Monday, August 18, 2008

How I'm seeing the world


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I may have spent too much of my life
already in the not very profitable
enterprise of tackling forces way
beyond the possibilities of my
having any influence on them. At
this stage of my life and looking
at the world as it is now, it's hard to
understand why I don't just retreat -
as many people do, into personal
satisfactions and leave the rest
to fate.

This is how the world appears to
me now:
1. The media practically rules this
country and most so-called
advanced countries. If not it ‘rules’
it certainly acts as a biased
referee. Behind the media are
(a) the advertisers on behalf mainly
of huge ‘profit-maximising’ trans-
national companies which have
‘licence’ to operate largely as super-
-rich individuals. (b) The super-
-rich individuals themselves (like
the Murdocks) that own the media.
(b) the ‘climate-of-opinion’ setters,
mainly professional middle
class people, some religious
leaders and some politicians.

Against these ‘powers and
principalities ‘ are a few
recalcitrant individuals who use
the security of their money and
celebrity status to mount a
challenge on behalf of a minority
of mainly middle-class better
educated critical thinkers. But
they swim against a very strong
tide. If a politician stands up for
measures that may hurt the
creation and transfer of wealth
to the predominant power-elite,
the media is set the task of
destroying him. (This is happen-
ing at the present time in NZ.)

The media also faithfully serves
the often hidden agendas of
governmental establishments
(backed by rightist ‘think-tanks’)
in the so-called advanced
countries the U.S in particular.
The media is their propaganda
arm. The underlying hypocrisy
is not questioned. The complicity
of the Sudanese govt. in genocide
is pushed into the background
in favour of more minor ‘scandals’,
sports events and other trivia.
Russia is blamed for dismemb-
-ering Georgia while the desire
and plotting of the West to
dismember Yugoslavia is kept
out of the picture. We are all
supposed to be ‘pro-separatists’
when it comes to Kosovo, but
‘anti’ when it comes to the
pro-Russian provinces of

As for global problems like
‘global warming’, the power-
holding establishment in
so-called advanced countries
has a penchant for complicated-
-ness over simplicity.
Complicatedness allows them
a comfortable level of
corruption or at least of shady
dealings without totally defeating
the stated aims to mitigate
global warming. A simple
‘user-pays’ policy of taxing
carbon emissions by gvt., and
transferring the money thus
made available to assisting
renewable and conservation
enterprises, is scrapped in
favour of the so-called C.E.T.
(carbon emissions trading
scheme.) This is a hopelessly
complicated arrangement
protective of transnational
corporate interests that will end up
thrusting the costs of the scheme
down onto the lower-middle and
working class majority. The story
is that ‘user pays’ is only fine so
long as it takes second place to
maximisation of corporate profit.

The main trend-setters in social
and political thinking in the West
also keep fair control and guiding
hand on the direction taken by
culture – mainly toward flashy
entertainment and info-tainment
with the emphasis on the
commercial opportunities to
harness people’s interest in
sex. In art, literature and music,
there is something of a push
toward superficial competitive-
-ness and novelty. I have learnt
from a self-publishing experience,
also from examining dozens of
stipulations from agents seeking
to handle ‘promising’ writers and
their books, that there are hardly
more than three requirements
none of which have much to do
with the intrinsic quality of the
work on offer. These require-
-ments are (a) celebrity status
in some field (b) being already
known for successfully published
and marketed books (c) Youth –
‘superficial novelty’.