Give me action
I watched a documentary about the Egyptian revolution recently, and the conviction of those revolutionaries reminded me of a past me, an otherwise comfortable me worried about the world, more than myself.
There are few revolutionaries to converse with in white collar adult life.
Now, there's only revolutionizing a first-world issue with computers or revolutionizing industrial processes or someone's ability to extract profit from the masses.
Like everything else, commercialism has hijacked, fucked, and softened “revolution” to provide a friendly consumer-friendly notion of great change enacted at the hands of brilliant business and tech “revolutionaries.” Surely all our lives will improve with more central services, more devices, more connectivity, they promise. They encourage us to all surf on the bleeding edge of tomorrow, to pioneer new territory where quaint notions like personal privacy are left to the 20th century. This is 2017! they cheer. Just click “Agree” and start transferring your fucking data!
Revolution isn't easy when you're still getting something nice enough for you to ignore that you're getting fucked. Even with hard evidence, like Snowden's, of private companies sleeping with the government, there aren't enough people angry enough to revolt.
And I get that. You don't bite the hand that feeds and you get to keep your endless supply of Twinkies.
These people aren't at fault.
It's the ones keeping this machine chugging on its clear trajectory of having us all by the balls; they're the ones enabling, encouraging, and maintaining the conditions necessary for this world I would never want to be a part of. That there are so many corruptible humans in the world would be utterly disheartening if I didn't know in my muscles and bones that it is simply not enough to destroy the incorruptible among us. There will always be wise forces at play to abate the corrupt's advances on our psyche. And if more people saw the dramatic contrast between a corrupted government and an individual that stood up to it, I believe they too would feel emboldened to stand up.
But there is an issue of communication when it comes to this. We get our ideas of heroes from the movies but our ideas of real life from the media. And the neutral stance that journalism attempts to take rarely changes the minds of people — especially compared to those taking a stance, like the movie hero. It is a race to the bottom, but perhaps a necessary one, that outlets present a strong opinion for readers to either agree or disagree with.
This is how people normally work.
To call something “neutral” and worthy of praise isn't journalism, it's bullshit. People don't work on neutrality, and editing human events down to raw “facts” gives us something ultimately irrelevant to us all.
I re-read some news from around June 2013 about the revealed government surveillance programs, and while the gravity of the situation was apparent in the language, the implications were not.
And this is what people need to know to start getting animated. And that is where we should be right now.
The media's stated purpose is to report the news. But what good is reporting if no one understands it? The news can't simply seek to entertain or even “inform” if it doesn't provoke action. If the media exists to truly keep pressure on the government, to hold them accountable and expose wrongdoing, it cannot simply point it out — it must incite actionable solutions.