It seems the inevitable and tragic fate of leftist political activists that, at one point in time in our lives or another, I think many of us seem feel like our activities amount to little more than pushing against the ocean. To borrow another metaphor, German sociologist Max Weber once noted that politics was the “strong and slow boring of hard boards.”
The knowledge that the long-term progress of political culture in the West has continued to push toward leftist ideals and the knowledge that this blog in particular was at one time influential enough to merit threats of legal action from a multinational polling firm, has not been enough for me personally to escape this bitter philosophy of defeatism.
I attribute, in part, my more than three-month furlough from Paulitics to this inevitable (but hopefully temporary) condition. The other factor that I think has played a role in the lack of creative output and new content here is one that I hope to write about in the future. However, sufficed to say that I have discovered that a long-term political diet consisting exclusively of the capitalist media, even the so-called ‘progressive’ capitalist media of Keith Olbermann and Rachel Maddow and Google News, can be positively poisonous to activist tendencies.
In my three month experiment, I found that it’s not just that the content of the capitalist media news is highly distorted as suggested by Chomsky’s Propaganda Model. Rather, I found that the most important news is obviously censored, but that, over and above the Propaganda Model, what little news is permitted to reach air is presented in a way that encourages mere passive ridicule rather than a call to arms and the need for concerted and conscientious political movements of protest.
I don’t know how I would demonstrate this empirically as Chomsky has done, but it is something that I am beginning to think about.
On a personal note (as if this whole post wasn’t already a personal note): I would be very curious to hear from other individuals whether they agree with my assessment or whether they have experienced anything similar and, if so, what helped get them through it.
Anyway, this is my long way of saying that I am back to blogging for the time being.