Feb 28, 2013 - Issue 506

Hedonistic ‘Americans’
And the Role of the Media
Will It Ever Change?


“The media’s the most powerful entity on earth. They have the power to make the innocent guilty and to make the guilty innocent, and that’s power. Because they control the minds of the masses.”

-Malcolm X [el-Hajj Malik el-Shabazz]

“If those in charge of our society - politicians, corporate executives, and owners of press and television - can dominate our ideas, they will be secure in their power. They will not need soldiers patrolling the streets. We will control ourselves.”

-Howard Zinn

Hedonism is defined, in relevant part, as the ‘pursuit of or devotion to pleasure.’

The U.S. corporate-stream media plays an integral and insidious role, not only in misinforming everyday Black, White, Brown, Red, and Yellow people - but also in distracting and diverting - the attention of the masses of people from having the much needed crucial information pertaining to the reality of corporate hegemony and perpetual wars, to the pursuit of superficial hedonistic pleasures. This is being perpetrated at a time when the economic and political well-being and very existence of everyday people (in this nation and globally) is increasingly at stake. It’s all about keeping the people ignorant, distracted, divided, uninformed and/or misinformed. Indeed, it’s all about controlling and dominating the “ideas” and thought processes of everyday people. 

The role of the corporate-stream media is to ensure that everyday people do not become critical thinkers. Simply tell the people, for example, that Barack Obama’s murderous drone missiles and his draconian ‘kill list’ (at home and abroad) are, after all, for their own good. Simply tell the people that war is actually peace, and is also for their own good. Simply tell the people that they must sacrifice human rights and civil liberties in the name of a ‘freedom’ (which so-called freedom is of course itself made null and void by the sacrificing of human rights and civil liberties). Simply tell the people anything and keep repeating it - in order to keep them from thinking for themselves as critical thinkers!

Even as joblessness, home foreclosures, homelessness, political corruption, systemic police brutality, judicial injustice, economic austerity (for the masses), the privatization of education, corporate greed and hegemony, and the population of poor and everyday people inside U.S. prison gulags steadily rise at home - bloody U.S. corporate-driven wars abroad continue unabated. Yet, the masses of people are, in essence, told by the corporate-owned U.S. government and corporate-stream media, ‘don’t worry, be happy.’ In other words, shut up, go away, and be content in your misery by watching the mindlessness of Who Wants To Be A Millionaire, American Idol, or Dancing With the Stars, etc.! Do what you are told to do! Believe what you are told to believe! And most of all: be obedient, mindless clones and slaves to corporate/government propaganda and domination! Of course, none of this would be accepted or tolerated by critically thinking persons. Thus, the need to keep people as uncritical thinkers and mental slaves.

By keeping the majority of people in a perpetual state of economic insecurity while programming them to pursue hedonism at the expense of their collective needs and humanity, the corporate-owned Democrats and Republicans seek to keep everyday people manipulated and controlled. It is not so much that most of the people in the United States are hedonistic as it is that they are unceasingly distracted and programmed by the propaganda machine of the U.S. corporate/political elite to act against their own collective needs and best political, economic, and social interests.

This deplorable and untenable state of affairs does not have to be allowed to continue. These horrible chains can be broken by: 

1)    recognizing, first and foremost, that the Democratic and Republican parties are simply superficial variations of precisely the same rotten corporate-owned coin

2)    recognizing that the undemocratic de facto merger between corporations and the U.S. body politic is today, all but complete - which means that the United States is a people’s democracy in name and illusion only

3)    identifying that the root of perpetual U.S. wars abroad, and economic austerity and social injustices at home, is an irretrievably corrupt and undemocratic political system that is owned by an avaricious corporate elite

Once these three factors are recognized and understood, it becomes much easier to determine who are the enemies and bloodsuckers of everyday Black, White, Brown, Red, and Yellow people, and with this knowledge, to collectively act accordingly.

The real hedonists are the relatively tiny and insatiably greedy U.S. and global corporate elite (and their minions) who attempt to economically and socially suck the life-blood and humanity from the vast majority of people in this nation and throughout Mother Earth. They must be recognized and dealt with as the bloodsuckers they are.

It is time for genuine and serious systemic change brought about collectively by we, the everyday people! This begins with each and every one of us, and it will be a tough, challenging, long and protracted struggle - but it can and must succeed!

Remember: Each one, reach one. Each one, teach one. Onward then, my sisters and brothers. Onward!

BlackCommentator.com Editorial Board member and Columnist, Larry Pinkney, is a veteran of the Black Panther Party, the former Minister of Interior of the Republic of New Africa, a former political prisoner and the only American to have successfully self-authored his civil / political rights case to the United Nations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. In connection with his political organizing activities in opposition to voter suppression, etc., Pinkney was interviewed in 1988 on the nationally televised PBS News Hour, formerly known as The MacNeil / Lehrer News Hour. For more about Larry Pinkney see the book, Saying No to Power: Autobiography of a 20th Century Activist and Thinker, by William Mandel [Introduction by Howard Zinn]. (Click here to read excerpts from the book.) Click here to view Larry’s interview of October 26, 2012. Click here to contact Mr. Pinkney.