The media are the messages? What medium do we consider first? There is no medium more effective in being the messages it disseminates than another. This review is a part of print media as well as social media. How could any medium not critique itself if it is to be serious about things other than profit, other than the business of business being business as usual when the usual for business is money, money, money. It is the same for all criminals, we know.
One of the chief focal points of any social critique I engage–and to be engaged in social critique is the business of every citizen–is the media and the many messages through one medium or another, and another, and another, petty paces? An idiot, Aristotle said, was anyone who had no general or social concerns. How can we not become idiots by our indifference. Aristotle’s idiot has a lot in common with what we might call a solipsist, someone for whom there is no reality outside the mind, outside what he thinks, we know this solipsist can be she. Too much of contemporary critique is rooted in the conclusion drawn that the only valid philosophical position is solipsism, and that this is a truth to be undenied. We end where Socrates began, “I know nothing.” We do not start with “I know nothing,’ as a way to determine what we do know or can know, what is knowable–the limits of knowledge must be essayed; but we end with it. It becomes for us a conclusion to assert with conviction and even pride. In our First Philosophy, we do know nothing and can know nothing and so, doubt, once a Socratic tool to help us understand what we know, has become the new wisdom, a social dogma enacted in a collective solipsistic ritual that reinforces the impossibility of knowing because knowledge has become another great lie.
How can any medium not critique the media, we may wonder, ask, puzzle over for a time, but we come back to the “I know nothing” and “I can know nothing,” so we dance the dance of the will to power and all of us lose because power becomes more powerful and money more monied, more influential. As I have alluded to in other essays, there is no city more like New York today than the Jerusalem of Jeremiah; there is no city like this 3rd century BCE city than Shanghai, or Paris, or Moscow, or Cairo, or Bombay today, or the London of Blake, or the New York of Alan Ginsburg, ruled over by the hungry beast god Moloch.
Is it that there is no city more like Jeremiah’s Jerusalem than New York today, New York City at any time, on any day, in any season? I could go on with analogies as I have alluded to above in my string of cities like Jeremiah’s Jerusalem, Yerushalayim. What then must we do, I could ask after Luke. I could extend these analogies, these allusions; I could articulate them further, or deeper, as I like to say when others prefer further. Should there be more lamentations on the state of the State, the country, our cities, our interpersonal relationships, the state of our politics and our politicians, our economy and the vampyrs that control it from Wall Street, or the petty authority that manages them from within? Yes, of course there should. And yes, there are vampires in the world; how else do you describe CEOs on Wall Street, or CEOs of any corporation anywhere in the world in any field of economic endeavor. Moloch is everywhere; Mammon is America’s God, and yes, we are all praying before the Golden Calf. And this is not hyperbole.
I do not want to sound like one of the conservative or orthodox religious nuts, whether that be Jewish, Muslim or Christian. But we are–yes, we are . . . of course we believe that Greed is good, greed is grace, greed is heathy, greed is necessary, greed is social dynamism; the lack of greed is only to maximize socio-economic entropy. Greed is our axis, we a re certain, and without it, the center will not hold. We do believe as Oprah once said, money is the reward for your goodness, you have to believe this. She did say this, now almost two decades ago. The poor must be evil then, no? How else do we explain their poverty if money is the reward for goodness. They must all be in league with Satan, his following of fallen angels. But then this is fundamentalist America–and we wonder why we are beset by fundamentalist Muslims.