Posts Tagged ‘Burns and Novick The Viet Nam War’

What We Have Learned

September 22, 2017

The sports news usually runs a headline like “What we have learned after week two of the NFL (or NBA, etc.).” Analysis finds news of the last few weeks to be fast and furious, and all over the map. Indeed, much news focuses on one “event” while ongoing events simply are elided. So what have we learned in the last couple of weeks of news? One thing for sure is that Americans have learned that news coverage is a professional activity. No, not the high esteem for journalistic excellence that used to sell print productions, but at least that hurricanes and what they leave behind are not “fake news.” This implies that those reporting it are not a fake news service. All of which enabled not only Rand Paul but the AP to run a headline story like “Trump hits GOP foes of health bill, Sen. Paul calls it fake” (9-22-17). We have learned that Newark’s Jay Hottinger will speak at a FED UP! rally while sponsoring stand your ground legislation and House Representative Pat Tiberi will speak at the same rally while legislating to get rid of Medicaid (where’s the fake in all this?).  We have learned that even though (factually) over 40% of residential housing in Newark is non-owner occupant, the city council of Newark would prefer that those persons owning “real” property do the governing, whether they reside in Newark or are even flesh and blood people with a birthday (Special tax coming for downtown Newark after Newark City Council approval, The Advocate, Maria DeVito, 9-21-17). We’ve learned that local, state or national, we prefer our administrators to be wealthy.  We’ve learned that if the administration’s cabinet is made up of billionaire’s appointed on the sole qualification of being determined to undermine that office, well, it actually happens (be it with Devos, Sessions, Price, Perry, etc.). A curious thing we’ve been learning but continue to deny is the importance of branding. Anything of Obama origin is quickly dismissed, replaced by the self-same policy or directive only now with the apprentice president’s specific logo on it (like the apprentice president’s Houston visit ball caps). DACA, Korea, Syria, health care all roll on with the self same administration, only a different brand name. We’ve learned categorically that this is because there is no “plan”. There is no plan for DACA (limbo was never imagined as a “plan”), there is no plan for the Syrian imbroglio (still the same US involvement as before the change of administration), no plan to confront, contain or reduce rising healthcare costs (let alone create greater inclusion), no plan to deal with the Korean peninsula (unless one defines playground name calling as a strategy). And now, on a near nightly basis we are learning about pop culture’s definitive version of the Viet Nam War (The Vietnam War: A film by Ken Burns & Lynn Novick – PBS). What we haven’t learned, yet, is that there is no definitive version of history – something the recent brouhaha over confederate monuments reinforces (that they were manufactured and installed for historically different reasons at historically different times). Much of what is now revelatory in Novick’s and Burns’s flick, was contemporary news at the time it happened. Then it wasn’t labeled “fake”, but rather dismissed as irrelevant or outright denied. What we have learned is that current climate change denial, racism in America denial, income gap disparity denial, health care denial, all parallel the historic denials of the Ike through tricky Dick era that the Burns Novick film covers. After all, isn’t that what we have learned?