Back when I was a kid I read a lot of books by Eric Slone about barn building, farm wisdom, and weather lore. There were many ways the elders knew about the weather, so he claimed. Many of these bon mots of knowledge were inscribed in rhyme or otherwise made into clever easy to remember sayings so that generation after generation could build on their knowledge of the natural world, and more to the point, survive in a world they built by hand (JHK reference intended) and at the mercy of all sorts of weather. Slone also wrote a bit about how communities exchanged information of all types, one saying that stuck with me was that “news and weather travel together.” Like clouds, information can roll in, but like the storms, a savvy farmboy could tell by the direction of the rainbow the forecast for the day.
Today, now more than ever, both news and weather travel together. Today, these friends are not just fellow travelers, but have gotten FUBAR on some real good high speed corn seed with just a dab of the Devil’s dandruff and are coming for us and, if you have one or more, your daughters, your house, and going to otherwise fuck you to death just for fun. The weather stone says…. Nothing. It was covered in dust, burned, flooded, and tossed into a nuclear reactor a tornado. The old lore…. Useless in the face of a weather pattern that is only a “pattern” in as much as chaos if signified by infinite powers of 10 would eventually make a pattern if only at the very edges of infinity. And, with this bastard Armageddon weather, we have the other traveler, news. The Wolf mother that eats her young.
The news makes as much sense as the weather. It lumbers about like a gibbering idiot dick-whiping whatever it can’t kill, eat, or fuck. Murdoch has been made fun of for some time by the likes of Jon and Stephen Daily Report Show, been taken to task by sundry Truth In Media types and has now been exposed (again but this time for reals) for the monster in charge of a monster empire he controls. Not that it’ll matter. The news industry has for so long been like the weather – a monster out of control. The news industry like Mr. Scratch comes to us with pleasant words and supposed kindness but, strike down people in the name of entertaining us by tossing cars, kids, and cows about the mindspace in a wondrous set of infortainment. We are all caught up in as half of us glue our eyeballs in belief and the other half waste time we could be drinking or fucking by spilling our onistic words and pointing out data sets that disprove this or that fact as if anyone really gave a shit about data and facts. As slightly smarter apes, we are still apes, and more motivated by red meat on a hook than some long explanation of said meat or definitive proof that said meat does or does not exist.
News has always been suspect. News has always been the lover of Rumor, the dark whispering and muttering of peasants Lovecraft spoke about, the showmanship of Nast as well as Tammany (the Fox and Friends and Jon Steward of its age), the propaganda of states and tastemakers, the lie told a thousand times. However, for a time news meant to be a friend of the reader or viewer at its worst, and a pillar of society in its idealistic form such as Capra with World At War or even Kingsley Amos’s travel writing. Sometimes, it is amazing to listen to old news reports, even the 1920s racist explorer news reels since they thought they were doing something good as they made their way up dark rivers and into thick jungles. There was a time when a reporter could sit with the general and for ten whole minutes of prime time, discuss the (then) longest war in American history as Mike Wallace did with Westmoreland on more than one occasion. However, the weather showed up with a pipe, a rock, and a lighter, and news has never been the same. News is your drug buddy. And when the drugs are gone…. so is your buddy.
In the old days of the second Iraq war when I was teaching media education, I relied on a pornography site to let me know what was really going on. To see the type of footage we had seen in Frank Capra’s films. Roosevelt thought Americans needed to see the horrors of war to know what our soldiers were going through so we knew we needed to support them, and they knew we at home understood some of the battlefield and that when someone is shot through with a projectile, as an old war veteran told me, you’d be amazed how much shit was in someone and what that smelled like and what the battle field smelled like. As he put it, not just meat, but the viscera of men. In Vietnam, we also saw a great deal too. People in those days had to smell it. There was a time delay but I showed my students footage from firefights, medical tents, and evacuations or tactical removals from Vietnam that were unknown in our video game wars of today. The sanitized media that can distribute so many horrors but can never let us know what really happened (WRH pun intentional). The porno channel into our war ended. The military industry wanted to make sure we knew as much about war as we understood aliens from playing Halo. That is, not at all.
So, like many bastard sons of my bastard generation, I turned to porn for my infotainment. However, I did not turn to it for the usual T&A but for news. I found a site called Ogrish.com (now a footnote in Wikipedia) that took back the MSM blanket over the battle field. I found this site as I looked for material for my next presentation – never using anything I found there as a direct source of course. Originally I wanted to show the similarities and differences between the Iraq II war and Vietnam and dug deep into the internets and found more than I expected. Ogrish.com was deep in there. Mostly porn, but had a sub-section called “death porn.” Not my thing… But the labels said to go on because it said “war images” and I had read about this source on a political blog. In the subset of “death porn” – mostly people killed by cars since we get 45,000 of those in this country alone – there was a folder for “war.” In “war” they had a few old theaters of war, a few African conflicts (so numerous we don’t even name these massacres) and “Iraq” and “Afghanistan.”
It was in these deeper folders. The place where the air was most foul.
These were not good places to go. I will never forget the things I saw. The videos came mostly from insurgents or rebels or freedom fighters or “sand n****s” or “towel heads” or “rag man” whatever you call them… or the news calls them but using their own code. They were the side of war that we clean from our cameras. The media doesn’t show the pictures we only allow in video games.
Was it wrong of me? To watch as IEDs took out convoys, as snipers shot down boys not much older than the students I was teaching, to look into the faces of battle that were not official or able to play on MSM. Was it infotainment to see the human cost of war? Watch as some poor farmboy stepped on an IED and then ascended into Heaven? What about the videos of our boys blowing up some randy sheep herder who some imam tossed an old SOVIET weapon into his hands and sent him to fight against the most powerful force in the world? What about seeing some 15 year old towel head get popped in the head? These were the faces of death. The faces of war. The daily goings on of a struggle of power that our soldiers can’t see we understand when they get off the airplane and see us shopping and drinking coffee as if somewhere there is something going on, but we are not connected. And did the MSM tell this story? Did our Waltersomeone sit on a log with commander Whatshisorhername and really get this story to the people that war, as FDR thought, as Patton though, as Murrow thought, was ugly. Violence as a way to defeat the enemy, but we needed to share that since this was news. And I found it not on left or center or right wing channels, but side by side with pornography. Tits and ass. Not that tits and ass is a bad thing, but is that where our modern day Frank Capra and Why We Fight belong? Not to worry. The US Gubberment took down the site. The distribution of videos that show the horror of war… those are illegal. Only terroristsandniggertowelheads would show those images. We can’t look at the true cost that is paid for each day by our solders.
So, the war continues. The wars. All of them…. And today the weather obliterated the view of the city. Up in the country, not much better. Four inches of rain today. They used to say that when it rained while the sun shined that the Devil was fighting with his wife. Today, I don’t know what the Devil is doing, but it seems to take all day.
I fear rivers overflowing, I hear the voice of raise and ruin. Don’t go around tonight for it’s bound to take your life. There’s a bad moon on the rise. – Credence Clearwater Revival