cj#415> re: media manipulation; bread & circuses


Richard Moore

Date: Tue, 16 Jan 1996
Sender: •••@••.••• (Alan Dawson)
Subject: Re: cj#400> re: media manipulation; bread & circuses

rkm wrote:
>        I'd like to second the motion that we reconsider our assumptions
>about apathy.  Are _you_ apathetic?  Are most of _your_ closest friends
>apathetic?  Isn't it mostly the vague "them" who are the apathetic ones?  A

Thank you.
I think this is an important point for our times -- "we" are told
over and over that "they" are apathetic. And I think that we FAR too
often nod our heads sadly, without stopping to think that in fact we
ARE them.

I certainly don't think the solutions to this are nearly as easy as
identifying the problem, for what that's worth. Just taking the
question as to why so few people vote, for example, because it's the
one that is most used to "prove" apathy. OK, we accept it proves no
such thing. But then when we look at why people don't vote we see
TWO of the many reasons are:
  - a feeling of helplessness over the effects of one vote
  - a revulsion against all candidates, and lack of a "none of
    the above" choice on the ballot

There are many others. But in either of the above cases, the very
unapathetic and even *activist* citizen is frustrated in his goals
right from the get-go. The system, in fact, is set up *as if* to
oppose him directly.

>case can be made that not voting is a sign of pragmatic intelligence, not
>apathy.  I believe public apathy is a myth -- it only seems to exist
>because (as Alan points out) there aren't any evident productive avenues
>for action.  The rampant success of fundamentalisms of various stripes is
>evidence that people have a desperate need to join with others, and that
>they have energy to devote to a cause, if it has its act together.

Not everyone will, or can, "devote" to a cause. Many will only have
the time or resources to support a cause, and that support can come
in many different forms. Some citizens would, say, rather spread
themselves around a bit and support several different causes rather
than devote themselves to one. And, of course, the citizen in
grinding poverty (speaking of extreme examples) has serious
priorities above and beyond his political cause.

But on the other hand, the citizen *I* would class as
possibly/probably apathetic is the one who *always* votes for the
candidate from "his" party, no matter what. I think lots of people
who don't vote are very un-apathetic in making that choice. I'm about
to stop voting myself, in fact, but it has been a good long time
since I have voted for a provided candidate, and I really can't
recall the last time I voted for either of the two choices from The
Party with Two Names.

I read a story recently by a guy who received a call from a pollster.
The voice asked him whether he preferred Clinton or Dole as the next
   "Neither," he answered.
   "But if the election were held tomorrow and these were the two
candidates, who would you vote for?"
   "I refuse to vote for either one of those people under any
circumstances. They both give me the creeps."
   "But if voting were mandatory, and you HAD to choose one of
   "If voting were mandatory and these were the choices I'd go to
jail before I'd vote for one of them."
   "OK," said the pollster, "I'll put you down as undecided."

•••@••.••• (Alan Dawson)

 ... The above opinions are my own and not necessarily those
 ... of the entire Clinton family.


 Posted by Richard K. Moore (•••@••.•••) Wexford, Ireland
 •••@••.•••  | Cyberlib=http://www.internet-eireann.ie/cyberlib
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