Imperialist ideology at home and abroad (was Re: The media)

Nestor Miguel Gorojovsky nestor at SPAMsisurb.filo.uba.ar
Sat Oct 9 19:38:53 MDT 1999



El  9 Oct 99 a las 20:21, Borba100 at aol.com nos dice(n):

>  I guess EVERYONE prefers
> to have their interventions look humanitarian, not just
> people in the US.

Yes, as a general truth. Even such a grotesquely bullying
bourgeoisie as the English bourgeoisie has always tended to
encircle their own people around some "moral" conventions. Even
a moderate such as George Bernard Shaw (moderate but Irish,
these Paddies are always misbehaving!) made the point that
whatever evil the English (by this, on this posting please
understand the English nation such as it has been generated
by history, acting as an imperialist power in particular)
can do on you, they will always do it in the name of some
great principle.  When Meg Thatcher stormed the
Argentinians in the South Atlantic, a great story was told
about the "democratic" England attacking the "Fascist"
Argentina. In this sense, even the bloody witch needs to
feel comfortable with herself. I would add: even Churchill,
or Clinton, for that matter!

But there is a peculiarity with Americans, which I suppose
has more to do with this fact: they seem to believe that
their country is organized around some basic principles
that gave life to the USA as a nation _expressly made up_ in
order to bring some kind of morality to this world of
sinners.  The amount of imperialist truth the American
people can stand looks to me as quite lower than that which
other peoples, as for instance the Western Europeans or the
Japanese, handle without great qualms.

This implies a more variegated and pervasive distorsion of
what the American people are told about the world. As the
American communications corporations invade the breathing
space of everyone on the globe, however, this hypocrisy
becomes the basic ideology on Planet Earth. How long can
last, however, such a contradiction between what people
suffer daily and what they are told on themselves by the
media?

A wave of cynicism maybe the first reaction. On this, I
return again to my own country's history. During the 30s,
Argentina was closely tied to the economic convenience of
the British Empire. The results of this were overt
deprivation, widespread starvation, ruin for the middle
classes and generalized suffering. The media, on the other
hand, were either censored or owned by the British
interests, or by Argentinians or Uruguayans (Natalio Botana
was an outstanding example) who shared to the last comma
the ideas of the British managers and their local
counterparts, the Argentinian landed oligarchy.

The contradiction between the media coverage and the actual
realities generated an atmosphere of skeptical and cynic
defeatism in the middle classes, which was incorporated to
most of tango lyrics of the time, particularly those of the
great poet Enrique Santos Discepolo. Discepolin was able to
carry to tango the actual structures of feeling of the
popular classes of a country that, for the first time (but,
alas, not for the last one) was suffering from "la tristeza
de haber sido / y el dolor de ya no ser" (the sorrow of
having been / and the pain of not being any more), as he
put it in one of his tangos.

Cynicism, eventually, melted down and gave rise to the
opposite, the boasting Argentinian that Eric Toren has
warned everyone on this list against. That boasting
Argentinian was, among others, the result of the
revitalization of the national revolution in a country
that, after the hardships of the 30s and the early 40s,
seemed to begin to stand on her feet again. There was not
sorrow for what the Argentinians had been, since there was
a country that was beginning "to be" again. Then, why not
to brag?

But no such a superation of the current situation seems
possible, particularly on the global stage, today. Will
cynicism bring about a destructive nihilism? What is for
sure is that this daily discrepance between what is
suffered in the real world and what is conveyed to us from
the virtual world only helps increasing the amount of rage
of hundreds of millions of persons.

Perhaps the media big boys are not as witty as they think
they are.

Nestor.









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