The Netizen Poodles v.2: CLICK HERE to get nowhere !

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Alternet, a progressive online journal that “aims to inspire action and advocacy on the environment, human rights and civil liberties, social justice, media, health care issues, and more.” posted a piece today that says…

Watch: Jon Stewart Nails Obama on Guantanamo (link at end of article)

But John Stewart doesn’t really nail anything ! He’ll often take extremely serious, volatile and utterly disturbing news and urgent matters and turn it into tv comedy … kinda like prozac, no?… And he does it for BIG dollars !

Consider this, if let’s say a US member of the govt. was taken prisoner or hostage and tortured by a foreign country, it would be absolutely off limits to make jokes about that situation. But war crimes in Guantanamo? ( Arab) Prisoners unjustly detained for 11 years caught up in a ’showtime terror dragnet’ and now in a life-threatening hunger strike ? Seems to be fair game!

“But he’s attacking Obama’s lame excuses for not closing Gitmo!” you’ll say. Yes, but laughing at this ( or any other) administration’s criminality like it’s a sitcom episode is a large part of how the US got where it is today.

Sure Stewart believes he’s engaging in some form of informing the public, freedom of expression and moral reproach, but it’s still a corporate TV pacifier, with all the limitations of media content produced with big advertising dollars. And so while covering a topic that should and must make you outraged, Stewart’s JOB is to keep you laughing…

If he were to propose any forms of action, civil disobedience, etc… he would be removed from his corporate channel immediately. So, nothing against Stewart as a comedian per se, and we can assume he knows well his limits… it’s more an analysis of the mass media and entertainment industry vortex, which bleeds into or replicates in the newer domain of the internet.

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{ Vieques in 2003 }

In contrast to this story, the people of Vieques, Puerto Rico are celebrating today a 10-year anniversary of having kicked out the US military off their land, not just because of its offensive colonial imposition, but because they were endangering their lives via war games ( military exercises and bombing practice ) and dropping all sorts of hazardous waste including depleted uranium. The people of Puerto Rico weren’t laughing, they were furious and they got organized ! A massive and popular uprising ( in this case non-violently ) forced the situation to be too costly – publicly and monetarily – for the military to continue.

( report via Democracy Now … and re: the ongoing struggles to get the Navy to clean up the contaminated areas and the residual health effects.)

Not to single out Alternet for posting Stewart, many activists and concerned citizens will reference his Daily Show, because he’s actually a skilled performer/comedian, and w/ some integrity to fight for social justice, to a degree (i.e. Democrat). And he will often bring a clever logic to certain complex situations and political mindfucks. And he does make us laugh, at a time when the daily news is continuously daunting, oppressive, maddening and unbearable. ( Perhaps his best effects are when countering other media propaganda such as Fox and looney tools like Glenn Beck. )

Click here to get nowhere !

But what this points out is that the medium itself is a part of what is transforming us into social net poodles, where atrocities can be normalized by this low-level grappling with dire situations and the challenges we face. And when we follow the medium’s “laugh track”, and we get comfortable on the couch with its safe handling of extremely difficult news…  when we follow its frames, its agendas… and especially its LACK of agenda, we get nowhere!

… A theme we will continue to analyze.

[ And to give Alternet some credit, this post from Noam Chomsky, also today, was a little more on top of it : Chomsky: The Boston Bombings Gave Americans a Taste of the Terrorism the U.S. Inflicts Abroad Every Day "It's rare for privileged Westerners to see, graphically, what many others experience daily" ]

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{ The Stewart clip via Alternet }

Is it not an extremely grotesque phenomenon that a media program, even one that claims that it is just a comedy show ( though it is no doubt viewed by many in the US as a primary news resource and an editorial format )  can make humor of strapping prisoners on a hunger strike to a chair and force feeding them !?? … something that has been described in even the New York Times as excruciating torture on a daily basis !

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