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Archive for July, 2008

My favorite team lost the Super Bowl last season. Plaxico Burress hauled in the game winning pass for the Giants, doused the flames of New England’s flawless season, and I felt nothing. It sucked for maybe ten seconds. Then I remembered wars were being fought, U.S. soldiers killing and dying in battles sponsored by our ignorance. It just seemed tacky to fret about whether or not Randy Moss and Junior Seau finally got their Super Bowl rings.

Sports are at best a guilty pleasure for me now, mindless amusement to fall asleep to on nights when the unbearable main attraction keeps me tossing & turning.

Years ago, sports brought us all together. My frat brothers enjoyed my tantrums whenever one of my teams choked. And I enjoyed talking shit about their home region, the Midwest, where sports fans are about as loyal as a Democrat to his wife, or a Republican to his country.

But while they kept watching the sideshow, the glint behind the certain curtain caught my eye. Now I’m underwhelmed by Bill Belichick and Tom Brady, only mildly amused by the act of gloating about someone else’s team’s misfortunes.

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It’s increasingly hard to find objective info these days. Everyone wants to spoon-feed you their own agenda, some unreal version of reality. Too often propaganda adorns itself in the deceptive garb of neutrality and sincerity. Like the lies it sells us, propaganda is an optical illusion, a beautiful lie.

If you think I devote a good deal of my time to bitching about ideologues, cowboys, pseudo-patriots, and religious nut jobs, you should hear the way liberal professors misrepresent the Right. As Bill O’Reilly rightfully points out, college kids deserve to be given equal exposure to both sides of any given political debate. Conservatives may dominate the radio, but the opposite is true of academia.

Individuals form their opinions based on the information they have access to. So people who get their info from TV and radio tend to be more conservative; those who read books more likely lean to the left. When you only tell one side of a given story, you deprive citizens of their right to reach their own conclusions. It seems our left-wing academics and right-wing media are racing to see who can brainwash our youth first. Neither reporting the news nor educating our youth should be a “capitalist” endeavor where the guy holding the microphone caters to market demands.

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(Previously posted at Jonestown)

George Ritzer’s The McDonaldization of Society brings to light an alarming trend in our country. The new United States is a land of generic shortcuts, where efficiency and knowable responses have displaced the authenticity that once made the American dream seem possible. We want to live convenient and predictable lives, like a Super-Sized Extra Value Meal.

McDonaldization is not limited to the products we buy or the food we eat. Its greasy sluggishness bleeds into our civic arena, too, clogging the channels that once energized a free-flowing democracy, polluting the deep waters where healthy dissent once swam. Now shallow sound bites wade through the sticky swamps of public dialog, salting over sovereignty with shimmering distractions.

Enter the McDonaldized the citizen.

As everyone grows more apathetic, apathy itself becomes the stylish norm. (more…)

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Although Budweiser may still be brewed in Missouri, profits will go to Belgium and Brazil. So much for the King of Beers. (more…)

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In 1787, Thomas Jefferson wrote: “The basis of our governments being the opinion of the people, the very first object should be to keep that right; and were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter.”

The press is the only thing keeping the politicians honest. (more…)

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