Friday, June 23, 2006

The Dream of the "Viable Third Party"

The hope that any viable third-party can arise to challenge the dominant arrangement is a pipe-dream.

The two ostensible 'parties' are, as Gore Vidal once wrote, the two right wings of the same military/finance/energy/world domination 'bidness.' This is the party that Chomsky calls "the Party of Property.

For a third-party of any viability to arise, the hold of the oligarchic, stratified, vertically-integrated power cabal upon all the media would have to be broken, and the overwhelmingly thorough media concentration rolled back.

There are (allegedly) two ways of doing this. The first, and preferred, way is through legislative means. But, inasmuch as the legislatures are effectively owned and directed by the same interests that manage the media already, this effort will be fruitless and ultimately futile. This means there is, effectively, only way to achieve the liberation of the press is for the People to arise and sieze the broadcasting facilities, as they do elsewhere in the world when popular will clashes with corruption in the guise of official policy.

Such an event, however, probably will never occur in a nation of such ovine indolence as that demonstrated by the vast bulk--in BOTH senses--of people identifying themselves as "Americans." A Lazy-Boy, a 63-inch-plasma-screen, a 30 of Bud in the Fridge, and the promise of Domino's at the half, and any self-respecting "American male" is inocculated against rebellion.

The key is in the terms of self-identification which they were first sold, but now thoughtlessly and habitually purchase: they refer to themselves not as citizens but as consumers. This terminology --what George Lakoff calls a metaphorical 'frame' for discourse-- testifies to the hopelessness of any effort to induce them to civic or community action, much less to sacrifice. Sacrifice is not part of the language of "consumer credit," which thrives on instant gratification.

I do not know when the citizens of the USofA were first referred to, on the floor of the Senate, or the well of the House, as 'the American consumer', as if that better described the national interest than the older civic term: the American citizen. But it was a black, bleak day.

Add to this the very physical distortion of the 'average American' through the normalization of obesity. First we were alienated from the productsof our labor; then were alienated from each other through mass media; and now we're being alienated from our very bodies by the accretion of layers of fat alid on by the relentless consumption of fat and corn syrup.

On this account, the national BMI (Body Mass Index) may be taken to be a telling gauge of the spells of entropy and inertia which the regime/cabal--through its total domination of the public space, through all the media--has spun across the sleeping Gulliver of the people. Each thread is ephemeral and seemingly meaningless, but together they keep the sleeping giant bound as securely as they need.

5 comments:

Eli said...

I think the only way for a "third party" to take power is to take over one of the two dominant parties from within. It's what the progressives need to do and are just beginning to attempt within the Democratic party, and it's arguably already happened in the Republican party (although it's more of a coalition of multiple types of crazies).

sightunseen said...

I too always liked the term, 'citizen' to describe myself and others. I word, 'consumer' could be symbolized by a gaping mouth. A mouth that is always open and seeks only its own substence. Consumer also signifies passivity to me. It further binds us to each other only via our purchases.

P. Drāno said...

WGG, I think you have a link a few posts down that might be screwing up your blog, at least in some browsers, at "Price and Cost of Gold". The link text has no spaces and is very long, so there's no break! That's making the format weird. What you could do is replace the text part with the name of the link.
Er ... the link doesn't seem to work, either.

konopelli/WGG said...

P. Drāno said...

thanks...
i just deleted the whole thing...
'preciate the heads-up...i had no idea what was causing the screw-up...

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