Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Whose Story Is It?

“You’ll never, ever, get the Republican TV show. The Writers Guild of America, my union, is at a minimum 99 percent leftist liberal and, like me, socialist. And we don’t know how to write it. We don’t.” ~ Lawrence O’Donnell, MSNBC host and television show writer*
There's a lot to be said for the special relationship between progressivism-collectivism and youth.  But one of the most important ones is the susceptibility of youth to oversimplified "truisms" that makes them feel like they are empowering the authorities to establish a more utopian existence while feeling that they are somehow simultaneously rebelling against The Establishment.  They are fed a self-gratifying view in which they are heroically championing change by bravely voting for centralized power and indenturing their posterity in the hopes for a less difficult life.

I tried to convey very recently that it is not primarily a matter of arguments and facts but the particular narrative in terms of which one sees the world.  Today Lee Habeeb and Mark Leven have published an editorial that highlights the problem of today's culture. [alternate link]  People in general, but youth especially, are susceptible to thinking they are informed when they have instead been entertained.  They are being entertained into a vision of the way things are, and they think, or feel rather, that art is merely reflecting the world.  The propaganda is never so much propaganda as when it is permeating the environment so that you can't even taste it.  But we don't live in a culture in which entertainment represents the various opinions of the audience. The audience is instead being brought around to the opinions of the artists and producers.

And there's a story that's been told for a while now.  It's a story of liberation and freedom.  It's a story of salvation and redemption.  It's a story of the triumph of Good in the End Times.  But it's not a story from any religious book, so to speak.  Ask Jamie Foxx.  He's found religion.  He's found salvation.  All you have to do for salvation is give powerful men a master key to everyone's cabinets and pantries in order to protect us all from the selfishness of The Few.  All you have to do is entrust elite jurists with the meaning of our rights.  All you have to do is engorge an army of administrators with funds in order to be taken care of forever.  All you have to do is repent of your political sins.

This country desperately needs a new set of storytellers.

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