poverty of thought inspired by Democracy Now

as any good liberal playacting-as-leftist is to do in the states, i listened to Democracy Now broadcasts for years, after graduating from NPR of course. day after day, i received snippets, sometimes more lengthy reportage, of the world’s news as filtered through Amy Goodman’s specific sort of gravelly tone that seems to define the handwringing condition of “deep sympathy” while avoiding any of the passionate urgency that one might think their range of coverage could foster. and perhaps that dulling of the senses takes years to develop and then cast aside when one considers what “poverty of thought” means in the american progressive media environment.

there is the ever present acknowledgement of gate(keeping)way public intellectual presence that western radicals are supposed to be aware of when discussing their own development. many of us are able to prattle on about the importance of a dialectical understanding in this regard. for better or worse it has become a ritual, and i feel that left unchecked it can become a narcissistic one, probably most notable among those occupying certain decaying class positions.

poverty of thought is an interesting phenomenon to consider here as it relates to its clinical psychiatric definition. it is a condition assigned to people diagnosed with schizophrenia (and some other related divergences), an inability to form ideas, thought, and speech due to “thought blockage”. one way in which it is characterized is a full stop of speech mid-sentence without the ability to recall what one was originally referencing just seconds before. a “flattening of affect” is reported as common — a loss of emotion, fading of facial expression that typically accompanies the fullness of human interaction.

i would argue that the american condition itself is one of mass, forced schizophrenia, a splitting of the mind to ensure obedience to the power structure while carrying out hated tasks and rituals. i understand the arguments that can be lodged back at such a claim in lessening the severity of divergences that affect people in more acute ways, those who are diagnosed and who rely on therapy and medication to take care of themselves and survive day to day. as seeming platitudes can so often go, perhaps it is “everyone else” who is really “crazy” for not recognizing these contradictions in everyday life and being able to see the insanity on a broader scale. i probably fall into that platitudinous camp, though i think there are much deeper connotations here. and i don’t propose to speak for all people who have this diagnosis, but being officially marked as “a schizo” and all that entails gives me some amount of insight i think i have a right to speak to. and, not to mention, i am surely not the first one to hypothesize along these lines.

such poverty seems to be an underlying operation at work with outlets such as DN. a barrage of information delivered daily, tirelessly, by people pretty well compensated to do so and who are to deliver it in such a way that it remains unlinked and unanalyzed by a differing ideology than dominant forms. an untrained listener absorbs more every day, and without the tools to make their own analyses, it is scattered in the mind in the form of bad stuff occurring everywhere all the time. certainly it does but this form of indoctrination does not give one a picture of how the world actually works by design.

certainly, myself and others are able to speak to that one or handful of in-depth, investigative series that really opened their eyes to aspects of the systematic operations employed by the ruling class. as DN structure goes, these remain unlinked unless checked alongside other related research. a flood of new information to discover every day that works to distort even-keeled thought. that evidentiary based fact checking, which should go without saying (but anyway), is not always so easy to do for people commuting or busy with other parts of their lives. it used to be more common for dissenting researchers to be able to have their own reports where they could offer their running analyses that linked events around the world to imperialism and fascism, and on stations no less that Pacifica in fact encroached upon using some really underhanded means at times. citizen journalists online and on lesser known stations still fight back against this loss and i am thankful for them, which is perhaps why i tend toward forgoing the drama involved with acknowledging the importance gateway who- and whatevers these days. digging into the systematic underpinnings of taking these resources away from an ever more confusing (dis)informational landscape that is part of low-intensity warfare itself creates resentment and anger in those who remain passionate and who once trusted themselves in being able to determine the half-truths presented to them from domineering institutions.

dispassionately delivered news impresses upon listeners a flattened affect — things are bad bad bad, and we have no solution. only coverage. endless coverage.

what is “good enough” in the american progressive milieu is acknowledgement. it is marketed to progressive listeners in such a way that recognizes what they would like to see alleviated — racist and sexist institutions that restrict human rights and that violently persecute the oppressed for fighting for them. the way in which they use the data gathered by concerned citizens is in fact criminal, and i think just one recent small instance from DN as it relates to the Baltimore uprising is illustrative. its relatively microscopic (daily) occurrence is just one method that is at work in their larger project. first, consider the blistering reportage and delivery Bruce A Dixon penned on Loretta Lynch in February at Black Agenda Report that undeniably proves her complicity:

Lynch served her first term at the Justice Department co-chairing something called the White Collar Crime Subcommittee. But you never hear Lynch bragging about how many white collar crooks, fraudulent bankster, predatory speculators and greedy CEOs she’s locked up. That’s just not what the Department of Justice does any more, whether under Democrats or Republicans. Hence Loretta Lynch’s expertise in advising and defending the few white collar criminals who got close to seeing the inside of a courtroom made her eminently qualified for DOJ’s “White Collar Crime Subcommittee.”

To be fair, this kind of misrepresentation on the part of elite corporate black lawyers of what they do isn’t unique to Ms. Lynch, it’s pretty typical. Corporate lawyer and current Atlanta mayor Kasim Reed used to bill himself as a “civil rights lawyer,” which was only true in the sense that he was paid to represent corporations in employment law, age discrimination and civil rights cases against, not for those whose rights were violated. […]

Loretta Lynch is the lawyer who writes the fine print on the “get out of jail free” cards the Justice Department hands out to banksters, speculators and too-big-to-jail CEOs. She’s the vicious federal DA who prosecuted thousands of poor defendants on petty drug charges each month, while she ignored the official crimes of NYPD excepting a single case that put tens of thousands of angry New Yorkers in the street.

a sampling of tweets that turn up from a search on Lynch:

i’m making a mental note, as i often do with McKesson’s tweets that pop up in a search on any publicized event, of his lack of further commentary. in any case, i turn to DN’s abetting in this criminality:

obviously, this links back to Wagner’s tweet on what white liberals are concerned with. this blurb, this expertly and regularly crafted non-reportage is their bread and butter — criminality in league with the likes of Lynch and those she protects. their sheer opportunism lends toward this uprising being reduced toward the purely symbolic event of her appointment. it is obviously not enough for radicals and leftists to pander to gateways, to play it safe and make sure one is seen on the right side of some larger tilt towards an eventual justice that does not exist. with that, i’ll just leave it here with Sheppard hitting it on the head:

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4 thoughts on “poverty of thought inspired by Democracy Now

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