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Old 3rd April 2006   #1
Emily
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Join Date: July 2005
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Default A ''politico-legal-media complex''

About a year ago, on this forum, I read with great interest the discussions of Myrna Blyth's book Spin Sisters -- a book that exposes the workings of the women's magazine industry, and how the media creates trumped-up "epidemics" and scare-mongering to sell magazines.

A friend of mine just loaned me Michael Crichton's most recent book, State of Fear, and while I'm not really a Crichton fan, he follows up on some of Blyth's most interesting points. I think Crichton's observations are worth considering, especially considering how the media has fabricated the myth of a "weight epidemic" in North America -- even though this myth has, time and again, been proven to be totally false.

Crichton writes:
Has it ever occurred to you how astonishing the culture of Western society really is? Industrialized nations provide their citizens with unprecedented safety, health, and comfort. Average life spans increased fifty percent in the last century. Yet modern people live in abject fear. They are afraid of strangers, of disease, of crime, of the environment. They are afraid of the homes they live in, the food they eat, the technology that surrounds them...Like the belief in witchcraft, it's an extraordinary delusion -- a global fantasy worthy of the Middle Ages...

This is so true, and so absurd. But where I got really interested was when Crichton described how and why this kind of manufactured hysteria is allowed to flourish:
For the last fifteen years we have been under the control of an entirely new complex, far more powerful and far more pervasive [than the military-industrial complex]. I call it the politico-legal-media complex. The PLM. And it is dedicated to promoting fear in the population -- under the guise of promoting safety...Western nations are fabulously safe. Yet people do not feel they are, because of the PLM. And the PLM is powerful and stable, precisely because it unites so many institutions of society. Politicians need fears to control the population. Lawyers need dangers to litigate, and make money. The media need scare stories to capture an audience. Together, these three estates are so complelling that they can go about their business even if the scare is totally groundless. If it has no basis in fact at all...

That's a pretty devastating observation, but I think it's true. I only wonder if it's quite as calculated as Crichton suggests, or merely the result of a lot of opportunism. But the way in which these "estates" support each other is hard to deny.

Crichton alludes to another aider and abetter of manufactured hysteria, and it's hard to deny the truth of what he suggests:
The PLM calously ignores the plight of the poorest and most desperate human beings on our planet in order to keep...politicians in office, rich news anchors on the air, and conniving lawyers in Mercedes-Benz convertibles. Oh, and univeristy professors in Volvos. Let's not forget them...They became the creators of new fears for the PLM. Universities today are factories of fear. They invent all the new terrors and all the new social anxieties. All the new restrictive codes. Words you can't say. Thoughts you can't think. They produce a steady stream of new anxieties, dangers, and social terrors to be used by politicians, lawyers, and reporters. Foods that are bad for you. Behaviors that are unacceptable...

The point about "social anxieties" is especially right, I think, when I consider how the ideologies that the universities espouse pit women against men, or class against class, etc.

And it all ties in to the topic of this forum. Look at how the media is trying to make parents believe that they should starve their daughters, and politicians think that they should humiliate girls in schools, just because of their having naturally full figures.

The "politico-legal-media complex." Whether it's the result of deliberate coordination, or ad-hoc opportunitism, something like this really exists, and the result is the same: anti-plus prejudice on a massive scale.

Let's hope the public increasingly sees through this, and becomes aware of the puppet-masters pulling the strings.
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Old 6th April 2006   #2
HSG
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Default Re: A ''politico-legal-media complex''


Although some might question the specific premise of Crichton's State of Fear (i.e., that global warming is a myth), his theory about the "politico-legal-media complex" is valid and persuasive.

One might, however, build on his assessment of the significance of the modern university in the propagation of the PLM. Crichton notes that

Fifty years ago, if you wanted to lead what was then called 'the life of the mind,' meaning to be an intellectual, to live by your wits, you had to work in a university. The society at large had no place for you. A few newspaper reporters, a few magazine journalists could be considered as living by their wits, but that was about it. Universities attracted those who willingly gave up worldly goods to live a cloistered intellectual life, teaching timeless values to the younger generation. Intellectual work was the exclusive province of the university.

But today, whole sectors of society live the life of the mind. Our entire economy is based on intellectual work, now. Thirty-six percent of workers are knowledge workers. That's more than are employed in manufacturing . . . when that happened, the universities were thrown into crisis. What good were they anymore? They had lost their exclusive hold on the life of the mind. They no longer taught the young. Only so many theoretical texts on the semiotics of Foucault could be published in any single year. What was to become of our universities? What relevance did they have in the modern era?

What became of "our universities" was that they turned themselves into activist factories.

Rather than teaching the young, professors began brainwashing the young. Whereas professors of past generations engaged in "teaching timeless values to the younger generation," the current generation of university professors directs them to resent and assault those timeless values--blindly and reactively, engaging in vandalism for vandalism's sake, without any appreciation of what they are destroying.

It's all too easy to understand why their indoctrination is so successful. Many young students enter the academy like blank slates, without any inherent understanding of the Western tradition, and are immediately taught that said tradition is "oppressive," or a tool of an illusionary "patriarchy," or of a nonexistent "bourgeoisie." Modern professors encourage students to believe that they are giving them a "special understanding" of the world, and of how it works. It makes students feel privileged and important. It lets them distinguish themselves from the supposedly-oppressed "masses." And the students' job--so the professors tell them--is to take this "critical perception" of the world and to become political missionaries, spreading the gospel of resentment, and attacking timeless values wherever they find them.

And as these students become "knowledge workers"--particularly in the media--that's exactly what they do.

Of course, it's all a hoax. The students are attacking "power structures" that have not existed for centuries--if they ever existed at all. And the end result of their politico-missionary zeal is simply the fomenting of gender conflict, class conflict, etc., as well as the near-complete eradication of beauty from the world.

As has often been noted on this forum, the modern assault on timeless aesthetic values is symptomatic of a culture-wide assault on timeless values in general; and it has, at its basis, a terribly banal motive--i.e., a political power grab.

One can only hope that someday, many young products of the Activist Factory will discover how they are being duped--how they are being used--by the evangelists of resentment, and then deploy the critical faculties that they have been given to deconstruct their own indoctrination.

Perhaps in time, they may even become proponents of the Aesthetic Restoration, and will help to revive the timeless values that they have hitherto been duped into assailing.

Curvaceous new goddess at Nordstrom, showing off the first fruits of Summer 2006:

- Click here to view the above item

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