Look! Over There!

Our President Controls the News Cycle by a Policy of Multiplying Distractions

Mr. Trumpf is not as smart as he pretends, but he is a master when it comes to controlling the media. Each week of his presidency is rife with outrages, one following hard upon the heels of the one before it. The ultimate effect is to keep him one step ahead of the high sheriffs who are gathering information to sink him.

According to RawStory.Com, Jake Tapper  describes how Trumpf adroitly moves the spotlight from one infamy to the next:

Tapper explained that the White House has very obviously attempted to “ramp up” efforts to “turn the spotlight away from questions about itself and investigations into possible collusion with Russia or possible obstruction of justice and the firing of FBI Director James Comey.”

The Trump White House is now employing a Pee Wee Herman “I’m rubber and you’re glue” defense for accusations of Russia collusion.

Instead, they’ve tried to “highlight matters pertaining to the previous president” and Hillary Clinton. In his Friday morning tweet, Trump claimed that the costly investigations against him were over and proved no evidence of collusion. He now is demanding a similar Russia investigation into Clinton.

Under these circumstances, when is it really possible to wind down an investigation when new evidence is constantly being discovered? The man in the Oval Office knows well how bored the public is with investigations that seem to go on forever. Ken Starr proved that during Clinton’s second term.

This is a very typical maneuver made by real estate magnates. Feel free to commit infamies, but always deflect blame and open new instances of infamy that make it impossible to pin you down.

The obvious solution is to break the investigations down into smaller segments and deal with them separately. At that point, when there are multiple investigations, the news for the perpetrator is always bad.

NOTE: The photo above is not actually authentic. It has been Photoshopped to make our president look bad. Which is only appropriate, I think.

The Soundtrack of Your Boring Life

Living in the Moment

Living in the Moment

There appear to be two types of people. A distressingly large number of younger people appear to be hooked up to a sound feed consisting of the dominant sound icons of current popular culture. Whenever I hear snippets of other people’s music, I feel chagrined. When I am attached to an MP3 player, say during a long flight to South America, what I listen to are the symphonies of Sibelius, Mahler, and Bruckner. (I may diversify into some Jazz classics when I get around to copying them.)

But pop music and rap music? Not for me. When driving, I like music that serves as a background to an increased situational awareness, not as a replacement for my consciousness.

Today, I rode the Expo Line into Santa Monica. Virtually everyone under a certain age was hooked up, listening to pop music and operating their smart phones at full intensity. Needless to say, these people were living in their own self-imposed bubbles, not looking out the window or paying attention to the announcements.

The other type of person is someone like me. I live in the world, not in a self-imposed bubble.My dumb phone does not have Internet access, nor is used for texting or sexting, nor even photography (though it has the capability). The only reason I had it with me was in case I needed to call Martine about our lunch plans.

Is there any advantage to living in the pop culture bubble? Perhaps it’s a form of escape from the world, with all its confusing signals that are so insistent for our attention. But is this escape not dangerous? And can a diet of Taylor Swift or hip-hop music dull one’s senses to the world around us? I imagine it’s a way to introducing oneself to peers, indicating that one is cool … one is attached to the good stuff … one is wearing the right clothes … has the right hairstyle … is, in a word, safe.

Maybe I’m a bit dangerous. At least I would like to think so.

The Ineluctability and Persistence of the Now

Maybe Not So Smart

Maybe Not So Smart After All

I have frequently written about the distractions of modern life, especially with regards to all those convenient little electronic devices created to suck away all your moments of quiet contemplation. Meditation? Hah! It is to laugh!

As one who has ripped out all those little electronic tendrils that seek to ensnare me into an ineluctable and persistent “now” consisting mostly of advertising and various types of cultural noise, I try to be immune. But there are always billboards, loud advertising messages from the TV that Martine is watching across the room when I am on my computer, newspaper ads, and so on. Although I have a cell phone, it is probably one of the last LG models that are non-Internet, non-Smart, and non-Kim-Kardashian-compatible. And I have resolved not to buy a Smart Phone unless there is absolutely no other cellular option available.

According to Malcolm McCullough, a professor of design and architecture at the University of Michigan:

A quiet life takes more notice of the world, and uses technology more for curiosity and less for conquest [though I would ask, Who is conquering whom?]. It finds comfort and restoration in unmediated perceptions. It increases the ability to discern among forms of environmentally encountered information. It values persistence and not just novelty. It stretches and extends the now, beyond the latest tweets, beyond the next business quarter, until the sense of the time period you inhabit exceeds the extent of your lifetime.

I do not think I could write these blogs unless I had a more directed thought process. In fact, I fear that the generation now in school could have done permanent damage to their ability to concentrate. If this tendency is irreversible, welcome to a whole new world of barbarism. Not a pretty thought.

Is all that we are capable of concentrating on is Miley Cyrus’s nude body as she swings on a wrecking ball? If so, we are already a new lost generation. Excuse me while I try to find a nice quiet place in the past to hide and shut out all the noise.