* Author has experienced war and conflict his entire adult life. * War forms its own culture.
* Even with destruction and carnage, war can give us what we long for. * Enticing elixir that gives warmth and resolve and a cause to believe. * War is a crusade (Bush said people fight terror or are our enemies) * War gives us a supreme worth in our lives.
* Corpses deliver a message in wartime.
* Organized killing is done best by a disciplined, professional army. * War = good distraction from lame/depressing daily life. * Patriotism celebrates our goodness.
* War makes world understandable and is a god that needs human sacrifice. * “Iliad” and “Odyssey” = perfectly chronicle rage and consumption of war. * Armed movements seek divine sanction and certitude of truth. * America is not immune to blind nationalism.
* We are responsible for world’s genocides because we have the power to intervene and yet haven’t.
I. The Myth of War
* Ethnic conflicts and insurgencies are caused by collapse of civil societies, perpetuated by fear and greed and paranoia, and are NOT caused by civilization/culture clash. * Roots from gangsters who rise from bottom of society and demonize. * We demonize our enemy so they no longer seem human.
* We view ourselves as ultimate epitome of goodness.
* War = “sensory reality” vs “mythic reality”
* Sensory = we see events for what they really are.
* Mythic = we give events perspective and meanings they done have. * Press and state disseminate the myth.
* Myth makes us aim for absolute victory = impossible to accomplish. * Hence, we can eliminate terrorism, etc…
* Myth’s potency = it helps us make sense of mayhem and violent death. * National myths are mostly racist and fed by ignorance.
* We sometimes cause terror to our enemies yet laud ourselves as “freedom fighters.” * Myth of war sells and legitimizes the drug of war. (war = drug) * Modern war is directed primarily against civilians.
* Nationalist and ethnic follies are purely sustained by myth. * (ex) = Serb, Muslim, and Croatian conflict.
* All find emotional sustenance in war’s myth.
* We are humiliated in combat (fear = reality check).
* Once in conflict, we move from abstract to real (mythical to sensory) Story of gunfight where his comrade died yelling for his mom. II. The Plague of Nationalism
* Argentina’s military junta was on verge of collapse when street demos and nationwide strikes occurred, but as soon as the war began, junta seemed like national saviors * War replaced reality with wild legitimization of worst prejudices and paranoia. * Every society/ethnic group/religion nurtures its own myths (benign in times of peace, provoked by war) * Acts of compassion are generally the best antidotes to nationalist myths. * Glorification of nationalist myths makes people abandon concerns of daily life. * Nationalistic myth, provoked/ignited by conflict/war, implodes ferociously. * Nationalist triumphalism = shunned/discredited in the USA after Vietnam war * We were forced to see ourselves as other saw us (not always in a good way) III. The Destruction of Culture
* The state seeks to destroy its own culture in wartime. * This must be completed before destroying culture of opponents * States at war silence their own authentic and humane culture. * National symbols (flag, songs, sentiments) invade and take over cultural space. * Cultivation of victimhood is essential to nurture conflict. * [Story of Palestinian kids who want to be martyrs picked up by God] * Cultural destruction in wartime is also physical. (Buildings, monuments, religious buildings are destroyed) * People displaced from their homes have felt the assault on culture and nurture an anger/alienation they pass onto their kids. * War destroys old monuments and demands new ones, which glorify the states uniform, call for self-sacrifice and lead to self-destruction. * A soldier who can see humanity of the enemy = a troubled and ineffective killer. * Myths determine how we should speak AND how we should think. * Self-doubt is aided by monstrous nature of war.
* The reinterpretation of history as culture is dizzying and dangerous. But it is the bedrock of hatred and intolerance that leads to war. * [Examples of Shakespeare characters of analogy to war’s facets] * Destruction of culture plays a crucial role is solidifying war story * Fear, trauma, and stress warp and twist memory and memory narrative. * War leaves amnesia, not memory.
* Search for a common “memory” narrative is often forced upon a society. IV. Seduction of Battle and Perversion of War
* Myth of war entices us with the allure of heroism.
* Visual/audio effects of films, etc make war appear glorious/safe.
* We see rush and excitement from distance but can’t see the agony.
* Pity is often banished in war.
* [Author recited poetry to himself when held captive by Iraqi Rep. Guard[ * [Stories of conflicts between Israel and Palestine, resulting in violence on kids, etc] * “Throwing stones at Israeli jeeps” kids trying to be martyrs. * Children in affected areas are fed hatred from their birth. * Pornography “sex in war is another variant of the drug of war.” * Universal preoccupation with sexual liaisons during wartime. * War crumbled sexual, social, and political norms.
* [Serbs vs Muslims in Bosnia and Croatia and Slovenia] rape, violence and relocation * Ethnic warfare often leads to economic collapse and misery for persecution. * Displacement is a fundamental tool used to prosecute conflict. * War induces desperation despite humiliation.
* War doesn’t build relationships. It builds comradeship. * Comradeship = suppressed sense of self [vs] Friendship = heightened sense of
self. * Comrades lose individual identities in the bond.
* There is a spiritual and emotional collapse after war.
* Erosion of morality and socially responsibility.
V. The Hijacking and Recovery of Memory
* The Turks spent most of 20th Century denying the Armenian genocide. * Dislocation, torture in desert and death inevitably killed Arm. Culture. * People and Families have been parted by death, language is almost obliterated, and culture no longer exists. * As wars wind to a close, killers make desperate and often futile efforts to hide their crimes (bulldoze, dynamite, dissolve in acid etc.) * War leaders know that exposing murder means loss of legitimacy and discrediting of myth they harass/denounce victims war narratives. * Top leaders rarely end up in jail [Harry Potter Example: Malfoy but not Voldemort in Azkaban] * The violence of war is random.
* Until lies are discredited and history is recovered, societies speak in euphemism. * Process of healing begins when we acknowledge tragedy and accept our share in the blame. VI. The Cause
* Gulf War gave us media-manufactured heroes and superior military pride. * The press is a historical mythmaker.
* War finds meaning in death (victims, martyrs, heroes, etc…) * Cause (sanctified by the dead) can’t be questioned without dishonoring those who died. * Sanctity of cause is crucial (state protects, explains and promotes it) * Failure to dissect the cause of war leaves us open for part # 2. (When we’re not able to figure out a cause of war, then we set ourselves up for another war because of the same cause.) * Cause is wrapped in mystery reserved for the divine.
VII. Eros and Thanatos
* Eros = impulse that propels us to bond, preserve and conserve, become close. * Thanatos = death instinct; impulse toward full biotic annihilation * Freud, psychologist,, came up with the idea of Eros and Thanatos. * We don’t understand enemies because we are blinded by
abstract myth. * The state needs a myth to survive.
* The USA is gradually embracing Thanatos but love has unique power (so we just have to learn the power of love and embrace Eros even though we are moving closer to Thanatos rather than Eros.
There’s Nothing In The Middle of the Road But Yellow Stripes and Dead Armadillos (written by Jim Hightower)
Part 1: Corporate World
* Politicians, pundits, economists, etc. don’t bring up the monstrous issue of corporatism in American Public Debate. * Corporation intrudes into every aspect of our lives.
* People make a huge deal of “socialized medicine” when they ignore that we are being crushed by corporate medicine. * “big dogs” are munching out of our pay and funds. * HMOS/Insurance Giants are taking over healthcare
* True symbol of today’s America = corporate logo, not Old Glory. * Sky is corporatized, kids are corporatized ($ 135 billion spent per year on elementary school kids before hormonal consciousness) * Corporations like Coca Cola and Nike and Campbell’s brand schools. * Corporatized parties threatens government privatization * Nascar Races = human billboarding
* Corporatization of athletics is pervading society (Nike, Reebok, Gatorade, etc.) * College football bowls are sponsored/branded by corporations * Brand names often manufacture for very cheap overseas and sell for very expensive in the USA. * Everyday plain taxpayers are the ones who end up subsidizing the corporations * Corporations induces a seismic cultural shift
* Economic Segregation puts a financial sieve through society. * Huge stadiums and facilities cost more than $ 9 billion; 4 out of every 5 of those dollars come from taxpayers. * As corporatization decreases, our ethical standards, our kids will learn from what we do. * [story of boyscout who sold popcorn to companies for tax deduction] * Green Bay (NFL) stops Corporation rip offs because Packers owned by Green Bay. * Employees aren’t necessarily expenses: the respect you give them can return hard work that can be seen as the ultimate edge. * Corporations were invented by Brits…it takes a dime to make a buck philosophy. * 2 major changes that unleashed modern corporatization on us: * US Supreme court made corps bulletproof (“corp=a person”) * Emasculation of the state corporate carter
* Corps have become dominant institutions in our society like church in middle ages. * 51 our of 100 largest economies in the world are corporations
High Tech Excess
* Granny got arrested for putting change into expired meters. * Technocracy – [Vincent Yost’s ruthless parking meters] * Tech growth in body enhancements
* Organize work to create/enhance happiness, governing to promote it, and educating to achieve a higher level of it. * “gringo-izing” the Jalapeno for “Mild” Salsa/Chili * Work is a good place to begin pursuit of happiness debate. * Average lunch hour = 29 minutes
* 40 % of Americans don’t get a lunch break
* Bosses take control and time, employees have very little “me” time. (with 2 weeks of break per year, it will take 26 years on the job to get 1 year to yourself)
Part 2: Class War
* Economists = voodoo priests of America’s established order. * They say “America is prospering” even though its people are not. * We are asked to believe economy is separate from us even though it is supposed to serve us rather than overpower us. * “Good for econ” = “good for Wallstreet” = not necessarily good for the people. * Huge corporate firing often causes big increase in DOW points. * Because executive’s pay is largely rooted in company’s stock value, the more employees the executive fires, the more money the CEO makes. * Statistics can often be misleading
* “Only 5.4% unemployment” – more than 1,300,000 people behind each of those percents. * Motivation behind the assault of firing on the middle class is simply old-fashioned greed. * Executives kick out and knock down lots of people because walls street investors and board of directors of the computer itself give the executives lots of money rewards. * Elites of America’s corporate econ = after characterized by over-indulgence, aloofness, and even imperiousness. * Average US CEO earns 225 times a factory worker [CEOs from around the world (Japan, for example) earn less than equal 500k USD a year]
* Republicans: Trickle Down Ecomonics only way to end poverty is charity, which can only be done by making rich richer. * Flaw 1: every time we try this, the rich get too rich and the poor end up suffering * Flaw 2: philosophy of “let them eat charity” is lame and hinders development of real economic plan that gives people the tools they need to build and maintain middle class lives. * Flaw 3: much of bestowed “charity isn’t even from charitable people (ex: Rockafeller gave bits of money after huge career exploiting the poor.) * Capitalism lures people by its irresistible sparking nature * Irony: very, very, very few capitalists in capitalist society. * Poverty is its own punishment, wealth is its own reward * Wealth gives comfort, social status, raw econ power, and a huge political advantage * Top 20% richest share 98.8% of American wealth, wheras the other 80% of Americans share 1.2 % * States contract out prison labor to private companies
* Compete with third world wages even in the USA.
* Middle Class is created by struggle between rich and poor. * Big Corporations often get unfair loopholes and tax deductions that get filled by tax from our pockets.
Part 3: The Media
* America’s media machine is a hotbed of liberalism that spews hot steam of lefty propaganda. * Television/broadcasting is heavily corporatized, and the employees who seem like bigshots are often oppressed by the upper hand of conglomerate ownership. * General Electric (a.k.a GE) – although you might not expect it, GE is a major builder of nuclear bombs, a bank, a credit card company, the 2nd largest producer of plastic in the USA, a huge weapon/arms dealer, a leading stockbroker on Wall Street, a prominent Pentagon contractor, an insurance/health purveyor, and a manufacturer of everything from locomotives to lightbulbs. GE has the 55th largest economy in the world, surpassing the economies of entire nations (i.e. Iran, Thailand, Egypt, etc). * Politics and corporatization are controlling the media * The wealthy are the real healthcare moochers
* “Synergy” = two branches of a conglomerate shamelessly promoting each other (ex: When Disney bought ABC, the ABC show Roseanne aired an episode with the characters going to Disney World, and there were Disney commercials in the middle…. and the channel was owned by Disney. LAME.) * Financial interests of conglomerates supersede public interest * Voter turnout sucks because working class is fed up with deceiving media * 3 mavericks within the beast of American media:
* C-SPAN we get to see official proceedings w/o edits and “expert” commentary * Editorial cartoonists in newspapers get straight to the point w/ pix! * Talk radio it is unadulterated by intellectual skewing of print media, the sparkle of TV, and the stylistics of the Internet. Best of all, the talk radio is personal and is easily accessible by all social classes.
Part 4: Pollution
* We are poisoning ourselves by means of pollution
* When we pollute the air, soil, or water directly, runoff by means of precipitation brings toxic chemicals to bodies of water, such as freshwater lakes. Not only do the lakes get contaminated, but so do the organisms in them. By eating fish taken from a polluted lake or river, we can get lethally poisoned by heavy metals such as mercury. * Herbicides, insecticides, and fungicides in our soil run off into our water sources, thereby poisoning us and imbalancing our ecosystem in the process because the organisms that eat those herbs, insects and fungi no longer have foots the symbiosis is destroyed. * Political tree plantings are useless because they don’t hide flaws. * Gasoline storage tanks emit tons of toxic waste.
* Government agencies that try to claim they protect you really don’t * Environmentalism = not just about protecting the environment, but about exercising our power. * Waste disposals, landfills, and power plants are never in wealthy neighborhoods * 60% of African and Hispanic American families live in neighborhoods. * In the 50’s people were never told DDT was bad for them, just that it killed mosquitoes and it was a great scientific discovery. * Just like politics, too much modern science is corporatized. * Food manufacturers have protection against interest groups that try to sue them for contamination/chemicals * Group must get tangible scientific proof of accusation. * States and feds barely put any regulations on huge meat factories can lead to disaster. * Leak and spill of 25 million gallons of hog excrement from oceanview Inc.s 8 acre waste lagoon in June 1995. * Spread knee-deep for 17 mile radius
* Heavy metal toxins destroyed fauna and flora.
* Genetic engineering of meat animals to meet demands in market after lead to poisoning by means of imbalanced nutrient production or infection with toxics * “Eg: turkey get breast enhancements that could land them a job at hooters because of high demand for white breast meat” * Cows with mad cow disease are slaughtered before they have obvious symptoms; undetected mad cow disease (BSE) cow is processed and sent to market as “Grade A approved” by unknowing inspector and ingested by people. * Industry tries to whitewash consumers like amateurs in times of conflict, agitation, scandal etc. * In one generation, the chemical sprayer as the symbol of agriculture replaced the plow. * Farmers have shown that with practice, using manure instead of fertilizers yields comparative/competitive crops * First Organo chloride = World War II poison gas; there are now around 11,000 organochlorides, all of which are toxic, such as DDT and CDCs. * Over 40 million tons of organochlorides are produced every year. * Lead to reproductive deformities, disease, etc.
* Drycleaners emit >20k tons of toxic organochlorides gas which is toxic to biotic and abiotic factors to our ecosystem. * FDA’s “ban” on feeding cow tissue to other cows is only partial (it exampts blood and gelatin) * Also exempts pigs, etc…
* Ban also doesn’t cover cow pellets being fed.
* The industrial processes themselves must be confronted and changed.
Part 5: Politics
* No matter what polls, pundits, and politics say, Americans are no more left-ist and right-ist. * Every city/town has its own “power elite”, the bankers, reas estate barons, etc… * After in politics, the Do-nothing goofball is elected, whereas people with legit platforms are shunned. * What people want/need is to get someone to go head-on at those who are powerful/tyramical. * American needs a serious job program, a major raise in minimum wage, and an industrial policy and labor law reform. * Shame of politics is not long; it’s the fear of losing. * At the root of the American publics negative feeling about government is something entirely positive: Americans want to be involved in their country’s politics and government. * Change is coming because there is no one to represent the worker majority of our country. * People are ready to fight for being actively involved in political activity. * “Everyone does better when everyone does better”
* No need to “create” a progressive movement because it already exists in the hearts and minds of ordinary American people * “If we can get it loose, we can move it.”
SI Marathon Questions Regarding the two novels
War is a Force – Hedges
200 us vs them mentalities
Citizens of one country believe they are good because of portrayal by government and propaganda. Other side is evil because we’re fighting them.
Relates to Dehumanizing the enemy. (Example: Nazis considered Jews Ferrans (cockroaches).
Used to bring sense to why we’re fighting them.
400 Sensory Reality vs Mythic Reality
Sensory Reality: War is violent. Nothing about it is glorifiable.
Mythic Reality: War is glorified. Perpetuated by media, state, and some people. Good v evil.
Refer to page 21.
600 Modern Warfare targets civilians rather than combat, which is why Hedges hates it.
800 Manufactured War A war that is created out of a collapsed state. Often the result of Colonialism (say they’re inevitable like RWANDA, Hongo, Somalia) and will go on unless intervened.
1000 Explain the plague of Nationalism
Glorify themselves and look at the other countries are inferior.
“National myths are at heart, racists” – If you are American, you feel superior to others.
200 Dominant institution of our time is:
Corporations. As said by Hightower, “Corporations have become the dominant institution of our time, occupying the position of the church of the Middle Ages and the nation-state of the past two centuries” (35).
400 Hightower describes the media as not running left to right (liberal to conservative) but rather __________.
Up to down. In which the top can be classified as the rich people whereas the low can be classified the middle class or people in poverty.
More the money rich people, more they can influence the media.
600 What does Hightower feel about World Trade Organization?
Hightower feels WTO is the baby of world corporations.
WTO is “unelected, unaccounted for, supernatural and sovereign.”
800 True or False
CEO on average makes 500x their lowest earning employee makes.
This is False.
1000 Describes American Society
People of the US are becoming fundamentally disunited, economically. Whereas the ruling class, using their wealth are separating society.
More Quick Notes
* People of USA are becoming fundamentally disunited because of economics it is the ruling class that has used economics to divide the majority of the people. * Ideas and Concepts of Hightower (more details in above outline) * Inequality (CEO makes 500 times more than their workers) * Economics
* Corporatism – Corporations have become the governing force in our society, reforming American life to fulfill nothing more than short-term profit of the corporations. Corporations have become the dominant institutions of our time replacing the previous positions of the churches and the nation state. There is symbiotic relationship between corporations and politicians.
* Media – Top to bottom vs left to right
* Hightower concludes the disuniting is due to the failure of the political system. * PBS video on youtube about Hightower
* War is a Force that Gives us Meaning
* War forms its own culture
* It is an addiction
* Expose people’s capacity for doing evil
* Becomes a meaning and reason for living
* Simplifies the world
* Mythic Reality vs Sensory Reality
* War creates simplicity (us v them)
* War defines inclusions and exclusion
* National myths are at heart racist
* The ethnic violence in the 90s was not religious or cultural. It was manufactured.
* These wars are born out of the collapse out of civil societies.
* Eros and Thanatos
* Frued argues that there is a death instinct (Thanatos) which causes problems in civilizations.
* Eros is a god of love and beauty