Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Typical Dinner Conversation

posted by The Vidiot @ 7:52 AM Permalink

The headline from this RawStory: Is '24's Jack Bauer a FOX 'right-wing propagandist?'
The answer would be, obviously, Is the pope catholic? But that's not point.

The FOX show '24' is in-your-face, down-and-dirty propaganda. No doubt about it. They're constantly shoving 'evil Muslims' and the loss of civil liberties down the viewers' throat. To the point when even the most 'softened up' viewer, the viewer who never notices propaganda, is like "whoa."

Jack tortures, his conscience gets the better of him, he stops, the other guy tortures even more and gets good information. A woman is fighting against the government to protect her employees personal files and then she has to concede that some of the snooping might be necessary. The arguments presented are dichotomous: Torture or not torture, civil liberties or security.

But over dinner last night, Mr. Vidiot and I discussed the fallacy of dichotomous logic and hegemonic discourse. (Yes, that is really what we talk about over dinner. With 'Seinfeld' on in the background of course, but nonetheless.) I never really thought about it much. I knew that discussions about things like "civil liberties vs. security" were pointless, but I never was really able to put my finger on why. But now I can. (He should really be posting this, but he doesn't have the time today. I hope I get this right.)

For instance, in order to argue something like "civil liberties vs. security", you have to accept a few tenets; things like the State is legitimate, the State provides security against terrorism, you know, stuff like that. The concepts that '24' presents, as well as those awful talking head programs, are simple dichotomous black vs. white, issue one vs. issue 2 types of things. First off, by reducing the discussion to just two seemingly opposing viewpoints, the discourse is restricted and all other aspects of the problem don't get properly discussed. But most importantly, the tenets are automatically assumed to be true.

But they're not, are they.

The State is NOT legitimate. How can a State be legitimate if it lies to its citizens, forces its hegemony onto the world against the world's wishes, and exploits the natural resources for its own profit, just to name a few things. And in fact, the State does NOT protect against terrorism. The State fosters terrorism by its very actions.

By not recognizing the legitimacy of the State, you must reject the hegemonic discourse. There is no other way to deal with it. If the State is illegitimate (which it is) then the discourse it fosters must also be illegitimate.


So the next time you're on a peace march and carrying a sign, don't carry one that says "no blood for oil" because that's part of the hegemonic discourse. That's dichotomous thought. No. You should carry a sign that says "I no longer recognize the State as legitimate." Now THAT'S a statement, but it will probably get you arrested.


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