Review: Manufacturing Consent

Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media by Edward S. Herman My rating: 4 of 5 stars Convenient mythologies require neither …

Review: Manufacturing Consent

——- I have not read this book, nor do I think really anything by Chomsky or Heller. but I remember in my undergraduate it was a name that floated around our anthropology department like smog over LA. 

In reading the summary, I am reminded of the philosopher Alain Badiou More recent comment that the most responsible political action that one could take is to not participate in politics.

It’s kind of like a Captain Kirk solution to the Kobiashi Maru.

Of course, such a radical argument most often merely flames the fuel 😜 of those people who feel they have a say through political activism in one extreme, and merely voting at the other, both which represent at least some sort of political action.

It is interesting, though, that the point of these guys, at least by the summary, taken to us and really tells us that any political opinion that I have, which motivates my action into politics, is already decided for me. That my Choices by which I have my opinions are already sculpted out, That indeed what I think is so important, is merely given to me a priori, Buy an unseen force which is outside of me and yet acting upon me.

So where I feel like I’m considering all the facts and making an informed decision by someone as myself who is intelligent and critically capable of thinking — me also, in so much as I might want to pick a political stance I have to take a political position on situations that have been given to me, and the options that are likewise given to me which create the category that I am deciding upon taking political action.

This catch 22, no-win situation, seems to make a strong argument for what Badiou Makes a philosophical argument about some 30, 40 years later.


But I think even more problematic is the extension of this Chomsky heller review.

Because at what point is anyone making decisions that is shaping or limiting my choices? Who is this culprit? Where is that group that is making these intentional decisions to limit my freedom and to move me in a particular way so that they benefit?

I think in the end run we have to admit that there is no one that is doing this.

But we can’t admit this in the real world (it is like a commandment, a universal ethical prohibition, thou shout not!) due to our investment in the value of politics. Indeed this is capitalism, indeed this is modern democracy.

Yet, also Indeed, it is a very Zizekian World that we are in countering here. Because it’s both and none. I could, I am totally capable at some point to point and identify the actual cadre Of big manipulating despots who are fucking up my life and stealing money from me, indeed controlling my very mind.

Yet, if I shift The reflector just slightly, just change the angle just a little bit, and I might get a glimpse that I am an intricate and intimate part of manipulating a whole world of individuals around me, and for my sole benefit as well. It’s just that my scam is Working much better than the supposed “big manipulators” who are fucking up the whole world. Indeed my scam is working so well that no one Ever accuses me — not even myself!  Shirley, I am not responsible for fucking up my own world?!?! 

I think this is One of the points that is in mashed in Zizek’s Constant and ongoing critique.

Namely, on one hand whatever we might identify as this great manipulation and indeed able to bring them to justice, it and they lay at the most extreme parameters of my ability to conceive of reality. He might even say that it is the “signifier of the master signifier”, that which comes into view, that which I can put my finger on which lay in front of the master signifier perpetually falling outside  my ability to reckon.

But further, and as much as I have put my finger on these great manipulators who are screwing up the world, I have thereby changed the frame of reference by which I’m understanding change — and yet not noticing it by virtue of the fact that I am casting myself into the screen that I am at the same time viewing, albeit, without noticing that I’m actually sitting in the seat audience eating popcorn and watching this ridiculous theater.

 And even further! What is that event whereby I find the culprit? It is nothing! It is the part of festival which make festivals festive. It is absurdity. It is the giving up of all social rules and norms, and even getting so wasted as to smear out for a few moments the very idea I have of myself as a political entity.  After which I can then, a few days or a week later or a month later, go back to that regular life which is the same and more of the same, and yet feel like something has changed, like it is indeed a new day.


Author: landzek

My name is Lance Kair, a philosopher, a counselor and a musician who is being questioned.

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