Wednesday, October 27, 2010


Reading "A Distant Mirror"...

It seems like if there is one word to summarize the 14th century it would be "despair". The Black Death, a mini Ice Age, the devastation of the Hundred Year War. One thing that is especially relevant to today's world was the rising recognition of the hypocrisy, especially in the failures of the mechanisms of society to deal with these crises, that ultimately made Europe transition out of the Middle Ages into the religious Reformation and cultural Renaissance.

The hypocrisy was present everywhere. In the Church, where despite preaching poverty and chastity, the corruption was rampant. In secular society, where despite the notions of chivalry and feudal responsibility, the knights and nobility debauched themselves at the expense of the peasants, consistently failing to live up to their responsibilities of protecting them. Once again, the parallels to today's world are scary. Perhaps, just as the crises of the Middle Ages finally precipitated a radical social change, the same will happen today.

Driving in through the beastly traffic this morning, I had the opportunity to avail myself of the barrage of attack ads on the radio - elections are just a few days away. Sometimes I wonder if others recognize all this blather for the bullshit that it is, and just cynically wade through the muck or whether people truly are swayed by this rubbish. All these ads sponsored by "Americans against Food Taxes" and other populist sounding organizations, when in reality they are just fronts for big corporate interests. I am beginning to sound like a conspiracy theorist - but I really am beginning to suspect that those guys are onto something...

Having left the Soviet Union as a kid, I didn't experience first hand the Communist propaganda machine, but nonetheless it left an indelible mark on my psyche. The homo sovieticus learned that anything that was said by official mouthpieces was a lie, and in fact the opposite was true. You had to be an idiot not to realize that. Is the same true in this country as well? The only difference being that instead of the Party, the message is controlled by a bunch of corporate oligarchs?

Oliver Stone, where are you?


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