Entertained to Death


I will not hide it: I’m something of a pop culture maven. Not, perhaps, through active participation. But being at all aware in this culture it does tend to seep into you, if only through osmosis. And as a librarian, I make a concerted effort to keep abreast of things high and low, so that I can converse with and serve my patrons.

I’m certainly not one of those scolds who thinks pop culture has no place in the world. Most of us have grown up enmeshed in it, and have, for the most part, come out no worse for wear. I enjoy my sports, and I enjoy my movie spectacles.

However, we have entered a period of convergence, where the juggernaut which is popular culture collides with and circles around a concerted 50 year effort to make the electorate uninformed, apathetic, and downright hostile to its prime duty, which is to pay attention, educate itself, and govern itself.

An electorate which is more enthralled by the minutiae of Sunday’s football game than the ponderous intricacies of policy debates may be understandable; however, no one said self-governance was easy or not time consuming. The Founders posited that a free people needed to be informed to govern itself effectively.

Noam Chomsky, in a documentary, wondered at listening to a local sports radio station. Callers would call in and give the most intricate exegesis on arcane sporting subjects, as informed as any of the “experts” paid by the networks. But that care and concern doesn’t extend to matters which impact them more deeply than whether or not their team won the game.

This is not by accident. The media—our Fourth Estate, whose independence is enshrined as first in our Bill of Rights—has degenerated to another purveyor of spectacle. Media consolidation has accelerated this trend. Newspapers are shuttering, bureaus are closing down, and no one has the time or inclination to stay informed on the day’s issues. We are descending into an idiocracy, where a carnival barker, multiply bankrupt “billionaire” is leading the field of a major party. He is tailor-made for our entertainment-saturated country. Yes, he’s a racist, a homophobe, a misogynist, but he’s been beamed into our homes for years. He’s as comfortable as bunny slippers.

The state can not exist for much longer. A supposedly free society can’t remain free if its citizens don’t expend the minimum amount of energy to govern themselves. We are reaching what oligarchs and dictators in other eras have also achieved: a docile populace kept complacent with bread and circuses, and strategic amounts of terror.

You don’t know who the Koch brothers are? If you like your Medicare, Social Security, and unemployment insurance, then maybe you should educate yourself. Otherwise, bread and circuses are all you will have to look forward to.

133 Responses to “Entertained to Death”

  1. 5 misspat
    September 2, 2015 at 2:19 pm

    where is everybody?

  2. September 2, 2015 at 2:20 pm

    Hola, Don! Happy Wednesday and congrats on FIRST!!!

  3. 7 hopefruit2
    September 2, 2015 at 2:20 pm

    Hehe…that’s because these MSM “predictions” are based on nothing but wishful thinking and a futile desire to “stick it to Obama” on behalf of their GOP friends…

    • 8 Nena20409
      September 2, 2015 at 2:31 pm

      The Elites and their privileges have arrogance and willful superiority complex of Undermining the Brilliance, Effectiveness, Managerial, Accomplishments, etc of a person of Color. I have always asked, when will the 98% Journos who cover Pres Obama will start reflecting on their Racial Animus against Pres Obama. Some Dems are also complicit to this as well.
      I am preaching to the Choir here, especially, since HF, you have stated as much here…….. so eloquently many times.

  4. 9 Don
    September 2, 2015 at 2:23 pm

    Hellava read, LL, yes we have been lulled to sleep. But it is people like you that will no let us go peacefully into that good night of know-nothing-ness.

  5. 12 JER
    September 2, 2015 at 2:24 pm

  6. 18 hopefruit2
    September 2, 2015 at 2:25 pm

    • 22 Linda
      September 2, 2015 at 2:45 pm

      Mrs Greenspan was giddy about showing herself interviewing the Quitter from Wasilla there the day after the Quitter resigned as Gov.

      Not sure why she felt the need for that.

  7. 30 Don
    September 2, 2015 at 2:30 pm

    Another day of humiliation for those that doubt or fight President Obama. It is almost to the point that it is embarrassing for the Republicans. The only thing I knew about President Obama in 2007 was that he had an unusual life story and a great mind, but goddamn! I didn’t imagine that his foot would set up shop on the Republican’s backside.

    • 31 MadameSoph
      September 2, 2015 at 3:07 pm

      “…but goddamn! I didn’t imagine that his foot would set up shop on the Republican’s backside.”
      🙂 🙂 🙂

  8. 32 Nena20409
    September 2, 2015 at 2:43 pm

    Excellent Piece, LL.
    The GOPers would never have been as horrid, had we had a true 4th Branch that played their part as True Holders of Accountability……for all in power. Had We had an equally Stronger Dem Party that at times Stood up, fought for the better Good, what a country We could have been.
    Congrats Don on your Golden ⭐

  9. 35 No Child Left Behind
    September 2, 2015 at 2:46 pm

    I didn’t even know that Rick Perry was still campaigning…

  10. 39 JER
    September 2, 2015 at 2:46 pm

    The President departs Anchorage, Alaska. Click here ► ► http://www.ktva.com/stream/

  11. 40 Nena20409
    September 2, 2015 at 2:50 pm

  12. 41 andogriff
    September 2, 2015 at 2:51 pm

    Brilliant post, LL!!! Right to the point, as always. Bread & circuses indeed, and it’s a terrifying prospect. 😜

  13. 42 Nena20409
    September 2, 2015 at 2:54 pm

  14. 43 Allison
    September 2, 2015 at 3:21 pm

  15. 45 hopefruit2
    September 2, 2015 at 3:31 pm

    What an idiot. And a desperate one at that. Some of the responses are hilarious! 🙂

    • 46 4morefor44
      September 2, 2015 at 5:52 pm

      someone should do one with the daily kos homepage over his shoulder, or rachel maddow and the other white “progressives” who were singing his praises a while back.

  16. September 2, 2015 at 3:45 pm

    It’s 2015 and this is just coming up?


    Stock Photos of Black People Are Finally Moving Beyond Racist Stereotypes
    By Hannah Giorgis

    Like so many millennial ideas, Kenneth Wiggins’s innovation gained its momentum from social media. This April, the web designer and front-end developer posted a tweet to a now-deleted Instagram post to gauge interest in an idea he’d been tossing around in his head: “Any photographers interested in submitting work for an open source (free) stock photography site featuring African Americans?”

    Wiggins had been working on a project for a client and grew frustrated when all the stock images of black people he found online felt inauthentic—pictures that hardly moved beyond the stale stereotypes that categorize the vast majority of black representation in visual culture.

    “I couldn’t really find the images that invoked the messaging behind the brand visually,” Wiggins told me. “There are other resources out there that have images of black people…but just the attitude and the emotion I was looking for behind the pictures, I couldn’t find.”

    Within days of his initial post, photographers had chimed in, eager to be part of the kind of platform Wiggins was proposing: a stock photography site dedicated to providing nuanced, varied images of black people. Catalyzed by the positive response, BlackStockImages took shape rapidly, its pace matching the urgency of its mission.

    “The response was kind of overwhelming so I just sat down and thought about it [all] weekend and kinda hit the ground running ever since,” Wiggins said. “The original idea was to just do something small where I just uploaded images or had images uploaded [by others] and people could download them.”


  17. 48 Linda
    September 2, 2015 at 3:48 pm

    Police Officer Caught On Video Hitting And Kicking K-9

    A video that shows what appears to be a police officer whipping and kicking his K9 partner has the police scrambling to find out what went wrong.

    A bystander, who wished to remain anonymous, filmed as the police surrounded her neighbor’s home in Peoria, Arizona, WFMY reports. She was shocked to see one of the officers whip, kick and then appear to stomp on a police K-9 who was working alongside them.

    “I have never heard of an officer stomping on a dog or whipping it with a leash,” the bystander who filmed the abuse told WFMY. “The dog looks like a puppy and looks terrified of him.”


  18. 49 No Child Left Behind
    September 2, 2015 at 3:53 pm

  19. 51 idon
    September 2, 2015 at 3:56 pm

    Vic President Joe Biden gave a great speech. I would love to retweet some of the most powerful lines. this – You have to know HOW to know. And something about grawn no longer being the most important 21st century job skill. just amazing.

  20. September 2, 2015 at 3:59 pm

    CSPAN Link to Sec Kerry’s speech on @TheIranDeal


    Excellent introduction by former Senator Lugar (R-IN) 🙂

  21. 58 JER
    September 2, 2015 at 4:00 pm

    The President arrives Dillingham. Click here ► ► http://www.ktva.com/stream/

    September 2, 2015 at 4:05 pm


  23. 61 JER
    September 2, 2015 at 4:09 pm

  24. 65 Vicki
    September 2, 2015 at 4:09 pm

    Lots of articles about how PBO has beaten AIPAC, Bibi and the RW DINOS and GOP.
    My question is—-After all this time, how is it possible you all still think you can or will ever be as good as (never mind better than) President Barack Obama at politics? At predicting? or anything significant.

    Did you really think that disgusting march down the aisle of Congress, Bibi, was a good move?????
    Sure hope you enjoyed it, because that is the last time in your life you will be able to think you are more important than the Black President.
    More important, smarter, more powerful, anything.
    Accept total defeat, racists. Or delude yourself some more. Nobody will care.

    Now that I got that out of my system, could somebody please reprint the cartoon of Bibi holding the exploded bomb?? Sensational take on todays’ events.

  25. 73 Dakota
    September 2, 2015 at 4:19 pm

    Good Afternoon Everyone!

    34! Yes! Now let’s get that 41!

    Thoughts and prayers going out to Donna and Dudette.

    • 74 jacquelineoboomer
      September 2, 2015 at 4:53 pm

      Dakota – Have we heard anything back from Donna and from Dudette? I’ll look for it, if you spotted a follow-up. Thanks.

  26. September 2, 2015 at 4:25 pm

  27. 87 Linda
    September 2, 2015 at 4:33 pm

    FACT CHECK: Does Mt. McKinley’s former and new name, “Denali,” mean “Black Power” in Kenyan?

    Read more at http://m.snopes.com/mount-mckinley-denali/#IstIeYTSO223pdbI.99


  28. 90 jacquelineoboomer
    September 2, 2015 at 4:50 pm

    LL – This writing of yours is magnificent! And the sad part is that it’s all true.

    [And now 🙂 you have me wondering what I did with my pair of “Maxine” bunny slippers somebody gave me, once, as a joke. Darn. So comfy.]

  29. 91 Linda
    September 2, 2015 at 4:54 pm

    PBO needs to watch out for Palin family droppings while in Dillingham…….that is where the ” First Dude ” fishes.

  30. September 2, 2015 at 5:09 pm

  31. 96 JER
    September 2, 2015 at 5:10 pm

  32. 97 hopefruit2
    September 2, 2015 at 5:11 pm

    Serena wins a hard-fought 2nd round at the US Open. Now on to her 3rd round! 🙂

  33. 99 JER
    September 2, 2015 at 5:22 pm

  34. September 2, 2015 at 5:24 pm

    another RW lie bites the dust…

    • September 2, 2015 at 6:06 pm

      Do you know these right wings lying haters is trying to say that President Obama hate police officers. Some comments have said why is he in Alaska taking selfies when police officers are being killed? He should be making a statement to the public, instead of being in Alaska. Another one of their lies is that race relations is worse because of this President. I told them that race relations is worse because of racists like them, like Fox, like right wing hate radio, like KKK, white supremacists. And while I know this President have never said that he hate police officers, not in anyway. He is in Alaska to highlight Climate Change, which is a serious problem.

  35. 102 donna dem 4 obama
    September 2, 2015 at 5:28 pm

    Good evening TOD

    1st I want to thank you all for your thoughts and prayers for my medical test today. I’ll have to have a minor procedure on the 14th but things are looking positive. Thank you all again!

    Yippee on one of my Senators (Barbara Mikulski) doing the right thing on the Iran Deal.

    All PBO does is WIN!!!

  36. September 2, 2015 at 5:30 pm

  37. 119 Linda
    September 2, 2015 at 5:35 pm

    I am waiting for PBO to tell us about The Northern Lights…….

  38. 120 jacquelineoboomer
    September 2, 2015 at 5:37 pm

    You may have seen this already, LL, but here ya go.

  39. September 2, 2015 at 5:47 pm


    Yes We Can

    September 2, 2015 at 5:48 pm


  41. 128 No Child Left Behind
    September 2, 2015 at 5:50 pm

  42. 132 No Child Left Behind
    September 2, 2015 at 5:55 pm

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