May 17, 2005

There is absence, there is lack


after dinner games, irving penn, 1947

* Salon: A society can die of too many lies. (from an address given by Bill Moyers at the National Conference for Media Reform in St. Louis, Mo., on Sunday) excerpt:

"Without a trace of irony, the powers that be have appropriated the newspeak vernacular of George Orwell's '1984.' They give us a program vowing no child will be left behind while cutting funds for educating disadvantaged children; they give us legislation cheerily calling for clear skies and healthy forests that give us neither, while turning over our public lands to the energy industry. In Orwell's '1984' the character Syme, one of the writers of that totalitarian society's dictionary, explains to the protagonist, Winston, 'Don't you see? Don't you see that the whole aim of newspeak is to narrow the range of thought? Has it ever occurred to you, Winston, that by the year 2050 at the very latest, not a single human being will be alive who could understand such a conversation as we're having right now. The whole climate of thought,' he said, 'will be different. In fact, there will be no thought as we understand it now. Orthodoxy means not thinking, not needing to think. Orthodoxy is unconsciousness.'

"Hear me: An unconscious people, an indoctrinated people, a people fed only partisan information and opinion that confirm their own bias, a people made morbidly obese in mind and spirit by the junk food of propaganda, is less inclined to put up a fight, ask questions, and be skeptical. And just as a democracy can die of too many lies, so that kind of orthodoxy can kill us, too."

* Editorial: The war on drugs simply not working. excerpt:

"Comal County’s district attorney and one of its district judges agreed this past week that the United States government’s “war on drugs” — and its judicial system — just aren’t working when it comes to stopping abuse of alcohol and illegal drugs.

"For decades, the government has been trying to enlist its citizens in some form or fashion as allies in the fight — only to find that many of them go over to the other side by creating the very demand the illicit drug trade depends on.

"Law enforcement fights what is at best trench warfare against drug-related crime. The two sides, mired in muddy holes they can’t pull themselves out of, stare at one another across no man’s land. They snipe at one another and there are casualties on both sides, but nothing ever really changes."

* "If you get hung up on everybody else's hang-ups, then the whole world's going to be nothing more than one huge gallows." -- richard brautigan

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