02 December 2010

The Event - TV review

One of the intentions of corporate-controlled media is to instill in people a sense of disempowerment, of immobilization and paralysis. Its outcome is to turn you into good consumers. It is to keep people isolated, to feel that there is no possibility for social change. --David Barsamian, journalist and publisher (source)

The Event, in personal terms, represents a significant event in my TV-viewing history (though I didn't really watch it on TV, but in archived form on the Internet - available through February). It's the only TV series I've watched since I was a teenager growing up in suburban middle-class America. Part of the reason for my decades-long fast has been a resistance to the numbing irrelevance of TV content, and part a resistance to the packaged consumerism which that form of media, with its built-in corporate sponsorship, represents.
Why, then, is this "conspiracy thriller" so riveting? Mainstream reviewers have downplayed the politics, discussing instead such entertainment staples as character development and narrative structure. These episodes, for example, proceed not in linear fashion but rather as a mosaic of scenes scattered across a checkerboard of times and places. I find the characters/actors compelling enough; while the action and suspense play expertly on tension and emotion. The heart of my interest in this story, however, lies in its artful approximation of the multi-layered plotting that passes for political reality in this age of disclosure.

It may be coincidence that the series airs while Wikileaks dominates the newswaves with revelations of diplomatic and intelligence double-dealing on the world stage. That the major funding for the program may, according to David Wilcock's sources, come from the Pentagon. That key events bear an uncanny resemblance to documented government coverups such as the invasion of Iraq (or Iran) 9/11contact with extraterrestrials, and Presidential assassination. Along with these tantalizing mysteries within the TV plot, comes the greater mystery of its relation to such actual events and workings of realpolitik.

While mainstream news media (owned by a handful of vested interests) continues to pooh-pooh, mock, or ignore such dangerously troublesome matters, the alternative news media on the Internet has feasted on the information available to substantiate such claims of actual conspiracy. The viewing public is caught in the middle, either continuing to swallow the official narrative of such events, or learning by accumulated evidence (and common sense) to question, at least, the government line. After navigating the minefield of realities and fictions, mere questioning leads to a blanket distrust of all government and media pronouncements.

Into this breach of belief steps The Event. From the dialogue emerges, in plain sight, the basic operating principle of the government intelligence apparatus: to construct, at every point, a "narrative" that will satisfy the public - and at the same time "protect them from the truth" - while keeping hidden the more inconveniently explosive truths. On some matters even the highest levels of government, the President included, are cut out of the "need to know" loop; while more shadowy figures pull the strings for their own agenda of power and control.

In mainstream political discourse and reporting today, the very word "conspiracy" has been co-opted by the official narrative. The term itself simply denotes planning in secret. What we can well imagine, though it is not revealed, is degraded to the status of fantasy. A plausible explanation, if it doesn't match the party line, is by default considered not fact but "theory." Yet conspiracy is the bread and butter of this series. With what intent?

The theory of Pentagon funding aside, it bears asking: Is there an agenda, either artistic or political, behind this major TV series?

For starters, the impulse of disclosure is evident. The similarity of the fictional President Martinez to Obama, and of the Vice President to Cheney (or perhaps John McCain) is striking. The alien crash of 1944 in Alaska recalls the famous Roswell incident of 1947. Elimination of key witnesses and whistleblowers, a matter of course. Infiltration of CIA, FBI, police and security forces at every level, evident in every episode. If we have been living in denial of such machinations, the show will open our eyes. On the other hand, the result can be overkill; we may go from disbelieving all conspiracies, to seeing them everywhere and thus disappearing into a one-way web of suspicions and conflicting theories.

The double-agent thriller, after all, is nothing new. Everything, we might conclude, is not only suspect, but fatally corrupt. We then may continue to watch the events unfold, as entertainment, numbed to powerlessness by an endless chain of execution, coercion, passing of responsibility up the chain of command to regions and persons we cannot hope, in the real world, ever to expose to resist - if we care for our lives and our loved ones.

I am left with two theories to explain the motives behind this series:

1) Entertainment. Clearly the producers are aware of the groundswell of interest in controversial matters of national security and policy. They are capitalizing on this interest by filling the void between mainstream and alternative narratives, exploiting the alternative views by presenting them in the only way that is politically acceptable at the present time: as fiction. This motive we might describe as mere commercialism.

2) Disclosure Management. There is enough documentation, analysis, and access to the alternative paradigm out there by now, that disclosure of events and strategies previously hidden has passed from theory to front-page news. Disclosure is allowed (however grudgingly, as in the case of Wikileaks) but diluted. So there are damning videos or diplomatic cables to worry about - but not to worry, just let the documentation and commentary grow to indigestible proportions. In the meantime, public reaction can be gauged, prominent voices identified, and the real story released slowly amid the confusion - while the next new crisis is orchestrated to make past events and narratives seem irrelevant, water under the bridge, artifacts of history. Finally if, as such commentators as David Wilcock insist, actual disclosure is imminent, then public reaction can be softened by these measured doses of forewarning. By the time the real story is announced, we are habituated to it; it's old news after all. Life goes on; we change the channel in search of the next storyline.
The motivations of entertainment and disclosure are not mutually exclusive. Even those hiding the truths - of government complicity in 9/11, for example - must know that the truth will come out, that it has come out already. For them strategy must switch from prevention to damage control; from creating a flimsy fiction (boxcutters, weather balloons, a lone gunman), to massaging the media so that every so-called fact becomes suspect, and each hypothesis must compete with variations until no coherent storyline remains.

We are engaged, riveted by our deep intuitive knowledge that the events represented in The Event are real - even awed that such revelations can be offered so boldly, so openly now. Yet in the process we fall into a new, more subtle paradigm of obfuscation. The dots are all there, in plain sight, to connect: but the frame of safety remains in place, the real world conspiracies free to continue outside the TV's narrative box. Even within the storyline of the TV episodes, there is no real hope of final justice or clarity. At the end of our hour of rapt attention, the mystery revealed has produced only further mystery, which we must come back to explore. A new twist, a new betrayal, a new escape of responsibility from final reckoning. Still, we come back for more ... because this story, after all, is the story of our public life.

Ironically the initial thrill, of seeing true stories finally brought to light, brings to mind the euphoria (which even this political skeptic felt) accompanying the Obama inauguration. The new leader denounced the excesses of the Bush era and promised fundamental change - before realpolitik (endless war and occupation in the Middle East, for example) took center stage again. Likewise, it is tempting to applaud, to take hope from The Event with its overdue exposure of government and other powerful interests. Yet ultimately this new story, or serial narrative, is not new at all. We already know from past disclosures (Gulf of Tonkin, Watergate, Iran-Contra, Pinochet, Iraq WMD, or simply from novels and thrillers of the Cold War) how this world operates at the highest levels. Repelled but fascinated, we crave knowing, seeing more truth revealed. But will that knowledge, as the slogan says, "give us power" or "set us free"?

Consciously intended or not, the effect of disclosure scripted in this fashion is to disempower the audience. There will be no reaction, in political terms. The real revolution will not be televised, and in fact a nation of TV junkies does not a revolution make, no matter the ideology.

The more relevant slogan remains, in McLuhan's famous words, "The medium is the message." We are lulled with a false sense of power and grace in viewing a facsimile of the truth, a virtual history; while the real version plays out freely behind the distraction. TV-watching teaches neither history nor liberation; rather it programs, it demands, by the very manner of our engagement with it, passivity and fear, and disengagement from real political discourse.

We might still try to point to the fabricated narrative and say, "Look, that's just like what really happened! It's exactly what's going on behind the scenes." True enough. But the flip side is that when we turn our attention to actual abuses of power, our claims can be redirected back to the box in the living room. There is a ready-made story to refer to, ingeniously constructed, at once far more powerful than the lame soundbites of official press conferences, and ultimately dismissable as mere fiction. "Yeah, right," the new rebuttal goes, "just like in that TV show."

Still, I say, better to be a witness of the truth, than to take refuge in apathy and denial. When this episode ends, I switch off the TV. At least, until the next one.

--Nowick Gray

See especially: 
The National Security State and the Assassination of JFK: The CIA, the Pentagon, and the `Peace President` (by Andrew Gavin Marshall)

The New American Century: This film exposes how every major war in US history was based on a complete fraud, with video of insiders themselves admitting it.

False Flag Terrorism and Amazing Coincidences

7/7 Ripple Effect: "Regarding the 7/7/2005 terrorist attacks in London, let us look at the facts, and what we were told, and compare them...."

Top digests of 9/11 disclosure: 9/11: The Myth and the Reality | | Anniversary of 9/11

See also: TruTV, Conspiracy Theory with Jesse Ventura (former Governor of Minnesota)
>>update>> “Police State” episode of hit Ventura show covering FEMA camps pulled from air
>>update>> (but you can still watch it there (at the bottom of the linked page) ... so far! (as of 6 Dec. 2010)

See more at: Alternative News Media - links and recommended websites (AlternativeCulture.com)

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