An Alaskan journalist's perspective on local and national issues

Archive for October, 2011

The Failing of Modern Cinema

There is a pattern that is emerging in film these days.  It is a rather tragic pattern, and doesn’t give enough respect for the people who have come before.  It is a pattern that honestly gets on one’s nerves, if they share the same views.  It seems to happen with a lot of great filmmakers these days, and it should be discussed more, because honestly, like every other element of culture, what one sees when they look back on cinema is important.  However, since this is all subjective, many may not agree, but the fact is that this does need to be discussed.  The great failing of modern cinema is that it doesn’t seem to take its audience very seriously.

Take a look at a lot of the movies that really bring in big bucks these days.  Anything by Michael Bay will do.  He is one of the great masters of believing that the cinema audience is nothing but a bunch of slack-jawed idiots who don’t care what is in a film, or what they are looking at.  But then you get the people like James Cameron, who has a really bad habit of making some very good films, like Terminator or Aliens, and then turning around and making over-the-top crap like Avatar.  There are films who tend to just believe that their audience is completely blind to everything but gorgeous effects.

To Bay and Cameron’s credit, both have created films that are visually gorgeous.  As much as I hated Transformers, and all the subsequent sequels, I will give that these films looked great.  The robots looked cool, and the battle scenes, if they could actually hold the camera steady for a second and not give the audience whiplash, were pretty awesome.  But, both Transformers and Avatar suffered from the same thing – not taking their audience seriously.

If the success of filmmakers like Chris Nolan and Pixar animation studios has shown us anything, it is that people can actually handle very complex characters and interesting plots along with visual stimulation.  Nolan remade a comic book character from the ruins that Joel Schumacher left it in after Tim Burton was ejected (for no good reason).  He made it into something almost exclusively for adults.  The Dark Knight was a film that only adults could truly enjoy.  Children would probably be terrified by the psychoticness of the Joker, and the violence was a little much for kids at a lot of points.

And a lot of people have made the arguments that, with kid’s movies, that they are for kids, so they shouldn’t be so serious.  This argument is a complete falsehood.  Pixar has been able to create intellectually engaging films for both kids and adults.  WALL-E had some great themes attached to it, like our over-indulgent culture, our dependence on machines, and our lack of accountability and our desire to take the easy way out instead of making the hard decisions.  And a lot of kid’s movies have done the same.

The Secret of NIMH was one of the most visually beautiful films that was ever made.  Everything Don Bluth did before 1990 was amazing.  After that, well, nobody knows what happened.  It also had an incredible storyline that is regarded by many fans of animated films to be one of the best.  This is another problem that a lot of great filmmakers have.  They start out wanting to take risks, to do their own thing, and after they start to make a lot of money, they become part of a culture of slackers who take the easy way out.  Don Bluth is the perfect example.  It was like he realized he had a lot of money, so he didn’t care what he created anymore.

Now, while Pixar was mentioned, it should be said that Disney has a back and forth problem of creating really arresting films, like one of the most perfect forms of visual poetry ever made, Fantasia, to their straight-to-video or dvd films, which won’t be mentioned here.

And the same thing happens with filmmakers for the older audiences as well.  Take a look at M. Night.  There are two M. Night Shyamalan’s.  There is the first who made The Sixth Sense and Unbreakable (probably one of the most underrated films ever made), and then there is the one who made Signs, and every other film that followed.  Here is a guy who seems to have just forgotten what people want to see.  One could argue that Steven Spielberg had the same thing happen to him.  After Jurassic Park, very little of what he did has consistently been good, although there are still some unsung heroes of his, like AI, which one could argue is one of the most thematically brilliant films that has been made in a long time.

The fact is that film creators have an obligation to the audiences to actually take what they do seriously.  Great film is becoming a harder and harder thing to come by.  The market is swamped with bad films now that straight-to-dvd films are becoming a huge market, although there is the occasional diamond in the rough in that market as well.  And it has been proven that audiences like to be emotionally engaged.  They like to be shown that we have enough respect to believe that they want to see a good movie.

The audience isn’t as stupid as Michael Bay believes them to be.  At least, let’s hope they’re not.

Peace out,

Lefty

Lefty’s Nostalgia: Critters

In the spirit of Halloween, perhaps it is best if a film is reviewed that is something that should be a Halloween classic.  This film is not a great film, nor all that good, but it isn’t terrible.  This is a film that is just funny.  It is a movie that the director, Stephen Herek, did not takes seriously at all.  This is one of those movies that is just so stupid that you have to laugh.  It seems almost to be like something Wes Craven did, where the director was able to mix amusing satire with a semi-serious plot-line.  The result – Critters

Now, the rest of this series got really stupid, but this first movie was actually pretty cute.  The effects were just adorable.  It was like watching Gremlins, except Gremlins was a really good movie.  The “Crites” as they are called, were basically just giant fuzzballs.  For real, these things method of moving is curling into a giant ball and rolling around.  These things seem so non-threatening, when you think about it.  Would you be afraid of a creature that was basically a puffball with teeth?

The film begins at an asteriod prison, where aliens (who speak perfect English, no accent, no odd way of saying things, nothing) are transporting some new prisoners.  These prisoners are called “Crites.”  Where they come from, why they are there, none of that is explained, you just have them being transported to the prison.  The Crites are described as violent little creatures, and the transport people had to kill a couple of them to keep them from going too crazy.

Once they get to the prison, the Crites somehow manage to blow up the container that is carrying them, and steal a ship.  These creatures are described as very intelligent, so it would have helped if there was some back-story, at all.  Something to explain where they came from, why they are so violent, anything.  This just threw them into action.  They steal a ship, with cliche bad special effects from the 80’s, and where do they run to?  Why Earth, of course!  Have you ever noticed how aliens always seem to want to come here?  At least with Predator, they explained why they came.  The explanation there was actually pretty good.  Here, you know nothing about the aliens, why they were imprisoned, why they are so violent, why they would go to Earth when the head of the prison even said that they had enough fuel to go pretty much anywhere they wanted to.  Why not go to your home-planet?  Why not find some seedy place to lay low for a while?  There are a million plot holes in this movie.  Really gaping plot-holes

Well, after the Crites escape, the prison immediately dispatches bounty hunters to get them back.  Why send bounty hunters?  If this is a prison, aren’t there police of some sort?  Is there no inter-galactic police force?  Actually, let’s stop question plot holes, because if we do that, we’ll be here all day.  The bounty hunters have heads that look like something stuffed into a giant green condom, and uniforms that look like a bad 80’s band.  That’s kind of convenient, actually, because one of them, transforms himself into an 80’s musician named Johnny Steele.  It’s worth mentioning that this same guy did almost all the other different faces that his counter-part took on, from a preacher, to a drunk, he did three faces, and all of them look the same.  It was just a different wig on each time.

The Crites land their ship in small-town America.  Of course, since that is where almost all aliens like to land.  There we meet small-town American family.  There is the father, Jay, his wife Helen, and two children, Brad and April.  Brad is a bit of a trouble-maker, and April is kind of a slut.  Helen is a good old-fashioned homemaker, and almost all of her dialogue in this movie is screaming at people.  Jay is a old-fashioned father who doesn’t get all these new generation things, and thinks all the boys his daughter is with (there are over six that are mentioned throughout the film) are bad news.

After the Crites land, they start to go on a rampant killing spree of all life that they find.  First, they kill off some cattle.  Then there is an unlucky sheriff’s deputy who is played by Ethan Phillips, we we all remember as Neelix from Star Trek: Voyager.  I will admit, it was kind of nice to watch him die.  Anyway, the Crites come to the small-town family and start wreaking havoc.  They cut off their power and phone lines (never explained how they know that the phone would be a threat to them), and start hunting the family down.  The Crites even have the fore-sight to know that the vehicles will be a problem.  How do they know so much about us?!  This makes no sense!

Anyway, as the Crites feed more and more, they grow bigger.  Well, one of them grows bigger.  The rest seem to always be the same size.  These creatures are able to shoot darts that have some kind of toxin that paralyzes the victims.  Of course, another plot-hole is how long this effect lasts.  Sometimes it is hours, other times it is just a few seconds.

The bounty hunters arrive and start their search for the Crites.  They go all through the town, raising hell with the indigenous earthlings (it is implied these people have violence problems, but like everything else, it is never explained).  After a while, they run into Brad, who selflessly goes out to try and get help.  Since the father is horribly wounded (with pink blood.  No BS, the blood is pink) and they are almost out of ammo for the shotgun they have, he sees no other option.  He runs into the two bounty hunters and leads them back to the house.  There, they use these giant guns they have to blow the place to pieces, caring not at all about the residents inside.  Considering how they were supposed to keep a low profile, this was a really bad way to do this.  Alien vs. Predator: Requiem did this better (a guilty pleasure of mine, I’ll admit), with the Predator killing anybody who saw him, and destroying all evidence of his presence.

After slaying the bulk of the Crites inside the house, the really big leader kidnaps April and takes her to their ship, as food for the long voyage.  If their ship was perfectly capable of flight, why did they stay?  If they knew somebody was after them, why not ditch?  Never mind, it is pointless to ask.  Brad goes chasing after them, and ends up blowing up their ship by throwing a molotov cocktail into it that lights a giant explosive he had on his person.  Of course, before their ship explodes, the Crites decide (for no reason) to blow up the family’s house.

The bounty hunters thank Brad for his help by giving him some kind of communicator, and actually had a cool line, “call me.”  Given the situation, that was kind of bad-ass.  And when they get back to their home, the communicator goes off, and it magically reassembles!  No reason, no explanation, and the bounty hunters leave.  All appears to be well, until you see that the Crites laid a few eggs, which are starting to hatch!

Yeah, it was a cheesy, very corny movie, which a lot of people thought was ripping off Gremlins.  However, as stupid as this movie was, it didn’t try and take itself seriously for a second.  For that reason, this isn’t a terrible film.  While not great in any significant way, this is an enjoyable film just for the sheer amusment of the over-the-top characters, the bad special effects, and the weird little creatures that are kind of cute, and not threatening at all.  Check it out, if you are ever in the mood for a retro bit of science fiction horror comedy.

Peace out,

Lefty

Occupy Together vs. The Police

There is a rather dark concept that is coming up all over the country.  Here in Alaska, we have had several protests here.  Alas, while unable to make it to the events because of prior engagements, we are paying close attention to the protests here in Anchorage.  There are even protests in our hometown of Wasilla, which is pretty impressive, considering how Wasilla seems to be mostly Tea Party conservatives.  Of course, Alaska hasn’t had the big problems that these movements are having down in the states.

While this movement is becoming the largest global protest that there is, there is one group who are clearly showing where their colors stand – the police.  The law seems to be siding with the corporate elite of this country.  Arrests have been going on ever since the beginning of this endeavor.  Mayor Bloomberg of New York is on a campaign to shut this whole thing down.  It is part of a growing battle between the people who are being oppressed, and their oppressors.

The police clearly are standing with the oppressors.  From the arrests that were made at the beginning, to the fact that the cops who are abusing these people do not suffer any justice.  There was one cop, Anthony Bologna, who pepper sprayed a bunch of protestors.  The video of him doing this went viral, and of course, he is completely innocent.  The punishment that he received was less than a slap on the wrist.  It was a joke.  He loses some vacation days, and some pay.  Well whoop-tee-doo.  He attacks a bunch of defenseless peaceful protestors, along with other cops, and he doesn’t suffer for it.  And he doesn’t feel bad, what’s more.

I did not intend to spray the women…I acted with the best intentions.  I was shell-shocked when the video went viral.  But if I could turn back the clock, I’d do things the same way.”

That is Anthony Bologna in an article he did in The New York Post.  He is guilty as sin of basically macing a bunch of women who were not outside the law, and he doesn’t feel a bit of remorse about it, nor does he feel the hammer of the law.  It is becoming clearer and clearer that the police believe themselves to be above the law.  They believe themselves to be immune from justice.  So far, they seem to be right.  The police are thugs who work for the system, and not only do they work for the system, but they break the law in doing so.

The Fourth Amendment states specifically that people are protected from unlawful searches and seizures.  They are arresting people left and right, often with no charge at all.  There was the man who was approaching the cops, arms in the air, in the universal symbol for coming in peace, and the cops threw him to the ground and arrested him.  Unprovoked, unreasonable, and he suffered for it.

If we don’t have rule of law that curtails arbitrary police power, then our democracy becomes a sham.”

That was from an interview with Dr. Cornel West during an interview on Martin Bashir on MSNBC.  He is absolutely right.  The police more and more are showing that they believe that they can do whatever they want, and they don’t have to suffer for their crimes.

In Utah, there was a group of people who was dancing at a football game.  It was a traditional Maori dance that was done in the postgame.  The police attacked them with pepper spray.  Their reasoning – they were blocking the players for leaving the field.  According to all witnesses to the event, that line of reasoning is false.  These dancers were not a risk, and the cops decided to pepper-spray them, along with several fans in the stands, causing people to run from the place.

And these are just a few examples.  Occupy Wall Street is the example that is getting the most attention right now, but the fact is that the lack of accountability that the police has is something that affects us all.  Eventually, it won’t be just in New York City.  It will be in Anchorage, Wasilla, and other places as well, when the public finally realizes what the right thing is to do.  However, this must continue.

Groups like Anonymous are with Occupy Together, and so are several celebrities.  It is time for us to stand together as a people, and to demand accountability, not just from the financial institution, but also from the people who own them.

Perhaps Anonymous should close this article –

In just a little over a week, Occupy initiatives has sprung up in over 30 cities.  This is now bigger than you and me.  It is a collective 99% that will no longer stand for the corruption, greed, and inequality that is rampant within our governing bodies.”

Peace out,

Lefty

Anti-Pebble Initiative Approved, but was that the right thing?

It was in the Anchorage Daily News today – how the anti-Pebble Mine initiative was approved.  It was pretty clear, given the amount of press coverage that the Pebble Project had that this was going to not only be a big event for Alaska, but also for the country.  It is almost ironic how this whole affair became less and less about the people of the community, and more about a values system.  As a rational person, one must ask the very important question – was the fact that this initiative passed the right thing?

Now, this initiative passing does NOT mean that the mine will never be built.  People seem to believe that this vote will end this debate once and for all.  That myth needs immediate debunking.  In fact, the Pebble Partnership intends to challenging this in court next week.  The Pebble Partnership seems to be of the mindset that this vote will be defeated in court.

To anyone who followed this debate closely, it quickly devolved from a rational discussion about what is best for Lake and Peninsula Borough, to a campaign of fear mongering and misleading the voters.  This was on both sides.  The tragedy is that neither side is innocent here.  For a left-leaning voter, that can be a bit of an annoyance, because the goal of liberal political activists should be to encourage rational debate, even if that can never happen.

However, the ultimate thing to be considered is this – what about those living in Lake and Peninsula Borough?  Quite sadly, the fishing industry in Southwest is not the glorious money-maker that those who were part of the Save the Salmon group seemed to miss.  The fact is that the estimated income of the fishing industry is over $100 million.  While that sounds like a lot, the problem is that a lot of that income is not going to the community.  In fact, most of the Limited Entry Permits in Bristol Bay are to out of state companies, so the profits are going to them.

While the subsistence fishing is a valid risk to consider, if the bulk of profits for commercial fishing are going out of state, how does that help Lake and Peninsula?  There is a real Catch-22 here – how did the anti-Pebble groups convince people that more money is a bad thing?

Those who were proponents of Pebble were showing how over 1,000 long-term jobs could be created.  In an area that is economically depressed like Lake and Peninsula Borough, this could be a great thing.  However, the battle went out of state, and then the message got totally lost.

It vaguely seems reminiscent of how the Exxon Valdez crisis was handled.  Exxon apologized to the New York Times about it, which made Alaskans very, very angry.  It was talking to people who didn’t live here about things that they didn’t care about.  It totally ignored the issue – that this was an Alaskan issue, and the focus needed to be on Alaska.

When people like Robert Redford weigh in, it is easy to get lost in the celebrity attention.  And it worked, apparently.  Celebrities saying things about a state that they don’t live in got to a lot of people.

The real question now becomes – how exactly do those who are against Pebble propose fixing the economic depression that Lake and Peninsula, or rather, all of Rural Alaska is in?  How exactly do they tell the people who are without significant opportunity for jobs that having less of them is a good thing?  Subsistence is the one major good argument that has been made against Pebble, because getting food is very difficult in rural Alaska, but what about jobs?

If most of the commercial fishing permits are for out of state companies, how is that helping the residents of Bristol Bay?  After all the talks about the salmon, the wildlife, and how Bristol Bay “doesn’t want Pebble,” that is the real problem.  Pebble may not have been perfect, it may not have been the right answer, but when they are saying that $200+ billion are underneath the ground in Lake and Peninsula Borough, how can people look the impoverished community members in the eye and tell them that not doing what is right for their community is the right thing to do?

It is good to be environmentally conscious, but the fact is that something has to be done.  Alright you anti-Pebble people, now the ball is in your court – if Pebble isn’t the answer – what is?

Peace out,

Lefty

The Pebble Mine Debate

Lefty on the Left has been axed from The Northern Light.  But don’t worry, it will continue here.  Here is what the article would have been for this week –

The vote for Pebble Mine is going to radically affect rural Alaska either way

A lot of people have gotten very tired of hearing the endless series of ads that have been on the radio about this issue.  The vote on this has already happened, but the effect is going to be big either way.  The issue is whether or not Pebble Mine should be allowed to exist.

The situation is this – what started as a local issue has turned into a national debate, with a lot of voices weighing in.  However, in the fray, there seems to be something that is being lost – where do the people stand?

Pebble Mine is a prospect for a gold and copper mining operation that is going to take place in the Alaska Lake and Peninsula Borough.  It is a community of around 1,600 people, spread along 17 communities.  This has been tossed around in Juneau since 2006

One criticism that was leveled was that neither side has a good slogan or good pitch for it.  Both sides of the debate seem to be not even trying.  They just seem to do a back and forth childish battle over who is right and who is wrong.

“Bristol Bay doesn’t believe the Pebble Lady.  Do you?” said one ad, after Martina Arce made the contention that a large chunk of the drift fishery permits are owned by non-Alaskans.  On both sides, for months, this is what it has been.  And there have also been some big names who have spoken on this subject.

“Their Pebble Mine would be gouged out of an American paradise — filled with salmon, bears, moose, caribou, wolves and whales — that has sustained Native communities for thousands of years,” Robert Redford wrote in an Op-ed article on The Huffington Post.

Redford isn’t the only one.  There are a number of jewelers, like Ben Bridge, Zale Corp., Tiffany & Co., who are saying that they won’t use any “dirty gold.”  A number of chefs at big restaurants down in the states are saying that this is a mistake as well.

These people weighing in is fine, except for one thing – they don’t live in Alaska.  Approaching this issue from a completely neutral position, one must truly examine the pros and cons.  The biggest pro for this project is that rural Bristol Bay is a very economically-depressed part of the state.

Due to the lack of available jobs and lack of income, suicide rates in Bristol Bay, particularly among their youth, have been staggeringly high.

“The southwest and northern parts of Alaska had a suicide rate three times higher than the statewide rate – about 60 suicides for every 100,000 people,” was written in an article in The Bristol Bay Times.  These numbers are shocking.

Despite what the environmentalists are saying, the fishing industry is not that big of a market.  Over the last few years, the income of the fishing industry has been over $100 million.  The estimated amount of mineral resources at the site is estimated at over $200 billion.

For a community that has such a small economy, that kind of money can go a long way.  For the environmentalists, that seems to almost be inconsequential.  The fact that communities have been shown to grow up around mines doesn’t seem to register.

Now, looking at the other argument, that this operation could have a huge negative effect on the salmon streams and all of Bristol Bay.  There is merit to this argument.  Mines do produce a lot of waste.  There was one opinion from an environmentalist that was pretty sound.

“If they can engineer it so it does not destroy salmon streams, by all means they can develop it.  Our contention is simply that this is trying to cast in concrete what Pebble Partnership has been saying all along, they won’t hurt salmon,” said Art Hackney, the spokesperson for Save the Salmon.

That is a good way to approach it, by being open to the idea, being reasonable.  The problem is that most of the people who have spoken out are just dismissing this entire venture off-hand.

“They make it sound like all fish will die if you don’t support the initiative,” said Lisa Reimers, the chief executive of the Illiamna Development Corp.

Of course, the vote has already been done.  It is already over.  So why talk about this?  Well, this issue is an allegory to what happens all the time in this country.  This issue stopped being about rational debate, and became a mission of values, and the people living there seem to have been forgotten.

Peace out,

Lefty

Alaska is Hope. America is Too

There was a brilliant allegory that was recently posted on YouTube.  This may just be the best piece of video footage that has graced the hallowed halls of YouTube’s library in some time.  It was done by a vlogger named TJ Kincaid.  He talks about a couple that we all are intimately familiar with in this country, and I bet people all over the world know this couple as well.  Their names are Wally and Hope.

Hope is an honest and hard working woman.  She busts her rear at a paper recycling plant every day, working as a secretary.  But she comes home to Wally.  He is a very rich man, whose income dwarfs her’s.  And what’s more, Wally takes all of her money too.  He only lets her have just enough to survive.  For years, Hope takes this.  She tries to stand up to him, but when she does, she is beaten, brutally.  For years, it goes on, until one day, she decides to really stand up, to make a stand for herself.  Wally is enraged beyond all reason.  Wally beats her as he has never beaten her before.  After it is done, Hope manages to crawl to the phone and call the police.  They come, but they like Wally, and Wally is their friend, so they take Hope to the hospital, and after that, she goes to jail.  When she gets home, she sees Wally with a smug look on his face, because he knows that she is powerless, and now, the question really becomes –

What can Hope do to survive against a powerful and corrupt beast, that wants nothing more than to subjugate and suppress her?  What can she do?

The big question is that very one.  As one views Alaska, America, and the industrialized world, and really the whole world, it is the question that people need to be asking with more and more skepticism as time goes on.  Hope is a brilliant allegory.  Not only does Hope symbolize us all, it shows the pure hopelessness of the people of this country.

There is an event that is going on today in Anchorage today.  It is the second of their version of Occupy Wall Street.  As one watches what is happening, it is easy to see why those who are following this event are kind of disheartened.  Time and time again, the law has been used as a weapon against the people.  These people who are doing this are trying to appeal to a group of people who, like Wally, have no sense of decency, no conscience to speak of.  They throw away the jobs of thousands, do whatever it takes to save money, and they don’t feel bad.  There is no conscience with these people.  They have proven, time and time again, how it is all about money.

There was an AMA on Reddit.com between TJ Kincaid and a Wall Street trader, and the trader says, flat-out, that he is in it for the money, that all he wants it to have it and power.  It is a tragic thing that shows so much of what our country has become.  Money, it is the golden rule that everybody has to obey.

There was a woman who recently asked, in a personal conversation, that if one was making $5 million dollars a year, would they want to give some of that up?  Would they want to help those who don’t have that money?  Such a heartless question, from an equally heartless person.  She asked believing that giving up money is just the worst thing.

If people want to believe that they are making a difference with these protests, that is good.  But when one examines history, it is hard to understand why people are so gung-ho to believe that peaceful protest is going to get them anything more than a beating in the street, because Wally is absolute, and Hope…well, what can she do?  Violence may be the only solution that Hope has left.

People shouldn’t be afraid of their government, governments should be afraid of their people.”

Alan Moore, or V, whichever you want to give that quote to, they had a very good point.

Peace out,

Lefty

Amanda Knox and the Failure of the Media

It is getting a little bit too annoying, really.  When we are in a societal calamity.  The EU is in real economic trouble.  America’s economy is heading in the wrong direction again.  The Middle East is still in chaos.  There are problems that are everywhere.  The vote on Pebble Mine is just around the corner.  The Alaskan economy isn’t all that great right now either.  All of this is going on, and what does the media see fit to either have as “Breaking News” or as the “Top Story” is the story of Amanda Knox coming back to America.

The story goes that there is a girl named Amanda Knox.  She was an exchange student in Italy.  Her roommate, Meredith Kercher, was found with her throat slit.  Knox and her boyfriend at the time, were charged and found guilty for the crime.  That was four years ago.  The rest is history, until recently.  The verdict of her appeal acquitted her, and now she has returned home.  And what has the news seen fit to do – talk about it to death!  I am starting to agree with Jon Stewart about what 24-hour news networks are designed to do

24 hour news networks are built for one thing, and that’s 9/11, and the type of gigantic news event that the type of apparatus that exists in this building and exists at the other 24-hour are perfectly suited to cover.  In the absence of that, they’re not just gonna say, ‘there’s not that much that’s urgent or important or conflicted happening today, so we are going to gin up, we are going to bring forth more conflict and more sensationalism because we want you to continue watching us 24 hours a day, seven days a week, even when the news doesn’t necessarily warrant that type of behavior.'”

Really, this whole event how shined a spotlight, to me anyway, of something that really does need to be examined in the world of professional journalism – where the priorities are.  Stewart is absolutely right.  These networks won’t just admit that they don’t have anything that is worthwhile to talk about.  Thankfully, NPR, PBS, BBC, and the alternative media sources are doing the smart thing and giving this issue the attention that it deserves.  But really, when one examines this issue critically, it has to be pointed out that what does this matter?

What possibly contributions does this event give society.  What’s more, why does everybody care so much?  There is a greater societal problem that is displayed here – that the people of this country are starting to look less like an informed populace and more like Mike Judge’s creation, Idiocrisy.  When one examines what gets in the news anymore, and where the people tend to focus their attention, it is easy to see why the socially aware are starting to lose hope in the human race and their ability to make any productive change anymore.  This is not a key issue in this debate.  In fact, Amanda Knox is nothing more than a symptom, or even less than that, but a skin mark, on the problem that is the massive ball of corpses that is America and the priorities that this country has.  She is just a sign of what is to come in the media that has grown up around the corporations of this country.

Fox News may be the great white whale of journalism, but MSNBC and CNN are not innocent of what plagues Fox News – bad journalism that is intentionally made to seem much more important than it actually is.  Does anybody remember the Casey Anthony trial?  Or maybe you remember the example that Stewart gave in his article above, about how there was the press conference after Anthony Weiner was found out for having shown his weiner to a girl.  How when Pelosi said that she wasn’t going to talk about Weiner, but rather about jobs and the economy, everybody left.  These are just a few of the many examples of how these news networks are all completely ignoring the important issues.

There is another issue that seems to have been completely ignored by the media – Rick Perry and his massive political project/blunder – the Trans-Texas Corridor.  Put simply, it was a giant complex that was intended to route all major traffic to heavy population centers of Texas.  Costly, disruptive to private property, and just a giant waste, not to mention a very big bit of ugly business.  While it looks like Perry is losing some of the clout that he had, this issue has not been raised at all in any significant way.

See, this is the problem with the news – they seem to have a hard time reporting the news.  They seem to have it all mixed up that when you are charged with reporting the news to people, which means things that are of consequence happening in the local, state, national, or worldwide level.  Something like this Corridor would be a huge thing to talk about, especially with a candidate who bashes the federal government, but then goes around and does things like this.  Call it what you like, Perry, but government by any other name is still government.  That goes for the Ron Paul fans too.

But there is hope on the horizon.  The alternative media seems to be gaining traction.  More and more people are seeking out places where they can get the news and not have it be a corporate machine.  It used to be that just the eggheads were watching shows like FRONTLINE and listening to NPR.  It used to be that the corporate machine believed that nobody cared what those on the internet had to say.  But that isn’t true, not anymore.  Now, with YouTube, journalists having blogs, and several other blogs and vlogs being watched, the world of social commentary and journalism is growing.  This is a good thing.

In a world where the economy is heading in the wrong direction again, we need to have some voices who are above the sensationalist maw and are able to take the bag of snakes and lay them out straight.

Peace out,

Lefty

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