Sunday, December 20, 2009

Musings: Pressing Problems

Koko and I went out into the silent night, stars thick above us, Makalii close to Orion, and both sliding towards Waialeale, and I marveled at the beauty and the stillness and the amount of light that can be generated solely by glittering stars.

A couple of hours later, when we got up for good, the stars were all gone, lost to a gray combination of pre-dawn light and clouds that were just starting to blush over the Giant, and the silence had succumbed to bird song and, soon enough, a conversation between my neighbor Andy and me.

He began by remarking on this blog, and the recent activity in comments, and expressed once again the desire for people to use at least a fake name so readers can more easily follow the conversation, as after a while, all the anonymouses tend to blend together.

I said, yes, even an abbreviation like DWPS is helpfull, although that “f the birds” comment of his really pissed me off because it’s so indicative of that sick prevailing attitude that nothing matters but us.

Well, a lot of people think like that, said Andy, which is true, and his are not the worst of the comments, he added, which is also true.

I then mentioned that farmer Jerry had called me about Friday’s post, where I addressed the house that’s being built down the street and its incompatibility with the neighborhood. And though I knew he was pissed off about the mainland transplants doing that in his own neighborhood, I braced for a scolding, because I also knew he knows the owner — a local — of the house in question.

But he didn’t scold. Instead, he said that it really bothers him when it’s a local building something like because it’s yet another indication of how the mainland mentality, with its emphasis on materialism, extravagance and flaunting your wealth, is becoming more deeply entrenched here.

We weren’t raised like that, with those kind of values, he told me. So it’s just really sad when you see locals start buying into that whole idea of showing off, setting yourself apart from others. What’s wrong with living simply, modestly?

Of course, it was just a rhetorical question, because anyone who knows me or reads this blog knows my answer would be always be “nothing.”

But Andy, ever ready with the historical perspective, noted that people in Hawaii had been buying into those materialistic values for a long time, probably since the beginning of Western contact, and if you go way back you’ll see that humans in many cultures have long attempted to assert their authority and/or status through the accumulation of possessions or other displays of wealth.

It's been going on forever, he said. I don’t know why you insist on fighting against it.

So I should just give it up because that’s the way it’s supposedly always been, even though it perpetuates the false belief that material goods are the highest expression of a person’s value, a belief that is meaningless, wasteful and destroying the planet?

It’s not meaningless, Andy countered. Some of it stems from basic comfort, like having a good bed, so you can work the next day and not be grumpy.

Yes, I acknowledged, I understand that and I’ve certainly enjoyed the comfort of having a dryer, as well as a washer, in my new house. But with most of us in the U.S., it’s gone way beyond basic comfort, and it does become meaningless when you have so much stuff that you cease to value it. Even then, it’s never enough, because there’s always something out there that’s newer and better, so stuff never can fully satisfy.

And then people who don't have money, but still want to assert their authority and status, go buy all that cheap crap at Walmart, so you’ve got even more resources wasted, more junk thrown in the landfill.

Andy agreed that it had reached the point where our accumulation of stuff was excessive and threatening the health of the planet, which prompted me to ask: so then how do you go about changing those false, destructive values?

I had the answer about 30 or 40 years ago, he replied, and then I forgot it. I used to think it was education, but I don’t believe that anymore, because I just didn’t see any evidence of it in the classroom. We’ve spent all this time and energy and money on education, and I really wonder where it’s gotten us, he said, noting that part of the problem is you’ve got some people who aren’t educable and some who don’t much want to be educated.

That's certainly a shift from, say, 100 years ago, when education was valued not only for its ability to get you out of the factory, but also as a sign of status.

Andy then repeated a saying: Twenty years ago we worried because Johnny couldn’t read. Now Johnny is the teacher. And he recalled that during his years as a college professor, he'd encountered a dean who couldn’t write complete sentences, teachers with masters degrees who were nearly illiterate. So when you're seeing that at the college level, it's not surprising that many students aren't excelling.

I told him about a Calvin Trillin piece I’d just read in The New Yorker about poutine, the popular Canadian dish of French fries with cheese curds and brown gravy, and it included a bit about a Canadian satirist named Rick Mercer. He used to have a TV show called “Talking to Americans,” which “revealed them to be pretty much oblivious of the huge, contiguous country that is their most important trading partner.” Trillin wrote:

His best-know coup came during the 2000 Presidential campaign, when, having insinuated himself into a pack of reporters, he shouted out a question to George W. Bush: What was the candidate’s response to the statement by Canadian Prime Minister Jean Poutine that Bush looked like the man who should lead the free world into the twenty-first century? Bush looked immensely pleased. “I appreciate his strong statement,” he said. “He understands I believe in free trade. He understands I want to make sure our relations with our most important neighbor to the north of us is strong. And we’ll work closely together.”

So if our own president was so ignorant, I asked Andy, who was having a good laugh, why should we expect the general populace to be any different? I put a big chunk of the blame on TV, noting that many people are pretty much clueless about the events of the day, but they’re up on the plot, to use the word loosely, of the latest reality show.

No doubt TV and the various forms of entertainment that distract us are factors, Andy said, but I blame women’s liberation, the feminist movement, for the decline in education.

You wait until the walk is nearly over to drop that bombshell? I asked. How do you figure?

Well, women today have so many more opportunities and options available to them that the smartest ones don’t become nurses or teachers anymore, he explained. They become doctors or architects or any number of other things, and the overall contribution to education has been lowered as a result. And part of the reason they don't go into teaching is because we don't value teachers in our society, and we pay them poorly.

Unlike, say, our celebs and sports figures, who can, inexplicably, make a billion dollars playing golf.

By then we’d reached Andy's driveway, and the dogs were ready to address a far more important topic: the dispensing of biscuits. That done, they nosed the ground for crumbs and Andy and I bid one another goodbye, leaving yet another of the world's pressing problems unresolved.

54 comments:

Anonymous said...

"although that “f the birds” comment of his really pissed me off because it’s so indicative of that sick prevailing attitude that nothing matters but us."

-- my/the rational was well explained. btw, a number of rare plants and animals here would be well served by pig eradication (just ask the nat trop bot garden people about it)


"if you go way back you’ll see that humans in many cultures have long attempted to assert their authority and/or status through the accumulation of possessions or other displays of wealth."

-- the vast majority have. hard to find examples where this did not occur after ag revolution


RE the "I blame women’s liberation, the feminist movement, for the decline in education" theory - credit to the guy for taking a stab at an explanation at least, i guess. (the most generous comment possible)


mainland_mentality

Anonymous said...

You won't find undefined class differences in any culture. That's how a culture survives, with the brightest / most well fed making the important decisions.

And how were the alli'i not a privileged class.
They lived well with the lower classes doing the heavy lifting so they could eat the high protein foods and cruise in large canoes with a someone else paddling.

Even Joan couldn't wait to move from the lower elevations of Kapahi to the heights, with a dryer no less...

Jebediah said...

My, aren't we ostentatiously austere!

And moralistic.

Neo-puritanism.

Anonymous said...

Knowing Andy, I'm pretty sure his comment was tongue in cheek although he does raise a good point. Nursing and teaching used to be the sole repositories of women's creativity and intellect and it stands to reason those professions are experiencing the effects of that loss.

"Bra Burner"

Dawson said...

...it’s yet another indication of how the mainland mentality, with its emphasis on materialism, extravagance and flaunting your wealth, is becoming more deeply entrenched here.

Today it isn't flaunting, it's aggression. Since the 80's, American culture has transitioned from displaying material goods as authority/status symbols to wielding material goods as instruments of aggression -- from microaggression (lava rock columns looming over your view, Hummers on freeways) to macro (mansions on beaches, resorts on mountains). We've transitioned from the self-serving arrogance of "God gave us dominion over the beasts" to the naked aggression of "f the birds."

The bad news is our cultural Skinner Box is overcrowded with angry taggers. Tatted teens or wealthy Wall Streeters, they pride themselves in being smugly tone-deaf to the souls of their neighbors: self is all; empathy is for idiots.

The good news is they will devour themselves.

Anonymous said...

Andy's got an intelligent, strong minded wife and four daughter who are the same. He wouldn't survive in his house if he was a misogynist.

Anonymous said...

Or left the toilet seat up.

Joan Conrow said...

Knowing Andy, I'm pretty sure his comment was tongue in cheek

Yes, it was, so don't anyone be getting their knickers in a twist.

Anonymous said...

my culture is better than your culture mentality more like it.

Ed Coll said...

I think Andy missed the cultural shift from "Education" to "Training" that occurred in the mid 70's when the Government realized that education (i.e. teaching people how to think) was "troublesome". Training on the other hand can serve a technocratic society (Taylorite actually) by conferring skill sets to large numbers of people without ever raising (or answering) the troublesome meta question of why they are doing what they are being trained to do? Mass Media further functions to prevent people from making these higher order connections, and presents a disjointed world view. I am often struck by the letters of Civil War soldiers (both North and South) compared to the writing skills of college fresh(people?). Seems to me literacy was higher then than now, and I agree with Joan that it is TV, the plug in drug, that is largely responsible. Read Bowling Alone for a detailed analysis of the TV as culprit argument in the decline of social/civic action on the part of citizens.

jackbauer said...

"..teachers with masters degrees who were nearly illiterate.."

And schlock for government officials, especially bottom of the barrel county attorneys.

Anonymous said...

The good news is they will devour themselves.
That is good news!

Bairnson Bjornson said...

I am often struck by the letters of Civil War soldiers

Often?

How do you even have the opportunity to be "often struck by the letters of Civil War soldiers"? I bet not even Civil War scholars are "often" struck by the letters of Civil War soldiers. Unless you spend an inordinate amount of time culling through Civil War letters. Do you have a collection of them at home? Or do you keep the Ken Burns coffee table book in often reach.

Ed Coll said...

Bairnson Bjornson said...

Q "How do you even have the opportunity to be "often struck by the letters of Civil War soldiers"?"

A Every day as I read student writings on a daily basis. Recall and memory allows me to "often" and even "frequent" comparisons.

"I bet not even Civil War scholars are "often" struck by the letters of Civil War soldiers."

But many have been struck by the "comparison."

Q "Do you have a collection of them at home?"

A No.

Q "Or do you keep the Ken Burns coffee table book in often reach."

A No.

I think your fixation on the definition of the word "often" as a means to discredit my observation has distracted you from my main point which is the decline of literacy among college students.

BTW - Many students are flummoxed by simple contrast and compare questions.

Anonymous said...

I agree, you only have to read the letters once to see the difference in the levels of observation, vocabulary and expression.

Many of the letters were written by teens and young adults.

Anonymous said...

There's no need to differentiate between "transplant mainlanders" & locals - a de facto racial/ethnic slur - we are all humans with our misgivings.

Furthermore, if you're sincerely concerned about our troubled planet, perhaps address the fundamental cause in a future post: over-population. Like a hub on a wheel, over-population is directly linked to all other environmental & social problems on Earth.

Mahalo for the provocative writing.

Anonymous said...

Joan said Unlike, say, our celebs and sports figures, who can, inexplicably, make a billion dollars playing golf.

Not really inexplicable. With an uneducated consumer culture there is a sucker born every .05 seconds -- and climbing! A fool and money is soon parted despite Gumpsterisms to the contrary.

Anonymous said...

The historian Harvey Graff has argued that the introduction of mass schooling was in part an effort to control the type of literacy that the working class had access to. According to Graff, literacy learning was increasing outside of formal settings (such as schools) and this uncontrolled, potentially critical reading could lead to increased radicalization of the populace. In his view, mass schooling was meant to temper and control literacy, not spread it.

Literacy has also been used as a way to sort populations and control who has access to power. Because literacy permits learning and communication that oral and sign language alone cannot, illiteracy has been enforced in some places as a way of preventing unrest or revolution. During the Civil War era in the United States, white citizens in many areas banned teaching slaves to read or write presumably understanding the power of literacy. In the years following the Civil War, the ability to read and write was used to determine whether one had the right to vote. This effectively served to prevent former slaves from joining the electorate and maintained the status quo.[19] In 1964 in Brazil, Pablo Freire was arrested and exiled for teaching the Brazilian peasants to read.

Anonymous said...

It seems obvious that those Civil War soldier letters interesting/notable enough to publish would be those having something interesting to say, or say what they do in an interesting way. In other words, the letters you've seen were doubtless written by the better informed, literate, interesting soldiers, and not the barely literate ones of which there were doubtless many.

Simply put, you are comparing the best of the Civil War letters with your memories of the worst contemporary college writing. Apples and oranges.

Bairnson Bjornson said...

In the United States in 1870, 20% of the population (and 79% of non-whites) were illiterate.

Today, 99% of Americans are literate.

Anonymous said...

whoa..

ok

help walk us through this, step by step

what policies / programs / initiatives are you referring to?

WWII GI bill?

some program after / per civil war reconstruction?

just how did these 1870s rural appalachia folks go from shakespeare to pigeon?

or, it was informal / accidental? just so happened grade schools around the country unilaterally / simultaneously changed the way they taught?

and dont suppose that the increasingly known, learnable, and teachable subject matter came into play? and this competes with time spent learning how to write well?

you are better off suggesting that the CONTENT of textbooks is controlled (which, btw, has jack to do w/ literacy or eloquence)

and pls spare us jim crow law citations and the like. old news. already known and factored for

oh and if one cherry picks enough war letters, of course you are going to find some gems. doesnt mean every farm boy was hemingway


as to "Today, 99% of Americans are literate."

-- pardon, but that does not seem correct (is it? pls offer cite)


dwps

Anonymous said...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_literacy_rate

Anonymous said...

https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/fields/2103.html

Dawson said...

Anonymous 12/21/09 9:52 a.m. wrote:

The historian Harvey Graff has argued that the introduction of mass schooling was in part an effort to control the type of literacy that the working class had access to....

In the interest of fairness, it's customary to cite the source of a quote. The post by "Anonymous 9:52 a.m." is from the Wikipedia article on Literacy (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Literacy).

Anonymous said...

I am often struck by the letters of Civil War soldiers (both North and South) compared to the writing skills of college fresh(people?).

IOW: I am often struck by the letters of Civil War soldiers that were so articulate and interesting as to warrant republication in books compared to the most execrable examples of contemporary college freshman writing.

Ed Coll said...

December 21, 2009 10:14 AM Anonymous said...

It seems obvious that those Civil War soldier letters interesting/notable enough to publish would be those having something interesting to say, or say what they do in an interesting way. In other words, the letters you've seen were doubtless written by the better informed, literate, interesting soldiers, and not the barely literate ones of which there were doubtless many.

Simply put, you are comparing the best of the Civil War letters with your memories of the worst contemporary college writing. Apples and oranges.


Except I never said "published" in books. Many "unpublished" primary source (or reproductions) of these letters stored in University archives, especially down south.

Anonymous said...

"http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_literacy_rate"

-- well thank you. i note: "a literacy rate of 99.0% is assumed for high-income countries that do not report adult literacy information." ...along with that assumption might also be a pretty loosey goosey "literacy" definition


"Many "unpublished" primary source (or reproductions) of these letters "

-- seems like pretty good source material. good that that stuff is still around


dwps

Ed Coll said...

Bairnson Bjornson said...

"In the United States in 1870, 20% of the population (and 79% of non-whites) were illiterate.

Today, 99% of Americans are literate."

That sounds about right, but believe it or not even today the vast majority of college freshpeople are "literate". Many people can read words, but lack comprehension of the words meaning or do not have the have ability to use words well. Literacy is baseline and says little about robustness of vocabulary. Of the people who were literate however I am saying the robustness and expressiveness of their vocabulary as expressed in their letters is impressive when compared the much of the college student writing I see today. There is a big difference between reading road signs and writing a college expository paper.

Ed Coll said...

The fact that it was a crime to teach slaves how to read not only accounted for the high illiteracy rate among blacks, but is indicative of how much those in control feared literacy. Unchecked literacy is dangerous so it must be directed towards constructive purposes. That is why Freire was booted out of Brazil and later Argentina. A literate population is a demanding population. BTW it's Paulo Freire not "Pablo", and yes Wikipedia like textbooks can be wrong.

Anonymous said...

I lik to wach tv. lots of smart peeple telling me ther idas and the comershuls are good to.

Anonymous said...

Looks like this blog has gone from a boiling cauldron to a tepid pool.

Ah, the ebbs and flows of the blogs.

Dawson said...

The fact that it was a crime to teach slaves how to read not only accounted for the high illiteracy rate among blacks, but is indicative of how much those in control feared literacy.

And lest anyone think the desire to "keep them in their place" is ancient history and confined to the slave owning South, consider the attitude of White trading post owners on Navajo lands in 1955, a few years after the proliferation of schools began to break the domination of illiteracy:

Many traders express the opinion that Navahos are congenitally indolent, so that there is not, from their point of view, any such thing as an "ideal Navaho." Shonto's trader [White owner/operator of the sole commercial business in, and primary representative of White culture to, the Shonto community], however is actually able to point to an "ideal Navaho" in the community. This individual is cited and extolled repeatedly (though not in his own presence) as embodying all of the qualities which the White world expects and values in a Navaho. So far as the trader is concerned he sets the standard of behavior for the whole community.

Shonto's "ideal Navaho" is a man of 44.... He is a completely reliable worker -- punctual in arriving and industrious on the job. He is always available for work when needed, and does not take time off without obtaining prior permission.

...He lives in an ordinary hogan with his wife and seven children, wears long hair, and speaks no English (although he is reputed to understand a good deal of it).... He has never been to school. He has a very large flock of sheep, sells his lambs and wool to the store every year, and is an assiduous farmer. He is orderly in his behavior, does not drink or fight, and regularly attends and participates in native religious performances.

His behavior is approved and praised [by his White employer] above that of other Navajos of superior education who have actually achieved a higher income and a considerably higher standard of living in the outside world.


-- Adams, W.Y. Shonto: A Study of the Role of the Trader in a Modern Navaho Community, 1963: 286-287.

Anonymous said...

1. Education is important.
2. Do Hawaii residents take advantage of educational opportunities?
3. Do Native Hawaiians take advantage of their educational opportunities?
4. Are their educational opportunities competent, even if they want an education?

Scary stuff.

Anonymous said...

Looks like this blog has gone from a boiling cauldron to a tepid pool.

Ah, the ebbs and flows of the blogs.


How many people really care that some people build big houses?

Anonymous said...

Ain't nobody goin hav 2 b a slave all de time no mo
We goin take turns
an guess whos turn it is now?

Anonymous said...

Ain't nobody goin hav 2 b a slave all de time no mo
We goin take turns
an guess whos turn it is now?


The functionally illiterate?

Anonymous said...

Ain't nobody goin hav 2 b a slave all de time no mo
We goin take turns
an guess whos turn it is now?


People who don't believe in a Second Amendment right to bear arms.

Anonymous said...

boat dos guys gusd wong. gus agin.

Anonymous said...

Let's eat grandpa! Let's eat, grandpa! Commas save lives.

Anonymous said...

The functionally illiterate?

December 22, 2009 3:54 PM

ha, ha, ha, ha, ha - sweet!

I look forward to the census next year - anyone else? It is pretty easy to see the demographical change. I'm afraid the illiterate one will be incorrect.

Anonymous said...

Weren't the Khmer Rouge illiterate?

Anonymous said...

The Khmer Rouge didn't make anyone their slaves. They just murdered everyone. Which doesn't seem all that bright. So, yeah, they were probably illiterate. Their attitude was, eat the rich. And the smart. And the not particularly rich or bright who didn't agree with them.

Anonymous said...

Although digressing from the original post, clarification: Khmer Rouge leaders were all highly educated (in France) and copied the Maoist doctorine. They employed the peasants (the illiterati) to run the country, focusing on agrarian gains. This meant intellectuals and others with "foreign" influences, such as those wearing glasses, suffered or were killed. There is a large corpus of work out there detailing those years. In the end, the experiment failed, obviously, and the Vietnamese saved Cambodia, ironically, after the US pullout of Saigon.

Ed Coll said...

Thanks for the clarification on the Khmer Rouge. It appears a few literate people can convince a very large number of illiterate people to kill people the literate don't like. This is troublesome given the declining literacy rate in the US and the fact that a few literate people (about 5 corporations) control a media such as television that can propagandize the illiterate in very large numbers. In earlier times one had to be literate to be propagandized by newspapers, books, posters etc. Joan is correct about TVs negative influence on literacy, but the ability of TV to propagandize such large numbers of illiterates is the true threat to democracy, peace and social justice.

Anonymous said...

Corporate media's threat to democracy? It's at least thirty years too late for that warning. They've refined the techniques and now technology allows us to be brainwashed with high definition flat screen TVs.

Anonymous said...

Wow, you guys are some humorous, if a little sad, living stereotypes. So, how is this conspiracy to brainwash everyone coordinated among the corporations and all the separate school systems across the country? And how come you guys are the only ones smart enough to see what's happening while the rest of us are duped?

steal this education theory said...

Hilarious. The very politically radical baby boomers who destroyed education in America now try to blame their failure on corporations. Puh-lease! Boomers have turned colleges into indoctrination centers and high schools into holding pens. You don’t expand your mind in college you learn to join an identity group or you learn to duck the crap that comes your way if you resist and refuse to regurgitate the vapid ideological brain-turds the boomers call progressive politics. Boomers use schools to indoctrinate and impose their non values on the young. Then aging professors and hippies have the audacity to try to deflect blame for the predictably devastating consequences of their stupid social theories.

Anonymous said...

You think it's a coincidence that the talking point used by Bush administration officials leading up to the Iraq invasion were parroted by CNN, CBS, NBC, MSNBC, etc.? How's about the almost universal acceptance by the media of Ronald Reagan as a great president? As for colleges being indoctrination centers, the ability of colleges and universities to control the message pales in comparison to the media's ability to influence public opinion. Are you claiming that there is no concentration of media ownership among a select few corporations? Or that the "news" isn't filtered to serve the corporations that feed their coffers? Maybe you believe that the the radio and teleivision networks don't give a shit about the message and just let it rip. Yeah, that's a believable scenario because if you can't trust Hannity or Limbaugh, who can you trust?

just because you're paranoid doesn't mean you're not crazy said...

If there was a conspiracy among media to uncritically support the Bush war efforts, how then to explain the eventual reversal of support by the same media and its extended self-reflection and self-criticism for having too readily reported the administrations line? In fact, it was the media who discovered and reported that various administration claims were false?

How would we explain that?

"The almost universal acceptance by the media of Ronald Reagan as a great president" is a nonexistent figment of your fevered imagination.

If the media filtered the ""news"" "to serve the corporations that feed their coffers" then it would be hard to explain news of corporate malfeasance, especially involving the corporations who own media.

But wait! We do see news of corporate malfeasance, every day! Corporations charged by the government with fraud, corporate executives perp walk before the cameras, why, there are even media exposes of corporations.

How do we explain it? Not a very good conspiracy they're running is it? Or maybe "conspiracy" is just the fevered dream of the American "progressive" fringe.

Ed Coll said...

"As for colleges being indoctrination centers, the ability of colleges and universities to control the message pales in comparison to the media's ability to influence public opinion."

Yes indeed. Professors only wish they had the power media does. Kind of hard to blame college professors when one national 30 second spot reaches millions and cost the annual salary of many professors combined.

Read "The Media Monolopy" by a professor "from the greatest generation" and educate yourself a bit before spouting loony conspiracy theories about 1960 era professors ability to influence public opinion.

"Ben Haig Bagdikian (born 1920, MaraƟ, Ottoman Empire; now in Turkey) is an American educator and journalist of Armenian descent. Bagdikian has made journalism his profession since 1941. He is a significant American media critic and the dean emeritus of the University of California at Berkeley's Graduate School of Journalism. In 1983, Bagdikian published The Media Monopoly, which revealed the fast-moving media conglomeration that was putting more and more media corporations in fewer and fewer hands with each new merger. This work has been updated through six editions (through 2000) before being renamed The New Media Monopoly and is considered a crucial resource for knowledge about media ownership. Bagdikian is credited with the observation that "Trying to be a first-rate reporter on the average American newspaper is like trying to play Bach's 'St. Matthew Passion' on a ukulele."

PERMALINK: http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Ben_Bagdikian&oldid=327004182

Ed Coll said...

"How do we explain it? Not a very good conspiracy they're running is it? Or maybe "conspiracy" is just the fevered dream of the American "progressive" fringe."

Who said anything about conspiracy? A few rich corporations acting in their own best interest need not "conspire" to do so. Institutional analysis is not conspiracy theory. Even simple content analysis reveals a skewed repetition of some events and an under representation of others. Just ask yourself how long do you think a reporter can report stories the boss doesn't like before "moving on to pursue other interests" (corporate speak for "your fired")? If you answer is "longer than a New York Minute" you don't know what you are talking about and have never worked as a TV reporter.

Anonymous said...

""Trying to be a first-rate reporter on the average American newspaper is like trying to play Bach's 'St. Matthew Passion' on a ukulele.""

Why does he hate ukuleles?

Anonymous said...

A few rich corporations acting in their own best interest need not "conspire" to do so. Institutional analysis is not conspiracy theory. Even simple content analysis reveals a skewed repetition of some events and an under representation of others. Just ask yourself how long do you think a reporter can report stories the boss doesn't like before "moving on to pursue other interests" (corporate speak for "your fired")?


To repeat: If the media filtered the ""news"" "to serve the corporations that feed their coffers" then it would be hard to explain news of corporate malfeasance, especially involving the corporations who own media.

But wait! We do see news of corporate malfeasance, every day! Corporations charged by the government with fraud, corporate executives perp walk before the cameras, why, there are even media exposes of corporations.

Anonymous said...

"hard to explain news of corporate malfeasance, especially involving the corporations who own media."

-- im prob mostly agreeing w/ you, i think. tho times when the corp parent did put the kabash on a story that would hurt them directly do come to mind. a thing where a GE exec's wife ran a pr firm and got his help to kill a story killed on some nuclear plant safety / pollutant problem as the plant's corp parent hired her per firm <-- that is a pretty standard and effective tactic: hire a family member of the person you want to influence (also a common way to be less obvious when violating the foreign corrupt practices act, but i digrees a-la- dawson)

and there was the 60 MIN tobacco story, where the corp parent freaked out about the $1B lawsuit threat (the movie "the insider")

and noam chomsky offers some pretty compelling arguments RE the coverage of isreal

still, there is plenty of good reporting out there; not hard to find


dwps