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eridani Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-22-09 06:05 AM
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The new illiteracy
http://www.truthout.org/091509A?n

C. Wright Mills argued 50 years ago that one important measure of the demise of vibrant democracy and the corresponding impoverishment of political life can be found in the increasing inability of a society to translate private troubles to broader public issues. This is an issue that both characterizes and threatens any viable notion of democracy in the United States in the current historical moment. In an alleged democracy, the image of the public sphere with its appeal to dialogue and shared responsibility has given way to the spectacle of unbridled intolerance, ignorance, seething private fears, unchecked anger, along with the decoupling of reason from freedom. Increasingly, as witnessed in the utter disrespect and not so latent racism expressed by Joe Wilson, the Republican Congressman from South Carolina, who shouted, "You Lie!" during President Obama's recent address on health care, the obligation to listen, respect the views of others and engage in a literate exchange are increasingly reduced to the highly spectacularized embrace of an infantile emotionalism.

This is an emotionalism that is made for television and is perfectly suited for emptying the language of public life of all substantive content, reduced in the end to a playground for hawking commodities, promoting celebrity culture and enacting the spectacle of right-wing fantasies fueled by the fear that the public sphere as an exclusive a club for white, male Christians is in danger of collapsing. For some critics, those who carry guns to rallies or claim Obama is not a bona fide citizen of the United States are simply representative of a lunatic fringe that gets far more publicity from the mainstream media than they deserve.

<snip>

Think of the forces at work in the larger culture that work overtime to situate us with a privatized world of fantasy, spectacle and resentment that is entirely removed from larger social problems and public concerns. For instance, corporate culture within its unrelenting commercials and ads carpet bomb our audio and visual fields with the message that the only viable way to define ourselves is to shop and consume in an orgy of private pursuits. Popular culture traps us in the privatized universe of celebrity culture, urging us to define ourselves through the often empty and trivialized and highly individualized interests of celebrities.
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raccoon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-22-09 09:55 AM
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1. kick nt
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