The Wooden Robot and his sidekick Holy Joe have now flip-flopped on that little matter of imposing "sanctions" against Hollywood purveyors of vileness and violence, according to the Associated Press.
"A week after threatening Hollywood with sanctions for marketing violence to kids," the AP says, Gore and Lieberman "softened their tone by telling leaders of the entertainment industry that, 'We will nudge you but we will never become censors.'" ("Gore Softens Tone Against Hollywood," Sept. 19)
Not of Hollywood, they won't. What a surprise.
The "softening" was announced by Lieberman "at a star-studded Beverly Hills fund-raiser with Gore where they collected $4.2 million Monday night for the Democratic National Committee." (The price of admission was $10,000.) The announcement drew applause.
The flip-flop itself wasn't all that interesting, given Gore's record of flip-flopping, which is as long as his arm, and given the enormous debt the Democrats owe to the scummy scum-mongers of Hollywood. What will be more interesting I predict is how little the established media make of it. The AP, the plain-vanilla workhorse of the news world, did cover the story but only in its characteristic plain-vanilla fashion. And on the New York Times's Website today, I couldn't find any NYT account at all (only the AP story). The Times, of course, is the very flagship of the established media.
Even more interesting is how little was made of the original threat of sanctions last week. The Times did take some notice of it but didn't seem very upset: "The position taken today by the Democratic candidates is not particularly new for Mr. Lieberman, who warned last year that entertainment industry leaders would 'invite legal restrictions on their freedom' if they did not address public concerns about children's access to media violence."
I have to interrupt here to note that anyone who didn't realize he was living in Bizarro World would react with a stunned "What!?" at the revelation that the Blessed Lieberman publicly called for legal restrictions on media freedom a year ago, and not only didn't read himself right out of mainstream American politics by so doing but wound up being nominated for vice president by one of the official duopoly parties.
To resume: "But [proposing sanctions] is quite new for Mr. Gore, who has always stopped short of suggesting government-imposed restrictions on media marketing, even during his wife's crusade against explicit rock lyrics."
The Times headlined the story (written by Kevin Sack) thus: "Gore Takes Tough Stand on Violent Entertainment." Try to imagine how the Times and all its imitators and tributaries would have played the story had it been George W. Bush or Dick Cheney who called for government "sanctions" against the media.
The onion of this issue becomes more pungent still as we peel away another layer. In his story of September 11, Sack quotes Gore as saying he'd give the media six months "to clean up their act," but if they failed to do so he "would encourage the Federal Trade Commission to move against the industry by using its power to prohibit false and deceptive advertising."
Once again, an unwitting, wide-eyed denizen of Bizarro World might dimly remember something called the U.S. Constitution, but in doing so he would only be demonstrating his childish naiveté. Censorship enforced by the FTC isn't necessarily censorship at all. You just have to make sure you dot all the i's of the intricacies and cross all the t's of the technicalities, and then you can censor away to your heart's content. Or as Sack writes in his September 11 story, "Mr. Gore said he understood that care would have to be taken to ensure that any enforcement did not violate First Amendment protections of speech."
The plain language of the Bill of Rights has been "interpreted" for us by the legal priesthood that long ago hijacked the Constitution, and the First Amendment actually turns out to be a lot more complicated than we ignoramuses would ever have thought. (From the Psalms, TLD Authorized Version: Put not your trust in constitutions.)
Under the rule of Polite Totalitarianism, actual censorship usually isn't necessary, because plugged-in people in positions of unofficial authority can normally be relied on to squelch crimethink among the folks against whom they act as gatekeepers, without ever having to call in the secret police. But the regime hasn't totally abandoned straightforward official censorship, and one of its leading organs of censorship is none other than the FTC. Despite some odd restlessness recently on the part of a few Central Government judges, the FTC's powers remain well established, owing to the proposition, absurd but long since ingrained in the political culture, that commercial speech isn't covered by the First Amendment.
Now we've peeled our way down to the most interesting, and frightening, layer of all in the whole "sanctions" story. In my column of February titled "Why we should trust the fine candidates who have been selected for us," I wrote, in essence, that you could trust naturally deceitful politicians to do, or try to do, one thing: their worst. In light of that rule, Gore's shift on sanctions is one political flip-flop that we need to treat with caution. In fact, I assume that Gore would be willing to impose censorship on various elements of the media as long as he could get enough of his confederates in the regime to declare that it wasn't censorship and as long as the targeted elements failed to cross his palms with four million bucks. I'm sure it would help, too, if the targets didn't share Gore's schemes for extirpating Western liberty and civilization.
Or are we to discount entirely what Gore threatened for the first time on September 11? Are we to believe that he is now categorically opposed to censorship, disguised or otherwise, only a week after explicitly adopting it as a useful new tool? Let me put it this way: when an imperial power threatens to bomb an ally one that for ages and ages has exhibited doglike fidelity in advancing, promoting, and covering up the empire's various depredations the fact that the empire later says it was only kidding hardly reassures an actual enemy of all things imperial. That enemy may want to start investing in shovels, blast-proof doors, and freeze-dried food.
If Gore were elected, which looks more likely every day, what might happen to those of us samizdat types who are sworn enemies of everything he stands for and who can't afford four mil in tribute? I think I can speak for WTM Enterprises, owner and operator of all things TLDish, including Strakon Lights Up, in saying that we wouldn't be inclined to give Al Gore four cents.
But what would follow, then, with Gore in the Presidential Palace, when Netsurfing kids stumbled upon the TLD site, or antiwar.com, or LewRockwell.com, or sobran.com? (Remember, that "com" stands for "commercial.") "Hate," as officially defined, is classified right alongside violence and pornography, and the campaign against such "hate" is still building momentum. Once voluntary means of "protecting America's children" failed, as you know they must, soccerite parents and the gatekeepers of respectability they depend on might be tempted to remind President Al that he once went on the record in favor of "sanctions." Hollywood, hoping to keep itself off the target list, would have a strong incentive to remind him, too, by producing a "Hate on the Net" special every week or so.
I'd always figured that folks like us were too small a target to be smothered by anything other than gatekeeper-engineered silence. TLD probably is too small. But antiwar.com was harassed by the Organs of State Security a few months ago and, soon thereafter, disastrously hacked by an unknown party. I heard just today that one of the defamation leagues has started slandering Lew Rockwell as a major "fascist." (No, they are not suggesting that he is a member of the imperial fascist anti-American ruling class upon which they depend but rather that he opposes it.) And I'm sure the usual suspects haven't forgiven Joe Sobran for his decades-long crimethink spree (which continues unabated). Our adversaries forget nothing, and they forgive nothing.
After January 20, chances are better than even that they'll have the Man Who Invented the Internet on their side and in the Palace. Some of us may then find that we're not too small to be censored after all; instead, we may be small enough to be censored just as a test case, you understand. Or, if you prefer a gastronomical image, sort of like an appetizer.
P.S. You know how people say Gore reminds them of the type of kid they despised in high school the stiff, grade-grinding, brown-noser posing as a know-it-all? He's starting to remind me of another species of high-school despicable. According to Sack, "Mr. Gore said he was determined to use the presidency to give parents more control over the cultural influences that bombard their children," as part of "a clear appeal to voters concerned about moral issues, and particularly to women with children." Boy, I really used to despise the kind of guy who could get a girl to believe anything in return for her favors and then, say a week later, would go off and snicker about it in front of his slimeball cronies.
September 19, 2000
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