Posts Tagged ‘Political Economy’

Irony, Thy Name Is Newark

September 27, 2016

Reporter Sydney Murray writes “Filmmaker Michael Moore took to social media Sunday night to ask why the Midland Theatre wouldn’t let him film a live show about the upcoming presidential election.” (Michael Moore denied Midland Theatre show 9-26-16 Newark Advocate) The Midland itself gives many, varied and different self justifications, like “But officials at the Midland said in a post on its own Facebook page that the reasons for the denial of Moore’s request came down to the same three criteria they apply to all shows: timing, audience and finances.” The “Moore” interesting reasons come at the end of the article (of course). “But the Midland’s own social media response takes exception with Moore’s claims that he was banned from the theater. In addition to [Midland Theatre Executive Director Nancy] Anderson’s statements, the Midland Theater Facebook post said since Moore is a filmmaker and the show was not a film, it was unknown what the actual show would be, and whether or not there would be audience interest. Finally, the post says the performance was going to be a free event, but since the Midland still needed to staff the event and pay other fees, it was not a financially smart decision to host the show.” The irony of all this will not be missed by the engaged followers of the current rebranding of the new and hip gentrification called downtown Newark. After all, come the spring and downtown Newark will be turned into an independent film festival hub (Newark FAMFEST), centered primarily at The Midland, not profitable but funded just the same by outside contributors and dealing primarily with documentaries and Newark selfies. (Whew!) And who, dear reader, has had a more enormous impact on documentary film production (and town selfies) than Michael Moore? Irony, thy name is Newark.

 

Babe

June 8, 2016

This week Analysis witnessed a scene straight out of the movie Babe. US Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell, surrounded by his party flock of senate cronies, bleated out to his party’s presidential candidate “No biting. No more biting!” A more telling sign of the times was US Speaker of the House (and ditto party member) Paul Ryan’s passionate disavowal of the very same party presidential candidate’s doubled down public statements. Analysis couldn’t help but note that even after the righteously indignant disavowal, Paul Ryan went on to say he still endorses his party’s candidate and will vote for him. His presidency is in the best interest of the Republican agenda and priorities. Does this bounty of disavowals (after endless apology) indicate a new Jim Crow era where the openly apparent perception of trauma is immediately disavowed and hushed-up without debate or conversation? Analysis finds this to be evidence of a culture of silence meant to enforce party discipline of closing ranks in order to maintain a fabricated history of events necessary for an ideological agenda and aspirations. On a local level Analysis has already witnessed (and noted, posts Ted Cruz Joke 3-18-16 and Super Hero Welcome 4-3-16) this with County Commissioner Tim Bubb’s “I have no idea. For Pat Tiberi, it’s not just a Licking County question, it’s a United States question. I’m not going to be critical of Pat.” after being told to hush-up with regard to the diminishing funding of Licking County Job and Family Services. We are currently witnessing this disavowal of trauma with its culture of silence to ensure a discipline of membership inclusion and continuity. The growing public need coupled with the under funding of Job and Family Services is an open wound. It is disavowed as a dereliction of Licking County responsibility. The culture of silence is enforced by referring to it as a “problem of funding” in order to promote the ideological agenda and aspirations of “business first” in the form of tax breaks, credits and abatements. This maintains a fabricated history of scarcity and diminished public assistance programs not being affected by an economics of austerity. Such a constructed history links Job and Family Services’ response to public need with social entitlement and privilege while maintaining the discipline of silence over the actual entitlement and privilege programs of business tax breaks, credits, abatements and public/private “job creation” incentives. Jim Crow? “Know the feeling, Babe.”

National Conversation

June 3, 2016

“We need to have a conversation about…” race, the opioid epidemic, gun safety, police, income inequality, housing, etc. The list could or would seem incessant, but what is “the conversation”? Of the multiple meanings of the word “support”, the dictionary gives a socially oriented one of “to maintain (a person, family, institution, etc.) with the necessities of existence; provide for”. Today the word seems to have become just another synonym of “purchase” or “buy”. We are asked to support the local vendors at the Farmers Market, or support a local restaurant, or support community service through “shopping” (another synonym of the current use of “support”) at the local thrift store. Like it or not “to maintain with the necessities of existence; provide for” is not at all the same as “buying”, “purchasing” or “shopping” within a competitive capitalist economy. Sure, the end results of maintaining existence may appear to be the same, at least until “provide for” is considered (aka go fund me). “Support” seems to have morphed into “purchase” with the financial meltdown of the Bush presidency, and the “Great” recession implicated by it. But then, George W’s first reaction to 911 was to tell his fellow citizens to go out and buy stuff, a pick up truck or hummer. The roots of its meaning transformation may be deeper than the collapse of Lehman Bros. Like “support”, “conversation” seems likewise to have slid into meaning something not exactly the same as the dictionary definition which implies some kind of “interchange of thoughts, information, etc.” The recently endured national primary contests, as well as the anticipated (and loathed) general election campaign, give evidence of another meaning entirely. The financial meltdown of 2008, and the ensuing years of recession filled with lack, brought with it an overabundance of speculative questioning by journalists, scholars, economists, etc. Is capitalism capable of addressing the public needs left over from catastrophes and disasters? Can capitalism, and the market, provide the necessities of housing, food distribution, medical care? People were definitely out of work with their homes in foreclosure and the food pantries emptied. Everyone clamored that there needs to be a national conversation on this. That was 8 years ago. Today we have the harvest of a two party system that has specifically sowed legislation limiting democracy to a choice between only two, over the past century if not more. Recent evidence of this within Ohio was the quick legislative change of third party ballot eligibility during the race for re-election by John Kasich in 2014. The current (and loathed) presidential contest pits a neo-liberal against a “self made” salesman of the virtues of marketing. Neo-liberalism is all about personal choice, and making markets available (and inevitable) in virtually everything, and to everyone. The “liberal” vestiges (if any) are the “virtually everything, and to everyone”, making it appear progressive, concerned with the welfare of all (whether in terms of free trade agreements, meals on wheels or low interest school loans). The “self made” salesman for the virtues of marketing doesn’t disguise his absolute lack of interest “to maintain with the necessities of existence; provide for” the welfare of others. If you can’t afford it, get out. As Newt Gingrich put it so succinctly when he ran for president “take a shower and get a job.” The “self made” salesman phrases it more positively, “We love those who go to work for us.” Both the neo-liberal and the salesman are in agreement over the positivity that must be extended to the electorate (neither willing to diss those who vote), as well as being united in their underlying commitment and dedication to profit. The “interchange of thoughts, information, etc.” concerning matters of social urgency and significance can only be made within the bounds of marketing, business and profit (thoughts about how to profit, business information, etc.). Any “conversation” outside that envelope simply will not pass postal regulation, whether it contributes or not, and is relegated to the dead letter file. Since the financial meltdown of 2008, “conversation” has experienced the same slippage as “support”. “Conversation” is more about “closing the deal” than any “interchange of thoughts, information, etc.” We ought to have a national conversation about that.

Two Johns

September 26, 2015

Big news in the nation this week. No, not the visit by “Frankie of the animals” (still in progress), nor even the more grossly under rated, under reported, and very much pre-arranged and designed to undermine visit by the leader of Communist Capitalism (Gasp!), Xi Jinping. It needs to be noted, it must be noted, it is significant to note that, upon arrival, the dyed in the wool (red) “Communist” Capitalist Xi Jinping first met with his fellow Capitalist leaders (though belonging to another “party”. Which one?) while the ostensibly Marxist Francis chose to expend significant time and personal capital on interaction and exchange with “the masses” (both kinds). What a digression! John Boehner made the news by withdrawing from his leadership position along with his role as representative of a staunchly conservative and Republican western Ohio district. Boehner cited the inability to lead his party in the U.S. House of Representatives, or rather, the petulance within his own party created by his leadership, for his exit. (Thank gawd it wasn’t another “to spend more time with his family”!). It is significant (and ironic) to note that Kim Davis’s argument of being elected by her constituents to serve her constituency never entered the resignation decision making process of the leader of the U.S. House of Representatives (the contract theory of representative democracy. You remember, John Locke. So much for the sacred contracts with America. Now the only ones that matter are the financial kind. Forgive the digressions of Analysis. Sigh). John Boehner identified with representing the aspirations of his party, though he always campaigned for re-election as a candidate claiming to desire representing the people of his district, promoting the good of them all, but (of course) not in “common” (an arcane term employed repeatedly by the Marxist Pope in his addresses but completely lacking within the speeches of our own Capitalist political leadership. Oops, another digression). Fellow Buckeye John Kasich has not opted out of political leadership. Rather, he continuously celebrates rounding up more financial backing and big name endorsements, though he is slipping markedly in the polls of likely Republican voters. The reader can decide which is more important in the run for the roses, er, White House. It cannot go without note that the two Ohioans (the potential future president as well as the third in line of accession) were significant factors of super PACs and organizations like ALEC in the architecture of restoring America its greatness. Now making America great again has been copyrighted and branded as personal property by one of the candidates in the struggle for leadership of the Republican Party. This conflict has become openly contentious, on all levels, both ideologically as well as personally. It is significant to note that along with being President of the People’s Republic of China, Xi Jinping is likewise Chairman of the Central Military Commission, and General Secretary of the Communist Party (that is, he leads the party). Unlike China’s Communist Capitalist struggles for leadership (and direction), the openness of the Republican turmoil informs the under rated and under reported contest by the “other” U.S. political party. Like anything having to do with the Chinese Communist Capitalists, what the Democratic Party is about is simply assumed to be predictable, not unexpected, of no news coverage worthiness. Like Xi’s visit, it has no infotainment value. Other aspects likewise parallel the two ongoing international party events – mostly in secret and behind closed doors, mostly about image, protocol, and ritual recognition (OK, so no Nobel Prize winners this time). Pundits (so far) have failed to take note of the significance and impact Boehner’s resignation has, and will have on the John Kasich candidacy for president along with the “winning” of Ohio, even if Kasich is NOT the nominee. Let Analysis be the first. With Boehner’s resignation, Kasich’s central P.R. hype, his message, his appeal, his core reason for being the next president of the U.S. has become irrelevant. It now has come down to representing and serving the party, not the demos (the root of the word “democracy”).