Volume , Number 0
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Hooray for Hollywood
Imagine a Country Life in â€¦
Resistance, Humanitarian Aid, & the â€¦
Corporations, Law, & Democracy
Bush's Multiplex Wars Iraq, “terrorism,” â€¦
Preventing Iraqi Self-Determination
World Challenges GMOs
Syria: The Next Domino? Will â€¦
Iraq is a Trial Run â€¦
Supporting the Troops A code â€¦
Press the Press
Direct Action at Boeing
Boycott Azteca Tortillas
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T he war the U.S. is presently engaged in is unprecedented in many ways, one of those being the seemingly unlikely alliance between the Bush administration, the military, and the media. While the media has always been along to cover a war, this is the first time reporters have been embedded with a battalion of soldiers. The president tried building a coalition with foreign states and failed, maybe this coalition will succeed since everyone seems to be on the same page as well as speak the same language— money. Nobody knows more about spending as well as making big bucks and how to put that perfect spin on both failures and blockbusters than Hollywood. This coalition is hoping for a spring blockbuster that would make the Titanic look like the latest version of Swept Away.
The media likes snappy names for news stories. The war with Iraq is certainly news. For weeks we were treated to stories under the banner, “Showdown With Saddam.” Sort of sounds like something Sly Stallone might star in. Once the war had officially begun, the banner heading has changed to “Operation Iraqi Freedom,” which sounds like something Bruce Willis would star in. In fact the die-hard actor offered his services to the U.S. military. Thankfully the Armed Forces informed Willis that his services wouldn’t be required as an actor or as a battling GI. Apparently it isn’t in the Pentagon war budget to equip every soldier with a stunt double, which would have looked like favoritism had Willis donned a uniform.
The use of Hollywood headlines for a horrible occurrence is not new. The media has always loved lurid titles on which to hang a story. “Hillside Strangler,” The Black Dahlia,” and “The Red-Light Bandit” are just some that were employed in cases of grisly murders. Using marquee-type titles for things like murder and war distances the reader or, in the case of television, the viewer from the horror of the act that was committed. One thing this Administration (or the media) doesn't want to do is offend American sensibilities. Both are spending big bucks on the operation and both want a boffo box office.
In the case of the Bush administration, they would like to see a quick resolution where Saddam and his bad boys are wiped out and the army can then occupy Baghdad without having to deal with the annoying problem of what to do with a deposed dictator and his Administration. Based on the “success” of U.S. troops after just a few days of bombing Baghdad, the stock market shot up like a middle aged-man overdosing on Viagra. Prior to our hurling weapons of mass destruction at Iraq, the market had been falling faster than a turkey tossed from a 747.
Another pesky problem of war, besides creating plenty of dead bodies, is its tendency to destabilize economies. Ours has been so bad the last few years, a mere flick in the wrong direction could send it spiraling down a financial black- hole that would make the Great Depression look like a day at Disneyland. The Bush administration has never made any arguments that it didn’t support big money, after all, what’s good for Halliburton is good for the country. Thus a win on Wall Street is a win for the U.S., even if many Americans don’t have a nickel in the market.
One of the first images the public has been treated to, courtesy of this relationship between the army and the media, is a soldier cutting down a larger than life size portrait of Hussein. This plays into what I call the “Iwo Jima” fantasy. Americans love to see their flag raised over the vanquished. Even though every one of the “enemy” might already be dead, it isn’t a truly official victory until that flag is raised, sort of like having to get the ball into the end zone and then go for the extra point. Americans also love seeing icons of the defeated torn down or blasted to smithereens. That is sort of like the athlete responsible for making the big play getting to shimmy and shake after the play is over.
This coalition between the media, military, and government appears to be a “win, win” merger. What all three want is a Hollywood ending. The Administration wants Baghdad and the oil it craves. The military wants to use its toys and thus justify a large infusion for the fiscally vampiric military industrial complex. The media wants good ratings and they will get them as long as the war doesn’t get too ugly for our side.
What about the average citizen living in Kansas? They get a war delivered to them Hollywood style. Considering America’s love for reality shows, this is a big win for the Nielsen folks. Now if we can just wrap this whole thing up before the May sweeps, the U.S. can’t lose.
John Zaresky is a freelance writer who’s articles have appeared in the Los Angeles Times , the Press/Enterprise, and the San Diego Union , as well as other periodicals.
Z Magazine Archive
CUBAN 5 - From May 30 to June 5, supporters of the Cuban 5 will gather in Washington DC to raise awareness about the case and to demand a humanitarian solution that will allow the return of these men to their homeland.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com.
BIKES - Bikes Not Bombs is holding its 24th annual Bike- A-Thon and Green Roots Festival in Boston, MA on June 3, with several bike rides, music, exhibitors, and more.
Contact: Bikes Not Bombs, 284 Amory St., Jamaica Plain, MA 02130; 617-522-0222; mailbikesnotbombs.org; www.bikesnotbombs.org.
LEFT FORUM - The 2013 Left Forum will be held June 7-9, at Pace University in NYC.
Contact: 365 Fifth Avenue, CUNY Graduate Center, Sociology Dept., New York, NY 10016; http://www.leftforum.org/.
VEGAN FEST - Mad City Vegan Fest will be held in Madison, WI, June 8. The annual event features food, speakers, and exhibitors.
Contact: 122 State Street, Suite 405 B, Madison, WI 53701; firstname.lastname@example.org; http://veganfest.org/.
ADC CONFERENCE - The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) holds its annual conference June 13-16 in Washington, DC, with panel discussions and workshops.
Contact: 1990 M Street, Suite 610, Washington, DC, 20036; 202-244-2990; convention @adc. org http://convention.adc.org/.
CUBA/SOCIALISM - A Cuban-North American Dialog on Socialist Renewal and Global Capitalist Crisis will be held in Havana, Cuba, June 16-30. There will be a 5-day Seminar at the University of Havana, plus visits to a co-op and educational and medical institutions.
Contact: email@example.com; http://www.globaljustice center.org/.
NETROOTS - The 8th Annual Netroots Nation conference will take place June 20-23 in San Jose, CA. The event features panels, trainings, networking, screenings, and keynotes.
Contact: 164 Robles Way, #276, Vallejo, CA 94591; firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.netrootsnation.org/.
MEDIA - The 15th annual Allied Media Conference will be held June 20-23, in Detroit.
Contact: 4126 Third Street, Detroit, MI 48201; http://alliedmedia.org/.
GRASSROOTS - The United We Stand Festival will be hosted by Free & Equal, June 22 in Little Rock, Arkansas. The festival aims to reform the electoral process in the U.S.
LITERACY - The National Association for Media Literacy Education (NAMLE) will hold its conference July 12-13 in Los Angeles.
Contact: 10 Laurel Hill Drive, Cherry Hill, NJ 08003; http://namle.net/conference/.
IWW - The North American Work People’s College will take place July 12-16 at Mesaba Co-op Park in northern Minnesota. The event will bring together Wobblies from across the continent to learn skills and build one big union.
PEACESTOCK - On July 13, the 11th Annual Peacestock will take place at Windbeam Farm in Hager City, WI. The event is a mixture of music, speakers, and community for peace. Sponsored by Veterans for Peace.
Contact: Bill Habedank, 1913 Grandview Ave., Red Wing, MN 55066; 651-388-7733; email@example.com; http://www. peacestockvfp.org.
LA RAZA - The annual National Council of La Raza (NCLR) Conference is scheduled for July 18-19 in New Orleans, with workshops, presentations, and panel discussions.
Contact: NCLR Headquarters Office, Raul Yzaguirre Building, 1126 16th Street, NW, Washington, DC 20036; 202-785-1670; www.nclr.org.
ACTIVIST CAMP - Youth Empowered Action (YEA) Camp will have sessions in July and August in Ben Lomond, CA; Portland, OR; Charlton, MA. YEA Camp is designed for activists 12-17 years old who want to make a difference.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; http://yeacamp.org/.