Tuesday, February 20, 2007


My encounter with real physical pain was bad enough.  But the semiprivate hospital room exposed me to mental pain as well:  forced to watch the endless parade of “sex and violence” (there’s no other way to put it) on my neighbor’s TV screen.
Used to watching a select few channels, I never realized the pervasiveness and the weight of what goes on over the vast number of other outlets.  While I’m carrying on about the failings of NBC, ABC, CBS (the sisters, I believe they’re called)  this daily diet that reaches milli

While I rejoice at Ken Silverstein’s persistence in getting his interviews of Islamists to the public (why did it take so long for Harpers to print them, he’s been the DC bureau chief for months?), recognizing the similarities between these rebels and the Cuban revolutionaries I interviewed forty years ago, the picture expands, as in a nightmare, and I get to this: big men, small people.
The world is ruled by a clique of big men and women; masses of people are always ruled by a small number of individuals, and this makes “the people”, who should be big, small. The problem for rulers today, is the sheer size of the world’s population. They will tell you they have to use every means at their disposal or there would be mayhem.
As if to confirm this, “Democracy Now” interviews Maureen Webb, a Canadian lawyer, who just wrote a book entitled “Illusions of Security” that details all the ways the big men do not love the small people.
While we anxiously follow the half dozen or so daily episodes in the permanent world sit-coms, as if individually they were really meaningful, we are oblivious to the fact that electronic bees are busy twenty-four seven mining data about everything we do, the better to know what we think, and be able to pick us up at an airport as we return from grandmothers across the woods or the seas, and lock us up in some unknown place, just in case we didn’t internalize the message on the TV.

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