So I've just read yet another gloom and doom prediction about what's in store for our country. This time, it's about the dollar crashing by 90% and hard times like no living American has ever seen.
Cheers! Pour another merlot and go shopping. Or if you really want it all to go away, simply join the ignorant masses and rally 'round 'Good Morning America,' 'The Today Show' or virtually any so-called newscast on television.
My wife an I just returned from a trip deep into the bowels of Republicanism, Florida, where we spent five days catching up with old friends at my thirtieth class reunion. We talked about old times, but save for one particular classmate, who now resides in Germany, no one talked about current times. And unlike our cable system back home, neither of the two hotels we stayed at had MSNBC available on their systems, not that we actually had much opportunity to watch television.
We spent the last day at the in-laws, who watched "Dancing With The Stars" in the evening, and "Good Morning America" over coffee the next day. They, like most of the others we talked to (besides my ex-Pat German friend) were living in total blissful ignorance of anything political. It's easy to see why; if you rely on "the media" as a source of news, this country is doing great. There is not a care in the world. Even the sub-prime mortgage crisis gets short-shrift, and is brushed off as a minor blip, despite the fact that where we stayed, there were more For Sale signs than palm trees. Some boldly advertised the desperation of the homeowners -- "MAKE OFFER," "MUST SELL," "Rent to own, Move in Today."
Despite what every student of the non-mainstream "news" sources know, that the plummeting housing market still has probably a year to go before it reaches the bottom of the ravine, in the brief time I did catch some so-called news, the local reporter was declaring "It's a buyer's market! Now is the time to buy!" Well, sure. If you want to see your investment depreciate faster than an entry-level Kia.
If a regular reader of any online news forum dares log off for a few days, he will discover a la la land of carefree Americana. There can be no doubt that the American corporate/defense conctractor-owned media does not want to scare the masses. They could easily get people shopping again, but they don't really view a run on canned goods and bottled water the kind of holiday numbers that make the Happy News Hour. German ex-Pat and I were talking about the state of the economy and the ignorance of the general population, specifically regarding the plunging dollar. Another classmate nursing a beer nearby chimed in that we were crazy. "The dollar always fluctuates. It goes up and down all the time."
"Yes, it does," I told him, "but when was the last time you remember the Canadian dollar being worth more than ours? When was the last time you remember foreign nations dumping the dollar as their currency of choice?" We gave him a long list of examples, which were met with eye-rolling, and his segueing into a bizarre non-sequitur about the real problem...the real problem, according to Mr. Don't Worry Be Happy, was the number of nudist resorts in Florida, where old people were taking Viagra and having unprotected sex and spreading aids.
I paused to belt back a drink as rapidly as possible, hoping the numbing effects of alcohol would stop me from responding the way I wanted to. It rarely works that way, though, does it? But I was able to resist the urge to go off on a tirade, accepting that this was not the time or place, and the guy really wasn't even part of the original conversation to begin with.
So I dare you, DUers. Log off for a week. You'll quickly understand why my friend and my in-laws and the rest of America isn't marching in the streets with torches and pitchforks, demanding the impeachment and imprisonment of our so-called leaders. It's because in the media-fed world in which most people live, there simply is no longer ANY source of real news. On GMA that final morning, my in-laws listened in rapt attention to a very serious analysis of Marie Osmand's dance routine and her standing among her competitors. This was NEWS. It went on seemingly endlessly.
The evening news, the local variety, was all about local heroes, holiday air traffic, recipes for Thanksgiving leftovers. But notice how we're not hearing any news about the holiday shopping numbers? Oh, and of course, "The Surge" has been a resounding success and we love the war again.
In my fantasy world, as George W. Bush and Richard "Dick" Cheney are frog-marched from the White House in hand cuffs, the executives at NBC/GE, ABC/Disney, Viacom and Fox will be tethered to them by a length of heavy chain attached to a cannon ball, crisp orange jump suits awaiting them after a long bus ride to a Halliburton detention center.
The fan is spinning at high speed, and there is a stock pile of shit just waiting to topple over right onto it. But don't count on the media to get anyone prepared for it. It'd be bad for advertising sales.
Posted in full with author's permission.
Originally posted at democraticunderground.com: http://journals.democraticunderground.com/Atman/73