by Phil Rockstroh
I remember my first impression of the Reality Television program American Idol. I cringed at the thought, what if, a young Bob Dylan, Patti Smith, or the members of The Clash had been forced to have their talents appraised by the sort of shallow celebrities, supercilious moderators, and gallery of lowest common denominator-giddy cretins attendant to the hype-driven fare.
Yet now, there is serious talk among abjectly unserious people that the next presidential election might pit a billionaire, Reality Television grifter versus a billionaire, Reality Television grifter. All hail, The President of the United States Of Reality Television.
Oprah Winfrey is and has been since her entrance into the US mass media hologram one of the capitalist elite’s most effective propagandists. By intention, her New Age snake oil-peddling patter never connects capitalist exploitation as the dominant source of individual suffering. Of course not. Oprah is a US American huckster in the model of Norman Vincent Peale.
She retails in the con job that a paucity of positive thinking — in essence, personal failings — is the source of individual angst, alienation, anomie, and suffering in general under the neoliberal order. Yet there is hope, she confides. A positive change in attitude will shift the course of one’s destiny. Thereby, she steers her rapt adherents away from the shedding of internalised, capitalist engendered false consciousness, and, on a cultural basis, the paradigmatic shift required to steer humankind away from ecological catastrophe.
It should go without saying that me-first-er Oprah, the obscenely wealthy virgin queen of the neoliberal order, would become a prominent promulgator of me-too myopia and its bourgeoisie feminist refusal to connect capitalist exploitation of any and all aspects of human life imposed by her fellow members of capitalism’s criminal class. Wealth inequity and wage and debt slavery are forms of predation. Yet notice this dominant and guiding feature of the mindset, a given since the rise of the Weltanschauung in the Western, Christian imagination: Oprah’s breed of Calvinist crusader animus, as a rule, will be incurred when the human genitals can be blamed as a key source of human misery.
Collectively, according to its gospel, we wretches can start the slog back from our exile within the sin-ridden precincts sprawling east of Eden, if only we scour away the denizens of darkness by a devotion to the purifying gospel of positivity. Resultantly, sinners will become doubt-cleansed devotees of a quasi-religious order, a righteous order in which its canticles and catechisms will vanquish all negative thoughts and untoward inclinations. Redemption and rebirth will be bestowed by the cultivation of a right-thinking, true believer aura thereby a variable Pentecost of prosperity will descend upon the keepers of the faith. Never question the degradations of capitalism; instead, keep your eye on the prize of careerist success, a given and deserved destiny for the right thinking but a perpetual rebuke to those possessed by the imps of negativity and the demons of carnality.
Oprah preaches a Gospel Of Redemption. Yet, in ways both explicit and implicit, she urges her followers to attempt to adapt to an economic system that is irredeemable.
She retails Horatio Alger bunkum to a soul sick audience inhabiting a planet taxed to the point of ecological catastrophe. The old verities have ossified. Levels of discontent and despair, mirroring rates of greenhouse emission engendered methane feedback loops, are increasing at exponential rates. Yet Oprah continues shilling reality-veiling palliatives to a populace languishing in depression, drug dependency, and an addiction to manic forms of distraction.
At this point, I request readers bear with me for a moment until I arrive at my point by means of a series of digressive, rhetorical tropes, both anecdotal and collective in form. Recently, on Facebook, I have witnessed, hovering on my newsfeed, a proliferation of recent New York Times pieces addressing seemingly tabloid fodder and 1950s B movie plot lines, bearing headlines such as:
“2 Navy Airmen and an Object That ‘Accelerated Like Nothing I’ve Ever Seen’”
“Glowing auras and ‘black money’: The Pentagon’s mysterious UFO program”
“U.F.O.s: Is This All There Is?”
When I posted a (humorous) take on the subject on my Facebook page, both the number on of and emotional charged nature of responses to the post was striking, even by the less than decorous to outright bughouse standards of social media.
The post read as follows:
We are not alone. And we should be embarrassed. No species with a scintilla of common sense and common decency should be carrying on in this manner in the public (albeit cosmic) sphere.
OK aliens, we’ve had a few bad millennia…I mean, who hasn’t. You went and caught us with our guards down. But we promise we will clean up for company real nice. Never mind that space junk orbiting our front yard and the fact we keep up our planet like a trailer court inhabited by methheads.
We promise we will clean up for company. Is there perhaps a rehab planet that our entire population can be checked into in order to work some shit out? The other living things on our planet would be forever grateful for any help you can offer.
You don’t happen to possess any galactic range super weapons, do you? Because, to paraphrase an insight by the alien genius Flannery O’Connor, we could be a good species if someone was there to fire a super weapon at us, twenty four-seven.”
I cannot speak for other writers but when reportage of events, or even humorous goof-takes on the situation, as was the case with my Facebook post, prove highly provocative, my curiosity is piqued. A hidden door to a room of the collective unconscious has swung open.
It is not my intention in this essay to either advocate for the existence of UFOs or express skepticism. My theme involves the public’s yearning for a paradigmatic shift, a crucial rearrangement of cultural verities.
When I examine my own reactions to UFO phenomenon, I discover I am drawn to and find inspiration in the mystery of it all and its attendant ineffable quality. Carl Jung viewed UFO phenomenon as a collectively manifesting apprehension of an emerging aeon. At present, the New York Times and other keepers of accepted opinion are signalling a sea change in regard to cultural narrative and prevailing mythos.
Given the fact that a radical shift in cultural, economic and political systems of belief must come to pass if the human race is going to survive the catastrophic effects of capitalism-inflicted Anthropocene Epoch. Is it possible UFO narratives auger the arrival of an incipient mythos? Withal, when the numinous comes into play all manner of responses are evoked, from the mindlessly reactionary to the outré, before psychical integration and eventual acceptance occurs.
Then there is the following, insofar as, recent phenomenon that has evoke an upwelling of passion: the consternation, the bandying of ridicule, and the general agitation of Democrats and liberals in regard to the revelations pertaining to The Oval Office-squatting Orange Beast Of A Billion Tweets and his inner circle chronicled in Michael Wolff’s inflammatory, fly-on-the-wall book.
Yet somehow amid the ensuing snark extravaganza evinced by Democratic partisans, a fact remains unnoticed: Only Democrats could manage to be beaten by, and to this day, cannot manage to create a viable resistance against this klavern of inept arrivistes and noxious buffoons, who, according to Wolf’s book, fully expected to lose and were flat out gobsmacked by the election results, and have yet to recover from the reversal of fortune inflicted by their victory.
Moreover, this aspect of Trump’s ascendancy is shunted from the duopolist dynamic and the narrow, acceptable discourse of political and media elites: Trump’s pathetic dye job, fake tan, and combover mirror the US empire. Its decline and deterioration simply cannot be covered up by the desperate application of cosmetic measures. Therefore, let’s term the US — the Combover Empire. We should view Trump as not only an emblem but a catalyst of the decline and ultimate demise of the neoliberal capitalist order. He is its scion, now passed into decrepitude.
Donald Trump and Oprah Winfrey are axiomatic of a perishing paradigm, while UFOs, albeit our projections upon the phenomenon not their actual, unknown nature, mirror a collective yearning for a transformation of the stultifying and destructive nature of political and cultural realities. Contemplate how hard evidence of intelligent life outside of our tiny sphere of existence would shatter dogmatic thought and petrified perceptions. It comes down to this: Collective myopia and mass media facilitated superficiality must give way to a larger sense of vision and a deeper understanding of the human species’ place among the order of earthly life or paradigm’s end will prove to be humankind’s perishing.
Phil Rockstroh is a poet, lyricist and philosopher bard living in Munich, Germany. He may be contacted: [email protected] and at FaceBook: http://www.facebook.com/phil.rockstroh
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When Trump first considered running for POTUS as a Democrat (or independent, can’t recall atm) in the early 2000s his choice for VP running mate was…Oprah Winfrey.
Not a fan of this stuff.
Regards disclosure-nothing is printed and aired without approval: see Off Guardians’ own, recent
“Bought Journalists”: an introduction to Udo Ulfkotte’s suppressed book“.
With this in mind it is very likely that the UFO advertising is a ploy to get one used to the idea of a super-massive distraction if everything gets totally nasty for Democrats and the Deep State these coming weeks. The supreme false flag.
If you think about it, Oprah would be the perfect opponent for Trump in the Reality TV show that our electoral process has become. I don’t mean to say that politics isn’t real – just that our election process is so corrupt, so (almost boringly) predictable, and so disconnected from the realities of the actual voters, that it might as well be a Reality TV show. And we are at that point where ordinary Americans know this and understand this. And she would very likely win, if people only accept reality… specifically, the reality show called ‘the O Administration.”
(As in ‘O shit, where’d our democracy go???’)
America has this ridiculous assumption that you can only win elections with advertising dollars purchased by big money.
Well, as long as Americans decide how to vote based on TV exposure, that will remain the case. Democrat or Republican is irrelevant, they are just the PR puppets.
HOWEVER: you are allowed to collect $1bn by 50 million lots of $20, you know. You can subscribe online to candidate position papers through paying that $20 and tou can say: ‘change comes when Americans understand to stick two hundred millin fingers up at the Establishment’.
You must prepare for assassinations by having a list of ten alternates: it would take a serious set of psychopaths to try and bump off more than one….
You must debunk the nonsense of ‘GDP’ figures equating to broad prosperity: find more meaningful metrics for Main Street. Debunk the nonsense that national insurance for universal healthcare is either evil or more expensive: US healthcare is the most expensive, not the least expensive. Debunk the nonsense about warmongering, critically exploding the false flag events used to keep Americans scared and credulous. Blow JFK, MLK and 9/11 myths out of the water and point the fingers squarely where they need to be pointed. Expose the S&L scandal and show how Main Street was robbed by Wall Street. Demand recompense….restore ethical banking by imprisoning unethical bankers.
Just for starters.
It will not happen through the Democratic Party – they want to nuke Russia, not make Americans healthy, educated, content, housed and well fed.
It will come when Americans eschew the cult of the individual and endorse the policies required instead……
Sheesh. You don’t want much, do you.
Thank you for an early morning smile that doesn’t come from mere amusement.
“above all, Americans like to be entertained in a Boris Johnson kind of way..” rush down to the patent office and register that one. You have almost certainly hit upon the next phase in Bojo’s Rise and Fall.
You are wrong about Positive Thinking though and so is the guy who wants to go to New Russia- Rockstroh is right, it really is a blight and the, former actress, Oprah is preaching a very nasty doctrine-just like the one that Reagan did when he was helping to ensure that the American People were never afflicted by a national health service.
One wonders how many Americans die daily,and have died in horrible agonies during the past seventy years, because thespians, between jobs, helped sell the appeal of using hospitals and medicine as profit centres for usurers.
I think some of your response was meant for me. What is “nasty” about Oprah’s views on health care? See below for your template.
I didn’t actually accuse of Oprah of any particular views on the NHS. Where I do agree with Rockstroh is that the pablum, which she would appear to retail, that the poor owe their positions to personal failings and lack of effort is an evil ideological smokescreen behind which cannibals are very happy to do business uninterrupted by socialists.
A far better example of rags to riches in the entertainment business is the story of Charlie Chaplin’s career and ultimate fate.
When I first came across Phil Rockstroh’s pieces years ago I was briefly amused by the verbal pyrotechnics but soon tired of them, finding them tediously self-indulgent. He was certainly not a commentator I would turn to for significant news or insights – by comparison with the solid and calm analysis of a Paul Craig Roberts or David Ray Griffin, where what matters most is the accuracy and relevance of the message.
Is Rockstroh’s hate-filled rant the kind of thing that would lift someone out of depression or avert a suicide? Has Rockstroh saved any troubled souls lately? Does he even care about them – or is he only concerned to show what a clever fellow he is? What’s wrong with positive thinking? It doesn’t imply an acceptance of a crooked world order – it’s simply an acknowledgement that change has to start with ourselves. If I am merely angry and depressed and full of hatred I am very unlikely to make any contribution to changing things for the better, either at the personal or wider level.
Last night I watched the moving account of an aid transport from Germany to the people of Donbas in 2015 (it’s available on YouTube at: https://nuoviso.tv/home/film/hilfstransport-eine-fahrt-in-den-donbass-film/). It’s currently available only with German commentary and German subtitles, but it’s worth watching even if you don’t understand German or Russian. It shows what can be done by very ordinary people when they take an initiative instead of merely complaining about the injustices of the system. There are no Russian soldiers in Donbas – but there are significant numbers of people from Russia and elsewhere (including Europe) who have gone there to do whatever they can to help. I’m not in a position to go there – though I would love to do so – but I have offered to translate the commentary and subtitles.
Just to pick up on a couple of Rockstroh’s errors: his “greenhouse emission engendered methane feedback loops” suggests he has fallen for the myth of ‘climate change’. The allegedly sex-as-sin-obsessed Calvinism he berates has practically died out – and was never genuinely Christian in any case. It’s the excessive focus on sex – including perverted forms such as the widespread sexual abuse – and even ritual murder – of children that is a major aspect of the disease of civilisation in our time: nothing to do with religion at all unless it be Satanic rituals.
There seems to be credible evidence that the Clintons (and many others of their kind) are involved in this. Some believe Oprah is also involved – or is at least part of the cover-up. If this fetid swamp is cleared up it may be the most important thing Trump ever does.
Elusive, mysterious and as close as ones breath.
Most people are too distracted, too busy or too fearful to find it.
In 2012, Bill Clinton told Harvey Weinstein:
“You know, Donald Trump has been uncommonly nice to Hillary and me. We’re all New Yorkers. And I like him. And I love playing golf with him.”
Donald Trump asked to run by his close pal and golfing buddy, Bill Clinton. It was a cheap publicity stunt for Donald that went horribly wrong. Whatever you think of the following. Donald did run against Hillary.
New York Times
“Perhaps the collision of Donald Trump and the Clintons on the biggest stage of all was inevitable. But was it orchestrated? At the restaurant in Trump Tower last summer, I asked the mogul about the “Manchurian Candidate” buzz, about that phone call he got from Bill Clinton in May 2015, when the businessman and reality star was making up his mind whether to run. The Washington Post quoted four Trump allies and one Clinton associate as saying that Clinton encouraged Trump’s efforts to play a larger role in the Republican Party.
Roger Stone, author of “The Clintons’ War on Women” and a longtime confidant of Trump’s, claims that Bill urged Trump to get in the race and told him he thought he could get the nomination. “That’s why the people with the tinfoil hats are convinced the whole thing is a setup,” Stone says. “Bill can’t help himself from giving advice. He loves the game. He’s the great kibitzer.” Stone said Trump also asked Bill three years ago if anyone could be elected president as an independent, and Bill told him no.
I tried to get to the bottom of this murky story that day at Trump Tower, but when you’re dealing with Bill and Donald and truth, it’s an elusive goal.
“Did Bill tell you that you should run?” I asked.
“He didn’t say one way or the other,” Trump replied, over a plate of meatballs.
Side note. Dylan et al were promoted by a wealthy, elite bourgeoisie who owned /operated record companies back then. Same in Britain. The same class who commissioned great art and architecture in the past.
Dylan made friends with the son of Columbia Records honcho John Hammond.
“Hammond was born in New York to great privilege”
wikipedia == John_Hammond_(producer)
They were only promoted after they had made it apparent that they had abilities which allowed them to connect with the masses. You might as well complain that EP Thompson or Karl Polanyi were set up by their publishers and imposed on a gullible public.
We have a lot to thank John Hammond for. Dylan’s first album bombed and Columbia were about to drop him. Indeed – Dylan was even referred to as “Hammond’s Folly”. But Hammond stood by him till the second album which was the biggie. And the rest is history.
“……what if, a young Bob Dylan, Patti Smith, or the members of The Clash had been forced to have their talents appraised by the sort of shallow celebrities, supercilious moderators, and gallery of lowest common denominator-giddy cretins attendant to the hype-driven fare.”
That is a question I have often pondered. It seems to me that none of the most influential stars e.g. Sinatra, Dylan, Bowie, Joni etc. would have had a hope of getting through those wretched talent shows. The biggest irony lies in the title “The X Factor”. This refers to some indefinable ingredient that creates “stardom” – and yet these self-appointed judges area all trying to define the contestants.
As Karl Marx opined on John Stuart Mill, he owed his exalted reputation to the extreme flatness of the surrounding landscape. The landscape for political aspirants in the US is Dead Sea-like. Oprah looks very good all things considered, and above all, Americans like to be entertained in a Boris Johnson kind of way.. The star of “Bedtime for Bonzo” is recalled as one of the best (sic) presidents in recent years and they now have a moron remembered for his catchphrase “You’re fired”.
Calling Oprah’s story ‘Horatio Alger bunkum’, as you do, gratuitously trivializes her amazing success from abject poverty and abuse in a very competitive environment. You may wish for a philosopher-King but it ain’t gonna happen. Always ask “compared to what?”