Critical Thinking Is The New Resistance Movement
Every night during the week, we record The Late Show and Jimmy Kimmell. Sometimes we watch the whole shows, except for the musical acts at the end which are generally pretty awful, but definitely the monologues at the tops of the shows.
We do this primarily to keep our sanity.
Because most of these monologues are spent pointing out just how fucking insane the political situation in the US has become. And we are afraid that if we don’t laugh at all of this insanity, we will start hating the US on masse, for the stupidity they exhibited (not the majority of them of course), in putting the current president into office and continuing to support him.
I have talked to a few people from other countries who are actually aware of what’s going on, and a lot of them agree that this situation is unlike anything they have seen in their lives, and if it is, it was a akin something really awful that happened in their own country at some point.
Either way, everybody understands that whatever it is that is keeping this endless series of scandals afloat is the combination of pressure from the media and pushback from the government that is constantly accusing the media of being engaged in an unwarranted attack on the president on the country.
How Do You Figure This Out
The simple fact is that you don’t…because if you were to look at it objectively, you would see that the president of the US is quite possibly an obsessive compulsive on a scale we have not seen before in politics or anywhere else for that matter.
His obsession is with anyone who opposes him, and a select few who don’t, like his predecessor. To this end, he will do whatever he feels it takes to lash out at these people and through endless repetition, try to re-position them as enemies of the people, with himself in the role of saviour of the people.
The best way to understand behaviour like this is to know where this guy came from. He came from money that came from exploitation. He was taught to lie and cheat and steal to get what he wanted, and he got to like that way of life so much that he eventually got very good at it, both as a means to satisfy his ego and build a bit of an empire.
He also realized that a very quick and effective way to rise in society, which is really all he wanted to do, was to become a celebrity, which he did. Because he know that there were a lot of people in America who worshiped at the alter of television, he rose up to become a household name. This in turn allowed his brand to grow, despite the fact that most of the stuff he got involved with eventually failed, because while he was a great celebrity, he was a piss-poor business man, and the worst leader anyone could imagine.
But few people really saw that, because he would just keep coming at the public with ideas and leveraged his celebrity all the way into politics.
But he is, and this is important to note, the same con man he always has been, using the media to manipulate feeble minds and using his office to benefit the rich.
The Media, on the other hand, have always been willing participants in the building of his brand. They talk about him all day and all night, and the net effect of all of this isn’t really negative, but quite the opposite, because as the famous huckster and showman PT Barnum stated, way back in the day…There's no such thing as bad publicity.
The media are benefiting from all this insanity and chaos to a much greater extent that even Trump. The other night, Jimmy Kimmel made it clear that he’s got a show to do and he needs all this craziness to keep things going.
That’s a sad statement but it really does sum up the position of the media on this matter. Because it is so crazy a lot of people, for whatever reasons, are paying attention to it. And because all of TV, including the news, is a for profit venture, the need to keep bums in seats is paramount, and all of this activity, which appears to grow weirder by the day, is achieving the ‘bums in seats’ objective in spades.
The key element in all drama is conflict. And so what we have unfolding before our eyes in virtually every medium imaginable is this incredible drama with enough protagonists and antagonists to sink a battleship.
The main downside of all of this clashing and all of this stuff coming at us a mile a minute is division. The left and the right hate each other now, whereas back in the day where everything was a whole lot more centrist, hate never really was a part of the differences.
And it’s this hatred that has burrowed deep into the collective psyche. It’s an unnatural feeling and all it really does is create anxiety and fear in people who would normally be happy and relatively carefree. It has created fatigue that weakens resistance. And most critically of all, it brings up to the surface feelings of rage, racial hatred, homophobia, sexism and misogyny that, in normal circumstances, people would be able to keep mostly under control.
In other words, all this this bullshit is fucking us up. But because it all has to do with what’s going on in our world, we feel the need to stay up to speed on it, and by so doing it, we just keep feeding the little beast inside us that wants us to be anxious and fearful and hateful, because then we are that much easier to manipulate by the political users and we are habitual bums in seats for the media.
And after a while…well you start to lose control over what you believe and you start to believe the loudest voice speaking to you. And you don’t have to be a brain dead idiot for this to happen. All you have to be is a human being.
What’s Really Needed Is A New Resistance Movement
In order to keep on being your own dog, and not somebody’s intellectual slave, all you have to do is understand that pretty much everything you see or hear is designed to break down your resistance and give in to being that obedient slave.
And it’s a really easy trap to fall into, because this shit is everywhere now.
But your mind is a marvellous thing. And if you simply make up your mind that you are no longer going to take everything you see at face value, that you are going to question everything, that you are going to really think hard about what you do believe and not fall prey to what the political system or the media want you to believe, you will be OK.
But, like anything that’s worth doing, you have to put in the work. You have to develop your critical thinking capabilities, because that is the armour that protects you from all the bullshit coming at you in waves.
The hard part is getting there. The hard part is questioning everything. But once you get in the habit of asking why and finding out, and measuring that against what you fundamentally believe in your heart, you will find that you can get closer to the reality of things than you every thought possible.
And when that happens, you will be able to walk though this crazy world with some protection from all the bullshit. And who knows, maybe you can influence a couple of people and they can influence a couple more and maybe your immediate world will become a bubble of sanity floating inside the churning sea of chaos.
Sure beats the alternative.
Jim Murray is an experienced advertising and marketing professional and amateur photographer. He has run his own strategic and creative consulting business (Onwords & Upwords), since 1989 after a 20 year career in Toronto as a senior creative person in major Canadian & international advertising agencies. He is a communication strategist, writer, art director, broadcast producer, prolific marketing & op/ed blogger & beBee Brand Ambassador.
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