YANA DJIN

LETTERS FROM AMERICA



THE BIGGEST HOAX?
#2
 Moscow News
February, 2002


      Nowdays, even the New York Times, the commonly-regarded liberal paper, is clicking its glasses to the same old toast: isn’t it great guys, that we are Americans? It is truly nauseating to see how supposedly intelligent men and women well advanced in years cannot find one single thing that they would do differently if they were in Bush’s shoes. Well, considering, stylistic pompousness of their editorials, they, at least, have a better command of the English language. In reality, though, there is nothing surprising here. September 11th, the shock that it indeed was, is simply an impetus to do what American mass media has been doing before: destroy the diversity of opinion. The Times, after all, has always defended the establishment, even if it meant stomping over the rights of individual freedom, as it became apparent in the hideous attack on Wen Ho Lee. The so-called “liberal” label is nothing but a hoax to confuse those that are willing to be confused; just as there is no major difference between America’s two ruling parties, the Democrats(liberals) and the Republicans (Conservatives), so there is no serious distinction between, let us say, the NY Times and the Wall Street Journal. And the reason is simple: all of the above are owned by the like-minded corporations who  make the rules and deal the cards. 
       These corporate rulers, who paranoically see a “shadow of communism” behind every critical statement, and therefore see financial loss in each  and every unruly columnist, have given a direct order to the media through the current administration, many members of which are, incidentally, those very corporate rulers: single-handedly transform the media from a watchdog, which it ideally should be, to a lapdog, which it in reality is. 
        How else are we to explain the miraculous, Kafkaesque,  metamorphosis of one of the most illustrious, influential, and once-brilliant columnist as the British-born Christopher Hitchens? From a witty, observant contrarian, Hitchens transformed into a dull agent of mediocre views. There is still some old spark to be seen in Htchens’s writings but if things progress on the same track, he will successfully put them out as well in order to better blend in with the rest of the media-brotherhood. If during the 2000 elections, he considered George W. a dimwit, now, only one year since, he seems that he is ready to do away with the democratic process in this country and appoint the “former” dunce an emperor for life. Come to think of it, that’s not too far-fetched a notion in America these days! 
       Hitchens, once the most inspired columnist in this country, applauds Bush Jr. for being an uninspired man and seems genuinely grateful that the president can actually deliver speeches that someone else writes for him. Well, Mr.Hitchens need not worry; the only thing inspires our president is a minor league baseball game and at one time that was not enough to claim presidency! Hitchens is also joining the crass voices of the volks movement. Adding his baritone to the tasteless chorus, he writes that the simple folks of America behaved in the most dignified manner in the September attacks. As opposed to whom, the not simple folks? What does that mean? Hitchens is intelligent and refined enough to realize the ridiculousness of such a comment. He is also educated enough to know that in totalitarian societies when faced with the choice of writing what one thinks and what one is told to write, people with dignity, chose not to write at all.  
       What is next? Is Hitchens going to apologize for writing his derogatory pieces on Mother Theresa as a middle-aged blunder and accept Catholicism? It is, indeed, a pity for the “simple folks” of the reading public that Mr.Hitchens has decided to put on a mask of a puppy-dog. But as his beloved Oscar Wilde once remarked, a mask, at times, says more than the real face. 
       It must be noted that the only Americans who have decided not to lose their face and express themselves honestly have been some members of this country’s cultural elite. Most of them became famous in the 1960’s, a decade during which the “shadow of communism” had almost acquired corporeality. But, alas, if you want to know what Oliver Stone, Norman Mailer, Robert Altman, Arthur Miller, E.L. Doctorow, to name the few,  have to say about their own country, you need to turn to European newspapers. Not one major publication in America gives a damn! In fact, when the “liberally-minded” monthly, Vanity Fair, solicited Gore Vidal to write a piece on the terrorist attacks, its editors where obliged not to print it. Instead, they ran a generic “oh, my God! can you believe what happened?!” piece that elevated fire-fighters into saints and portrayed the NY police department, known for its scandalous cruelty, as regular Albert Schweitzers.
        Vidal’s title alone must have sent chills up  the  well-cushioned spines of the Vanity Fair’s editors: The End of Liberty - Towards a New Totalitarianism. How were they going to explain that to the Conde Nast CEO’s? In fact, no US publication agreed to print the article in which Gore Vidal accuses his country of starting a new cold war and further suggests that if a corporate empire like America is to survive, it needs to wage a “perpetual war for perpetual peace”. Finally, the article was published in Italy and Portugal and is planned to be published in France. The Brits, as ever pragmatic, decided not to print it, but they did conduct an interview with this most courageous of American sons. “What I say the advertisers don’t like and the publishers and editors like.”
       According to Vidal, Bush’s restrictions of civil liberties are similar to Hitler’s enabling act of 1933 and totalitarianism is imminent here if America does not “emulate the Soviet union” in its disintegration and absolute restructuring. Is it any surprise that the current administration along with the advertisers, keen on selling plastic bras and microwaves on the pages of magazines and newspapers, do not find such views popular? Would you buy a rubber dress if you were constantly told the truth instead of a lie in your local paper: that 1 out of 6 people on this planet is starving, that 1 out of 4 children in the US is poverty-stricken, that as a result of US bombings the casualties of the Afghan population who have never seen Osama Bin Laden, far exceed the victim toll at the WTC and the Pentagon, that many members of the current administration are oilmen out to seek personal gain? But no one dares to write on any of those issues in these debilitating times in the US history. 
         To be sure, there are some minor pricks here and there, mostly by veteran newsman like Seymour Hersh, who occasionally concedes that the Pentagon MIGHT have made a mistake on a particular target. But these are very rare and are merely used to varnish the thorny hoax that is American press. Seymour Hersch, the NY Times, Vanity Fair are used to cover up the intense propaganda campaign which is struggling to centralize public opinion. As the above mentioned Gore Vidal says: “Hersh is used when he challenges Pentagon claims, NY times is just a parrot for the rulers. The bullshit just flows and flows and the American media is so corrupt and tied into it that it never questions it”. 

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