“abdication of cultural forces”

How Truth Slips Down the Memory Hole

by John Pilger 

Hundreds of millions of dollars go to corporations spinning the carnage in Iraq as a sectarian war and covering up the truth: that an atrocious invasion is pinned down by a successful resistance while the oil is looted.

The other major difference today is the abdication of cultural forces that once provided dissent outside journalism. Their silence has been devastating. “For almost the first time in two centuries,” wrote the literary and cultural critic Terry Eagleton, “there is no eminent British poet, playwright or novelist prepared to question the foundations of the western way of life.” The lone, honourable exception is Harold Pinter. Eagleton listed writers and playwrights who once promised dissent and satire and instead became rich celebrities, ending the legacy of Shelley and Blake, Carlyle and Ruskin, Morris and Wilde, Wells and Shaw.

He singled out Martin Amis, a writer given tombstones of column inches in which to air his pretensions, along with his attacks on Muslims. The following is from a recent article by Amis:

Tony strolled over [to me] and said, “What have you been up to today?” “I’ve been feeling protective of my prime minister, since you ask.”

For some reason our acquaintanceship, at least on my part, is becoming mildly but deplorably flirtatious. What these elite, embedded voices share is their participation in an essentially class war, the long war of the rich against the poor. That they play their part in a broadcasting studio or in the clubbable pages of the review sections and that they think of themselves as liberals or conservatives is neither here nor there. They belong to the same crusade, waging the same battle for their enduring privilege.

In The Serpent, Marc Karlin’s dreamlike film about Rupert Murdoch, the narrator describes how easily Murdochism came to dominate the media and coerce the industry’s liberal elite. There are clips from a keynote address that Murdoch gave at the Edinburgh Television Festival. The camera pans across the audience of TV executives, who listen in respectful silence as Murdoch flagellates them for suppressing the true voice of the people. They then applaud him. “This is the silence of the democrats,” says the voice-over, “and the Dark Prince could bath in their silence.”

This excerpt from a ZNet Commentary, which are a premium sent to  Sustainer Donors of Z/ZNet. To learn more consult ZNet.

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