Friday, January 28, 2011

New World Order


"It's time for this government to change. I want a better future for me and my family when I get married." - Amal Ahmed, a 22-year-old Egyptian protester.

(By American Zen's Mike Flannigan, on loan from Ari)

If one takes even a cursory, hurried look at events in the Middle East this month, especially Tunisia and Egypt, it makes Time's Choice of "Person of the Year" seem unforgivably shallow and superficial. In an unexpected turn perfectly delineated by his apparently clueless and astonished face on the cover, the always-dubious honor went to 26 year-old billionaire Mark Zuckerberg, founder of an online community that made its, and his, fortune not the old fashioned way with advertising revenue through ads but by selling personal information to marketing companies, information we gladly give away to an overachieving Harvard grad nerd so we can more easily supplant actually meeting people.

To bring his amorality into conspicuous relief, Zuckerberg has recently climbed into bed with Goldman Sachs, a bailed-out Wall Street bank that no doubt can give the billionaire boy wonder another Ivy League education in corporate sleaziness. So far, all this has done is to grossly inflate Facebook's net worth and share price and, if one is smart, one will reserve a front row online seat to wait for the Facebook.com bubble to burst like a massive prank cigar.

In the meantime, as Time is quick to point out, the "Person of the Year" award doesn't necessarily go to the best, most do-gooding or even the most popular but to the person or organization that was the most catalytic. Zuckerberg's elevation puts him in rarified company, including presidents, other corporate titans and tyrants like Adolph Hitler. And it only serves to bring into merciless focus our own bottomless superficiality in that Facebook's founder would prove to be more catalytic to American society than President Barack Obama, former Senator Russ Feingold, former Rep. Alan Grayson or, (here's a crazy-ass idea), Wikileaks.

Not to give short shrift to Zuckerberg's Facebook, which easily toppled in a couple of short years MySpace's hegemony in the online networking community (It can be easily argued that as recently as the 2008 general elections, MySpace was much more instrumental in getting then Senator Barack Obama elected president than the still-fledgling Facebook). But a volatile online community that's just one major hack or Conficker virus away from complete and utter oblivion should not be considered more catalytic to American society than Wikileaks' Four Horsemen of Disclosures. Yet it is and last year's winner is as pitilessly reflective of our current values as the year in which the mirror-covered Time named us as the "Person of the Year."

There is a New World Order taking shape that's far more profound and important than a domain that plasters spam ads all over the place, harvests our too-free personal information and features groups such as "I'll Bet This Steak Can Get More Friends Than Sarah Palin."

Julian Assange's Wikileaks, to descend into a platitude for a moment, simply changed the world forever. It put and continues to put the largest and most powerful governments and corporations on notice that secrets are no longer safe and that they will not be allowed to practice their Machiavellian schemes in the shadows any more.

Of course, Wikileaks, as laudable as their intentions and catalytic effects is, is a mere conduit and Julian Assange is a mere conduit of a conduit. The power of Wikileaks comes from people like Bradley Manning, people who seem to have a sincere vested interest in proclaiming, "Enough is enough!" and effecting that change through disclosures of information much, much more devastating than anything your 13 year-old daughter or co-worker will post on Facebook.

"But, but... What does this have to do with me or my Facebook avatar?"

There's a New World Order that's superimposing itself over the world we used to know, a more transparent and (if you'll pardon the alliteration) pitilessly punitive palimpsest in which the people of the Middle East are also rising up against decades-long tyrannies such as the ones in Tunisia, Egypt and now Yemen. Understandably, the hypocritical and dictatorial Saudi Royal Family is nervously eying shaping developments with their neighbors.

It's notable that a few rock-throwing young men with bandannas over their mouths achieved in mere days in Tunisia what George W. Bush tried and failed to do in eight years and with the world's most powerful military at his disposal: Kickstarting the democratization of the Middle East. And the protests against autocratic rule puts our own president in the ridiculous position of actually supporting these despotic regimes simply because they're "our allies in the war on terror" (so was Yemen's dictatorship).

The riots in Tunis, Cairo and elsewhere in the Muslim world have brought about some startling changes and things we would've thought impossible a mere year or two ago: That the once popular Hosni Mubarek, Egypt's answer to Lyndon Johnson, would have his image disrespected by shoe soles (a grave insult in the Muslim/Arab world). For once, the mainstream media had actually gotten it right: This appears to be a region-wide revolution on a Che Guevaran scale.

But it's easy to scan the headlines and to assume that developments in the Middle East have nothing to do with us but they do.

One of the reasons the people of Tunisia rioted against the quarter century-long autocratic rule of President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali was there simply weren't enough jobs to go around. And they were organized and energized enough so that they'd actually routed the police and even regrouped when they themselves were routed. Now we're seeing the same thing in Egypt. As something of a sidebar, it also ought to be noted and remembered that this wave of democratization we're seeing in the Middle East is being effected from within with no need of invasions, carpet bombings, smashing of economic infrastructures nor the bank-busting involvement of American war profiteering corporations. Regime change is almost always untidy but ultimately streamlined and less costly in terms of life when effected from within.

Joblessness is and was during the 2010 midterms the single biggest concern for the average American voter. It would be easy to claim that online entities such as Facebook have taken the place of Juvenal's circus and that we're too distracted or anesthetized to similarly gather on Wall Street and Washington, DC to demand our jobs back. But we must remember that Facebook is also available in Tunisia and Egypt as well as virtually everywhere else in the Middle East. Yet these people were able to tear themselves away from their computer chairs and Facebook mood updates to risk (and give) their lives in the endless and timeless call for freedom.

What's happening in the Middle East isn't a Middle Eastern or a Muslim thingie. We are all human and have the same anxieties and concerns as Amal Ahmed and others 7000 miles away. We all want jobs, security for our families present and future, we all yearn to live freely and to have a voice in our governments, hence our destinies.

And, the last time I checked, these things were far from being guaranteed in our own country. The world is indeed changing and not necessarily for the worst. I see the Tunisian, Egyptian and Yemenese protesters, I remember the protesters in Iran, Mexico and Kenya and I see hope that the eternal flame of the human demand of freedom is far from extinguished. In the meantime, I wait and wonder when the day will come when the United States finally gets meaningfully involved in a worldwide cause that's even larger than national corporate interests.

1 Comments:

At January 28, 2011 at 4:45 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

How 'bout back to the '60s in the corporeal interests of US ALL?!

 

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home

All Time Classics

  • Our Worse Half: The 25 Most Embarrassing States.
  • The Missing Security Tapes From the World Trade Center.
  • It's a Blunderful Life.
  • The Civil War II
  • Sweet Jesus, I Hate America
  • Top Ten Conservative Books
  • I Am Mr. Ed
  • Glenn Beck: Racist, Hate Monger, Comedian
  • The Ten Worst Music Videos of all Time
  • Assclowns of the Week

  • Links to the first 33 Assclowns of the Week.
  • Links to Assclowns of the Week 38-63.
  • #99: Dr. Strangehate edition
  • #98: Get Bentghazi edition
  • #97: SNAPping Your Fingers at the Poor edition
  • #96: Treat or Treat, Kiss My Ass edition
  • #95: Monumental Stupidity double-sized edition
  • #94: House of 'Tards edition
  • #93: You Da Bomb! edition.
  • #92: Akin to a Fool edition.
  • #91: Aurora Moronealis edition.
  • #90: Keep Your Gubmint Hands Off My High Pre'mums and Deductibles! edition.
  • #89: Occupy the Catbird Seat/Thanksgiving edition.
  • #88: Heil Hitler edition.
  • #87: Let Sleeping Elephants Lie edition.
  • #86: the Maniacs edition.
  • #85: The Top 50 Assclowns of 2010 edition.
  • #(19)84: Midterm Madness edition.
  • #83: Spill, Baby, Spill! edition.
  • #82: Leave Corporations Alone, They’re People! edition.
  • #81: Hatin' on Haiti edition.
  • #80: Don't Get Your Panties in a Twist edition.
  • #79: Top 50 Assclowns of 2009 edition.
  • #78: Nattering Nabobs of Negativism edition.
  • #77: ...And Justice For Once edition.
  • #76: Reading Tea Leaves/Labor Day edition.
  • #75: Diamond Jubilee/Inaugural Edition
  • #74: Dropping the Crystal Ball Edition
  • #73: The Twelve Assclowns of Christmas Edition
  • #72: Trick or Treat Election Day Edition
  • #71: Grand Theft Autocrats Edition
  • #70: Soulless Corporations and the Politicians Who Love Them Edition
  • Top 10 LA Radio Shows That Are Rated Higher Than Rush Limbaugh's
  • Top 10 Reasons Operation American Spring Went Flat
  • Top Ten Facts of the MH370 Air Disaster
  • Top 10 Tips for GOP Congressmen Running Against Women
  • Top 10 Signs Walmart's Mistreating its Workers
  • Top 10 Diversions John McCain Found During Syria Hearing
  • Top 10 George Zimmerman Excuses for Speeding.
  • Top 10 Reasons Paula Deen Got Fired by the Food Network
  • Top Ten Ways Pope Francis is Deviating From Convention
  • Top 10 Reasons For the Pope's Resignation
  • Top 10 Emails Hacked From the Bush Family's Email Accounts
  • Top 10 Lies Told by Mitt Romney at the 2nd Debate.
  • Top 10 Examples of How Hard the Campaign Trail is on Ann D. Romney.
  • Top 10 Ways to Tell The Boston Red Sox Are Finished.
  • Top 10 Things Mitt May be Hiding in His Tax Returns.
  • Top 10 Events at the Romney Olympics.
  • Mitt Romney's Top 10 Wild & Crazy Moments.
  • Top Ten Reasons Why Dick Cheney Got a Heart Transplant.
  • Top 10 Facts About Tonight's New England/Denver Game.
  • My Top 10 Resolutions.
  • Top 10 Rejected Slogans of the Romney Campaign.
  • Top 10 Reasons Herman Cain Suspended His Campaign.
  • Top 10 Trending Topics on Twitter During #OWS Eviction.
  • Top 10 Herman Cain Pickup Lines.
  • Top 10 Changes Since Anthony Weiner Decided to Resign.
  • Top 10 Inaccuracies re bin Laden's Death.
  • Top 10 Ways to Prevent a TSA Patdown.
  • Top Ten Things Not to Say When You're Pulled Over.
  • Top 10 Reasons Why Donald Trump Bowed Out of the Presidential Race.
  • Top 10 Ways Evangelicals Will Prepare for the Rapture II.
  • Top 10 Revelations in Today's Parliament Inquiry into News Corp.
  • Top 10 Reasons Why There Was No Vote on the Debt Ceiling Last Night.
  • Top 10 Revelations in Dick Cheney's Upcoming Memoir.
  • Top Ten Ways Americans Will Observe the 10th Anniversary of 9/11.
  • Top Ten Advances in Women's Rights in Saudi Arabia.
  • Top Ten Inaccuracies in Bill O'Reilly's Book About Lincoln.
  • Top Ten Suggestions From the Cat Food Commission.
  • Top Ten Worst Moments in George W. Bush's Presidency.
  • Top Ten Facts in George W. Bush's Memoir.
  • Top Ten Reasons Terry Jones Postponed His Koran Burning
  • Top 10 Causes for Dick Cheney's Congestive Heart Failure
  • Top Ten Ways That Jan Brewer Will Celebrate Cinco de Mayo
  • Top Ten Demands in Sarah Palin's Contract
  • Top Ten Whoppers in Karl Rove's New Book
  • Top 10 Items Left Behind in Rush Limbaugh's Apartment
  • Top Ten Things Barack Obama said to Rush Limbaugh in the Hospital
  • Top Ten Bizarre Promos Offered by the New Jersey Nets
  • Top 10 Bush Executive Orders Labor Wants President Obama to Repeal
  • George W. Bush's Top Ten Lesser Achievements
  • Boolean Bozoism

  • #19
  • #18
  • #17
  • #16
  • #15
  • #14
  • #13
  • #11
  • #10
  • Empire Of The Senseless.
  • Christwire.org: Conservative Values for an Unsaved World.
  • Esquire's Charles Pierce.
  • Brilliant @ Breakfast.
  • The Burning Platform.
  • The Rant.
  • Mock, Paper, Scissors.
  • James Petras.
  • Towle Road.
  • Avedon's Sideshow (the new site).
  • At Largely, Larisa Alexandrovna's place.
  • The Daily Howler.
  • The DCist.
  • Greg Palast.
  • Jon Swift. RIP, Al.
  • God is For Suckers.
  • Hullabaloo, Digby's place.
  • The Rude Pundit.
  • Driftglass.
  • Newshounds.
  • William Grigg, a great find.
  • Brad Blog.
  • Down With Tyranny!, Howie Klein's blog.
  • Wayne's World. Party time! Excellent!
  • Busted Knuckles, aka Ornery Bastard.
  • Mills River Progressive.
  • Right Wing Watch.
  • Earthbond Misfit.
  • Anosognosia.
  • Echidne of the Snakes.
  • They Gave Us a Republic.
  • The Gawker.
  • Outtake Online, Emmy-winner Charlotte Robinson's site.
  • The artist formerly known as Politits. The politics are still liberal.
  • Skippy, the Bush Kangaroo
  • No More Mr. Nice Blog.
  • Head On Radio Network, Bob Kincaid.
  • Spocko's Brain.
  • Pandagon.
  • Slackivist.
  • WTF Is It Now?
  • No Blood For Hubris.
  • Lydia Cornell, a very smart and accomplished lady.
  • Roger Ailes (the good one.)
  • BlondeSense.
  • The Smirking Chimp.
  • Hammer of the Blogs.
  • Vast Left Wing Conspiracy.
  • Argville.
  • Existentialist Cowboy.
  • The Progressive.
  • The Nation.
  • Mother Jones.
  • Vanity Fair.
  • Salon.com.
  • Raw Story.
  • Citizens For Legitimate Government.
  • News Finder.
  • Indy Media Center.
  • Lexis News.
  • Military Religious Freedom.
  • McClatchy Newspapers.
  • The New Yorker.
  • Bloggingheads TV, political vlogging.
  • Find Articles.com, the next-best thing to Nexis.
  • Altweeklies, for the news you won't get just anywhere.
  • The Smirking Chimp
  • Don Emmerich's Peace Blog
  • Wikileaks.
  • The Peoples' Voice.
  • Dictionary.com.
  • CIA World Fact Book.
  • IP address locator.
  • Tom Tomorrow's hilarious strip.
  • Babelfish, an instant, online translator. I love to translate Ann Coulter's site into German.
  • Newsmeat: Find out who's donating to whom.
  • Wikipedia.
  • Uncyclopedia.
  • anysoldier.com
  • Icasualties
  • Free Press
  • YouTube
  • The Bone Bridge.
  • Powered by Blogger

    http://DeeperLeft.com