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Media Unable and Unwilling to Receive Meaning

More than a decade ago, when I was writing for what it used to be a progressive grass-roots bilingual newspaper in Watsonville (now a magazine based in Santa Cruz), I had the chance to interview a Vietnam Vet friend who in a nutshell illlustrated his experience in the battleground: "Just imagine experiencing a Loma Prieta Earthquake that goes on for hours, days, and weeks, non-stop!"
More than a decade ago, when I was writing for what it used to be a progressive grass-roots bilingual newspaper in Watsonville (now a magazine based in Santa Cruz), I had the chance to interview a Vietnam Vet friend who in a nutshell illlustrated his experience in the battleground: "Just imagine experiencing a Loma Prieta Earthquake that goes on for hours, days, and weeks, non-stop!"
Recent military rhetoric on the Pentagon's potential
in using its new "shock and awe" strategy against Iraq
and its people resembles that of the media, and other
super-profit making industries in this country today.
Harlan Ullman, the defense intellectual pushing for
this foul scheme asserts that if apply it will help
them "control the will and perception of adversaries,
by applying a regime of shock and awe. It is about
effecting behavior" by dropping incessantly huge
amounts of bombs on or around people, and if not
killed at least creating a powerful effect on their
neurological systems. Surely, what the Iraqi people
could experience in such atrocious scenario is far
from the regime of fear and control that our media and
our government is imposing on us. Nevertheless, a
quick inventory of our landscape can make us recognize
that since 9/11, most manifestations of media,
communications, artistic performances, etc., have
played a key role in creating a similar effect of
"shock and awe" on the US population. Diane Perlman,
Ph.D., clinical and political psychologist, and author
of a book on the dimensions and transcendence of
terrorism asserts that one dominant characteristic of
our media under the Bush administration today is their
response to critical issues with commentaries that
simply "promote an exaggerated sense of imminent
threats that have the effect of increasing fear,
helplessness and passivity." Hopefully not, but our
military, media, film, children toys, and other
industries are clearly preparing to put a "terrifying
show" for us to see in their plentiful of
manifestations. In the meantime, people
across-sections in the US are ever so slowly rising up
(after all the "battering" we have recently
experienced) against all sorts of
under-representations. Former chief U.N. weapons
inspector Richard Butler stated today (Jan. 28, 2003)
that Washington was promoting 'shocking double
standards' in considering attacking Iraq without the support of the UN Security Council while turning its blind eye to its own weapons of mass destruction, and those of other countries like India, Pakistan, and Israel. Shocking to our minds also is the main devotion of our tv, newspaper and other industries to telling us what country we live in, and how impeccable our leadership is when it isn't. Big media most often takes stories out of context, and wars can take people out of their minds.

Manuel Tzunum Aparicio is a free-lance writer and
community advocate.
 
 


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