Even the language used by the media hints at the stage, co-opts the lingua franca of the entertainment 'spectacle' business. Faced by Fox News, one Jessee LaGrecca captured, in just under three minutes, the truest version of a certain zeitgeist making the rounds in all corners of the continental US: how do you actually trick the 'entertainment' news industry into the type of dialogue and discussion that address the actual preoccupations floating around the minds of the largest segment of society?
First, I use entertainment within the pretentious containment of single quotation marks because I refer to how news reporting has turned into a form of entertainment industry in and of itself, not to be confused with the pre-existing entertainment news industry of the likes of E. And with semantics aside, when the Fox News producer asks where is LaGrecca taking his cues from, he is already depreciating the entire weeks-long protest as nothing more than an unoriginal action based on something shown on TV, something that happened across the ocean, but of which we only have the truncated, heavily interpreted renderings of media outlets. As if it couldn't possibly be anything but a dishonest mimicking of what we see on TV.
What follows is two minutes and fiftytwo seconds of, ironically, quite entertaining back-and-forth between LaGrecca and the producer, in which the former very succinctly and simply explains how outfits like News Corp. are actually not only avoiding addressing the real issues facing society, but feeding the flames of extremism with disinformation and incendiary speech. Kudos for this young man, and a deep appreciation for restoring if only the remote hope of a hope that the US' sprawling middle class could actually organize itself as in days gone by and attempt to actually change public policy.
Corporations have been at it far too long and their pockets have gotten far too deep for me to really have any hope of seeing, within my lifetime, any real or fundamental change to the way 'business' is conducted. I am also much too cynical to see a way in which tragedy may be averted. To really speak my mind, sadly, is tantamount to threatening national security these days. The events of 9/11 will continue to darken any prospects of elucidating the actual history we failed to witness in the footage broadcast ad-nauseaum of that day in New York. The corporate role played in everything from lawmaking to warmongering will be for a very, very long time out of sight of... well, the other 99 percent, to which we haplessly belong.
And so it will play out. Thousands gather, triple that number will tweet, minions more will facebook this and that, and slowly something will stir. Some of us will wonder if this is what Adbusters has been predicting all along, those of us who read them issues year in year out and loving the sci-fi, dystopian quality of their discourse. Is it possible? Can they be shaking off the million logos and sound bytes that cover the reality underneath? Is suburbia failing, are their lies finally ringing hollow to all...?
I wonder, and I search.
And that's how I found myself at Jackson and LaSalle on Monday afternoon, crossing the street with a sign that read: The only thing that trickled down was your bull***t. And yes I smirked, and chanted and banged on a drum and even struck more than one conversation with total strangers. It is something seductive, akin to the power of the boycott, the good ol' strength in numbers. Because deep down inside we know we've all been screwed by a corporation or a bank or some inc.at one time or another, and we also know that if we all really took the day off and went downtown, something would snap, and some change would come about. We may not be able to foresee that change -- whether a harder whiplash from the far right designed to permanently crush, or the breaking of the corporate levee and the release most of us have wished for, at long last -- but we know something's bound to give.
When I was at the Patients Out of Time Medical Cannabis conference in
Asilomar this last April, I overheard a remark that startled me: "The US
Government has a patent on cannabis." I couldn't locate the person who
made the comment, so I went home and did some online research. Sure
enough, patent number 6,630,507
states unequivocally that cannabinoids are useful in the prevention and
treatment of a wide variety of diseases including auto-immune
disorders, stroke, trauma, Parkinson's, Alzeheimer's and HIV dementia.
The patent, awarded in 2003, is based on research done by the National
Institute of Health, and is assigned to the US Dept. of Health and Human
So, why is this important? Here is a legal document, in the public
domain, which flies in the face of the US Government's stated position
with regard to the classification of cannabis as a Schedule I substance
having no "currently accepted medical use". Believe me, citing this
patent stops the "medical marijuana is a myth" advocates dead in their
tracks. They simply cannot argue with it. The forces that would keep
cannabis illegal are vocal and well funded, but they are not impervious
to persistent effort. The lynch pin in the War on Drugs is cannabis.
Without the suppression and interdiction of this popular and widely used
substance, there simply would not be enough "illegal drug use" going on
to justify the huge amount of money and resources spent on "fighting
I believe disseminating information about this patent as widely as
possible, and to as many people as possible is a crucial strategy in
loosening that lynch pin, and changing public perception about cannabis.
I, personally, downloaded
the first page of this patent and sent a copy (with the assignee
highlighted) to every one of my elected representatives. I have also
included information about it in "letters to the editor" referencing any
cannabis related news story I come across, I use it as an argument in
every State medical cannabis and decriminalization initiative, and have
mentioned it in all my comments to online posts and blogs of the same
nature. I would be delighted if everyone who believes the War on Drugs
is a failed and destructive policy, would do the same, until the
existence of this irrefutable patent becomes widely held public
knowledge, and government 's rhetoric is shown to be as hollow as a
IF THERE WAS EVER A DOUBT THAT THE GOVERNOR OF PUERTO RICO IS DEFENDING CORPORATE INTEREST OVER THE PUBLIC INTEREST, HERE'S AMPLE PROOF. SEE HOW GOV. FORTUÑO GLOATS ON HOW HE WILL DRAMATICALLY REDUCE CORPORATE TAXES IN THE COMING MONTHS, BUT DRAW OUT INDIVIDUAL TAXES OVER A FIVE YEAR PERIOD, HOW PROUD HE IS OF PUTTING EDUCATION IN PRIVATE HANDS, AND HOW EAGER HE IS TO GO NORTH AND DO THE SAME THING. THE AUDACITY OF GREED IN ACTION. MEANWHILE, THE UNIVERSITY IS BEING DISMANTLED AND PROTESTING ON CAMPUS IS RULED UNCONSTITUTIONAL. WHAT ARE PUERTO RICANS GOING TO DO ABOUT THIS?