Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Creeping Fascism

Were I a political philosopher, I'd be spending a lot of time parsing out the use of fascist constructs and imagery in movies and videogames. Prof. Ephraim Lytle of U of T doesn't take things that far in his recent Toronto Star piece, but his discussion of the movie 300 heads in that direction.
Action movies have used the "superman" construct for years: the superior man who sees things clearly and has the right to use extra-legal means to defeat forces that he identifies as threatening to society. Issues are reduced to "black and white", "with me (and entitled to survive) or against me (deserving to die)". It makes for simplicity in movie plots, but it also creates a mindframe that is open to Soviet "Communist", Fascist and Nazi concepts of race and class demonization. Politics is also becoming much more of a black and white, "us vs them" game in which truth and civility play no important part. Power, especially its aquisition, and the spoils that come with it, is what the game's about. It's the perfect situation for psychopaths to rise to positions of authority and power in politics and the media.
I think if students of history look at the sins of the Nixon Administration -- the voter manipulation, lobbyist dominance, dirty tricks, attempted cover-ups and construction of "deniability" -- most of them would no longer seem as wicked as they did in 1974. We've grown to accept corruption, lies, manipulation, and demonization in "democratic" poilitics.

2 comments:

nomdeblog said...

“Power, especially its acquisition, and the spoils that come with it, is what the game's about. It's the perfect situation for psychopaths to rise to positions of authority and power in politics and the media.”

Exactly! Except it's not irrational to protect one's interests, which was easy to do before disclosure outed those selfish and conflicted interests. And it was probably ever thus, but fewer were aware of it before the democratization of the media by the internet. Power used to be centered in the Toronto Club, before that the Mount Royal Club; a nice little cable of inside traders of valuable information over oysters for the old farts.

My own, perhaps simplistic theory, about why the Globe and Mail editors support Liberals is:

1. Bell had invested millions in lobby efforts with the CRTC to protect its franchise in the Globe and CTV (with the government production grants carrying the TV station). BTW, the incompetence of Bell has still managed to destroy enormous amounts of capital.
2. Liberals believe in big government, which has lots of patronage boondoggles set up like the EDC and BDC and Purolator/Post Office Crown Corps which do lots of advertising in the Globe and on CTV. This keeps the 2-way patronage schemes going under the table . .just like a banana republic.

The 4th Estate is not going to blow the whistle on its own vested interests. Bell knows Conservatives would shrink government and the patronage ads would shrink with it, once Purolator was sold. Sure, there would still be ads by the new owners, but all the Bell lobby investment in luncheons at Hy's with government ad buyers would be flushed. Moreover, the enourmous TV production grants might end.

Anonymous said...

Don't over-estimate the value of the Internet as a truth disseminator.