Thursday , April 18 2024
Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.

The Internet, Class Warfare, And The Dumbing Down Of America

Does it bother anyone else out there besides me how we as a people seem to be rather methodically being dumbed down by the media?

From where I sit, the most obvious example of this lies in the whole "revolutionary" idea of the rhetoric being spouted by the tea-party folks. The thing is, the whole idea of a "revolution" (no matter how it is colored) sounds very exciting and romantic — especially to those of us who grew up during the volatile sixties. A lot of us sixties kids are pissed that we missed out on all the action back then.

But this?

I mean, what is it that the tea party crowd are actually rebelling against? As tea-party superstars like Sarah Palin and Glenn Beck spout their rhetoric about God, guns, taxes, and the like, and attempt to liken their protests to some sort of populist uprising, the actual picture looks very much the same as the same party line that conservatives have spouted all along:

Let the rich be rich, let the rest sort it out amongst themselves, and let the privileged amongst us get back to our lives — thank you very much, and can I get an amen?

The suspects may change over the years, but the song has always remained the same. Whether it's "Commies For McGovern" in 1972; "Adulterers for Clinton" in 1996; or the completely bizarre assortment of nutcases, birthers, and the like attempting to pin every sort of label from closet socialist to Antichrist fascist on Obama now, the agenda is always the same.

The big difference now, however, is that Barack Obama — as America's first elected African-American president — represents the sort of target that feeds into whatever lingering suspicions and prejudices remain in an entire generation of white Americans who are about to die out.

Personally, I thought that as a nation we had long since moved beyond this sort of nonsense, but there is ample evidence to the contrary. Just turn on your TV…

This is only further complicated by the fact that we are presently living in economically challenged times — a crisis that in fact was brought on by eight years under a Republican administration that spent public money like drunken sailors in order to finance an agenda that amounted to a combination of daddy issues and a war on the middle class.

You wanna' talk fascism?

How about the Immigration law just passed in Arizona? Nothing says Hitler quite like a law that demands that a racially profiled group of people "show me ze' papers."

Here in Seattle, the city council just passed a similar law targeting the more aggressive pan-handlers who inhabit the downtown area. Now, as a shopper myself (at least when I have the money), I can certainly speak to the fact that nobody likes a homeless guy following you for blocks on end attempting to shake a quarter or even a buck down from you.

But Seattle already has numerous laws on the books to combat this. Fining a guy who can scarcely afford it fifty bucks for asking for spare change to me sounds like class warfare more than anything else. Why not just string the beggars up from the highest telephone pole, right?

The solution isn't criminalizing poverty, but rather coming up with a viable alternative to it. Thankfully, newly elected Seattle mayor Mike McGinn looks to be vetoing it.

As an unemployed person myself (16 months and counting for those paying attention), there simply has to be an alternative to casting those who have fallen on hard times aside. Cutting off unemployment benefits, as some Republicans have rather aggressively pushed for (and which I can tell you from personal experience doesn't come close to paying the bills anyway) simply isn't the answer.

Yet, this is what many of those so-called "radical," romantic tea-party types actually want. This isn't a revolution. It's class warfare, albeit hidden by the same sort of "new conservatism" bullshit the Republican party has pushed for years, if not decades. Remember Newt Gingrich and his "Contract for America" in the nineties? Same dance, different partners.

What makes it different this time around, is that Barack Obama, as America's first African-American president, makes for such an easy target. As a progressive Democrat, I'm not real thrilled with Obama so far either — although my reasons for that probably differ greatly from those listening to the garbage being spewed by the tea-party crowd. Which brings me to the real point of this article…

My parents.

I love them dearly.

But every time I go over to their house for dinner, they are glued like zombies to Fox News. Which means that in between stories about the Octo-Mom, Kate Gosselin, Lindsay Lohan, or whoever the celebrity trainwreck of the week happens to be, they are being force-fed the sort of garbage journalism of how Obama is some kind of combination of Hitler, Charles Manson, and the Antichrist all rolled up into one superhuman, demonic sort of being.

The Octo-Moms and the Lindsay Lohans of the world are of course all distractions from the real problems facing the nation, and I believe they are personally designed as such. Color me a conspiracy theorist that way if you choose…

The problem here is there is simply no arguing with them about the trash they are being spoon-fed by the media here. And although Fox News is the most obvious culprit here, they are by no means the only guilty party.

As much as I love my Mom and Dad, there is no escaping the look in their eyes when I try to explain away why I haven't taken that job flipping burgers for Jack In The Box.

When the tea-baggers appeal to middle-America about over-taxation and a health care bill that is all about killing unborn babies, what they are really trying to protect is the gold-plated steering wheel on the company yacht. I'm all about the American Dream, but not when it involves common folk being put under Wall Street's thumb. That just isn't right.

The way they attract the votes of middle America has always been the same. What's different now is how they wrap that in the same nice package of Christian values and such media perpetuated sideshows as the Octo-Mom, Britney Spears, or whoever the celebrity tragedy of this week happens to be.

Guess what Farmboy? Britney's laughing at you while snorting coke from a glass slipper. Sure sucks to be you, doesn't it?

The nature of an internet journalism model based upon "content" over quality investigative reporting has only further complicated this.

However great the appeal of the "wild, wild west" atmosphere of the internet holds towards old sixties types who still romanticize the idea of a communication revolution, the fact remains that it was co-opted by Corporate America long ago.

They've already killed the checks and balances of traditional journalism, and they have certainly killed the fly in the ointment that was once represented by rock and roll.

That is unless your idea of the next John Lennon or Bob Dylan is Jay Z, or that guy from MGMT or whoever…

Meet the new boss. Same as the old boss.

About Glen Boyd

Glen Boyd is the author of Neil Young FAQ, released in May 2012 by Backbeat Books/Hal Leonard Publishing. He is a former BC Music Editor and current contributor, whose work has also appeared in SPIN, Ultimate Classic Rock, The Rocket, The Source and other publications. You can read more of Glen's work at the official Neil Young FAQ site. Follow Glen on Twitter and on Facebook.

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  1. You’ve lost my respect the moment you started bashing the tea party which are not a group but people from all over who want a simple government for basic needs. The end.

    • You’ve never had my respect as you clearly know nothing about either politics in general or the tea party in particular, although you have proven the point about dumbing down rather well, so congratulations on that achievement…