FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Tales of a Self-Made-Up Man

by

If Brian Williams ever fabricated a mugging tale (someone check the videotape), you can bet the perpetrator would be a black kid in a hoodie. William’s fanciful flights tend to favor flight but sometimes they venture by sea-yarn (note the Katrina bodies floating by in puddles of poetic license).

Truth to power? Nah. Power is truth.

In all cases Williams prefers soft targets. This makes him something of a bully in addition to being a liar. When he talks about roving gangs in the French Quarter’s Ritz Carlton, the black faces on the perimeters of his imagination are faintly discernible. Flying with Israeli big brass, he encounters rocket fire from Hezbollah.

Williams is a pro at demonizing the demonized. He’s a company man through and through who always manages, even in his compulsive deceptions, to butter up the boss side of the bread. As for his hard-hitting reportage on Fukushima (that other GE spewer) well, we await that exposé while cesium supplies last, and they’re going to last longer than us. Still, it would be nice to get a high-production closing shot of the final pink clouds.

America let so many things get away from her. How did so little get pumped up into so much and still manage to drop the ball on so little? Teleprompter jockeys became the successive Voices of a Nation.

In the best Pentagon-speak, a re-baselining of this baseless hyperinflation is in order otherwise mission creep gets you WW3 in Donbass.

News-Reader Job Requirements (in the post-Williams era):

1. Can you read?

2. Can you sit on a stool for 30 minutes without falling off (Note: this is not as hard as it sounds; the half-hour is spaced with interminably long off-air selling orgies)?

3. Do you have an intelligibility problem (Note: This is not a showstopper; Bah-bwa Wah-wah and Tom Bwo-kaw made careers out of having us crane our necks to glean what the hell they were on about—what, no football scores? Ah, why didn’t you tell us)?

4. Can you stick to your employer’s elaborate tissue of lies and keep your private dysfunctions off-camera?

5. Can you accomplish all of this with a jaw-dropping sense of self-importance and oceans of faux-conviction?

Three years before Walter Cronkite (that other striving high school graduate) joined CBS on the way to becoming the most trusted voice in America, John-Paul Sartre would pay us a call. No flies on his nausea, he read our searching faces in a flash. Another fifty years would pass before that most hollow Emblem of the Willing, Freedom fries, would stare up at us from our happy meals. Yet already Sartre had spied the klieg light apparatus arrayed above our heads, calling it the Great Implacable Machine:

“Similarly, when a careful arrangement of those melting-pot notions–puritanism, realism, optimism, and so on–which we have been told are the keys to the American character is presented to us in Europe, we experience a certain intellectual satisfaction and think that, in effect, it must be so. But when we walk about New York, on Third Avenue, or Sixth Avenue, or Tenth Avenue, at that evening hour which, for Da Vinci, lends softness to the faces of men, we see the most pathetic visages in the world, uncertain, searching, intent, full of astonished good faith, with appealing eyes, and we know that the most beautiful generalizations are of very little service: they permit us to understand the system but not the people.”—from ‘Americans and Their Myths”, The Nation, October 18, 1947

Sartre the stranger marveled at what befuddling and self-dejected mysteries Americans really were, beyond the endless representations the system demanded they make of themselves. And what durable implacability that system has proven to possess—Ph.D. baristas at Starbucks trained to ask with solicitous banality: ‘venti or grande’, the pathetic visage and appealing eyes of a bullshit artist pulling down $10,000,000 a year. Yet, just as it all happened improbably enough beneath the same Big Tent, it’s also breaking down with a strikingly eerie simultaneity.

Williams is merely one thread in a fabric that’s fraying from all ends: the petrodollar, NATO supremacy in satrap Europe, central bank monetary levitation, upward mobility, the heartland’s gumption for marching into one third-world shithole after another. All those
normanballessaybeautiful generalizations that took so much thinking off our hands are collapsing—the blame for which the BBC’s Adam Curtis tends to lay at the feet of journalism’s increasingly anachronistic tools. (Yes, the storytelling may be broken. But the narratives broke first, leaving the storyteller to storyboard incoherence and irresolution. Collaging and kick-ass tunage can’t paper over the abyss forever.) PNAC ate our exorbitant privilege and then some. Nobody believes us anymore, including ourselves. Silly Straussians, there never was nobility in lies. Beyond good and evil, it’s evil all the way down. We’re submerged in a Katrina puddle like an exquisite waterlogged corpse.

Can you fault a professional liar for trying to keep up? Brian Williams strove to placate the implacable demands of the American mythmaking machine. Possessed of the character flaws Big Lie relishes, he made a decent go of it. However no man can sustain wall-to-wall bullshit forever. Somewhere, he’s going to slip up and tell the truth. Only a brand, a machine, can do that. (“Brian Williams: Personal branding got in the way of the news.”—LA Times). Caught in a big lie, he retreated to a smaller lie, something about protecting the honor of veterans. Whaa? Oh and Iraq was a clean war too, dontcha know.

There are no easy solutions—only vague, new paradigms somewhere off in the future. Put a post-grad egghead in that chair tomorrow and ratings would plummet. Detergent would go begging for answers. Besides, who’d serve the coffee? Under natural lighting, whiter-whites reveal an opacity no clean war would dare tolerate. Things would complexify in a heartbeat. People would turn off. Hell, most people don’t give a damn: Entertain us with cinematic shrapnel. If it misses the helicopter, edit it for television and lodge it in you thigh. We’re not keeping score.

“Perhaps nowhere else will you find such a discrepancy between people and myth, between life and the representation of life.”

Looks like Williams got caught in Sartre’s crossfire. But that’s where a consummate bull-shitter lives—in the TV glare of yawning discrepancy. If someone had any honesty left, they’d fire him.

Norman Ball is the author of ‘How Can We Make Your Power More Comfortable?‘ and ‘The Frantic Force‘. Checker him out connecting the dots at his Full-Spectrum Domino blog.

 

More articles by:

Norman Ball is a Scots-American businessman and consultant. Learn more about his new eBook from Eye Am Eye Books  ‘East-West Dialectics, Currency Resets and the Convergent Power of One’ at his blog Full-Spectrum Domino. His email is gspressnow@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