Entertainment: Our Opiate
Marx famously said that “religion is the opiate of the people.” I can’t imagine even a pope failing to agree with that: at least in part. Religion is a complex set of things: I myself have used religion as a depressant, and also as a stimulant. I myself have offered religion as a depressant, and also as a stimulant. Who hasn’t, I wonder? But religion-as-opiate is a familiar idea, around for a century and a half, I don’t like to waste my time, or the time of any potential reader, flogging already beaten and more than half-deceased horses. No: I mention it only to redirect the idea toward a more useful target: entertainment.
Entertainment is the opiate of the people.
Entertainment, more than religion, far more than religion, is the opiate grown, manufactured, and refined to be shoved up the people’s nose by a consortium of big business and centralized government. Hollywood and Disney are every bit as indispensable to US as are GM, Dupont, Lockheed, and whoever makes the damn bombs, the damn bullets, the damn nukes …
It’s Hollywood / Disney that costumes Brad Pitt and Angela Jolie as James Bond so that the correct true enemies of capitalism can get wasted without benefit of facts or trial.
Once upon a time it was Saint George, understood to be English, who defeated the dragon, clearing the way for mammals, for primates, for Homo sapiens: white, Christian, and without a shred of honesty. Now it’s Dancing with the Stars.
god (nature, evolution) “gave” us intelligence, an ability to model our environment, our experience, ourselves, and compare the models to hypothetical models, to aid our survival. We developed large societies so that more of us could breed, spread, conquer, monopolize. But large societies require compliance far more than large societies require intelligence. We want George W. Bush screaming “Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead!” We want Nixon and his stonewall denials. We want loyal team members, not Ralph Nader, cautioning us. We want Rush Limbaugh; not Linus Pauling, not Bertrand Russell, not Einstein.
god gave us pain to know when we’re hurt, when we need to lay off, to pull back, regroup, heel, then perhaps proceed successfully. The big pharms give us opiates, so we won’t know anything: not anything not fed to us by the school board, the media: by TIME-Life.
Stief Larsson’s Girl Who Played With Fire had a character, Lisbeth’s half-brother it turned out, who was at once phenomenally big and strong and wholly immune to pain. A victim, much weaker, defeats him because the giant doesn’t know enough to bother to protect himself while inflicting damage. ‘Lisbeth Salander looks weird, but is really resourceful; our institutions look resourceful but are really self-doped.
I’ll merge this draft sometime with the News as Advertising post I placed at Iona Arc in 2005.
When I have to wits to redraft I’ll work in this fragment I just deleted from the wrong position.
… whoever controls the rate of alarm over global warming to permit us to increase our pollution each year by 4%, instead of 6% (when any increase at all will surely kill us, just as any reduction short of a lot will surely kill us too. In other words: our greed commits us to suicide: we might as well get the rich richer while we commit the suicide: murdering everything else at the same time, with the same brush.