Thursday, February 25, 2016

The eye of the cynic

“Things are not always what they seem; the first appearance deceives many; the intelligence of a few perceives what has been carefully hidden.”

I never thought I'd be saying this, but it just may be that America needs to be more cynical.  Our time is a time of crisis to crisis, calamity to calamity and outrage to outrage  with no intervals in between when  things aren't quite so bad and aren't getting worse. All in all, things may be better than they were for most people on most days, but how often are we prompted to contemplate it?

I wake up on a sunny morning in paradise and tuning in to get a weather report, the first thing I hear is MURDER! RAPE! ARSON!  Is it real or is it manufactured?  Nearly all the other 11 million people in Sunny Florida are having an ordinary morning hearing about little else but car crashes, electrocutions, inexplicable shootings and "isn't it getting worse? "  Did that "double dip" recession ever happen?  Did Obama take away a single gun from a single law-abiding citizen?  Did the markets recover?  Did that horrible scandal that would soon drive him from office materialize?  Who wastes a second talking about that. Who bothers to compare racism 50, 75 years ago to what we're anguishing about today? I keep seeing figures from reliable sources telling us of a downtrend in shootings. Is that a motivation for those who need to distract us from it to keep the spotlight on some subset and make a case for its increase?  Where there's motivation there's a manifestation.  Sometimes only a cynic will notice.

        "There is nothing more deceptive than an obvious fact" 
-Sherlock Holmes-

Our opinions, our fears and our serial episodes of righteous indignation may just be manufactured, cultivated and fed because it's not only big business, but it's an instrument of control and power. One after the other we hear clusters of stories that seem alike:  Pederast priests, brutal, racist cops, shooting sprees,  Innocent Black "children" being senselessly murdered.  It's normal to ask whether the scenario is being arranged, tuned up, framed to fit the model. Is someone arranging or even fabricating anecdotes because he wants some law changed that really has no bearing on events?   It's not completely out of the question that incidents are being assembled and connected to make the latest campaign of some group newsworthy.  It's not to say there are no trends, no clusters no increases of this or that -- it's to say that it's very difficult to tell when there are serial obsessions caused by regular and sequential news blitzes where on story is told over and over for weeks and connections are made to similar stories or stories made to seem similar because if America isn't glued to the tube, revenue at Fox or CNN is going to fall short of projections and hell will have to be paid.

How long have young women and boys been abused by the Roman Catholic Church?  Hard to say, but you only hear about it in outrage clusters even though it's probably been a steady thing for centuries.  Is violence on the increase in America?  It certainly seems so if you don't look back to those "better times" and read papers full of  riots, shootings and rampant violence. It's hard to tell if someone is trying hard to generate a sense of crisis.  It's hard to tell when these little campaigns, crusades and jihads are professionally stage managed and you can be swatted like a fly if you buzz too much about it. Say that human life matters and you're a racist, not that it doesn't or that you are, but for interfering with some organization's agenda of making racism seem on the increase.

"When it is not immediately apparent which political or social groups, forces or alignments advocate certain proposals, measures, etc., one should always ask: Who stands to gain?”
-Vladimir Lenin-

I can only speculate, it's an experiment that would be very hard to carry out, but airing a cluster of completely fake stories - about young people jumping off bridges, for instance, might just cause young people to jump off bridges.  Certainly I've read about how how some young rampage shooters have studied and taken notes about others so as to exceed their "scores."  But such things are difficult to arrange although we can do research, we can talk about it.  We can look a bit harder for invisible hands pulling invisible strings. Cynicism!  We can peek behind the curtain and pay attention to the little man. We can ask Cui bono? -- who benefits from our outrage and is motivated to make the level of crisis high enough to meet his political purposes.

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