Sunday, August 7, 2016

For Berners, Dr. Jill Stein Inspires More Enthusiam than Confidence

I first /facepalmed myself in response to one of Dr. Jill Stein's media gambits when she tweeted to Samantha Bee:

For crying out loud, Dr. Stein, if you and your advisors can't spot a raging neoliberal when you see one, you're going to squander the golden opportunity being handed to third parties by the toxic Trump-Clinton binary.

Unfunny comedians such as Bee (along with Seth Meyers, Bill Maher, Jimmy Fallon, Stephen Colbert and Sarah Silverman) are all propped up by one thing and one thing only: their willingness to service the corporate agenda of the networks that sponsor their tiresome schtick.

They are professional neoliberal apologists. Their only role in life is to seem compassionate toward and connected to the people who are most beleaguered by the neoliberal agenda while pushing narratives designed to support that agenda. This is something that most American TV watchers grasp instinctively as teenagers, so it doesn't inspire confidence in us to see that such an intuitive life lesson has sailed over the heads of those leading the opposition to the two-party duopoly.

I'm not saying that Stein's inability to spot a neoliberal is a symptom of stupidity; it's probably just a function of the fact that she doesn't spend much time watching TV.

But she needs to be better advised by people who have some understanding of how the corporate media works 24/7 to keep Americans happy with the debt-slavery that our culture has successfully rebranded as freedom.

As the Green Party Convention was getting underway in Houston, supporters were called upon to contribute $27 to a money bomb campaign for the Stein/Baraka ticket.

I happily did so--and then /facepalmed myself again when I learned that the money would go to buy ads on MSNBC.

Are you Greens seriously that clueless?

MSNBC is the network that you can most reasonably expect to sandwich your ads between segments from pretend-journalists who will present Stein's skepticism about pharmaceutical companies controlling the FDA as somehow akin to an anti-vaccination position.

If the Greens imagine that their target audience includes the neoliberal zombies who are still watching Rachel Maddow, then they have absolutely no idea what they're doing--which is especially galling when they're doing it with money donated by those of us who grasp that the most significant problem facing the U.S.A. is neither Trump nor Clinton, but the phenomenon that spawned both candidates: neoliberalism.

Trump is, as Chris Hedges points out, a predictable neofascist response to neoliberalism. And Clinton is simply the cancer of neoliberalism manifesting itself in human form.

So I'm going to beg Dr. Cornel West, who speaks so compellingly about jazz and the blues, to make Stein understand the landscape of the corporate media in 2016.

The GOP and the DNC both have the resources necessary to staff full orchestras with woodwinds, strings, brass, and percussion. The Greens simply don't have that kind of personnel available. They may appeal to the odd Lisa Simpson character who can play a mean saxophone, but they can't afford a dedicated rehearsal space or quality recording equipment, and the music they play on the major networks is going to sound amateurish compared to the offerings of the major parties.

If Stein tries to poach voters from the DNC by advertising on MSNBC, the only winners will be the DNC and MSNBC, who will put the Green Party's money into the pockets of talking heads who will perform siren songs about how those who vote Green will end up crashing the ship of state on the rocks, whereas those who support Clinton will steer clear of Trump-as-Charybdis. (They'll be sure to cut to commercial before mentioning that Clinton is Scylla--but the point is they know she's Scylla --and are delighted by the fact that she feasts on the part of the population that doesn't include them.)

Dr. West, please familiarize yourself with the social media uprising that took off around the Sanders campaign. Don't make the mistake of looking to the major networks for the Green Party's John Coltraine. The corporate media doesn't know how to improvise, but improvisation is happening throughout the Bernie-or-bust movement with the work of people such as Tim Black, Jimmy Dore, Debbie Lusignan, Benjamin Dixon, and Mike Figueredo. A hugely underappreciated part of the appeal of watching someone like Black instead of corporate media is that his show, even if it lacks high production value, happens live.

There isn't enough money in the world for the Green Party to fight neoliberalism via corporate media because the only people still watching corporate media are the ones who are committed to neoliberalism for financial (rather than moral) reasons. Those folks don't want to have their assumptions challenged by a rousing anthem from Stein; they watch TV to be distracted or soothed by syrupy ballads.

So instead of wasting your money on networks whose viewers hold the Greens in contempt, please consider spending that money on campaign infrastructure. Rent offices and vehicles. Set up bases and networks of support for your volunteers--and leave the media blitz to the arenas (Facebook, Twitter, YouTube) where the jazz and blues musicians of anti-neoliberalism are already making headway.

This battle is going to have to be won in the real world because the phony world of television already belongs (lock, stock, and barrel) to the neolibs.

No comments:

Post a Comment