1. Orwell Rolls In His
Grave - The One Thing The Media
Doesn't Like To Talk About
2. We Live in an Age of Disintegration
Real Digital Divide Afflicting American Politics
This is a Nederlog of Friday, July 1, 2016.
is a crisis log. There are 3 items and 7 dotted links. Item 1 is the film that I think ALL smart persons OUGHT
to see: "Orwell Rolls In His Grave". I discovered it yesterday by
accident and deeply regret that I did not see it in 2003, when it first
appeared. It is still a very good documentary, that tells the tale of how the media got thoroughly corrupted:
Watch it, for it will very probably explain or clarify a lot to you.
This also has 5 links, of which 4 are to materials by its maker. Item 2 is about a good article about the Middle East; and item 3 is about a somewhat disappointing item about (especially) the "social media" (that in fact are a-social dataminers).
Rolls In His Grave - The One Thing The Media Doesn't Like To Talk About
first item today is a film by Robert Kane
Pappas (<-Wikipedia) that all smart persons ought
I am not often enthusiastic about films (and
indeed I don't have a TV since 1970: I dislike stupidity, ignorance and propaganda far
too much to watch it, and have far better uses for my time than
poison it with TV), but I watched film yesterday that I think was
very good and ought to be seen by everyone
who is intelligent .
It is under the above link, is 1 hr 45 m long, is by Robert Kane
Pappas, and dates back to 2003 - which makes it more amazing: I
have missed this for 13 years, but this is a film I would have liked very
much to have seen in 2003, because it made then most of the
points I have since found out by other means, and it does make them
very well indeed.
I will certainly return to this film, but I did not see it more than
once now (yesterday).
To start with, a brief note on why this film is as important now as
when it was first produced: The following quote is from
It is as follows (and there is more under th last
Director Robert Kane Pappas’
ORWELL ROLLS IN HIS GRAVE is the consummate critical examination of the
Fourth Estate, once the bastion of American democracy. Asking whether
America has entered an Orwellian world of doublespeak where outright
lies can pass for the truth, Pappas explores what the media doesn’t
like to talk about — itself.
Meticulously tracing the process by
which media has distorted and often dismissed actual news events,
Pappas presents a riveting and eloquent mix of media professionals and
leading intellectual voices on the media.
From the very size of the media monopolies
and how they got that way to who decides what gets on the air and what
doesn’t, ORWELL ROLLS IN HIS GRAVE moves through a troubling list of
questions and news stories that go unanswered and unreported in the
ORWELL ROLLS IN HIS GRAVE provides a vital forum for ideas that will
never be heard in mainstream media. From Globalvision’s Danny Schecter:
“We falsely think of our country as a democracy when it has evolved
into a mediacracy – where a media that is supposed to check political
abuse is part of the political abuse.” New York University media
professor Mark Crispin Miller says, “These commercial entities now vie
with the government for control over our lives. They are not a healthy
counterweight to government. Goebbels said that what you want in a
media system – he meant the Nazi media system – is to present the
ostensible diversity that conceals an actual uniformity.”
In brief: You very probably did not hear
about this film, as I did not hear about this film for thirteen
years, simply because the film discusses the (American) mainstrean
media itself and asks "a troubling list of
questions and news stories that go unanswered and unreported in the
These are questions and answers that the mainstream media does not
honestly raise, does not honestly discuss,
and does not honestly answer
(except in terms of lies, deceptions and propaganda).
The above last dotted link is to the site that comes with the
firm. There is quite a bit more there that is interesting. Consider -
e.g. because you might think that 1 hr 45 m is a long time - the following:
There is a lot more there, but here is the bit
with which it starts, from Charles
Lewis (<-Wikipedia) (who has a lot more to say in the film):
This is another file from orwellrollsinhisgrave.com:
controls whether or not a politician gets his mug on the tube, and
that’s power. That’s the ultimate power in a political
I think, that the financial elites and the political elites have become
one [and] the same and that the people themselves have no voice in
Washington, or in their state capitols, that they are somehow being
keepers of the truth are not the reporters, they are the owners and the
lackey editors who work for the owners and they’ll decide what flies
and what works and what pays the freight in terms of advertising and
Here is one bit of it:
Robert Kane Pappas:
I think Mark Crispin Miller puts his finger on it in my film. To
paraphrase him: “…we need antitrust activity, not for economic reasons,
primarily, but because the crucial content of the news is corrupted by
these large commercial entities.” Informing the public, while
conceiving of it as a purely bottom line activity, has tragic
consequences. Regulators and legislators, drunk on the “free market is
god” mantra, are profoundly harming this country. In different
countries around the world, including ours, politicians fear taking on
Rupert Murdoch because he can destroy political careers.
And here is one bit from another file (with
quite a number of reviews):
This is from "Entertainment Today" (picked because it is brief):
Director Robert Kane Pappas’
vivid and distressing documentary examination of the state of the
fourth estate is a deeply fascinating must-see for anyone interested in
the slow morphing of news into mind-numbingly faux-informative
entertainment (see: local news) and tidbits of distraction and
carefully apportioned acquaintance. It looks, with an angry head but
mostly clear heart, at the manner in which systemic conflicts of
new-media interest are not addressed in reportage; at how the political
system is off limits (personality trumps
substantive debate and ideas given the amount of money that exchanges
hands between corporate America and those who cover it); and,
essentially, how as a result news is largely managed, not
deeply investigated and presented.
In brief: I think you ought to
see this film, supposing that you are intelligent.
And I now have to add just two things:
First. What is missing from this film is Edward Snowden and his
revelations - but this is missing because it happened 10 years
after the film was made and published.
Second. The film fully supports everything Snowden said and it also
gives a lot of essential background that clarifies Snowden's arguments.
So you really ought to see it. (And all I can complain about is
that I did not see it 13 years ago, and - of course!! - did not
hear about it, until I found it yesterday by accident.)
2. We Live in an Age of Disintegration
The second item is by Patrick Cockburn
(<- Wikipedia) on Truthdig and originally on TomDispatch:
This starts as follows (and is by a longtime Middle
We live in an age of
disintegration. Nowhere is this more evident than in the Greater Middle
East and Africa. Across the vast swath of territory between Pakistan
and Nigeria, there are at least seven ongoing wars—in Afghanistan,
Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Libya, Somalia, and South Sudan. These conflicts
are extraordinarily destructive. They are tearing apart the countries
in which they are taking place in ways that make it doubtful they will
Yes, indeed: Orwell's never-ending war seems
to have arrived, especially in the Middle East, and it is also true
that while there were many (more or less) socialist and nationalist
movements in the Middle East in the 20th century, these have been
replaced by religious (Islamic) groups.
All of these have a number of things in
common: they are endless and seem never to produce definitive winners
or losers. (Afghanistan has effectively been at war since 1979, Somalia
Add in one more similarity, no less crucial
for being obvious: in most of these countries, where Islam is the
dominant religion, extreme Salafi-Jihadi movements, including the
Islamic State (IS), al-Qaeda, and the Taliban are essentially the only
available vehicles for protest and rebellion. By now, they have
completely replaced the socialist and nationalist movements that
predominated in the twentieth century; these years have, that is, seen
a remarkable reversion to religious, ethnic, and tribal identity, to
movements that seek to establish their own exclusive territory by the
persecution and expulsion of minorities.
Here are two important tendencies in the Middle East (especially):
Everywhere nation states are
enfeebled or collapsing, as authoritarian leaders battle for survival
in the face of mounting external and internal pressures.
Yes, indeed. And in fact it is especially
"neoliberalism", which was imported by the West (and is better called
neofascism, according to me).
In recent years, such countries were also
opened up to the economic whirlwind of neoliberalism, which destroyed
any crude social contract that existed between rulers and ruled.
Here is a restatement of the same point:
Though there are clearly many
reasons for the present disintegration of states and they differ
somewhat from place to place, one thing is beyond question: the
phenomenon itself is becoming the norm across vast reaches of the
Note that "the
break-up of the Soviet Union" ended "balancing between Moscow and Washington"
for precisely the same reason as it ended the existence of many
communist parties in the West: They did not get any
Previously, national leaders in places like
the Greater Middle East had been able to maintain a degree of
independence for their countries by balancing between Moscow and
Washington. With the break-up of the Soviet Union, this was no longer
In addition, the triumph of neoliberal free-market economics in the
wake of the Soviet Union’s collapse added a critical element to the
mix. It would prove far more destabilizing than it looked at the time.
And again, while I agree with the major impact of "neoliberalism" I say
again this was and is far more than "economics":
It is essentially political, and the politics it favors is
fundamentally and only pro rich, pro profit, pro authoritarianism,
against the poor, against democracy, and in favor of its own kind of
totalitarianism, in which everything gets managed in
and behind the scenes - for which reasons (including the fact that
"neoliberal free-market" consists of propagandistic lies only) it is
much better called neofascism, for that is its true end.
Then there is this on the rather unique factor in the Middle East, oil
(and gas and minerals):
Add in one more process at work
making such states ever more fragile: the production and sale of
natural resources—oil, gas, and minerals—and the kleptomania that goes
with it. Such countries often suffer from what has become known as “the
resources curse”: states increasingly dependent for revenues on the
sale of their natural resources—enough to theoretically provide the
whole population with a reasonably decent standard of living—turn
instead into grotesquely corrupt dictatorships.
Yes, although I think more was involved, and
indeed there were rather strong socialist movements (of quite a few
kinds) in the Middle East in the 20th century. (Nasser in Egypt was one
Here is the last bit I will review:
Neoliberalism was once believed
to be the path to secular democracy and free-market economies. In
practice, it has been anything but. Instead, in conjunction with the
resource curse, as well as repeated military interventions by
Washington and its allies, free-market economics has profoundly
destabilized the Greater Middle East. Encouraged by Washington and
Brussels, twenty-first-century neoliberalism has made unequal societies
ever more unequal and helped transform already corrupt regimes into
looting machines. This is also, of course, a formula for the success of
the Islamic State or any other radical alternative to the status quo.
Those who believed that "neoliberalism" was
(or is) "the path to secular democracy and
free-market economies" either believed
propaganda or made propaganda.
Indeed, it factually did the opposite, and
"neoliberalism" was THE tool to make "unequal
societies ever more unequal and helped transform already corrupt
regimes into looting machines" - and the main reason for this fact is
that "neoliberalism" is neofascism, which indeed is a lot
clearer in the Middle East, where the real fighting happens,
than it is in Europe or the USA, where
most people only see the flat-out propaganda lies that
"neoliberalism" is "democratic", "free market" and "liberal". It is none
of these things, and never
was - but try telling that to the average consumer who only gets his or
her "news" from the purveyors of propaganda, deceptions and lies.
This is a recommended article.
3. The Real Digital Divide
Afflicting American Politics
The third item is by Neal Gabler on Truthdig and originally on Moyers
This is from near the beginning:
Yes, they are true, and one thing
Gabler doesn't mention and doesn't seem to consider at
all is that there are between 3 billion and 4 billion people who
are now using the internet (2 out of 3 in "the developed world", 1
out of 3 in "the developing world" ), which
means that for the first time
in history, the real average and sub-average in intelligences have the
opportunity of publishing their own thoughts, values and feelings (and
they do so, almost everywhere, though preferably in the "social media"
that should be called the a-social stealing media).
Once, for all our differences, we lived
in an American community that was in many ways bound by the media.
Today, also in some measure because of the media, we don’t.
I am talking first and foremost about the
Internet and social media. Most of us know the clichés: Social media
contribute to greater superficiality and less intellectual engagement,
more impulsiveness, more opinion and less fact, and, perhaps most
important, more polarization as the like-minded find one another and
stoke one another’s prejudices and grievances, no matter what end of
the political spectrum. It’s not that these things are not all true;
there’s a good deal of evidence that they are.
What I saw - ever since I got internet 20 years ago - is an incredible
of "greater superficiality and less intellectual
engagement, more impulsiveness, more opinion and less fact" and interminable primitive scoldings of the crudest kinds
of everyone who is not precisely similar in outlook to
the - always bravely anonymous - scolds, trolls, degenerates and
And what I did not see is any sophistication, any wit, any real
knowledge, or indeed any attempts at these. What I did see a very
great amount of (and suspected since my teens but never could verify
before the widespread use of internet) is totalitarianism:
Whoever is not very much like the rest - also if he or she is a
patient of some disease - gets actively discriminated, perse- cuted
and scolded until he or she leaves. 
There is this on the 1960ies:
The ‘60s were a time of shared
experiences and even of national conversations, since nearly everyone
saw and heard the same things. It also was a time when network news
divisions felt and evinced a deep responsibility to inform. After
all, that was a primary reason why they had been given the airwaves —
the public’s airwaves — in the first place
On balance (and I lived through the '60s,
quite consciously) I say no, not so much because it is radically false,
but because it is misleading and far too optimistic.
It’s no accident that this occurred at a
time when America had what historians have called the “American
consensus” or the “liberal consensus,” or a sense of generally shared
values. The media consensus and the political consensus, in fact, went
hand in hand.
The real facts underlying the '60s are that (i) the networks
were far less concentrated, while (ii) the news was still
produced by journalists who had the impulse to find the truth
and publish it, (iii) at a time when the truth still
could be published without sanctions or denials from the editors
or the owners. And see item 1 on how this differed
from the present mainstream media.
Then there is this on "the social media" (that should be called the
a-social datamining surveillors, deceivers and liars):
When we use social media, it
usually seems less a way of connecting to others than of celebrating
ourselves, less a dialogue with others than a monologue about us: what
we’re eating, who we’re seeing, where we’re shopping, ad nauseam.
Social media have helped create an America in which there is not only
very little national conversation, common experience, sense of
community or even very much desire to cross the boundaries that divide
us; they have helped create an America of 300 million separate
entities, each chronicling its own individual activities. You don’t
have to imagine what this does to our politics. You’re living it.
In the first place: I do not use the
a-social datamining surveillors, deceivers and liars who pose and
propagandize themselves as something quite different,
and I never used them and never will: I am neither
ignorant nor stupid.
In the second place: The a-social datamining
surveillors, deceivers and liars that propagandize themselves as
"social media" are the natural means of the stupid, the
dishonest, and the hypocritical,
of whom there always is a solid majority, all through
human history. 
In the third place: There are not "300 million
separate entities" - or only by a very
crude first approximatiom. I know that many on the social media - in so
far as these can be judged from their "comments" on almost anything -
are stupid egoistic totalitarian scolds without any visible
education or intelligence,
and while I suppose that most of their "communications" to their likes are
about what they're eating, who they're seeing, and where they are
the main point is how much alike and how totalitarian
these "social media" for partial, insecure, uncertain and immature
"persons" are. 
There is also this, which is the last bit that I'll quote and review:
Again I have to say no, on balance. Of
course, I more or less agree that in the present circumstances "a healthy political system cannot really exist" - unless, of course, one speaks of "neoliberalism". I also
- more or less - agree (and I am a psychologist) that most
individuals I know of are not really "healthy",
Under these circumstances, a healthy
political system cannot really exist. I am not sure healthy individuals
can either. Heffernan goes on to say that in this digital age of
non-stop communication, “we’re all more alone than ever.” That may be
the most profound and enduring effect of the media on our politics. We
are now so divided we may not be able to unite; we are so divided we
live within an aching metaphysical malaise of unconnectedness. We have
more “friends” than ever, but feel more friendless.
especially not when they are stupid, ignorant and cocksure of their own
stupid ideologies (but I much doubt that Gabler's idea of mental health
and mine are the same or similar). 
As to the rest of this paragraph: No.
For one thing, I deny that the great mass of the stupid and ignorant
who found their voices with internet and who gather on the a-social
media are doing politics.
Perhaps they are doing "politics" (which is screaming
in print about your viewpoints without knowing
almost anything about politics,
or nearly anything else), but they are not doing rational politics, which at least presumes that you have some ideas
about politics and also read some books about it.
For another thing, while I agree ordinary people
have been made much more egoistic, more
greedy, more selfish
and more stupid
by the incredible amounts of propaganda
they - often willingly, if somewhat blindly - consume, and usually also
have been very badly educated (both
at home and in school), I think they are able to unite (if
often not for sensible ends), while ordinary people, and especially
the half whose IQs are maximally 100, are certainly not
living in "an aching metaphysical malaise of
unconnectedness" (in fact most will not even
understand what this might mean). 
Yes, I really am an enthusiast for the film, and I think that
everyone who is really intelligent should see it. Also, as the rest of
this Nederlog will make clear, I have excellent academical
titles and I do not believe for one millisecond that "everybody is
equal". I think everybody is unequal in fact (which is why equality in
law is important and worthwile: if everybody were
equal in fact, that ideal would be pointless), and I think that one of
the most important differences between human beings is
precisely the differences in
capacities to understand, explain, read and think rationally. (You may
disagree, but as long as you don't have an M.A. with only straight A's
in psychology, or in some other academic subject, I simply won't take
your disagreement serious.)
quote-marks in this paragraph are there because the terms are very
propagandistic (for they suggest that "the underdeveloped world" will
and should transform into the likes of "the developed world", which is
a bullshit assumption).
have a brief experience with two "social media", because both of these
are connected to the disease I have since 1.i.1979, M.E. I am speaking
of Phoenix Rising and Meforums. I was a little over 4 months a member
of the first, and left it myself; and was 2 months a member of the
second, and was removed.
I learned there a lot about ordinary people,
and noted - with great disdain and considerable horror - that everybody
who was clearly more intelligent than the average (around IQ 95) was actively
persecuted by groups of likeminded extremely ordinary fanatics.
And I stress this did not only happen to me (who in fact was rather
used to it, given very extensive experiences with loads of
discrimination in the University of Amsterdam, where I was even denied
the right to take my M.A. in philosophy because I had honestly said, in
an invited speech, what I thought about my "teachers": that
nearly everyone there was an incompetent parasite - which was honest and true, if not tactical) but
also to quite a few others, even to the extent that these were granted
to be considerably more intelligent than the average, but were much
blamed for being more intelligent and for writing as if they were more
intelligent (i.e. better than the extremely ordinary idiots), and for dealing with complicated subjects none of the ordinary people could conceivably take on. They were hunted off as well.
The ordinary men might as well have said (and maybe also said): "Get out of our
domain, for we don't want you: You are too clever by far, and we only
allow people here who are as stupid as we are." (For more, see groupthinking.)
I left very soon after I got this clear, in my case and in several
other cases, and I never turned back and never will.
 Yes, "all
through human history". Here is
the evidence of three extremely gifted historians and philosophers:
Note the "follies" and the "horrors" these gave rise to.
“Man is wicked and unhappy; everywhere
prisons, hospitals, gibbets and beggars; history, properly speaking, is
nothing but a collection of the crimes and misfortunes of mankind.”
"History is little else but the register
of the crimes, follies and misfortunes of mankind"
"Presque toute l'Histoire n'est qu'une
 You may disagree. My judgment is that
of a psychologist and a philosopher with excellent academic degrees. If
you disagree and couldn't (even) finish a university, I am sorry: I am
uninterested in your opinions.
 Again, I think I am quite justified in
considering that stupid, ignorant fanatics are not mentally
healthy, but I know this is a minority point of view. (There are far more stupid, ignorant fanatics than there are wise psychologists or philosophers, unfortunately.)
 Indeed, I myself do not know
what might be meant by "an aching metaphysical malaise of unconnectedness", although I know the meanings of each of the terms quite well, and
also know English grammar well.