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xmag.com : July 2004 : I Love Las Vegas

It’s the American in me that makes me watch the blood
Comin’ out of the bullet hole in his head
It’s the American in me that makes me watch TV
See on the news listen what the man said.
Ask not what you can do for your country
What’s your country been doin’ to you?
Ask not what you can do for your country
What’s your country been doin’ to your mind?
—the Avengers

Happy fuckin’ birthday, America, you really made me proud this year.
Who are you, anyway, America? Where the fuck are you coming from? You are syndicated news and corporate control and the Christian right and bombs and nukes and rapists and plunderers. You are not me. You are no one I know. I used to be merely embarrassed by you. I’m starting to hate your fuckin’ guts.

You sent my brother to Crazy Land to look for biological weapons. His girlfriend is in Iraq looking for nukes. We can have all the nukes we want but they can’t have any. Because we—Americans—are more prone to mind control by your ubiquitous media outlets. Therefore we can harbor nuclear weapons and experiment with biological warfare and use them at will.

We are not free. We are in a Foucaultian prison of our own making, complete and total sheep to television, radio and newspapers. The corporations that control American consciousness are posting record earnings while more and more people we know are trying to stay afloat below the poverty line, but no one seems to care. We don’t have time to think, and that’s the way they like it.

They say with freedom comes responsibility. Like the responsibility to keep yourself “informed” with news that is false and biased; to vote for politicians who lie, cheat and steal; to use your freedom to rise above (on the backs of the weak, the poor, the tired). Lately I feel that our constitutional right to bear arms—put in place to assure that We the People have some recourse against a government grown too powerful—is a wonderfully marvelous thing that should be exercised. NOW. Lately I feel like an asshole every time I read the newspaper, hear the radio, see a television. They can’t possibly think that I’m idiot enough to believe their pandering lies, to feel good about their patronizing feel-good coverage, to give two shits about Michael Jackson’s private life.

So I turned it all off. Suddenly I can hear what really matters, can attune to my own moral compass.

Media is incredibly powerful. Countries like Russia, China, Iraq and Afghanistan recognize its awesome power and use it unabashedly. You’re a fool if you think the most powerful country in the world doesn’t use the media to get their way, to pass their laws, to promote their ideologies.

Indonesia put televisions in every tiny jungle village and within half a generation turned their population crisis around by broadcasting smiling well-off parents saying “two [children] is enough.” Germany turned a population of meat eaters into virtual vegetarians via a government sponsored media campaign showing meat’s ill effects on the environment and on health. America is telling you til it’s blue in the face that everything is ok, you are happy, and we’re all gonna win. Turn it off for one second and you’ll notice it just ain’t true.

You are what you read. Be careful. Casually flipping through the New York Times or watching CNN is an act of collaboration with the current regime. Choose your media carefully. Read Exotic. Happy Birthday, Exotic.

P.S. Happy Birthday to ME! July 31st @ Sabala’s Mt. Tabor. Be there for the best Portland rock bands and the biggest mofo cake!

 

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