Posts Tagged ‘Narrative’

Years ago, I broke with my usual themes and styles to offer a listicle, mostly inanities and hyper-irony, which began as follows:

  • All cats are girls, all dogs are boys. Everyone knows this from childhood. Additional discussion is moot.

I’m not a good writer of aphorisms, so I haven’t returned to that brief experiment until now. For inspiration, I’m quoting numerous examples by Caitlin Johnstone, who is a frequent and fantastic writer of aphorisms under the repeated subtitle “Notes from the Edge of the Narrative Matrix.” The long-running theme we share is that we are all being programmed and propagandized continuously through the shaping of narrative by folks with obvious agendas. Johnstone believes we are collectively waking up — as if from a nightmare — to the dark realization that our minds have been colonized (my term) and that a worldwide transformation of consciousness is currently taking place. I don’t quite see it yet, but I’m sympathetic to the possibility that, as in the famous rant from the 1976 movie Network, “I’m as mad as hell and I’m not going to take this anymore!”

  • The essential character relationship of the 1% to the rest of us is predator/prey or strong/weak. Strong predators behave precisely as one would expect.
  • Trying to restore peace using the same violent police force whose violence disrupted the peace in the first place is a bit like trying to put out a fire using lighter fluid. The same lighter fluid that was used to start it. (Johnstone)
  • Rioting and looting are not constructive responses to society’s ills, but then, neither have various nonviolent forms of protest and dissent been effective at petitioning government for redress of grievance. Packing up and going home merely cedes the field of play to bad actors already stuffing everyone down.
  • Believing cold war is no big deal because nuclear war hasn’t happened yet is the same as believing your game of Russian roulette is safe because the gun hasn’t gone off yet. (Johnstone)
  • According to the movies, realizing one’s potential is achieved by developing punching/fighting/domination skills sufficient to force your will upon others, which is true for criminals, saints (good guys), men, and women alike.
  • Ecocide will be a problem as long as ecocide remains profitable. War will be a problem as long as war remains profitable. Politicians will cater to profit-seeking sociopaths as long as profit determines what drives human behavior. (Johnstone)
  • The most influential news outlets in the western world uncritically parrot whatever they’re told to say by the most powerful and depraved intelligence agencies on the planet, then tell you that Russia and China are bad because they have state media. (Johnstone)
  • Wanting Biden because he’s not Trump is the same as wanting cancer because it’s not heart disease. (Johnstone)
  • Capitalism will let you starve to death while sitting meters away from food. (Johnstone)

I wish more of them were my own, but the opportunity to choose some of Johnstone’s best was too good to pass up.

Soundbite TV

Posted: September 17, 2007 in Artistry, Culture, Tacky, Taste, Television
Tags: ,

I haven’t blogged on the utter wasteland that is television, in large part because it seems too obvious to even the most uncritical mind to be worth the bother. Sure, one can learn things or even be entertained (such as TV claims to do); I don’t deny that. But a couple questionably salutary effects, which can be accomplished better through other means, don’t make up for the immensely destructive character of the medium and its content. When I say to people that “TV rots your brain,” I’m not being funny or ironic, although that’s how most people take it. It’s sort of like pointing out to a smoker that cigarettes kill: they know, but the comment is somehow transmuted into a joke.

As a kid, just like most kids, I watched TV all the time, and as a result, I have a veritable storehouse of useless information in my head. I’d call it ephemera except that it never really goes away. These days, I watch so little TV that it’s tantamount to watching none. For instance, I’ve never seen a single episode of such critically lauded shows as 24, The Sopranos, Arrested Development, Grey’s Anatomy, The Family Guy, 30 Rock, or Sex in the City, just to name a few that have gotten a lot of press and won some awards. I don’t know anything about most of the celebrities recently made famous by TV, either. I’ve seen just one episode of a number of other shows — enough to know that I’d never watch them again. I rather regret seeing the entire first season of Lost on DVD. So it’s with this fundamental lack of familiarity with the medium (from the last ten years of so) that I offer an assessment of two new styles of narrative that have recently come into their own.