Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Outrage? What outrage?

I wonder how long it will be before we tire of outrage as our national sentiment. The Republican party and interested associated others have been utilizing it for nearly two decades now, whipping people into a frenzy over one thing or another; an assortment of people who weren't entirely pleased with this last election have a bunch of their own (and, admittedly, I'm in their camp). Lately, every week seems to bring some event that provides a springboard into a new pool of outrage, though I can't help but wonder who, exactly, is building all of those pools and benefitting from them. And that's the sad part.

Because, underlying the whole thing is commodification: of sex, of sentiment, of value, of moral standards even. On one hand, every last thing seems to be about titillation of some kind (sex and violence are the most popular) or a Hallmark sentiment (though I think the latter is a form of the former). And, yes, I find it incredibly tiresome, though I spend much less time in Popularcultureland than many people (I avoid malls like the plague; I watch almost no television--more on them later), so I can only imagine what it's like for people who are more deeply immersed in it than I am. OTOH, I think many people are, indeed, yearning for Meaning, and they think of Moral Values as part and parcel of that, and, of course, to complete this train of thought, for most people that means religion or church of some kind. But neither television nor malls seem to provide them with anything other than anesthesia and a vague dissatisfaction, one they try to assuage with More and Bigger Stuff, or with a required allotment of Hallmark Moments.

And, really, I'm not blaming The People for their own oppression; corporations disguise their real purposes for being--to make as much money as possible for the shareholders in the company, at as little cost as possible--in order to continue selling whatever it is they're selling. And if you believe that greed is good, if you've swallowed the canard that only capitalism and the greed that accompanies it can possibly keep the wheels of the world running, if you believe that this greed will harm no one, or no one important, anyway, they don't even have to hide very much.

Feh; I can't think about this any more today.


Blogger Ann said...

Great first post.

The other day I was trying to figure out what we remember, in terms of historical political events. And it's mostly the titillating stuff, inspiring or outrageous as it may be: Watergate, the JFK assassination, even MLK's "I have a dream" speech. Paul Revere riding his horse through the streets yelling, "The British are coming!" So even in 100 years, people will be more interested in the Clinton sex scandal than in the fact that the federal surplus dropped at a fantastically rapid rate not long after the election of George W. Bush.

10:44 AM  
Blogger Emma Goldman said...

Thanks for stopping by, Ann! I decided it was easier to be nuance-ish in my own space--because nuance requires that one does go on a bit.

4:25 PM  

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