Friday, July 18, 2008

Turn On The Boob Tube, I'm In The Mood To Obey

I’ve been skeptical of the mass media since my early twenties but not necessarily for all the right reasons. It was clear to me that there was an agenda but as far as I could tell the conspiracy went only as deep as a concerted effort to part you from your hard earned money. From the obvious efforts that come as the form of paid commercials to the more subtle messages that are woven into tv shows and movies, the underlying theme is always the same; happiness is attained through consumption, in whatever form.

That has been the message and ‘we the people’ have been successfully trained to be docile and obedient consumers. The evidence can be seen all around, from our waistlines to our wallets. The fact that we can be persuaded to consistently engage in behavior that is so obviously bad for us is just one small demonstration of the power of the media.

It’s understandable that the mass media would have this effect of turning us into consumerist droids. After all, who keeps them in business? Corporations. Advertising dollars. This makes perfect sense and is easy for me to wrap my head around.

But that was where it stopped with me. Other than the corporate agenda, I actually believed that we had a free and generally uncensored press. I believed that when I saw the news on television I was seeing a basically accurate and unbiased presentation of the facts.

I remember what it was like when 9/11 happened. Who doesn’t? I remember exactly where I was, what I was doing, and how I felt. I remember being glued to the television set every evening for the days and weeks that followed and believing what I was being told, every word of it.

I remember the first time I heard the phrase “9/11 Was An Inside Job”. I remember exactly who said it and the reaction that I had to that statement. Many people right now would have the same reaction I did to hearing such a statement. It was one of utter revulsion, anger, and disbelief. How could anybody say such a thing? I remember expressing my outrage when hearing this and asking myself what would motivate someone to make this kind of an allegation.

All of my conclusions about 9/11 at that time were based on my only source of information about the subject, the mainstream media. We all became scared in a way that many of us had never felt before and the world and this country changed more in that instant than it had in decades. I don’t have any figures but I’d guess that tv watching increased dramatically in the weeks and months following 9/11. I’ve never been one to spend much time in front of a television set but during that time I would watch religiously, anxiously.

An entire nation sat every night in rapt attention. We wanted answers and explanations, but more importantly, we wanted comfort and security. We wanted revenge. We wanted protection. We were spoon fed information and reassurance and the vast majority of us swallowed every ounce of it, willingly and gratefully.

We were a unified nation in a way that I had never witnessed before (I was 24 at the time) and the media made this possible. We were unquestionably behind our government in a way that I had never seen before. There was no need to ask questions. The answers were all right there in front of us in plain sight on our televisions. Our president was there telling us exactly what happened and what our government was going to do about it.

Fast forward seven years.

There is now a large body of evidence that renders the official 9/11 story laughable; utterly laughable. There are people like me, asking themselves how they could have ever believed such a story in the first place. In fact, the 9/11 Truth Movement appears to be growing each day and on the low end there are hundreds of thousands of Americans that question the official story and more likely the number is in the millions. One poll I read had 36% as the percentage of Americans who are doubters.

Whatever the actual number, it is substantial to say the very least, and growing. And…by some amazing and magical act, you don’t hear a whisper about this in the mainstream media. Nothing. Why??? Is it not newsworthy that such a vast number of individuals are questioning the explanation we were given concerning the most significant event to happen in our lifetime? Is it not worth a mention on Nightline or Good Morning America? Not even a five minute spot in between the reviews for Batman and the updates on Lindsay Lohan’s lesbian escapades?

There is still a lot I am grappling with on this subject. Until yesterday I had no idea that Arizona state senator Karen Johnson gave a speech before the Arizona state senate in support of reopening the 9/11 investigation. The contents of the speech can be read online ( or it can be seen on YouTube ( This speech was given on June 10th of this year. Had I not found the story on I wouldn’t have even known it happened. Granted, it’s just the Arizona state senate but this lady is making some very controversial claims and you would think this would show up somewhere in our news. But no. Again, nothing. Why?

It also occurred to me today that most people don’t know (or remember) that World Trade Center 7 also collapsed on 9/11. It wasn’t hit by any aircraft, it just fell at near freefall speed, all by itself. A brief conversation with a peer today made it clear to me that most people don’t even realize that not two, but three buildings collapsed that day.

More and more questions are coming up and the 9/11 Truth Movement continues to grow and we hear nothing about it from the mainstream media. There’s no way I could cover all of the material on this topic - hell, I probably am only aware of a tiny fraction of the material anyway - but I find myself asking more and more why I only see the most trivial, airheaded, and utterly pointless topics covered on television news. I find myself in disbelief about what doesn’t get covered at all. Ever heard of Ron Paul? How is it possible that this man’s name - though he had millions of supporters - NEVER came up in the mainstream media during the presidential nomination campaign? How does that even happen?

Imagine how our worldview is shaped by the media, the power and influence it exerts over an entire population, and what could be accomplished by controlling this medium. There are arguments out there about the media dumbing down the population and, frankly, they make a damn good case. Who would want to dumb us down? For what purpose?

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Preamble To Something Different

After my last blog entry someone made the remark “Ben, I like your blog but you always write about the same thing.” I thought about it for about half a second and realized that this was a very accurate observation. I don’t write that often but it makes sense that I would have a tendency to write about what I think about most often and so there is this recurring theme of integrating the spiritual life into this age of materialism…or something like that.

I’m going to try to get away from that for awhile but I doubt I can eliminate those undertones completely from much of anything that I take the time to write about.

But before I move on… let me just say that it is possible for any person to have an experience that completely transforms their view of, well, everything. Let’s say that from the time you were born the world has told you that the sky is blue. Everyone knows the sky is blue. It’s just a fact that is taken for granted and – for the sake of argument – let us imagine that a good portion of the world’s knowledge and what is considered normal is based on the initial premise that the sky is blue. Now let’s imagine that you wake up one day or perhaps have some strange but undeniable experience that reveals to you that, in fact, the sky is NOT blue. All of the sudden you now know, from the very core of your being, that the sky is not blue and therefore all of the concepts that were based on that initial premise are no longer valid either.

The caveat to this little revelation is that you cannot actually share this information with anyone else without sounding like a complete lunatic. Even hinting at the possibility will get you nothing but strange looks from most people. But at the same time, the implications of such a thing cannot help but affect your life in a profound way and somehow creep into every aspect of your day to day experience. It cannot help but become a recurring theme in your consciousness because it touches every facet of life as a human being.

So what does one do if they find themselves in a situation like the one described above?

At first you probably go on the best you can and don’t mention it and do what you can to fit in. Externally, life goes on as normal. But internally there is a new dimension to your existence that seems to deepen as time goes on. With it comes the incessant desire to go even deeper, explore a little further. Occasionally you feel a bit like an alien being on a foreign planet but you make do.

That is a nutshell and slightly exaggerated analogy of something that I have been through. It has been a neat thing to get older and more comfortable with it and to realize that it isn’t that uncommon. It’s been neat to discover other people of a similar disposition and a wealth of literature and information on the subject.

Hopefully that serves as some kind of explanation as to why I end up repeating a similar theme whenever I sit down and try to write a blog entry. I don’t usually have the benefit of starting out the process with something in mind for a topic. I just let my thoughts carry me where they will and inevitably end up back on the same thing.

The inner life is something that has been devalued in our time but here and there you can see subtle signs of a comeback. Unfortunately commercial culture is so all pervasive that it defines our priorities and value system from birth to death. Pursuing the inner life puts you immediately at odds with popular culture and normalcy. This however may be starting to come to an end as people gradually grow weary of living in a society defined by consumption and fueled by insatiable appetite.

I think about these things a lot and so I end up writing about them even when it’s not necessarily my original intention. In an effort to challenge myself and add some variety for the hundreds of thousands of readers that visit my blog every hour (heh heh), I will make it a point to address some completely different topics the next few times I sit down to do this.

There’s no telling what kind of topics might pop up. I might discuss the ins and outs of owning an English Setter, or maybe why I think those clear plastic blister packs are incontrovertible proof of demonic influence in human affairs, or maybe the pitfalls of trying to make your vertical leap higher at age 31 than it was at age 19. Might delve into the ridiculous world of politics or other areas where I can proudly display my ignorance on certain subject matters. Maybe talk about marriage and relationships and try to get myself a big ole hug from Oprah the demigod. Who knows? I might even share some of my personal bathroom experiences. Point is, it will be something different. I promise.