Lately I've been trying very hard to notice when the public eye is being dominated by the trivial and cynical. There's always
something important in the world that ought to be top-of-mind, so when politicians and their pet mainstream media institutions start devoting lots of attention to something of no real consequence, I want to step back and see what it is they're trying to distract me from.
This week Congress and the "press" would have us believe the two most important stories in the world are:
Also, we learned what Scott Peterson had for lunch his first day on death row. Bits and snatches of Michael Jackson coverage. Condi Rice's new fashion sense. America learned for the first time this week of the existence of a faraway land that its natives refer to as "Northern Ireland" and something called the "IRA," which apparently is not
part of Bush's solution for "fixing" Social Security (although casual followers of world events can be forgiven if they're a bit confused on this point). And so on.
Hunh. See, none of that seems
like the stuff that intelligent folks would see as real
news. So what is it that the power elite doesn't
want us to look at?
asked me the other day if I had noticed that Bush was backpeddling on Social Security. Errr, hey, wait - no, I hadn't
noticed that, actually. But I hit CNN.com and from what you can tell about what's news from the top page and the top of the jump pages, you'd have no way of knowing that Social Security is an issue at all. Ditto Google News (the term "social security" does not currently appear anywhere on their rather expansive splash page) and Yahoo! News (same thing). Where the hell did the story go? Sumbitch was the only
story for awhile there.
I was told this morning by the happy news reporter that Dubya is flying back to Washington from his Crawford ranch so that he'll be ready to sign any law Congress passes to "save" Terri Schiavo. That explains it - saving a brain-dead (in this case I mean that literally and not in the more common Congressional or media personality senses) woman so that she can be "rehabilitated" is obviously a lot more important than the economic futures of all Americans. Could it be that Terri Schiavo is this week's gay marriage?
I'm no expert, but if Social Security has all of a sudden dropped off the radar screen, that can only mean that Dubya has hit some significant resistance among Congressional Republicans, America's Corporate Elite, or both. So right now VP Dick is probably brokering a lot of behind-the-scenes negotiating to get everybody on the same page - just a guess. What was Dubya really up to in Crawford, anyway? Hmmmm.
We also seem not have the insurgency quite finished off in Iraq. If I were Syria or Iran I'd still be nervous. And so on. But rest assured, if Bush and Congress wanted us paying attention to Social Security, we would
be. Instead, we get the amoral equivalent of a test pattern, circa 2005. We are experiencing technical difficulty - please stand by.
That sort of thing. Only these days, test patterns are far more entertaining and compelling, so much so that for a moment even somebody as cynical as me briefly got sucked into the Dog/Pony Spectacular®.
Shame on me. Shame on all of us. Quit paying attention to the damned Media Magic Show and start looking around. With all due respect to the game of baseball and its very real steroids problem, let's keep our eye on the ball, shall we?