Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Generation Med

Point, counterpoint.

Something I write about in my forthcoming book is that by becoming producers of their own media reality, the video bloggers and myspacers of the world are changing everything. The most poignant work coming out of the online social networking scene does not come across as anti-media. Instead, it presents itself as proactively engaged media that cuts into the false consciousness being served to us all at the end of that long newspaper spoon. Is it any wonder that many of us now get our daily dose of news information from the Comedy Channel instead of the phony blabbertwits and corporate spokepersons who front the traditional media apparatus? To be a new media artist with a strong sense of political awareness means being a creative interventionist. The tools are there, at the ready. On my own college campus, almost all of the students come armed with mobile phones, wireless net connections, laptops, iPods, etc. Viva la revolution, si?

Well, not so fast. Look at what happened yesterday, the day habeus corpus died.

That is to say, the day citizens in the USA lost freedom in the name of a trumped-up war on so-called terror (why do all of these supposedly "tough" guys sound like mamby-pamby bed-wetters afraid of the big, bad bogeymen?). As of today, any ruling despot who fancies himself the President of the USA, can order federal agents to come to your home, declare you an enemy combatant, and send you off to the 21st century equivalent of the gas chambers and yes, Dear Citizen, you will have no recourse. Not as long as King Despot declares you an enemy combatant:
The Supreme Court ruled in June that trying detainees in military tribunals violated U.S. and international law, so Bush urged Congress to change the law during a speech on Sept. 6 in the White House East Room attended by families of the Sept. 11, 2001, victims. He also insisted that the law authorize CIA agents to use tough yet unspecified methods to interrogate suspected terrorists.

Six weeks later, after a highly publicized dispute with key Republicans over the terms of the bill, Bush signed the new law "in memory of the victims of September the 11th."

"It is a rare occasion when a president can sign a bill he knows will save American lives," Bush said. "I have that privilege this morning."

Civil libertarians and leading Democrats decried the law as a violation of American values. The American Civil Liberties Union said it was "one of the worst civil liberties measures ever enacted in American history." Democratic Sen. Russ Feingold of Wisconsin said, "We will look back on this day as a stain on our nation's history."

"It allows the government to seize individuals on American soil and detain them indefinitely with no opportunity to challenge their detention in court," Feingold said. "And the new law would permit an individual to be convicted on the basis of coerced testimony and even allow someone convicted under these rules to be put to death."
As Jonathan Turley points out:
"People have no idea how significant this is. Really a time of shame this is for the American system.—The strange thing is that we have become sort of constitutional couch potatoes. The Congress just gave the President despotic powers and you could hear the yawn across the country as people turned to Dancing With the Stars. It's otherworldly..People clearly don't realize what a fundamental change it is about who we are as a country. What happened today changed us. And I'm not too sure we're gonna change back anytime soon."

They live, we sleep?

Where is Generation Med? Perpetually bound by self-aware insignificance? And then turning that into a fashion statement?

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