Independence Day: Break Free from Corporate Media.
“It doesn’t take a majority to make a rebellion; it takes only a few determined leaders and a sound cause.” ~ H.L. Mencken
If any of you tuned in to some of the Republican or Democratic presidential primary debates earlier this year, you likely witnessed the blasphemy we have been fed in droves in these here United States. As a woman who rejected television years ago, I forced myself to join the millions of Americans willing to subject themselves to the spectacle. I resolved to watch a GOP debate from beginning to end, objectively. I had no idea just how impossible that would be.
As the first moments of the debate came on, I felt like I was being hyped to watch some cheaply produced reality show geared toward the politically inept and uninformed. The intro music sounded like a video game soundtrack, and I was prepared to see cartoon images of the candidates hunting each other down in virtual urban warfare before they even took to the podiums.
What the hell had I signed myself up for? What had our democracy become?
Needless to say, I was not impressed with the debate, if one could call it that. I was, in fact, depressed to see what our media had devolved into. The event was nothing more than a clamoring for viewers based on the larger-than-life characters (yes, these players resembled characters much more than intelligent human beings vying for the title of leader of the free world) and their vile attacks on one another.
The prospect of seeing it repeated with only two candidates, both of whom are corporately owned, is disheartening, to say the least.
I made it through the intro and well into the first hours of the spectacle, but I could not shake the dissatisfaction. I kept thinking how deceptive the whole process was. Viewers sitting through hours of canned questions that only incite emotion, and do little to expand upon any policy stances. Where was the substance? Why were they still talking about bombing foreign countries though I knew each candidate’s stance on this issue weeks before?
I wanted more.
Not more fighting or name-calling or wife-swap style accusations, but more information.
I live in a state where we are experiencing a $600 million budget shortfall — a state where my children may not have schools to attend in the fall — and these jokesters didn’t mention education one time.
Not. One. Time.
And the truth is, they had no reason to speak on it, because no one asked.
This was where my real surprise came in. I’ll admit that I didn’t have high hopes when I chose to tune in, but I had hoped that all the muss and fuss about these yahoos arguing non-stop was just a case of over-reported episodes of verbal diarrhea wedged in amongst the real debate.
I was wrong. So fucking wrong.
Real debate was absent, and the entire debacle was little more than a shouting match. And it appears that this is how we are going to be fed our general election. Similar to how a real election is absent, with candidates being force-fed to the masses, before we even vote.
Pardon the language, but it’s a raging shit-storm out there, and I’m pretty sure we just entered candidacy hurricane season. So while I tuned in, all I really learned is that ratings guide the race, and the media is benefiting from the circus.
“Democracy is the art and science of running the circus from the monkey cage.” ~ H.L. Mencken
So, what do we get? Are we just spectators watching the clowns in the ring laughing and grimacing until it’s time for the fat lady to sing?
The race for the White House has devolved into a screaming match in some camps, resembling a middle school tirade in many ways, and presents a vile and insanely juvenile picture of our nation to the rest of the world. Our world begs more of our leaders than hairpieces and mouthpieces.
Our nation was a beacon of democracy, and now we have rigged voting, massive voter suppression, and a two-party system that is so intertwined it’s hard to tell the difference between which corporation owns which party.
What the hell is going on here, America?
How far have we come from representative democracy and truthful reporting? When did we collectively decide that media could feed us this nutrient-deficient fodder and we’d be satiated on this fucking fruity pebbles we call mainstream media? I’m over it.
Truth is, I’ve been over it for years, and I know I’m not alone in this.
The question of the hour, it seems then, is what do we do? What is there to do?
Our knowledge of what is really happening in the world is fed to us by networks that are owned and operated by those who have a vested interest in what we know. To search out reliable news sources, I’ve long believed that the first step is turning off the television.
But where do we go after that? In the information age, we now have a plethora of sources available to us at every instant. Thanks to the Google gods, we can search and find millions of media outlets in a matter of milliseconds. But even Google is not without influence.
Search results are just as easily influenced by money—I do it every day, in fact. Paid search results and money hungry websites mess with the algorithms to ensure that you see what they want you to see when you type your query. The most powerful trick is actually limiting information that they don’t want you to see.
“The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.” ~ H.L. Mencken
So again I ask, “What do we do?”
What is there to be done in this world where paid advertising and outright lies are more powerful than any libel law you can use? Where do real people get real answers? Where do we get real news — the kind that comes without pandering and positioning for ratings and income?
How do we make the mainstream media ask the questions we want the answers to?
How do we put public broadcasting back in the public’s best interest?
How do we know that the media we feed ourselves is reliable and truthful?
Even more importantly, how do we return the debate for democracy back into the hands of the people?
Create rebellion. Redefine media. Consume a healthy media diet, rich in diversity and differing points of view. Embrace citizen journalism. Even better, create citizen journalism!
There are reputable media outlets that live on the outskirts of corporate ownership, which is a great place to start. But even these outlets need to be absorbed with discrimination.
“A newspaper is a device for making the ignorant more ignorant and the crazy crazier.” ~ H.L. Mencken
I listen to Democracy Now every day on the way to work, and I know that even it comes with a slant. I peruse Mother Jones and the Washington Post, knowing full well to take it all with a grain of salt. I read For Harriet and The Root and listen to the unheard voices and first hand reports on Twitter that never make it to any media outlets.
I also read research studies and legislative bills, I look at statistics and try to use a discerning eye when I’m presented with facts.
And when I can’t take the headlines and bylines and buzzwords anymore, I turn to non-factual media. Media that instills spirit, incites the quest for knowledge and reaffirms rebellion against the status quo into my day.
I read your blogs and your poems and I listen to new music and old folk tunes and I look at your art. I check in on the protests and the bombings and I try to find the connections between it all. I keep looking for those sparks that reveal that there are others like me. Others who are fed up with what is passing as information. And I’m saddened at times to see that the sparks are few and far between.
The sparks are there…
… but they can be dim, my friends.
What I’ve come to realize is that, even in our rebellion, we lack information sharing. We lack a basic foundation with which to create a revolution, which is what we need. Our world is careening toward an irreversible collision course with climate, with over-consumption, with floods and fires and fanatics and forces outside of our control, and we are content to check Facebook for a pretty quotation and return to the canned news that isn’t really news at all.
It’s overwhelming — the degree to which we have lost control of what we consume.
But we do have control over a few things still, including our voices.
Many of you are willing to use your voices. You use them for your own businesses, your art, your poetry, your retreats and Yoga classes. I love that. I love that we’ve created a forum where people can say what they mean, and mean what they say, in order to create healing in personal ways. I’ve used this, too. I’ve used my voice for letting go of inner pain. It’s as powerful as anything I’ve ever tried.
But I believe that for all of us who claim to be compassionate, for all of us who encourage altruism and ego-releasing, we’re doing ourselves and our world a disservice by only using our voices to support our own endeavors.
At some point, we must reject our own interests and take up the causes that lead to true revolution.
It’s not enough to reject mainstream media to focus on the positive and support independent media. We’ve got to create, sustain and sell our own voices. Every single one of us. In a meaningful way.
It’s not enough to turn off the television. It’s not enough to start a blog. It’s not enough to join the retreat, go vegan, and write a book, if all we’re doing is selling our own brand of ignorance. It’s time to wake up.
Time to get woke and stay woke.
Our inclinations toward self-preservation have thrust our world into a dire situation, where children are drowning and refugees are evicted and hate-mongers are headlining every day! We’ve reached the apex of willful ignorance, and some of us are still just blogging about the beauty of the flowers in spring, because our audiences don’t want to read the hard stuff.
Peaceful beings don’t want to dig deep into the muck and upset the status quo because some of us are still somehow satisfied with the illusions we’ve been fed. Who really wants to choose to stop hiding our heads under the cover of our own self-serving constructs of reality, if it means we have to give up our happiness?
While I still hide under the blanket, I know it’s bullshit. And the longer I do it and allow happiness to trump morality, I’m doing a disservice to every human being with a heart and a conscience.
Sparkles and sunshine won’t save the world, but creating rebellion just might.
It is time to speak up and out on the things that actually matter… to everyone.
It is time to start using our voices to speak about the things that need reporting on.
To all of the powerful women and men who tap into the phases of the moon and the soul of the sea — where will you be when the next Fukushima finally claims all the saltwater lives and we are left with shores littered with life gone silent?
To all of the talented yogis and yoginis who are teaching and sharing handstands and inner peace and compassionate hearts — quieting your inner demons while mass murder is disrupting the peace of millions of innocents…
… what use is your compassionate and healing nature if you use it only to make your car payment or buy a new Kali statue to recite your Oms in front of, posing for the selfie that will change the world?
The entire point of self-development, last I checked, was to improve our selves and then transfer that to the larger population.
“Injustice is relatively easy to bear; what stings is justice.” ~ H.L. Mencken
Please don’t get me wrong here, I’m not saying that any of this is bad. I’m just saying there needs to be more!
Rebellion leads to revolution, but only if we make it.
Rebellion means rejecting what we’re fed and creating our own food! Growing it, tending it and sharing it with our communities.
At Rebelle Society, we publish a great deal of work by astute, empowering and highly literate persons. We are small, self-funded and less than marginally significant when it comes to resisting mainstream media’s influence on the billions of people in the world.
But we are here.
We are challenging traditional dissemination of knowledge, and have boosted the careers of driven writers across the globe. We support artists and those of ill repute when we need to.
We create our own platform, which aims to reveal the experiences of all people.
From New Delhi to Dayton, Ohio, we’ve provided a platform for independent, intelligent beings to create, report and disseminate what is creating, shaping and influencing their worlds.
It’s your world. This is your platform. Your resource. Your news source, if you make it that.
So I close with a challenge to both myself and my fellow rebels across the globe: Bring us the news.
We need you, our worldwide artists, activists, and enlightened beings, to bring the truth to the people.
Bring the News! Bring the Creative Rebellion! Break Free!
It’s time to re-create the media, and I, for one, am ready.
“I believe that it is better to tell the truth than a lie. I believe it is better to be free than to be a slave. And I believe it is better to know than to be ignorant.” ~ H.L. Mencken