with consummate ease. This must not be.
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