The Western World prides itself on its laws that protect freedom of speech. We have the right to say anything that we want… more or less. Provided it doesn’t incite riot or it isn’t defamatory, slanderous or libellous, citizens in the UK and America can say whatever they want – which is commendable. However, expressing your opinion is all fine and well, but if that opinion isn’t ‘acceptable’ or in line with popular opinion, then that opinion will quickly be rounded upon by a media militia mob who will drown it before it even gets air, or smother it in ridicule, or denounce all credible association with anybody associated with that opinion.
Every time someone makes fun of the idea of “conspiracy theories” they are exhibiting a conditioned response – like salivating when they hear a bell or believing a TV news program.
Craig McKee – http://www.truthandshadows.wordpress.com
Unless you live in the state of Catatonia, or you have had a lobotomy, or you are just a complete and utter gullible fool, there must have been a time when you were listening to something on the news, or a debate on a TV show, or you’ve read some ‘factual’ news story – or you’ve just listened to the chattering classes chatting over lunch or dinner about some social or political issue and you’ve thought to yourself; “No; no, no, no, that… that’s not right. That can’t be right!” You’ve thought this and kept it to yourself because you don’t feel confident enough to express your own opinion. You may even feel intimidated by the fear of not fitting in with what everyone else thinks, so you keep your opinion to yourself. You may even know or believe something in absolute certainty, but you dare not step out of line of the ‘acceptable’ view. Do you feel free in that moment? Do you feel that you have freedom of speech – freedom of expression?
Anybody who works with battered wives or people who live in abusive homes will know about psychological abuse. Psychological abuse often takes the form of ridicule, making the recipient lose their sense of identity and feel uncertain about themselves. Abused people often find that psychological or emotional abuse is the most damaging form of abuse. Imagine the school bully and his or her cronies all surrounding you in the playground calling you names and poking fun at you. Well this is what the media does when it doesn’t want a certain opinion to gain any credibility.
There was a time before the internet, social media and corporate whistleblowers, that information was power and it could be controlled. The truth was easy to manipulate because only a few people had access to it. Now the truth is out there [excuse the X-Files reference] and everyone has access to it, so the only way to control public opinion is to deny, deny, deny – or simply discredit anyone who is saying what you don’t want them to say.
“To learn who rules over you, simply find out who you are not allowed to criticize.”
One of the downsides of mass media is that it proliferates and dominates every waking day of our lives. The sheer volume of images and information surrounding us, shrouds us in subliminal messages. But whilst the teenage whizz kids hack the popular Zeitgeist and indiscriminately flood the world wide web with free software and information, the corporations still manage to control the public consumption of validated information. The whole Western World is intravenously fed digital trash that is filtered through the corporate media, and everyone who is anyone is on it. Images, film, music, news and celebrity views steer popular opinion and distract the intellect from the capacity to discern. This results in a society fed MTV bites of bubble-gum politics and social debate that act as a hypnotic stream of public consciousness and socially acceptable views. So whilst the truth really is out there, it doesn’t really count unless it is viewed through the prism of the relevant celebrity or media channel. This is the controlling tie that binds – if the information isn’t coming from the right source, then it isn’t the right information.
So we find ourselves in an anodyne time where societal passions are a mere husk of sincerity. A time where a man whose good at sport, or a woman with a great body, or a beautiful androgynous creature in a nice outfit singing catchy songs – people who’s abilities are but a veneer of character, reality and truth – dictate the ideas and beliefs of society. This is a polite society based on protocol and etiquette but without substance. A society where nobody wants to ask the dirty, uncomfortable, pointed questions because it upsets the show; a society where heroes sing, dance and prance around whilst the majority of the world starves and kills and silently bemoans the state of their rotten lives. And if someone says “Hey you, what have you really done with all that fame and influence, apart from suck up the adulation, exploit your market and make more money for yourself?” Security eject them from the premises, paparazzi shoot them in flagrante, news agencies present them negatively, presenters, reporters and celebrities mock and ridicule them mercilessly, and the media strips them of all credibility. Who’s going to dare ask that question again now?
Now it’s conspiracy – they’ve made that something that should not even be entertained for a minute, that powerful people might get together and have a plan. Doesn’t happen, you’re a kook, you’re a conspiracy buff!
Anybody who works in film, media or showbiz must have felt at some time that they are selling their soul for the privilege. Many if not most of those people you regale in their fame have licked the boots of degradation and humility to get there. Abusive, punishing, long hours; obsequious ego massaging; soul-destroying sacrifices – and for some, leg spreading humility on a casting couch. The price of fame. The price of brushing alongside celebrity. Do you think they are going to throw all that away to make a point? Do you think that kind of person is going to make an ethical or moral stand for anyone else when they won’t even do it for themselves? The recent Jimmy Savile scandal would indicate that people would even turn a blind eye to paedophilia to avoid a confrontation that could jeopardise their career in showbiz. Yet so many of us would take the word and opinions of these people, who have compromised so much of themselves to get where they are, as gospel.
There isn’t the space here to cover all the alternative perspectives on popular world issues, but just as an example, the news is full of the ‘banking crisis’ and the global economic collapse, but you don’t see much in the Western press about how Iceland dealt with their errant bankers – they jailed them and convicted their ex-Prime Minister for his criminally negligent implication. There is a slew of evidence supporting the existence of UFO’s, mountains of evidence to support conspiracy theories surrounding the 9/11 attacks, yet none of these viewpoints receive any credible media coverage. The amount of evidence supporting corruption amongst politicians and corporations over the years beggars belief. In the UK we have the Leveson Inquiry investigating the exposed relationship between politics and media. In Italy they simply have Berlusconi, a shop window for the corrupt collusion between politics, business and the media. So we know that truth and opinion through the looking glass of the media is tainted, so why don’t we turn off, tune in and drop out?
Perhaps it’s the need to feel a sense of belonging that so many of us don’t have the courage to embrace and express our own intuitive self-beliefs. Perhaps it’s a lack of confidence, or maybe it’s just utter spineless, weak minded cowardice. Whatever it is, I really wish that when I was around people that they would show me who they really are. Whilst I wouldn’t condone discrimination against race, religion or creed, I would just as strongly condemn discrimination against expression of opinion. I want you to say your piece, justify it, explain it, and I’ll do the same in the hope that we can find common ground, better mutual understanding, or simply agree to disagree. And if yours isn’t the ‘popular opinion’, I don’t want you simply to be vilified to the point where you harbour secret, hidden thoughts and ideas but walk amongst us anyway. I want you to feel free enough to not like the way I look, or pray, or the way they’re gay, or the sport she plays or the things he says – but I want to know you feel that way. And as long as it doesn’t lead you to hate, we can debate. We don’t have to be friends, but at least in our understanding of our differences we will relate.