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    George Carlin, Muse of the 99%: The Legacy of a Truth Teller

    Film, Media & Consciousness  |  07.Mar.13

    George Carlin was one of America’s most beloved standup comedians. Even after his death, his great performances have lived on in the memories of many. There is now a whole new generation discovering his work on the cyber-stage. Some recorded performances have become hits on YouTube with waves of laughter going viral on social media.

    George Carlin had a way of revealing the truth. With his gift of irreverent satire, he softened the truth of his biting social commentary with a unique humor. He could for a short time cut through America’s collective consciousness and belief systems. His performances gave the audience enough distance to not feel offended when invited to look at the truth about their own lives. Truth can hurt, especially if one has long avoided confronting it. But Carlin’s truth-telling left the audience at ease. His words have become more and more relevant and seem to have a prophetic edge. Let’s take a look at one popular piece where more

     

    Toward Fellowship of the Earth

    Cultural Identity (what defines us?)  |  10.Nov.11

    "Every nation must now develop on overriding loyalty to mankind as a whole in order to preserve the best in their individual societies. This call for a worldwide fellowship that lifts neighborly concern beyond one's tribe, class, and nation in reality is a call for an all embracing and unconditional love for all mankind"

    - M.L. King (as cited in Guardian News and Media Limited, 2010).

    In these words from the speech, "Beyond Vietnam" Martin Luther King, Jr. called for worldwide fellowship. The problems that mankind faces today - illegal wars, climate change and worldwide financial failure - urge us toward the birth of a larger consciousness that goes beyond the narrow constraints of the nation-state. The protest against the WTO in 1999, known as the Battle of Seattle, was an iconic moment in US history. It was a clash of two forces, one... more

     

    Character Assassination of Julian Assange

    Cultural Identity (what defines us?)  |  13.May.11

    The actions of WikiLeaks sparked a worldwide media barrage and has changed the face of journalism. Julian Assange, the leader of this organization quickly rose to prominence, initially because of the unprecedented public attention from the WikiLeaks revelations. Then sex scandals and smear campaigns, along with threats from the Pentagon threw him further into the eye of the typhoon of public attention. Rhetoric from some US right wing politicians and pundits escalated to calling for his murder. Many eyes have been glued to the news feed reporting on the progress of his extradition to Sweden, all the while the leaks have continued unabated.

    Assassination is the intentional killing of a prominent person for political purposes. The death of John F. Kennedy shocked the world with newspapers and the TV broadcasting his tragic end. Soon after Dr. Martin King delivered a speech speaking out against the Vietnam War at New York’s Riverside Church, his voice was also shut down by ... more

     

    The Wizard of Oz: The Man behind the American Dream

    Film, Media & Consciousness  |  11.Nov.10

    Enchanting, joyful and magical are the words that describe the film, the Wizard of Oz. After its release in 1939, it became a classic and one of America's most beloved films. Based on the 1900 novel by Lyman Frank Baum, in some ways it seemed to have shaped the cultural consciousness of America. It is now even more significant, not only for revealing the development of theatrical fantasy within American life, but also for shedding light on a hidden narrative behind major current events around the world.



    The story starts with a nostalgic sepia-colored farmland in Kansas. A young girl named Dorothy played by Judy Garland wished to find a place where there is no trouble. One day, a tornado swooped down and transported her into the land of Oz. Dorothy embarked on a journey to meet the great Wizard of Oz with a hope that that he could help her find her way back home. Dorothy's journey can be seen as mirroring America's over the last century. ... more

     

    WikiLeaks, Open Source of Truth in the Global Matrix

    Cultural Identity (what defines us?)  |  12.Aug.10
    Like many others, when I was young I looked up to larger than life heroes depicted in animation and films. The world of these super-heroes was made up of both the villains and those that take on evil forces of greed and power to fight for ordinary people. I remember a close friend in college once said "I wish I was independently wealthy, so that I wouldn't have to worry about making money and could become a superman to help humanity." His voice occasionally arises in me when I face the many injustices and social problems in the world.

    The release of an explosive 2007 video by a shadowy organization called WikiLeaks titled 'Collateral Murder' recently shook the world. Opening with a quote from Orwell’s 1984, it depicted from the point of view of Americans in an Apache helicopter the gunning down of Iraqi civilians in a Baghdad street. The news of this WikiLeaks group  taking on powerful government secrecy and corruption of power somehow reminded m... more
     

    Otaku: A Silent Cultural Revolution

    Cultural Identity (what defines us?)  |  01.Jul.10
    If a tourist walks down the street in Tokyo, moving from the office district into the Harajuku or youth district, in a moment they are transported into a sort of surreal scenery that stands in stark contrast to the grey formal face of Japanese corporate culture. A kind of virtual reality blends into the scenery as anime characters and role-playing games find their way into the public space. Especially popular is a costume play known as Cosplay (Kosupure in Japanese) being taken up by Japanese youth. It is a kind of performance or fashion art with elaborate costumes where participants act out dramas, dance and move in ways that express their favorite animation characters. For Americans to get a sense of this social trend, it might help to imagine this as a kind of weekly Japanese version of Halloween. People who share this fad gather together to create a stage in public places, primarily expressed through their costumes. Sometimes they just hang out or even create a kind of fla... more
     

    Beyond Doublespeak: True Lies in the Battle for the Word

    Film, Media & Consciousness  |  29.Apr.10
    Since the dawn of history there have been wars. In the present the United States is involved in at least three: Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan with military presence in many other countries. It seems that the patterns of violence and empires that rise and fall haven't changed much since before Roman times. Should this cycle of violence simply be accepted as the way of the world? Historian and activist Howard Zinn wrote:

    In modern times, when social control rests on "the consent of the governed", force
    is kept in abeyance for emergencies, and everyday control is exercised by a set of
    rules, a fabric of values passed on from one negation to another by the priests and
    teachers of the society. (1970, p.6)

    Unfortunately, such consent of the govern... more