Friday, June 23, 2006

Eduardo Galeano Against Censorship.

A number of readers request further attacks on New Jersey's Supreme Court and politicians, including, I guess, quite a few New Jersey lawyers who wish to remain anonymous. I will do my best to comply later in the week. Meanwhile, I am suddenly popular in the UK. Lawyers are big on anonymity. http://www.ypster.co.uk/g/1772102.html http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/141160413X/203-4393889-3959920?v=glance&n=266239 ; and in Germany: "Mein Warenkorb auf einen Blick" http://www.bol.de . (Whatever that means.)


Edwardo Galeano responds to efforts to silence Noam Chomsky:

"The big media in the United States [in my case, the censors are probably organized crime figures and/or New Jersey's political hacks, or the hired help] aren't as omnipotent as they think they are. According to them, Noam Chomsky doesn't exist. But if so, ... his voice -- his countervoice -- manages to reach the young people of his own country, despite the censors who would like to silence him."

All of the obstacles I encounter, on a daily basis, to writing these blog entries -- hours of obstacles and frustrations -- only make me more determined to make my statements. They tell me that I must be hitting a nerve. Of course, I don't presume to compare myself with Noam Chomsky or Eduardo Galeano in terms of the intelligence and wisdom of what I have to say, only in my need to say it.

Censors -- official or unofficial -- will never win in America because what they fear is truth and reason, which are things that cannot be stopped or denied. My inspiration today is Malcolm X and Noam Chomsky. I cannot post images, so I will provide links for them; my writing is sometimes obstructed, along with my access to this blog, so I will try again. I will retype the essays, as many times as necessary, even re-posting them elsewhere, if all else fails. My texts may be defaced by hackers, so I will revise them as often as necessary.

I sense that it is these would-be hackers and censors -- and not me -- who are frightened by what I say and, even more, of the consequences of a closer look at their illicit activities. So let's hope the FBI is taking that closer look. My feeling is that the feds are doing just that and have been for some time. Efforts to silence me (or any critic) are the equivalent of a red flag for them.
Why is free expression frightening to gangsters and Fascists?

Well, even they know that their "ideas" or arguments are incoherent and indefensible. They fear dialectics because they are bound to lose all arguments, even against a moderately articulate interlocutor, like me. People who endorse stupidity, who hate and burn books, tend not to do well in debates or in any rational discussions. They tend to commit their crimes -- censors are always criminals, even when they are called "judges" in a society -- getting away with their actions only because of the silence of an apathetic and distracted population. Don't be apathetic and silent.

Programs like "Democracy Now" and alternative media are vitally necessary for you to be fully informed concerning what is going on in the world. I am always loyal to The New York Times, since the sheer abundance of information compensates for any single journalist's slant. You may wish to avoid Fox News and CBS News, unless you want to know the official positions of Republicans and Democrats. Remember that censorship begins with the lone voice, then leads to newspapers and television channels, eventually to those four minutes of hate described by Orwell and a ban on all books, except for those of a select few.

Apathy and distraction are enemies of democracy, so is ignorance and stupidity. Nothing pleases Fascists more than an ineffective system of education, which is guaranteed to prevent people from realizing that their pockets are being picked. It is even better when the ineffective public education system can be reserved (mostly) for the "lower orders" in society. Hence, the obligation to be as intelligent and well-informed as we can be. Our freedom may well depend on knowledge and intelligence to develop strategies of resistance to unjust power.

Conservatives I respect have the courage of their convictions, like Bill Buckley or William Bennett. They have the decency to engage their adversaries in face-to-face debates, rather than slithering around in the shadows hoping to plunge a rhetorical dagger in someone's back. I doubt that conservatives are responsible for the obstruction efforts directed at this blog and at my work. By the way, whatever they may call themselves, people who seek to censor others are not exactly adhering to the policies of the Democratic party. Read Gore Vidal and other liberals. You will find them censored just as often (or more often) than their counterparts on the Right.

This leads me to Antonio Gramsci's concept of "hegemony." In the absence of alternatives, people are lulled into complacency by big media's pacifying "chewing gum for the mind." A study I once read indicated that brain patterns in multihour television viewers, who do not read, resemble the cerebral patterns of persons in a light sleep or trance. What is in their minds must remain a mystery, my guess is that it isn't much. Unfortunately, being asleep is highly dangerous when politicians and crooks (overlapping categories among my would-be censors in New Jersey) are in the house. So wake up America and smell the decaffinated coffee and eat your tofu sandwich. You need your strength to fight against all this conditioning.

Many of us feel that most of the vital information about big events in the world is not a part of "mainstream" television coverage -- yet t.v. is where a majority of people learn about the world -- and network news is show business. Each of the major political parties has "friends" in "the" big media, who will deliver their messages, putting their "spin" on things. True, there are also honest journalists -- fewer of them every day -- trying to tell controversial stories. They are an endangered species.

"It's an aspect of all our lives," Duncan Kennedy writes, "that we feel ourselves ... trapped within systems of ideas that we feel are false, but [that we] can't break out of. We deal constantly, all of us, with others who seem to be turned against themselves by things they believe, things that we think are in some sense wrong -- constrictingly distorted."

Psychobabblers -- usually behaviorists -- coopted intellectuals and show business types are among the intellectual storm troopers of an establishment that is well aware of living in the Age of Media. "Simulacra" (Baudrillard), including the artificial semblance of democracy we often live with, may allow for an avoidance of true democracy or accountability by our politicians to the governed masses, masses they exploit in an ever-more brazen manner. "And now a word from our sponsor ..." may have become the most ominous words in the English language.

To live in a plastic and malleable cultural reality, consisting mostly of a system of media signs and symbol-structures, is to become a slave of the sign-makers and readers, especially when persons are denied the tools to do either of those things for themselves, that is, to make or read the important media signs. God forbid that you should raise the issue of "false consciousness" since you will then be dismissed as an elitist. Power likes it that way.

Power loves the semi-radical morons spouting banalities ("it's all relative!"), unaware that they are serving their oppressors, particularly when they can be enlisted to censor or silence others. Perhaps by disrupting Internet blogs and other populist media or communicative efforts. If you are cooperating with efforts to destroy this blog, ask yourself: "Why are you helping people to silence anyone?" Money? How can you believe people who would have you silence others? You can't. Next week it may be your blog that is under attack.

"One reason why it is hard [to enlighten people,] and why people don't want to talk about it, is that it sounds incredibly elitist to engage in a discussion in which the premise is that someone you want to help is misguided, or wrong, or has had their mind confused by a norm: that you must never talk about false consciousness, there are no absolutes [-- if I only had a nickel for every time I have heard a person make that self-refuting statement, I'd be a wealthy man! --] no one knows the truth, and therefore you can't use as a complicated explanatory hypothesis, and you shouldn't think about, the idea that one of the things that may be going on is a gigantic brain wash."

I must now pause to make it clear that I do not claim to "enlighten" people, since anyone of my particular ethnicity is deemed arrogant or presumptuous if he or she claims to enlighten another person about anything. Such a claim is called "elitism" by the true elitists and biggots. I am supposed to allow the trendy and emaciated fashionistas dressed in black to inform me about matters they know less well than I do. I keep forgetting to play that passive role. Next thing you know, I'll want to get "on top" when having sex. Yes, I know. I'm a bitch.

I do favor a genuinely free conversation between political adversaries. I am confident that I will do well in such a discussion. I am pretty sure that I can defend my views. This is less arrogance about my skills as an advocate than respect for the merits of these views, views like freedom of speech and the RIGHT to express any idea, regardless of who doesn't like that idea. I am an American Constitutionalist. My radical suggestion is that we actually live the ideas that we claim to accept, applying them to everyone for once.

Don't torture people for their own good or suppress speech by "little people" (like me) because you resent the fact that I may be more intelligent or articulate than you are, which is probably not saying much about me. How's that for a radical suggestion? Finally, Eduardo Galeano speaks of Chomsky's use of language as a golden key to open "prisons of the mind":

"I suspect Chomsky is familiar with the key that opens forbidden doors. As a renowned scholar of linguistics, he ought to be. 'Abracadabra,' the magic word used by people everywhere, comes from the Hebrew abreq ad habra and it means, 'Keep spreading your fire until the end.' ..."

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