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Aug./Sept. '01 Articles:

Education?: Teaching Kids to Consume

Bush & Global Warming

Overpriced Musings:
This is Your Mind on Autopilot

The K Chronicles

Challenge of the 'Wealth Gap'

Treating Pigs Like Swine

Save the Maggots

The Muddlemarch: 1

The Muddlemarch: 2

(music reviews)

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The threads of life spin fast and furiously.They weave a tapestry of enormous size, one so large that it's difficult to see any one person's contribution to its design without a scanning electron microscope. And the patchwork that comprises this tapestry is beginning to become extremely uniform, as the forces that weave it continue to combine at astonishing rates. Mergers and acquisitions proliferate in a race to be the biggest, baddest company in the world, one that can crush all who stand before it.

The unfortunate result of competition, the need to make your business as broad, powerful, and wealthy as it can possibly be, is the casualty of individual human thought. As international conglomerates increase in size and populations of countries spiral out of control, rigid rules and standards emerge, and this creates a generally accepted framework for the way things should be. Everything is slowly locking onto a direct course for a hive mind. The world is almost completely on autopilot.

Take, for example, news stories. Hundreds of thousands of people make the media run every day, and due to the advanced news gathering services that exist today, anything that this powerful network perceives as newsworthy that happens in the world can reach our eyes and ears within a few hours. And on every news channel on cable, the exact same news stories are broadcast in exactly the same order. To do it any differently would be to attract scorn and criticism from the industry, and to risk losing your viewership based on a deviation from what they've come to expect. Even the local news has a startling homogeneity. One can see a relatively insignificant story such as a new basketball program for inner city kids at exactly the same time spot in the news program on channels 2, 4, 5, 7, 9, and 11. (Those are New York channels, for the curious.)

The autopilot is also apparent in the entertainment industry. When someone is being interviewed about a new movie or television show that they're in, or a new book they've written, you can see them in dozens of interviews about it within a week's time on just about every national talk show that exists. It is as though there is an entire subterranean network of acceptability that deems exactly when and where super-famous people are allowed to be heard, and what the not-so-famous people hear.

One might attribute this lack of diversity in mainstream programming to the ownership of ninety percent of the media by five corporations. I think it's something much more insidious than just a small elite of people who want to control the world. I think that the world is already controlled. The damage is done. We've passed a critical threshold where nothing that has the power to change the world and inject ideas into national thought is truly real anymore.

If someone has an idea that can revolutionize the world, they can't implement it and get it out into the world en masse by themselves. They need lawyers, accountants, patents, governmental approval, licenses, capital, copyrights, and a catchy fucking commercial. One cannot enter into the great fold of power without first paying homage to the hive. And by that time, it's been softened, hardened, hammered into shape, waxed and polished -- to make it perfectly presentable to the consumer. And whatever's left bears no resemblance to the flame that ignited it all. The Ouija board made by Parker Brothers comes to mind. Somehow, conjuring spirits from the other side on something that says "Parker Brothers" doesn't seem all that mystical.

Our country's leaders are not profound philosophers, though you'd think that they are when they're giving a soulful speech to the citizens of Poland or the Ukraine. Those speeches, delivered with such genuine-seeming emotion, were written by a staff of writers who were paid to use picture perfect word choices and sentence structure. To do otherwise would risk leaking the truth, that our leaders are inarticulate twits who are good at reading off Teleprompters.

Before playoff games in sports, rousing presentations and montages are set to awe-inspiring music that strikes just the perfect chord in the human soul. In every arena during sporting events, they play the same "Jock Rock" over the loudspeakers, they have the same battle cries, and they introduce the players the same way. To do otherwise would deviate from the practiced forms of crowd mind control and risk leaking the truth, that it's just a giant scam designed to sell you to advertisers.

The good news is that I think most see the control. They may not say it openly, but within the mainstream itself, there is a backlash--a self-mockery. People don't trust the hive that's rushing to adapt and feed them the wants that it creates out of the ether. They understand that political staffs "spin" their press releases and statements. Few people have much hope for the world, for they know that there's something really, really horrible going on. They just don't know where to focus their mistrust­and so they blame other human beings, their perceived ideological enemies, instead of the larger force that's ensnaring us more and more.

And God forbid one should have a deviant thought or foretell doom and gloom... because we can't have passionate psychos running around our sterilized, germ-free world. To do so would risk leaking the truth, that the disease itself is what's making us sterile. Fear not, though. Life will find a way. Thanks to the obnoxious amount of diversity on this planet, there will always be people on the fringe, who look at the blossoming flower of standardized global consciousness and vomit in disgust.


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