Friday, November 21, 2008
Just got done watching Six Degrees of Separation. I enjoy movies that make me feel something unexpected, by allowing me to put myself in a character's place and imagining I feel what they feel. Putting myself in Louisa's and John's place makes me feel squeamish, embarrassed and in a sort of self-reflecting mood. Not as much as watching Six Degrees, but I get a similar feeling of embarrassment when I read this. I saw RZA as Bobby Digital a couple months ago up in Austin. Not to mention Talib Kweli, and Nas. They were both good shows, and everyone there was having a great time. What is the purpose of reflection on the racism of affluent European Americans? Is it to keep from repeating the past by knowing a history of violence? Maybe to explain it away to an American liberal media-developed guilty conscience? What do I mean by guilty conscience? Listen to NPR. What do I mean by American liberal media? Listen to some vintage Rush Limbaugh and he'll spell it out for you with desk-thumping punctuation. It is amazing to me how the media in this country always seems to get blamed for the woes of the politically disenfranchised. In 1992, it was conservative republicans who saw their incumbent president, George Herbert Walker Bush, beaten by an elated liberal media darling, William Jefferson "Bill" Clinton. Oh who can forget old Bill? With his saxophone, and his shades. You have to give the man some credit. After him, it seems that you simply cannot become president without having used some illegal substance. Now that's trend setting. In 2000, Albert Arnold Gore Jr. was beaten out of the presidency by a friendlier, more like-able George Walker Bush. The long-wavelength side of the political spectrum has since been in a perpetual state of media blaming. I mean, holy hand grenades of Antioch, Batman, that's some extremism. And now that the pendulum has once again swung back (click the "voting shifts" tab), people 65 and older and their favorite children complain about how once again their only source of truth can be found in the drudgereport.com because the rest of the media has a liberal agenda. They're right, but they're right in the same way that someone who tells you that littering is illegal, as if their lifestyle as an American isn't one of the most wasteful in the world. It's rightness, but it's futile, useless, palm-tree-standing-up-to-a-tidal-wave rightness. Just like the world of academic science is liberal. Just like artists are liberals. So what? So, if you hold conservative values dear, do you scoff at academic publication? Do you roll your eyes at orbiting fruit? Do you rage against the media machine? Perhaps, but maybe you also find it in your heart to reach out and try to understand your neighbor and try to share your ideas and values. The media, of course, is just a feedback loop on our collective consciousness. The media is our imagination. It not only lets us reflect on our own lives, but it also cultivates desire, ambition, and motivation. It directs, at the same time it reflects. The next time I feel a need to reflect, I'll just remind myself that when Paul Poitier-Kittredge said that it is cowardly to put blindfolds on rather than deal with yourself, he was just trying to get attention. We all need to be acknowledged, and not like a curiosity, or as a charity case, but as equals. So, use your imagination -- none of us are equal, but we're all the same deep down, and we all get drug down into the gutter by our deficits at some point in our lives.