Loyal and Persistent Opposition

29 Dec

Journalist Belen Fernandez’s new opus Imperial Messenger (Verso) effectively eviscerating the NYT’s Thomas Friedman (whom Alexander Cockburn, not one to pull punches, has called “the silliest man on the planet”)strikes me as an example of the kind of book that a supine establishment,mainstream media herd must exert some effort to avoid paying even minimal attention. Friedman, a three time Pulitzer Prize winner (meaning he has been well-celebrated by his supposed peers) perfectly represents the kind of gobbledegook that has allowed political discussion (such as it is) become a morass of bemuddlement And befuddlement.

THis message has become more clear to me as read Thomas Frank’s new opus Pity the Billionaire (Henry Holt) which painfully (to me) articulates the way the so called Conservatives have co-opted the recent/current economic
cataclysm as an argument for free market capitalism and other depredations.As Frank pointed out in his, What’s Wrong with Kansas?, once again millions of Americans have been hoodwinked into sympathizing with the ruling class and voting against their own interests.

How this is done is, of course, a matter of perverse fascination. The Glenn Becks and Rush Limbaughs and Rick Santellis, Fox News flying monkeys and other “entrepreneurs of fear” created a picture rife with contradiction and unreality and some Americans bought in. With all the media and instruments of investigation at their(our) disposal, how would that be?

Thankfully, we have oppositionist and skeptical publishers and venues who frame current crises in the real world, not the snake oil pandering that pervades our public conversations almost unhindered except for these small but persistent voices of reason. To name a few:

Haymarket Books
South End Press
New Press
Melville House
PM Press

You can look forward to my chat with Tom Frank—coming soon to websites near you.

Currently reading The Leopard by Jo Nesbo (Knopf)

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