....LMB: ""No Damn Cat, and No Damn Cradle!""....

May 15, 2004

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Kurt Vonnegut:

We’re spreading democracy, are we? Same way European explorers brought Christianity to the Indians, what we now call “Native Americans.”

How ungrateful they were! How ungrateful are the people of Baghdad today.

So let’s give another big tax cut to the super-rich. That’ll teach bin Laden a lesson he won’t soon forget. Hail to the Chief.

That chief and his cohorts have as little to do with Democracy as the Europeans had to do with Christianity. We the people have absolutely no say in whatever they choose to do next. In case you haven’t noticed, they’ve already cleaned out the treasury, passing it out to pals in the war and national security rackets, leaving your generation and the next one with a perfectly enormous debt that you’ll be asked to repay.

Nobody let out a peep when they did that to you, because they have disconnected every burglar alarm in the Constitution: The House, the Senate, the Supreme Court, the FBI, the free press (which, having been embedded, has forsaken the First Amendment) and We the People.

The whole article is good, Vonnegut doing his Twain-esque riffing on politics and society today.

I've been a Vonnegut fan for a long time, although I suppose he does take some getting used to. I think my very favorite Vonnegut moment was in his book Breakfast of Champions. The story is told in a very quirky, jerky way, with lots of crude, hand-drawn sketches of random objects related to the story wedged in between paragraphs. Every time a new character enters the novel, no matter how minor, Vonnegut gives some of their trivia, some of their backstory, and oddly, their physical measurements (bust, hips, waist, penis size where applicable). Until at one point, Vonnegut busts down the fourth wall and in a seeming fit of exasperation, blurts out what he's doing:

As I approaced my fiftieth birthday, I had become more and more enraged and mystified by the idiot decisions made by my countrymen. And then I had come sudddenly to pity them, for I understood how innocent and natural it was for them to behave so abominably with such abominable results: They were doing their best to live like people invented in story books ... Why were so many Americans treated by their government as though their lives were as disposable as paper facial tissues? Because that was the way authors customarily treated bit-part players in their made up tales

[emphasis mine]

Vonnegut claims that we live our lives as though we were the main character in a novel, and treat our fellow man as though they were merely extras in our important drama. So to counteract that, Vonnegut decides to write a book in which he treats all the characters alike. No one is a bit-part player.

And that was a pretty profound thing to me.

Posted by Jake at 02:08 AM | TrackBack (1)

Vonnegut is a GOD! I'd like to take this momenent to reference to you a book by him called "Mother Night". Everyone I've talked to who has read Vonnegut has never read this one, which is a damn shame because it's so wonderful. The book centers around one Howard Campell Jr. who is a spy for the United States during WWII, he is told to pretend to be a nazi radio propogandist and send messages back to the United States intelligence. However, after the war, the United States government screws him over and he is indited for war crimes in Isreal because no one will believe his story. This sets up for a very bitter Vonnegut book, so, of course, it's good. If you get a chance to read, I would suggest it.

Posted by: Alyssa at May 16, 2004 07:07 PM

Vonnegut fans in the Chicago area? Don't miss him - live, in person, in full Vonnegut form - Father's Day, June 20th!

Posted by: Anne at June 12, 2004 07:25 PM
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Lying Media Bastards is both a radio show and website. The show airs Mondays 2-4pm PST on KillRadio.org, and couples excellent music with angry news commentary. And the website, well, you're looking at it.

Both projects focus on our media-marinated world, political lies, corporate tyranny, and the folks fighting the good fight against these monsters.

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Media News

November 16, 2004

Tales of Media Woe

Senate May Ram Copyright Bill- one of the most depressing stories of the day that didn't involve death or bombs. It's the music and movie industries' wet dream. It criminalizes peer-to-peer software makers, allows the government to file civil lawsuits on behalf of these media industries, and eliminates fair use. Fair use is the idea that I can use a snippet of a copyrighted work for educational, political, or satirical purposes, without getting permission from the copyright-holder first.

And most tellingly, the bill legalizes technology that would automatically skip over "obejctionable content" (i.e. sex and violence) in a DVD, but bans devices that would automatically skip over commericals. This is a blatant, blatant, blatant gift to the movie industry. Fuck the movie industry, fuck the music industry, fuck the Senate.

Music industry aims to send in radio cops- the recording industry says that you're not allowed to record songs off the radio, be it real radio or internet radio. And now they're working on preventing you from recording songs off internet radio through a mixture of law and technological repression (although I imagine their techno-fixes will get hacked pretty quickly).

The shocking truth about the FCC: Censorship by the tyranny of the few- blogger Jeff Jarvis discovers that the recent $1.2 million FCC fine against a sex scene in Fox's "Married By America" TV show was not levied because hundreds of people wrote the FCC and complained. It was not because 159 people wrote in and complained (which is the FCC's current rationale). No, thanks to Jarvis' FOIA request, we find that only 23 people (of the show's several million viewers) wrote in and complained. On top of that, he finds that 21 of those letters were just copy-and-paste email jobs that some people attached their names to. Jarvis then spins this a bit by saying that "only 3" people actually wrote letters to the FCC, which is misleading but technically true. So somewhere between 3 and 23 angry people can determine what you can't see on television. Good to know.

Reuters Union Considers Striking Over Layoffs- will a strike by such a major newswire service impact the rest of the world's media?

Pentagon Starts Work On War Internet- the US military is talking about the creation of a global, wireless, satellite-aided computer network for use in battle. I think I saw a movie about this once...

Conservative host returns to the air after week suspension for using racial slur- Houston radio talk show host (and somtime Rush Limbaugh substitute) Mark Belling referred to Mexican-Americans as "wetbacks" on his show. He was suspended for a couple of weeks, and then submitted a written apology for the racial slur to a local newspaper. But he seems to be using the slur and its surrounding controversy to boost his conservative cred with his listeners.

Stay Tuned for Nudes- Cleveland TV news anchor Sharon Reed aired a story about artist Spencer Tunick, who uses large numbers of naked volunteers in his installations and photographs. The news report will be unique in that it will not blur or black-out the usual naughty bits. The story will air late at night, when it's allegedly okay with the FCC if you broadcast "indecent" material. The author of this article doesn't seem to notice that Reed first claims that this report is a publicity stunt, but then claims it's a protest against FCC repression. I'd like to think it's the latter, but I'm not that much of a sucker.

Posted by Jake at 04:02 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)
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