Manufacturing Consent

I just watched and highly recommend Manufacturing Consent: Noam Chomsky and the Media, Funny and provocative, this 1992 documentary explores the political life and ideas of Noam Chomsky, a world-renowned linguist, intellectual and political activist. Chomsky illustrates how the media tacitly manipulates public opinion to further the agendas of the powerful. A compelling examination of the suppression of news about the U.S.-supported Indonesian invasion and subjugation of East Timor brings home the point.

This investigation highlighted that any government, at least in our current imperialist mode, by nature, is violent, and we can never truly be proud of it.

The history of our government is mostly shameful. Even now, I find myself wondering how I can support it while 17,000 more troops arrive in Afghanistan. I believe in diplomacy over conflict and strongly oppose the military industrial complex. Maybe it’s the same drive within that causes me to stay strict Vegan for over 12 years now, but I seriously view war-mongering as a deep rooted cultural sickness.

As an artist, I infiltrate via design and promote conceptual alternatives. I’m working on a projection piece right now that opens with protesters, then visually outlines lifestyle alternatives. moreTrees is about to release some protest-wear as well, to encourage people to view their wardrobe as a protest sign. Is this enough?

Chomsky identifies alternative media as a viable antithesis to the mainstream, corporate owned press, but seems sincerely concerned as to their struggle for simple survival. Can we consider art and clothing design to be a form of alternative media when it, too, carries messages of dissent and protest? And how can we utilize these forms of communication to not only survive, but to flourish? How can we reach not only the 20% of the informed elite that Chomsky describes, but also the 80% who prefer distraction over engagement? How can we infiltrate and effect a real paradigm shift?

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~excerpt, Erleichda

© 2009 Meghan Oona

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