26 Jul. 2007

Stop Making Sense

Since I lost my pendulum, my life is all erratic.
The parrot, which was cordial, is now transmitting static.
The carpet died, a palm collapsed, the cat keeps doing poo.
The only thing that keeps me sane is talking to my shoe.
- Michael Leunig
We live in strange times indeed. I find myself wincing as I read the news every day, struggling to make sense of the distortions of logic which thoroughly pervade today's political discourse.

It has become impossible to read an item of news without thinking about who wrote it, who published it, who might be promoting it and why. Our politicians tell blatant, bald-faced lies, live on camera, without blinking an eye. We all know they are lying, and they know that we know that they are lying, and they just don't care. And we don't care either. We move on, we move on...

These are the politicians who are supposed to represent us, to champion our interests, to safeguard our lives and build a better future for our children. They do nothing of the sort. They are in the pockets of powerful and wealthy crooks, promoting harmful industries like armaments, nukes and global warming fossil fuels.

And ordinary, decent people, who should know better, have succumbed to the propaganda. As a nation, we have have tolerated the growth of this madness, till now it consumes us.

The astonishing news that a 45-year-old police "assistant" dropped dead while interrogating Doctor Mohammed Haneef raises barely a ripple of interest, since the case has become so bizarre already. The Australian Federal Police Commissioner and the Attorney General are both now passing the buck to the Director of Public Prosecutions, and walking away from responsibility for the fiasco, as if they had nothing to do with it.

Meanwhile in Washington, where the US Attorney General has been caught out in even more brazen lies, Josh Marshall says it might be time, nearly, to almost begin to think seriously about impeachment! Gosh, do you think???! Something is terribly, terribly wrong, screams the Washington Post, which has done so much to enable this madness. Really???!

It's no different in the UK, of course:
Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-four lexicon of opposites pervades almost everything we see, hear and read now. The invaders and destroyers are "the British coalition forces," surely as benign as that British institution, St. John Ambulance, who are "bringing democracy" to Iraq. BBC television describes Israel as having "two hostile Palestinian entities on its borders," neatly inverting the truth that Israel is actually inside Palestinian borders. A study by Glasgow University says that young British viewers of TV news believe Israelis illegally colonizing Palestinian land are Palestinians: the victims are the invaders.

"The great crimes against most of humanity," wrote the American cultural critic James Petras, "are justified by a corrosive debasement of language and thought... [that] have fabricated a linguistic world of terror, of demons and saviors, of axes of good and evil, of euphemisms" designed to disguise a state terror that is "a gross perversion" of democracy, liberation, reform, justice. In his reinauguration speech, George Bush mentioned all these words, whose meaning, for him, is the dictionary opposite.
And meanwhile, in Iraq, lest we forget, a million souls are now dead, and still we beat our chests and worry about how best to bring these barbarians some more of our cherished values.

The sun sets in the west. Doesn't it?