From “A History Of Fake News.” “Advertisements For Reality” by Lewis H. Lapham……………………………. Wherever news is sold these days–online and on camera, in print or en blog–The product comes wrapped in the claim “Ours is real! Theirs is fake!” Shills and scolds on all sides of the story line or tweet, chief among them the president of the United States but also CNN and Fox, the New York Times and the Drudge Report, accuse one another of trampling out the vintage where the grapes of truth are stored. Op-ed pundits in all styles of wizard hat dress up the commotion in the trappings of apocalypse, announce the death of America’s democracy, see everywhere on the horizon fact-free dictators slouching towards Facebook to be born……………………………………………. The soundings of alarm are more alarming than the sound and fury they deplore. More alarming because the keepers of the nation’s conscience apparently have forgotten, or maybe never were so informed, that news doesn’t grow on trees. All news is is fake in the elementary sense of fabricated artifact, like Diet Pepsi and Ivory Soap. Not what happened yesterday; a story about what happened yesterday. The Trojan Horse was fake news; so was the birth of Christ and the press release declaring all men created equal. Fake news is the stuff with which Plato made his dream of The Republic. Children of the city must believe the “noble falsehood” the rulers of the city teach them to believe in order to maintain the health and well-being of the body politic. Whether the story is true or false matters less than the children not forgetting their duty to believe it. The noble falsehood is the society’s self-preserving myth.President Trump’s falsehoods don’t qualify as nobel because they aren’t embedded in the self-preserving myth of the American democracy—-government of the people, by the people, and for the people shall not perish from the earth. The president governs by and for his imperishable self, the health and well-being of the society to be preserved in the fragrance of Empire and Success, his signature men’s colognes……Journalists of any and all description (analog and digital, mainstream and disruptive) rely on the self-promoting myth of a free and fearless press, champion of the people, honor and duty bound to speak truth to power, deliver all the news that’s fit to print. Their noble falsehood never has commanded or deserved belief among children of the city old enough to know their baby brother wasn’t delivered by a stork. Newspapers serve at the pleasure of whatever news is fit to sell, governed by the political and commercial interest of their sponsors. The result is a product described in 1941 by Dorothy L. Sayers, British novelist and playwright as a mash-up of fixed opinion and temporary fact, a “smear of unreality….spread over the whole newspaper page, from reports of public affairs down to the most casual items of daily gossip.” Sayers lists some of the standard operating procedures, among them ‘sensational headlines, false emphasis, suppression of context, garbling, random and gratuitous invention, flat suppression, and deliberate miracle mongering. The tricks of the trade were as ably deployed in newspapers of the 1790’s controlled by John Adams and Thomas Jefferson as in the newspapers in the 1890’s commanded by Joseph Pulitzer and William Randolph Hearst…….But in the long, dark, and lonely night before the dawn of television, readers of the printed press understood they were playing with loaded dice. They expected messages to show up on, at, or under the table armed with both a concealed and open lie. They didn’t take offense or show cause for alarm. They looked to newspapers for entertainment, not a civics lesson, and it was generally understood by readers both literate and not that the making sense of whatever reality a newspaper chose to advertise required effort on the part of citizens seeking to be well informed. Not much effort, but at least the knowing how and what else to read (Periodicals, other newspapers, possibly a book) as well as the willingness to bear the risk of thinking for oneself………America never has produced such readers in large and commercial quantity, but prior to the advent of television, there were enough of them in red states as well as blue to preserve the myth of a democratic society founded on the meaning and value of words. The electronic media shift the telling of the noble story to images of wealth and power signifying nothing other than their own contrived and disposable magnificence. Everything on television is advertising, all advertising the voice of money talking to money, the mounting of predatory spiels prioritized to sanction ignorance and preserve privilege…………Well said; Mr. Lapham, thank you for edifying this old man…..
“Boiling The Whale;
Excerpted from; ” Imperial Masquerade” by Louis H. Lapham Harper’s Magazine April, 1985….. Sooner or later it undoubtedly it will occur to somebody in the Reagan (Trump) Administration to put the federal government up for sale in a series of leveraged buyouts. Given the Administration’s childlike faith in capitalist mechanics, as well as the budget director’s unhappiness with the idiot economics of the nation’s schools, farms, and military establishment, I’m surprised that the First Boston Corporation hasn’t been hired to plot the courses of destruction. Within a week of the first sale, the deficit and the National Debt would vanish as if in a magician’s smoke. The Dow Jones industrial average would gain 4,000 points in a matter of days, and everybody lucky enough to command the necessary lines of credit and political patronage would make a truly American killing. The financial play makes sense once government is defined as a “smokestack industry.” Government so defined meets all the specifications of a dying enterprise—-Heavy debt, inflated wages and pensions, incompetent management, noncompetitive prices, dwindling markets for its product. Relatively few people still take the trouble to vote, and the population under the age of twenty-five has learned to think of Washington as a stage set for a Sunday morning television show in which six journalists talk to one another in a language almost as weird as Latin. Government’s decline into senescence has been apparent for a generation. It is the reason Ronald Reagan (Trump) has been twice elected President, why the public schools resemble vacant lots, why Bernard Goetz was not indicted for the attempted murder of four black adolescents on a New York subway train. Private companies now operate prisons as well as aircraft control towers and fire departments. In their effort to teach the help to read and write, American corporations spend as much on education every year ($60 billion) as all the public and private universities in the country. Last year the nation paid $21.7 billion for the varieties of private police protection, as opposed to $13.8 billion for public law enforcement….. The Administration’s current budget proposals lack the courage of both its greed and its convictions. It isn’t enough merely to sell Amtrak, eliminate the Job Corps, dismantle the Small Business Administration, curtail payments for student loans. Although admirable as symbolic gestures, none of these subtractions supplies the virtue of additional revenue. Nor do the presidents investment counselors show a proper respect for the entrepreneurial spirit to which the President’s speech-writers pay the homage once owed to Caesar and the king of England….. For several years now the speculators on Wall Street have been giving regularly scheduled lessons in the arts of pillage and extortion. Hardly a day passes but that some undervalued oil or communications company doesn’t fall prey to Ivan Boesky, T. Boone Pickens, or the Bass Brothers….. The simplicity of the leveraged buyout complies with the norms of low cunning that appear to be habitual among the gentlemen so comfortably seated in the Boardrooms of the Reagan Administration. When correctly managed , the transaction redistributes the wealth to the already rich, which, as every college sophomore knows, is the great and guiding purpose of the American Dream….. The acquisitors begin by identifying a company that holds assets worth a good deal more than its purchase price. they then borrow the money to buy the property, but instead of trying to preserve it they reduce its various productive organs to the liquid forms of cash and tax manipulation. The process is not dissimilar to flensing, boiling, and trying out the carcass of a Sperm Whale……The acquisitors repay their loans with the money distilled from the liquidation of the assets; they also pay off the company executives who expedited the sale, ushering them safely to the door with goodbye presents often worth $10 million or $20 million. After subtracting these tax deductible opportunity costs, the acquisitors divide the remainder of the spoils and issue a press release about the great blessing they have conferred upon the stockholders and the American future. In New York they sometimes pose for photographs with Mayor Ed Koch….. The Federal Government clearly is an undervalued asset. The budget director, David Stockman, recently described it, with an accountant’s ait of faint distaste, as a “blooming, buzzing mass of programs, projects, commitments and purposes.” Testifying before Congress about the arithmetic of the deficit, he seemed to blame the government for chronic disorderliness. Certainly he thought of government as a nuisance; conceivably he hoped that somebody, perhaps the Koreans, would win it in a raffle….. Among its various possessions, the government owns one third of the nation’s landmass as well as 2.6 billion square feet of office space (equivalent to all the office space in the country’s ten largest cities, multiplied by 4; the government is also the world’s largest hospital system operator, shipowner, and insurer. Measured by anybody’s appetite the federal body politic offers a feast for 1,000 crows….. Before dismembering the corpse it first would be necessary to incorporate the entity in Delaware and to assign it both a trading symbol (USA) and an opening stock price. Some of the subsequent deals would be easier than others. The real estate, especially the California, Florida and Long Island beaches, presumably would attract syndicates, organized by the Administration’s friends—by Frank Sinatra, Betsy Bloomingdale, the Bechtel Corporation, Jerry Zipkin, Johnny Carson, and the Heritage Foundation. A few Third World states (those that minded their ideological manners) could be given an interest in the agricultural properties, which would improve their trade balances as well as reduce their debts to the New York banks….. The sophisticated deals might require a little more thought, but I can imagine at least a few of the prospective buyers and possible lines of commercial reasoning…… MT.RUSHMORE—The Chrysler and Trump organizations almost certainly could be inveigled into a competitive auction. The chief executive officer might wish to carve his own image into the face of the cliff…… THE INTERNAL REVENUE SERVICE—Merrill Lynch and American Express presumably would wish to extend the range of their financial conveniences. All debits and credits would appear on a single monthly statement, and customers could return to the happy condition of children living on an allowance…… THE NUCLEAR ARSENAL—The Soviet Union would make a generous tender offer, probably through a Swiss intermediary, but some of the more provincial members of Congress undoubtedly would object for reasons of fear or conscience. This might require selling inventory , in odd lots and at less attractive prices, to the Germans, the Japanese, or a consortium of South American colonels. THE STATE DEPARTMENT—Harvard University could receive it on terms offering extremely favorable tax advantages. The University could approach the alumni with yet another unprecedented appeal for funds. McGeorge Bundy and John Kenneth Galbraith could explain why the State Department would serve as an important research facility for the John F. Kennedy School of Government…… The Capitol and the White House—The Washington Post or Walt Disney Company might buy one or both buildings as a corporate headquarters…… The Military Services—These could be offered to the larger corporations, both domestic and foreign. Because most wars come about as a result of economic quarrels, the multinational corporations , like city-states of the Italian Renaissance, should have the decency to pay their own troops. The soldiery could be fitted out in splendid uniforms bearing the insignia of Sony, CBS, Volvo, IBM, and British Airways. Some of the smaller formations (The Marine Corps, say, or the Coast Guard) conceivably could be sold to wealthy individuals, to big city governments, or to Arab Princes….. THE CIA—Perceived as an archive of scripts, the agency ought to attract excited bidding from HBO, Simon & Schuster, Tri-Star, and Warner communications………………………………………………………… Thanks to the Greatest Essayist Ever; Mr. Louis H. Lapham……
When will we humans stop preparing for war and instead prepare for PEACE? When will women be free to choose to not deliver another unwanted baby into a life of poverty? When will we all learn to treat all Men, Women, and Children as EQUALS? When will we learn that Greed and the Lust for Power is destroying our only livable Planet? When will we stop strip mining the planet for a metal that is basically useless? (GOLD) When will we cease strip mining the oceans of fish, maybe when the seafood menu lists “Jellyfish?” When will we learn that this Universe is infinitely larger than us, that we live on a speck of Cosmic Dust, and float around a minor sun……When we learn all these things, we can begin to build The House of Mankind……Start NOW!
IGIFU: (Hunger, Rwandan Tutsis);
I just heard on the news today that the Food Pantry lines are many hundreds of hungry people long, longer than they have ever been. Why is this? In the richest country on Earth 40 + million people are living in poverty. People all over this planet are going to bed Hungry, yet a few men have fortunes worth 160 Billion dollars, 95 Billion dollars, why, pray tell, are they hoarding all this $$$ for themselves? I hear farmers are tossing their crops in the garbage, the dairy farms are pouring their their milk in the ditch. Shame, Shame, Shame on us……… ~~~~~Just think Mr. Bezos, Mr. Gates, and all those other Billionaires, if you were each to donate one measly million bucks to every food pantry in this world, why you would not even miss it, that is pocket change for you, you would have it back in one day from the profits on your many investments…..What is the hold-up here? Whatever happened to Empathy and Compassion? ~~~~~I, myself, live on $870 a month Social Security, yet I am able to donate $200. to my local food pantry, and I just started donating another $100. to another food pantry, yet I live just fine, I have more than I need so I Share It Out…….And you know what, here comes one of my wonderful neighbors with a hot home-cooked meal for me……If I was gifted with the riches you guys have, I could not gift it away fast enough, because when I die the entry fee to Heaven is .10 cents…..I am storing my treasure away there, because, sure as we have life, death will come for us…..Try hauling 160 Billion bucks in your coffin into Heaven, good luck with that…..Or maybe you could load it all on one of your rocket ships and transport it to Mars, Oh, sorry, no banks on Mars yet….. ~~~~~Listen, rich men, you will not sleep well anymore as long as there is hungry people on this Earth, there is No Excuse for this, I personally am holding you accountable, remember how you got so rich, it was the “Little People” slaving away for you, you did not do it by yourselves, please remember that…….
Hey Word Press;
How come I cannot read my “Comments” and how come when I want to like something on here my screen goes Black and the “Like” is not entered???? If I remember correctly I paid my dues to you, and yet I feel like Persona Non Grata……Please correct this problem or when I come up for renewal, well, I will find someplace else to convey my thoughts…….Sincerely, alaskamanspeaksgeorget.org….
Out with the Past;
Did anyone miss me on here? I only write when I feel I have something to SAY, and now I have a little History to remember me by………….. Remember, I am an old guy (75) so my lady passed away last November, well yesterday, some friends of mine and hers gathered together and held a ceremony to put her ashes in the ground, everyone brought Flowers, it was the right time; Autumn Solstice day…..To celebrate I burned down a 50 + year old barn, where we raised up 100’s of goats and sheep……It was a wonderful fire, my neighbors came and sat in lawn chairs to watch……Now I hired a giant excavator and truck to make a new pile of old junk I no longer have any use for, so first snowfall, another Big Fire! Is this fun or what? In the meantime I dug around my house foundation to repair the failing posts, I had to buy 4 20 ton jacks to lift up this old log house. I am using 7 foot I beams I got for free when the highway crew replaced the crash barrier about five miles from me……Recycle now! Where I live is a palace of MAGIC, for MAGIC happens all around me, tonight was a great night to look at the sky, I saw a giant beam of light put out by Jupiter, what a fine show it is to view, all it takes is waiting for dark and stepping outside, + no light pollution at my old house……Well, if anyone is interested in this story I will write some more. Never a Dull Moment Here……..
The oceans are acid baths, no fish, no whales, no crabs, no clams. The lost fishing nets still floating, still searching for prey. Behold! A lone Jellyfish…..Strip mined for blind greed….. ************************************************************** Sand and Spiders are now all that is left of the old Rain Forests….. The last great old tree sawn into 2 x 4’s for the mass market place of Blind Greed. *************************************************************** Where once the birds sang their joyous songs, all is silent now. The Ivory Towers are empty; The Gold bars still secure in the steel vaults far beneath The barren, empty streets. The race of man for “More” forever “More” Is over, the race is lost to BLIND GREED!
Thank You Word Press;
For restoring my comments & Likes, I was sure missing communicating with all my fellow writers here on Word Press…..To all of my friends, I pray you are all doing well and keep Writing My Friends, your thoughts are important, and I love reading what so many different people are thinking…..Blessings, alaskamansluckgt…..
Once again, a Word Press;
I wonder what I paid good money for here on word press? When I click on “Like” I get a black screen and no “Like” appears, when I go to the Bell to see comments and likes I just get this maddening ever revolving circle. This has been going on for months now and I am about ready to quit this site and ask for a REFUND, I have not found a way to talk to the word press staff, all advice appreciated….
So, our little reptile brained, pumpkin headed ‘Great Leader’ is headed to Tulsa, Oklahoma for a visit, and Lo and Behold we must call out the National Guard to Protect Him. To protect him from what, exactly? Just because he called on the U. S. Army to get out there and kill all those Black People peacefully protesting the injustice they are subject to in everyday life? Is this not the same city that years ago murdered most of their black citizens for daring to be normal everyday business people? In my opinion a ‘Great Leader’ has no one to fear, because he is an honest man and need fear no-one, thus when he walks among his people he is welcomed. This man is not that, this man loves prejudice, this man lives on being able to instill Fear among the people, fear of the “Other”, I would not hire this man to shovel out my pig-pen, my pigs are better than that. ~~~~~All we have to defend ourselves is the VOTE, I would say, do not sit home thinking your vote makes no difference, Sure all the choice we have now is the lesser of two evils, but why is that? Whatever happened to the principled leader, the man who spoke truth to power, why he was shouted down by the voices of unreasoning, power seeking idiots, and thus the people get the government they deserve. “Nobody ever went broke by underestimating the intelligence of the American People.”: H.L. Mencken I would like to think we are better than this, please do not disappoint me…….