Politics and media essay

Since World War II, at least, Western governments (the US leading the pack) have had no qualms about working with drug dealers so as to promote their interests. Likewise, since at least the Vietnam War, the West has systematically used for it’s own benefit terrorism and terrorists freely. From Vietnam to the Middle East – via Latin America – even the names of the Western teachers of terror are the same. For example, US colonel James Steele and US diplomat John Negroponte. And hovering above the likes of these are the gods of terror – the CIA, MI6, Mossad, etc. (figures like the ghostly Ted Shackley).

The first configuration is what I came to call the Vampires’ Castle. The Vampires’ Castle specialises in propagating guilt. It is driven by a priest’s desire to excommunicate and condemn, an academic-pedant’s desire to be the first to be seen to spot a mistake, and a hipster’s desire to be one of the in-crowd. The danger in attacking the Vampires’ Castle is that it can look as if – and it will do everything it can to reinforce this thought – that one is also attacking the struggles against racism, sexism, heterosexism. But, far from being the only legitimate expression of such struggles, the Vampires’ Castle is best understood as a bourgeois-liberal perversion and appropriation of the energy of these movements. The Vampires’ Castle was born the moment when the struggle not to be defined by identitarian categories became the quest to have ‘identities’ recognised by a bourgeois big Other.

In 1999 this piece also picked up an attribution to an unnamed student who witnessed the killings at Littleton in the aftermath of the 20 April 1999 Columbine shootings, while America was still struggling to make sense of that day’s horrific events. The killings at Columbine shook us deeply, leaving behind a nation of survivors looking for the one set of answers which could begin to explain the horrifically inexplicable. Having this essay flow from the pen of an unnamed student who bore witness to this unspeakable act of violence made sense: surely such a teen would have valuable words of wisdom or cautions we all should heed. The oft-repeated header “A Columbine High School student wrote” infused the essay with the significance and meaning folks thirsted for.

Social media favors the bitty over the meaty, the cutting over the considered. It also prizes emotionalism over reason. The more visceral the message, the more quickly it circulates and the longer it holds the darting public eye. In something of a return to the pre-radio days, the fiery populist now seems more desirable, more worthy of attention, than the cool wonk. It’s the crusty Bernie and the caustic Donald that get hearted and hash-tagged, friended and followed. Is it any wonder that “Feel the Bern” has become the rallying cry of the Sanders campaign?

Politics and media essay

politics and media essay

Social media favors the bitty over the meaty, the cutting over the considered. It also prizes emotionalism over reason. The more visceral the message, the more quickly it circulates and the longer it holds the darting public eye. In something of a return to the pre-radio days, the fiery populist now seems more desirable, more worthy of attention, than the cool wonk. It’s the crusty Bernie and the caustic Donald that get hearted and hash-tagged, friended and followed. Is it any wonder that “Feel the Bern” has become the rallying cry of the Sanders campaign?

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