FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Beacon of Shame

by MISSY BEATTIE

Warning: My circuits are overloaded, breakers tripping. There will be interruptions in the flow of this piece.

I ran. I ran and saw in the distance a child with a prosthetic leg—metal from her knee to her shoe. As I neared, I could see that the area above the bend was also artificial. I felt bad, passing her, my legs moving without an ache or pain. And I thought of war, the children whose limbs have been blown useless or off by US imperialism.

Home, I checked Google News. The top item—Anthony Wiener, his aide, and her apology for calling a former campaign intern a slut and a bitch.

Tripping backward to yesterday: I was online, awaiting the Bradley Manning verdict. (His commander-in-chief declared him guilty before he was charged.) After hearing the verdict, I listened to Jeremy Scahill rip the mainstream media for lite coverage. Scahill said the couple that crashed the state dinner at the White House received more MSM attention than the court martial of Bradley Manning.

We could call out the MSM for their corporate mission statement: No news is good news. But nothing would change. Because the owner class pays well to promote certain narratives and obscure others.

We know that meaningful information can be accessed online, as we ourselves are accessed and assessed by the NSA when its employees examine our searches, social media sites, wherever we keyboard for reportage and opinions from those we trust, and to watch video footage of what is being done in our names. The Security/Superiority Complex can find, mine, and scrutinize almost everything users do on the Internet. Without prior authorization to excavate, analysts can dig and sift. Are they curious about my efforts to find instructions for drying hydrangea? So far my pursuits have yielded only enervated blooms but GET this: Within the word hydrangea are letters that spell danger. And blooms could be code for bombs. Whoa, there’s also hydrogen, if an “o” is borrowed from blooms. If. If. If.

If my computer’s history is groped, this could be my profile: Missy Beattie is a neurotic, paranoid, diabetic, vegan political radical with cauda equina syndrome who is fixated on icasualties.org, drone warfare, war widows, civilian deaths, world poverty, civil rights, grief therapy, bedbugs, organic coconut oil, gastritis, Harvard University’s Justice with Michael Sandel, Sons of Anarchy, Breaking Bad, House of Cards, Prison Break, Orange is the New Black, gardening, Dr. Mercola’s supplements and Emotional Freedom Technique (tapping your way to happiness), romantic deception, sociopaths, side effects of statins and antidepressants, the tastiest, low volume colonoscopy prep, flu symptoms and homeopathic treatments, norovirus transmission, and germaphobia.

I trip more with a Washington Post online article (July 31, 2013) that’s an advertisement for tourism, near the disaster site of Fukushima, describing “Nakoso Beach as a symbol of recovery, its seasonal opening day this month feted with hula dancers and hopeful speeches.” It continued though with a minor contradiction— “recovery is tenuous.” And on July 29th I’d received a message with a link to a different story, one whose implications are devastating to our ecosystem.

Tripping again, I opened an email from G., someone who taught teenagers for 40 years. He referenced a book, Lockdown High: When the Schoolhouse Becomes a Jailhouse, by Annette Fuentes, and followed with:

Our solution for schools, as this book documents, is to impose restrictive controls, to attempt to monitor any and every thing … the NSA does it … the schools do it.

Am I surprised?

No … what I am is saddened. I used to believe that America was a city on the hill, a light to the world. It is not … it is cold, rapacious, and often evil society … not founded on the rhetoric of democracy we have been taught … but rather of a greedy, selfish, cruel, and ultimately vicious society. As we treat our kids, they treat the world. It isn’t that the schools, highly vilified, didn’t do their job … they did. They produced a bunch of psychopaths … a population convinced of the moral superiority, and doing the morally repugnant.

I once believed as G. did—that America was a beacon. I remember the feeling, that swelling in the chest, as I belted out: “My country tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing.” Now, shame. As wilted as the hydrangea, hanging upside down in my bathroom, and with breakers tripping, I am overloaded by the injustice of avarice and predation.

Missy Beattie does not have diabetes. Does not take a statin or antidepressant. Has not had norovirus infection or cauda equina syndrome. Has not had bedbugs.  And isn’t really paranoid.  Email: missybeat@gmail.com.

 

 

 

 

 

 

More articles by:

Missy Beattie has written for National Public Radio and Nashville Life Magazine. She was an instructor of memoirs writing at Johns Hopkins’ Osher Lifelong Learning Institute in BaltimoreEmail: missybeat@gmail.com

Weekend Edition
February 23, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Richard D. Wolff
Capitalism as Obstacle to Equality and Democracy: the US Story
Paul Street
Where’s the Beef Stroganoff? Eight Sacrilegious Reflections on Russiagate
Jeffrey St. Clair
They Came, They Saw, They Tweeted
Andrew Levine
Their Meddlers and Ours
Charles Pierson
Nuclear Nonproliferation, American Style
Joseph Essertier
Why Japan’s Ultranationalists Hate the Olympic Truce
W. T. Whitney
US and Allies Look to Military Intervention in Venezuela
John Laforge
Maybe All Threats of Mass Destruction are “Mentally Deranged”
Matthew Stevenson
Why Vietnam Still Matters: an American Reckoning
David Rosen
For Some Reason, Being White Still Matters
Robert Fantina
Nikki Haley: the U.S. Embarrassment at the United Nations
Joyce Nelson
Why Mueller’s Indictments Are Hugely Important
Joshua Frank
Pearl Jam, Will You Help Stop Sen. Tester From Destroying Montana’s Public Lands?
Dana E. Abizaid
The Attack on Historical Perspective
Conn Hallinan
Immigration and the Italian Elections
George Ochenski
The Great Danger of Anthropocentricity
Pete Dolack
China Can’t Save Capitalism from Environmental Destruction
Joseph Natoli
Broken Lives
Manuel García, Jr.
Why Did Russia Vote For Trump?
Geoff Dutton
One Regime to Rule Them All
Torkil Lauesen – Gabriel Kuhn
Radical Theory and Academia: a Thorny Relationship
Wilfred Burchett
Vietnam Will Win: The Work of Persuasion
Thomas Klikauer
Umberto Eco and Germany’s New Fascism
George Burchett
La Folie Des Grandeurs
Howard Lisnoff
Minister of War
Eileen Appelbaum
Why Trump’s Plan Won’t Solve the Problems of America’s Crumbling Infrastructure
Ramzy Baroud
More Than a Fight over Couscous: Why the Palestinian Narrative Must Be Embraced
Jill Richardson
Mass Shootings Shouldn’t Be the Only Time We Talk About Mental Illness
Jessicah Pierre
Racism is Killing African American Mothers
Steve Horn
Wyoming Now Third State to Propose ALEC Bill Cracking Down on Pipeline Protests
David Griscom
When ‘Fake News’ is Good For Business
Barton Kunstler
Brainwashed Nation
Griffin Bird
I’m an Eagle Scout and I Don’t Want Pipelines in My Wilderness
Edward Curtin
The Coming Wars to End All Wars
Missy Comley Beattie
Message To New Activists
Jonah Raskin
Literary Hubbub in Sonoma: Novel about Mrs. Jack London Roils the Faithful
Binoy Kampmark
Frontiersman of the Internet: John Perry Barlow
Chelli Stanley
The Mirrors of Palestine
James McEnteer
How Brexit Won World War Two
Ralph Nader
Absorbing the Irresistible Consumer Reports Magazine
Cesar Chelala
A Word I Shouldn’t Use
Louis Proyect
Marx at the Movies
Osha Neumann
A White Guy Watches “The Black Panther”
Stephen Cooper
Rebel Talk with Nattali Rize: the Interview
David Yearsley
Market Music
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail