FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

You Tube You Can’t

by BINOY KAMPMARK

You Tube is democracy on the cheap, with all its anti-elitist pretensions. The world’s intellectual elite took one look at it, and probably had an apoplectic fit. But so did the politicians ­ initially suspicious by its all-too-democratic overtones. Dross and drivel mark its promotions, but perhaps that’s the point. Keep the public happy, a chattering channel that enables this amorphous creature to vent opinion and bile.

Then came along CNN, that Centre for Neutered News. It has happily taken a medium that was theoretically for the public, to promote its name. Politicians have hopped on board. Here was a chance for collaboration: a ‘debate’ by U.S. presidential candidates might be jointly had. Members of the public would film clips and post them to a panel to be forwarded to the aspirants. Evidently, the public is not allowed to run the show with its own amusements. That would be akin to allowing the spillage of Onan’s seed, with all the self-pleasuring that supposes, before an ever watchful priest.

The Democrats came first, courting You Tube and CNN at the Citadel in Charleston, S.C. on July 23. MSNBC called it a ‘provocative, video-driven debate’. One wonders what they were looking at. The same sad themes were hammered home with all the custom-made drudgery that modern politics spouts. Suddenly, You Tube was not simply about idiotic dogs dazzled by hoses or sizzling rip-offs from pay-television networks. We just had to let the politicians in on the game.

We could gauge that the most interesting videos were mere fizzle to the censors of the neutered news brigade. A video, featuring a bespectacled individual, asks the candidates what they can do about a voting public (at least in California) where 88 percent believe its governor Arnold Schwarzeneger to be a cyborg. Such is the state of ‘reality’ in the CNN sieve that such a statistic, far from being a worry, was just ‘fact’. Supposedly in a state once run by a man Gore Vidal considered a ‘triumph of the embalmer’s art’ (Reagan), one might understand.

As for the video, it could not be put to the candidates, for all its merry reflections. All is serious and monochromatic in the get-real world of CNN and Capitol Hill.

The questions got dimmer as the You Tube sessions heated up ­ or rather petered out, a bland rehashing of mantra and Democratic neuroses. Obama had to justify whether he was ‘black’ enough, at least for those voters who probably still think he is either Osama or white. Given that CNN has spelling difficulties with the name Obama, this might have provided the viewer with some comic relief.

Hillary Clinton had to justify why she was not simply some other de-sexualised woman with the erogenous zones of a mannequin. ‘I am woman enough,’ and all that that entails. Senator John Edwards refused to accept the vote of anybody who would otherwise not vote for either a black man or a woman (sexual or de-sexualised), then rallied behind a more sophisticated façade to steal his own march. To paraphrase his efforts of the deep thinker tormented by the age’s moral messages, he was wrestling with the idea of a civil partnership. Predictably, two men in the sack struck him as irksome, though is wife apparently does not object.

Technology cuts both ways: the radio, George Orwell reminds us, did nothing to help democracy and everything to build the bunkers of totalitarian states. There is a fine line between a medium that emancipates and the Ministry of Truth. The point here is that You Tube, now in the lecherous arms of the political elite, will see battle again done for the ‘grass roots’ with political tofts and populists.

Once such media becomes the standard practice of viewers, it is inevitable that private and public interests will muscle in. Politicians, and Ted Turner, have now worked out that they must do battle through another medium rich with propaganda. The Republicans are following suit. You Tube is simply becoming another idiot box, and one that is no longer ours.

BINOY KAMPMARK is a Commonwealth Scholar at Selwyn College, Cambridge.

February 08, 2016
Paul Craig Roberts – Michael Hudson
Privatization: the Atlanticist Tactic to Attack Russia
Mumia Abu-Jamal
Water War Against the Poor: Flint and the Crimes of Capital
John V. Walsh
Did Hillary’s Machine Rig Iowa? The Highly Improbable Iowa Coin Tosses
Vincent Emanuele
The Curse and Failure of Identity Politics
Eliza A. Webb
Hillary Clinton’s Populist Charade
Uri Avnery
Optimism of the Will
Roy Eidelson Trudy Bond, Stephen Soldz, Steven Reisner, Jean Maria Arrigo, Brad Olson, and Bryant Welch
Preserve Do-No-Harm for Military Psychologists: Coalition Responds to Department of Defense Letter to the APA
Patrick Cockburn
Oil Prices and ISIS Ruin Kurdish Dreams of Riches
Binoy Kampmark
Julian Assange, the UN and Meanings of Arbitrary Detention
Shamus Cooke
The Labor Movement’s Pearl Harbor Moment
W. T. Whitney
Cuba, War and Ana Belen Montes
Jim Goodman
Congress Must Kill the Trans Pacific Partnership
Peter White
Meeting John Ross
Colin Todhunter
Organic Agriculture, Capitalism and the Parallel World of the Pro-GMO Evangelist
Ralph Nader
They’re Just Not Answering!
Cesar Chelala
Beware of the Harm on Eyes Digital Devices Can Cause
Weekend Edition
February 5-7, 2016
Jeffrey St. Clair
When Chivalry Fails: St. Bernard and the Machine
Leonard Peltier
My 40 Years in Prison
John Pilger
Freeing Julian Assange: the Final Chapter
Garry Leech
Terrifying Ted and His Ultra-Conservative Vision for America
Andrew Levine
Smash Clintonism: Why Democrats, Not Republicans, are the Problem
William Blum
Is Bernie Sanders a “Socialist”?
Daniel Raventós - Julie Wark
We Can’t Afford These Billionaires
Enrique C. Ochoa
Super Bowl 50: American Inequality on Display
Jonathan Cook
The Liberal Hounding of Julian Assange: From Alex Gibney to The Guardian
George Wuerthner
How the Bundy Gang Won
Mike Whitney
Peace Talks “Paused” After Putin’s Triumph in Aleppo 
Ted Rall
Hillary Clinton: the Good, the Bad and the Ugly
Gary Leupp
Is a “Socialist” Really Unelectable? The Potential Significance of the Sanders Campaign
Vijay Prashad
The Fault Line of Race in America
Eoin Higgins
Please Clap: the Jeb Bush Campaign Pre-Mortem
Joseph Mangano – Janette D. Sherman
The Invisible Epidemic: Radiation and Rising Rates of Thyroid Cancer
Andre Vltchek
Europe is Built on Corpses and Plunder
Jack Smith
Obama Readies to Fight in Libya, Again
Robert Fantina
As Goes Iowa, So Goes the Nation?
Dean Baker
Market Turmoil, the Fed and the Presidential Election
John Grant
Israel Moves to Check Its Artists
John Wight
Who Was Cecil Rhodes?
David Macaray
Will There Ever Be Anyone Better Than Bernie Sanders?
Christopher Brauchli
Suffer Little Children: From Brazil to Flint
JP Sottile
Did Fox News Help the GOP Establishment Get Its Groove Back?
Binoy Kampmark
Legalizing Cruelties: the Australian High Court and Indefinite Offshore Detention
John Feffer
Wrestling With Iran
Rob Prince – Ibrahim Kazerooni
Syria Again
Louisa Willcox
Park Service Finally Stands Up for Grizzlies and Us
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail