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Worldwide Ace » My Face Keeps Turning Redenbacher…

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My Face Keeps Turning Redenbacher…

6 April, 2005 (12:23) | Media

This week is CU’s Conference on World Affairs. The annual conference features panels that discuss everything from abortion to racial divides to the best type of chocolate to use when baking. Every year I attend a few events, but this year, I just don’t have the time. Luckily, one of my classes is requiring me to attend at least two events as part of the TV crew.

Today, a panel of Roger Ebert, Molly Ivins, Richard Aregood, and Michael Franc discussed freedom of the press. For the most part, the panel wasn’t anything amazing. All panelists agreed that journalists aren’t doing their job anymore because they’re so complicit in the distribution of manufactured media; that conservatives and the right wing are no longer synonymous; that are a great deal of injustices being committed by the current regime and the media is only making it worse.

The most interesting point, though, didn’t come from a panelist, but from a member of my crew. During a brief diatribe on the Bush administration and the greatest faults (and successes) in their interaction with the media, Molly Ivins stated that they “have an almost Orwellian grasp on language.”

For those of you who don’t know, this refers to George Orwell, author of 1984 and several excellent essays including 1946’s “Politics and the English Language.” Orwell felt that government could position itself differently and abuse the power of language to twist meaning and spin things. I think everyone will agree that’s true, even if you disagree and think it’s the liberal media doing the twisting rather than the angelic right wing. This alone is a poignant thought that bothers me.

My writing style has changed dramatically due to my training in journalism. I tend not to complicate things with a fanatical attention to word choice, though I certainly could if I wanted to. There’s an important reasoning to this: the simpler it’s stated, the more people can understand. There’s no hiding behind fancy lingual anomalies (big words) or succinct inapplicable euphemisms (random titles). Keeping language simple is difficult, but it pays dividends.

In the modern era, political writing has become a way of dressing up simple ideas so that they’re difficult to understand and therefore ignored by the masses. Healthy Forest Act? My ass. Clean Skies Bill? Ha! No Child Left Behind Act? Sure… It’s all fancy clothing and there’s not a whole lot we can do about it. Journalists aren’t helping any by continuing the trend; referring to Social Security reforms as “personal” accounts rather than “private” accounts. I wonder why did Bush and his cronies pushed for this change? Perhaps because the Bush White House found the term “personal” tests better in polls and doesn’t offend people by being connected to privatization. What bothers me even more is that journalists aren’t fighting this. They’re too afraid of losing their press passes, their “inside” connection, and their jobs in exchange for some credibility and integrity.

Regardless, that’s a rant unrelated to my original point. After Ivins’ comment, I heard someone say, “what does the guy who makes popcorn have to do with it?”

Wait, what? Orwellian popcorn? What is that, popcorn that watches you?

It wasn’t until later that I found out the person had confused George Orwell with Orville Redenbacher. How the fuck did that happen? Ok, let’s stop and compare:

George Orwell Orville Redenbacher
White White
Male Male
Dead Dead
Left an indelible mark on society by coining the term Big Brother Left an indelible mark on society by encouraging obesity
Wrote books Made popcorn
Was political and savvy Was buttery and greasy
Had his novels turned into films Had his popcorn eating during films
Had the arch-nemesis of government Had the archenemies of ho-hos and ding-dongs (surprisingly similar to government)

Wow. So fucking similar. Way to go American education system. Redenbacher and Orwell, fighting Big Brother in microwaves everywhere.

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  • I’d rather go to the panels than class. I mean, is it better to learn something or be taught nothing?

  • I’d rather go to the panels than class. I mean, is it better to learn something or be taught nothing?

  • Well actually the two classes it overlaps with I reallly like. I have three classes I don’t really like, but all the good lectures seem to be during either my Women in Islam class or my S. Asian anthropology class, both of which I find interesting and relevant to my life and therefore can’t justify skipping…

  • Well actually the two classes it overlaps with I reallly like. I have three classes I don’t really like, but all the good lectures seem to be during either my Women in Islam class or my S. Asian anthropology class, both of which I find interesting and relevant to my life and therefore can’t justify skipping…

  • its all about the hipocracy. you go and spout off like a jackass about how much you want to help someone/something, and of course give it a happy title like “the clean air act,” then you make the reality of your action the opposite of what you said. either people dont read past the title, just buy the crap that is spewed and dont bother to become informed, or they are just enraged by the hipocracy.

    it seems to be a really difficult thing to combat something when first you have to imform people of the BS, and then point out the hipocracy and finally propose an alternative. so they win like the bastards they are. orwell indeed.

    “war is peace”

  • its all about the hipocracy. you go and spout off like a jackass about how much you want to help someone/something, and of course give it a happy title like “the clean air act,” then you make the reality of your action the opposite of what you said. either people dont read past the title, just buy the crap that is spewed and dont bother to become informed, or they are just enraged by the hipocracy.

    it seems to be a really difficult thing to combat something when first you have to imform people of the BS, and then point out the hipocracy and finally propose an alternative. so they win like the bastards they are. orwell indeed.

    “war is peace”

  • What America lacks is critical thinking. We’re all critics when it comes to film, music, books (at least those of us who are literate), and religion, but we lack critical thinking. I think the revolution has to start in the schools. That way we can teach children to think rather than to become indoctrinated and repeat.

  • What America lacks is critical thinking. We’re all critics when it comes to film, music, books (at least those of us who are literate), and religion, but we lack critical thinking. I think the revolution has to start in the schools. That way we can teach children to think rather than to become indoctrinated and repeat.

  • i wholeheartedly agree…however…i am still wondering if:
    1) it is possible for everyone to think critically
    2) if that would allow a functioning society

    on 1, i have meet some people that i really dont think have the ability to think all that deep. maybe i am just an asshole…probably…but i dont think that is a quality that can really be taught. to an extent it certainly can, but for someone to really think critically they need an innate intelligence that i really think most people lack. or maybe i am just another asshole who thinks he is almost always right and that other people who think the same thing are usually wrong, and that they are assholes. again, probably.

    on 2, even though i have a hard time fathoming the reason, some people who disagree with me really do think critically. we usually enter into those conversations that end up with neither of us changing our mind, and sometimes a bit mad at each other. but as long as tolerance and cooperation are taught along with the ability to critically think, assuming that is possible, it should work out just fine. although, it really is hard when you have to work with someone, and make joint decisions with them, who fundamentally disagrees with you.

    I am not advocating a “starship troopers” kind of world (the book NOT the movie) where you must “earn” your right to vote. that is just asking for tyranny. but it is kind of funny how much easier things would be if all the people were sheep, and we had GOOD leaders. impossible, but a nice idea.

    why cant there just be lots of easy answers?

  • i wholeheartedly agree…however…i am still wondering if:
    1) it is possible for everyone to think critically
    2) if that would allow a functioning society

    on 1, i have meet some people that i really dont think have the ability to think all that deep. maybe i am just an asshole…probably…but i dont think that is a quality that can really be taught. to an extent it certainly can, but for someone to really think critically they need an innate intelligence that i really think most people lack. or maybe i am just another asshole who thinks he is almost always right and that other people who think the same thing are usually wrong, and that they are assholes. again, probably.

    on 2, even though i have a hard time fathoming the reason, some people who disagree with me really do think critically. we usually enter into those conversations that end up with neither of us changing our mind, and sometimes a bit mad at each other. but as long as tolerance and cooperation are taught along with the ability to critically think, assuming that is possible, it should work out just fine. although, it really is hard when you have to work with someone, and make joint decisions with them, who fundamentally disagrees with you.

    I am not advocating a “starship troopers” kind of world (the book NOT the movie) where you must “earn” your right to vote. that is just asking for tyranny. but it is kind of funny how much easier things would be if all the people were sheep, and we had GOOD leaders. impossible, but a nice idea.

    why cant there just be lots of easy answers?

  • To an extent, I agree that some people are unable to think critically. Terri Schiavo, for instance, couldn’t think critically… likely due to the fact she was brain dead, but that’s beside the point. Any relatively normal functioning human can be taught to think critically. Whether or not they will if they know how is a different matter. It’s far easier just to accept things, and I know plenty of intelligent people who merely don’t put out the effort.

    As far as whether this would fix society, I think you hit the nail on the head. Just because someone is intelligent and thinks critically does not mean they’ll agree with you. It does, however, make compromise a hell of a lot easier. In my opinion, if someone wants to lead, they won’t be a good leader. The best leaders are those who are 2nd in command and prefer to pull strings and make things right. Even then, the issue of whether or not critical thinkers would circumvent electing the power hungry and corrupt certainly can’t be addressed.

  • To an extent, I agree that some people are unable to think critically. Terri Schiavo, for instance, couldn’t think critically… likely due to the fact she was brain dead, but that’s beside the point. Any relatively normal functioning human can be taught to think critically. Whether or not they will if they know how is a different matter. It’s far easier just to accept things, and I know plenty of intelligent people who merely don’t put out the effort.

    As far as whether this would fix society, I think you hit the nail on the head. Just because someone is intelligent and thinks critically does not mean they’ll agree with you. It does, however, make compromise a hell of a lot easier. In my opinion, if someone wants to lead, they won’t be a good leader. The best leaders are those who are 2nd in command and prefer to pull strings and make things right. Even then, the issue of whether or not critical thinkers would circumvent electing the power hungry and corrupt certainly can’t be addressed.