We’re nearing the end of the year, it’s a few days before Christmas, the holiday season, and we can expect a bunch of “the past year reviewed” items coming at us in assorted media, usually coming at us following Christmas day in the week between Christmas and the new year.
The general idea is wonderful, perfect. There’s one of the obvious good ideas for this time of year, to review things and reflect on everything.
The problem is that, instead of this, there is quite a lot of substitution in the form of all kinds of media blasts of “The Year In Review!” frenzy that assault people with all sorts of thrashing noise that blows away any real conscious reflection and contemplation and recall, whether it’s maudlin “famous people who died” TV montages or entertainment trivia (which manage to somehow blur together and turn people’s whole lives into a few seconds of faux-sentimental trivia), or supposed news events of the year reviews from sources that never really told you what was happening when the events were in the present moment.
I just read a bit of commentary online in the Fabius Maximus blog (frequently a good source of actual information and reasonable perspective), describing the contemporary state of what passes for “news” in America like so:
“Summary: Modern American news is best seen as a helix of semi-serious hysteric fits.”
Now, right at the moment, as people go apeshit exactly as they’re directed about the evil menace of North Korean cyberterrorism or whatever the hell they’re saying, some people are not so quickly convinced by official pronouncements that basically amount to “oh, we just know… no doubt about it, we know what we’re doing, just trust us”.
One of the things that have popped up lately was another ridiculous episode from the mind of New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman, who, somehow, manages to gain attention and respect and admiration as some sort of astute observer of the world, no matter how often and how badly wrong he is. In the latest installment of Friedman’s brain farting, he lines right up with the ongoing neocon fiction, that rattles away on fictions like “Russian aggression” and “Putin’s grab of Crimea”, and so on. You might consider it reasonable to assume that people in such positions would be aware of the news of some basic facts, such as what I keep pointing out, such as an actual democratic referendum vote on self-determination in Crimea, where something like 80% voter turnout saw around 90% of voting Crimeans rejecting the coup d’etat that overthrew an elected president in Ukraine, and choosing to affirm a resolution from the Crimean parliament to formally ask to become part of Russia again, and get away from that madness. Considering things like this, reading vacuous nonsense like Friedman’s commentary leads to only two possible conclusions- that the man is completely incompetent, or a blatant fucking liar.
Among other things, such as commentary from people who know the region well (like Russian-American engineer and writer Dmitry Orlov, for one), it’s not hard to find out that most people in Crimea, a region that was part of Russia until 1954, consider themselves as Russian, not Ukrainian, that when the Soviet Union dissolved in 1991, the general consensus was apparently that people were not exactly enthused about being part of Ukraine, separated from Russia, and that the new gang taking control in Kiev were roundly rejected by the people in Crimea, with any doubt about that being removed by the vote just mentioned.
One item that sheds light on what people actually think over there is the results of a Gallup poll, titled “Newsgathering and Policy Perceptions in Ukraine“, available as a PDF slideshow presentation. It’s dry stuff, wading through the results, as you probably guessed, but pay particular attention to the results of polling people in Crimea on the various questions. You can draw your own conclusions.
None of this seems to matter to some people. Then, those people get the general public thinking a gigantic batch of fiction.
Heading into a new year, who knows what sort of fresh problems this habit could create, if this does not stop, now, along with whatever happens in the trouble this lunacy has already gotten started.
- In Washington and the increasing derangement of the political games there, people just keep going with delusions and frauds of all kinds. The delusions of grandeur of people there, who think it’s some sort of natural order of things to be masters of empire controlling the entire world, manage to ignore the evidence of reality telling all of us that they just create new problems almost faster than you can even keep abreast of them, and make existing problems much worse.
- Move north to Wall Street, and a different set of characters, who seem to be controlling the government here more and more with each passing day, have a different set of delusions, all tangled up with their own delusions of grandeur and abilities to create a fictional world that outranks reality, and it’s hard to say how long it will be before that cracks up, again, and things have to snap back to, you know, functioning in actual reality in sensible ways revolving around real value and proper sense of value.
- And, of course, as I’ve been seeing and saying for a long time now, still another set of delusions and nonsense keep getting in the way of developing a decent public understanding and consensus about the picture of where we are in the problematic combination of depletion of hydrocarbon resources and continuation of all the ways we blow through the stuff as if it’s endless and there are simply no issues with any of it.
I don’t know what might break the spell on any of these things, although I have to acknowledge the general gut sense that it might be very likely that something, or combination of things, might do it in all of the areas I just mentioned, especially considering how these things manage to be so interwoven. In any of these three broad areas I just listed, the snarled knots to be untangled are large and complex, and the task of prying them apart has the added obstacles put up by all the endless layers of all forms of pretense surrounding them. It’s incredibly hard to even get things to a stage where people see the matters at hand as they are, and then get to a starting point, where getting to work on them is possible.
A decently comprehensive summary review of even part of any of these three general categories would take some time and space, and so, in the interest of keeping this short, I’ll leave things for another note. In the meantime, please go read at least some of the linked pages, which should help shed at least a little light on things. The problem is, a lot of this, for any of the few people reading here, will have a certain “preaching to the choir” flavor to it, pointing to things that a reader already knows, and too many people who are completely unaware of the things involved will dismiss some, most, or even all of it, as some form of nonsense or another, because that’s not what they’ve heard.