Friday, February 20, 2015

News of the Whirled

It's odd, yet somehow fitting, that Brian Williams gets caught "conflating" his war stories at almost the exact same time as Jon Stewart announces that he's leaving The Daily Show. Who knows, maybe the impending demise of Williams' career played a part in Stewart's decision. Obviously the two are good friends, and Stewart walked a fine line in lampooning Williams' gaffe, and presenting a greater context for it.

Williams seems like a nice enough guy, and with his appearances on 30 Rock and Daily Show and such like, he's cemented that perception in the public mind. Given his position as corporate news reader, making such appearances is more crucial to career stability and advancement than, say, actual journalistic research. Stewart, on the other hand, may literally be the closest thing to an actual journalist this country has on television, though John Oliver has jumped in impressively and taken it up a notch, with deeper digging and no filters at all. And David Carr's recent untimely passing is a reminder of what real journalists do.

What we've become accustomed to thinking of as "journalism" most often involves video, rather than audio or (god forbid) print. Judicious editing and tight narrative replace nuance and context. The corporate logo, by definition, requires hewing to an establishment line. No doubt Brian Williams considers himself a serious journalist, and even though the helicopter he was riding in did not get hit, he still rode in a helicopter in a combat zone. Not that it matters; the most important subtext of a combat embed is that you're not showing a thing without the approval of the military and the government.

And it's not a minor detail that the conservatools bleating the loudest about Williams' typical lamestream perfidy are mum about the many prevarications of their latest and greatest totem, Chris Kyle. They do not care that Kyle almost certainly fabricated several image-building war anecdotes (one of which ended in a fat judgment against Kyle's estate in the favor of Jesse Ventura), and likely at least embellished some parts of his combat record.

To that point, actually I don't much care about Kyle's lies all that much either, insofar as they don't negate the things that Kyle did that are verifiable. And that's part of the point about Brian Williams. He's merely a product of the machine he works for, a machine that by design employs and promotes team players such as Williams, affable faces to provide a semblance of information between commercials for a tired, bored populace that wasn't going to rise up anyway. This is how consent is manufactured, and pharmaceuticals and automobiles are moved. It's not rocket science.

Nor is the cable commentary circus anything approaching rocket science either. So when a toxic dickhead like Rudy Giuliani starts running his filthy cakehole one more goddamned time, it's tough to get mad at Giuliani, any more than you can get mad at your dog when you leave him in the house and he shits on the floor and chews up your couch pillows. He's a fucking dog, you're the dumbass for not understanding that dogs do what they do when given the opportunity.

Giuliani is just one of countless professional buffoons whose stock in trade is ventriloquizing the moronic delusions of a demographic that deserves everything they're getting -- aggrieved maroons who, in between collecting their gubmint checks, begrudge everyone and everything else, and scribe fanciful tales about the Black Satan in the White House. The idea that Obama is a closet Muslim is ludicrous; the idea that he's a closet atheist, and understands exactly how shit would blow up on him were he to even hint at such a thing, makes much more sense. But we'll never know, because these coddled, cosseted dipshits literally would not be able to handle the truth.

It's unfortunate that the only barrier to entry in becoming a political meme or talking point these days is simply being something that can be described, digested, and shat out in under ten seconds, just long enough to get someone riled up about some nonsense. They would much rather send other people to fight and kill an enemy they know nothing about, make an awful situation even worse, so they can go back to what they were doing, which was absolving themselves from their ongoing fuck-ups.

Network and cable teevee news is all just marketing and public relations, properly diluted and vetted for mass consumption, something to keep people placid yet attentive enough to listen to the words from the sponsors, whether it's the Koch Brothers or Big Pharma.

No comments: