Monday, February 27, 2023

Lies Are Fox News' Most Important Product

In its constant quest to gaslight its willing victims, Fox News uses panic mongering, character assassination and ad hominem arguments, psychological projection and flipping, the rewriting of history, scapegoating, conflation of violence with power, bullying, confusion, populism, invocation of the Christian God, saturation, the disparagement of education, guilt by association and diversion. 

Fox News’s most basic propaganda technique is simply to lie about facts, and it does so constantly. For example, which political party a politician belongs to isn't a matter of opinion. It's a fact Fox News lies about.

Fox News suddenly identified disgraced Republican Gov. Mark Sanford of South Carolina as a Democrat on the very day he admitted his philandering.

A coincidence? But Fox News also suddenly changed Congressman Mark Foley's party affiliation from Republican to Democratic the very moment it was inescapably confirmed that Foley was sexually soliciting teenage male pages in Congress.

Every “mistake” Fox News makes manages to falsely malign Democrats and/or shield guilty Republicans. 

Odd, isn’t it?

Monday, February 20, 2023

Only Sometimes Am I Understood

I wrote this on a Washington Post thread: “Fox News propaganda is fogging up American reality with hateful lies, carefully building to a future of unimaginable violence in this country.”

Naturally, the remark drew a sneer from some brain-dead Republican. But another reader decided to explain.

OnlySometimes replied, “George, read the sentence for comprehension. The first part, ‘Fox News propaganda is fogging up American reality with hateful lies,’ this means that content put out by Fox News is fogging up its viewers’ sense of reality with hateful lies. This is a fact made clear by the Dominion Voting lawsuit that shows without a doubt that the ‘news’ team at Fox News puts out content based on what they think will generate ratings — not based on facts or truth. 

“Fox News has determined they get better ratings and therefore make MORE MONEY when they give their viewers content filled with garbage about how Dems are coming for guns, immigrants are coming to rape, teachers are trying to groom kids to be gay, the list goes on.

“The Fox News people telling their viewers this crap don’t believe this s#it. They know their viewers crave this worldview and know they make TONS of money off them. It’s GREED. 

“Now, the second part of the sentence, ‘carefully building to a future of unimaginable violence in this country.’ This means the result of this careful feeding of misinformation to Fox’s viewers will inevitably lead to unimaginable violence, whether that’s the intended consequence or not. “If you are a Fox News viewer and you trust their presenters/ opinion-ers, then you believe the lies they tell you, so of course you’d be afraid, angry and ready to take up arms to protect what you think is being stolen from you.

“Can you see the problem here? Fox News has viewers all worked up over imaginary bogey men. Dems aren’t coming for their guns — just sensible safety regulations. Immigrants aren’t coming to rape — they just want a chance to work hard and provide for their family in a country that’s not buried in corruption, or at war. Teachers aren’t trying to groom kids — they’re trying to educate kids to be kind to others, be knowledgeable citizens, to teach them to read and think for themselves so they can make up their own minds about the issues of the day.”

The Satisfaction of Stone Steps

Stone steps satisfy

in some subtle way, rising 

solid and secure.

Sunday, February 19, 2023

'Quantumania:' Let's Hear It for the Little Guy

Ant-Man (Paul Rudd) confronts Kang (Johnathan Majors)

Just back from Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania with Bart and William. I thoroughly enjoyed this cosmic melodrama, which establishes a family feeling among its five protagonists before sucking them down the rabbit hole into a quantum Wonderland. 

“Your building is alive?” asks the bewildered Ant-Man (Paul Rudd).

“Yours aren’t?” replies a puzzled alien being.

The film provides a proper build-up for Marvel’s next mega-supervillain, the time master Kang. Jonathan Majors underplays the role with skill, delivering his evil ultimatums casually but quite chillingly.

More entertaining than the recent Shang-Chi, Black Widow and Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, this sequel is a roller coaster ride with a Star Wars vibe.

And as for critics who never tire of telling us how bored they are with Marvel movies, they should consider putting a sock in it. Those laughing crowds and those busy box offices really don’t care.

And speaking of worlds within worlds, did you know that the term “Quantumania” contains the words “Ant” and “Man?"

Friday, February 17, 2023

'Marlowe:' Neeson Channels Chandler

Not a parody but an homage, Marlowe has Liam Neeson as Raymond Chandler’s iconic 1930s/40s private investigator, an L.A. knight errant played previously by Dick Powell, Humphrey Bogart, James Garner, Elliott Gould and Robert Mitchum, among others. 

Bart and I saw it this afternoon, appreciating its old gold glow and sumptuous period detail. Neeson’s ironic diffidence nails Philip Marlowe’s tone. The film’s witty, erudite dialogue — worthy of Chandler — is delivered by such capable actors as Jessica Lange, Alan Cumming, Colm Meaney and Danny Huston. 

The pace, however, is a tad lackluster, despite some effective action scenes. It may puzzle contemporary audiences, accustomed as they are to a completely different beat (though not necessarily a superior one).

As in the ultimate private eye film, Chinatown, this fiction is stacked atop noir-ish real-life elements. Those familiar with Hollywood history will recognize that the mystery and corruption swirls around figures meant to represent Joe Kennedy and Gloria Swanson.

Wednesday, February 15, 2023

Emerson's Kenshō

Ralph Waldo Emerson highly valued a type of experience which is ineffable in English, but which the Japanese Buddhists have termed kenshō.

Late one January afternoon, Emerson wrote: “The western clouds divided and subdivided themselves into pink flakes modulated with tints of unspeakable softness; and the air had so much life and sweetness that it was a pain to come within doors … The leafless trees became spires of flame in the sunset, with the blue east for their background, and the stars of the dead calices of flowers, and every withered stem and stubble rimed with frost contribute something to the mute music.”

Biographer Robert D. Richardson Jr.  observed, “(T)he experience Emerson most valued is the exhilaration that can arise sometimes from our presence in nature, though we cannot say quite why.”

“If this is mysticism, it is mysticism of a commonly occurring and easily accepted sort. The aim of the mystic is to attain a feeling of oneness with the divine. Experiences of the kind Emerson here describes have happened to nearly everyone who has ever sat beneath a tree on a fine clear day and looked at the world with a momentary sense of peace and a feeling, however transient, of being at one with it.”

Saturday, February 4, 2023

America's Dizzy Delirium of Desire

One of the most difficult lessons to learn in life, because it is counterintuitive, is that if some is good, more may well be worse, even much worse. 

The whole of the American consumer advertising industry is dedicated to helping us forget that lesson, if we were ever smart enough to learn it.

Friday, February 3, 2023

Timeless Tennessee

 “I don't know what to tell you. A statement is easy, and here it is: Be yourself. Try to matter. Be a good friend. Love freely, even if you are likely — almost guaranteed — to be hurt, betrayed. 

“Do what you were created to do. You’ll know what this is, because it is what you keep creeping up to, peering at, dreaming of. Do it. If you don’t, you'll be punching clocks and eating time doing precisely what you shouldn’t, and you’ll become mean and you’ll seek to punish any and all who appear the slightest bit happy, the slightest bit comfortable in their own skin, the slightest bit smart.

“Cruelty is a drug, as well, and it’s all around us. Don’t imbibe.

"Try to matter. Try to care. And never be afraid to admit that you just don’t know, you just don't fucking know how you’re going to make it. That's when the help — the human and the divine help —shows up.”

— Tennessee Williams, Interview with James Grissom, 1982