A Long and Pointless Blathering on Media Control

I started this as another attempt at that damn class thing I’ve been trying to wrangle into submission – largely to no avail. I tried a bit of word association to break it up a bit but I don’t think I accomplished much, maybe a little peek through deprogramming. (Word association as deprogramming – anyone who’s ever been in even very low level therapy has probably done some kind of word association, and I figure the rest of you have at least heard of it.) I find it to be a very effective tool for finding where one’s social programing is sitting at (The crusade against learned behavior continues!) and it often gives me some idea where I need to work on some things.
In an effort to maintain some kind of focus, I’m going to zero in on social stratification and the buzz words that go with it.

Lower class? Yes, that’s what I’m talking about. I prefer it to the euphemism “working class” which I think was constructed to make the middle and upper classes feel better. (See also: Liberal Guilt)
Let’s deconstruct, shall we?
Blue collar – makes you think of auto mechanics and Bruce Springsteen doesn’t it? It also (for me at least) elicits images of flag waving jingoism, in much the way that Bruce Springsteen used to, when I was young and foolish.
White collar – honestly the very first thing that comes to mind is someone being led away by the SEC. There’s just something inherently smug about the term. Not sure where that notion was socialized into me but at some point it was.

the Middle Class – American culture is based on the lie that we are all middle class. Television, film, and pretty much all manner of entertainment and information exchange are targeted at the middle class, and if a person is unable to make use of that cultural palimpset, then they find themselves at varying degrees of disadvantage.

In the United States most economists and sociologists tend to accept the existence of six discreet social stratum in the U.S. Social classes in the US exist as divides placed there by the people themselves along certain specific lines, those being income, standard of living, education, and occupation. The middle class also divides into Upper and Working Middle class along lines of subculture. Further, each social class holds certain memes and cultural values that the others do not, but it is a debatable point as to whether this is an effect of social stratification or if this has a causal role. (Heterosexual monogamous divorce rates vary by social class for example, but tolerance of non-conformity, and the ‘protestant work ethic’ are also good examples.)

The wealthy or well off. The smallest group and paradoxically the one with the most influence and power (but which isn’t any more represented by culture than the working poor). Then we have the Upper Middle Class, which – when averaged out with the next class, represent the default assumption of American culture. (Which arises from the belief that America exists as a classless society, which can only be said to be true as a comparative to other societies which maintain class divides more rigid than our own.)

Those who have a degree which has no bearing on what they do for a living (invoking the Mighty Snark, we’ll call this the Call Center Management Class), many of which wind up with those from the next class reporting to them.

And at the bottom exists the working class – one comprised of clerical and “blue collar” workers – what we have in common is that our work is highly “routinized”, meaning it’s repetitive and requires little imagination – and the true lower class which consists of the working poor and the unemployed. I would also suggest that, as class (the social construct) is largely a matter of perception, that race plays a significant role in the divide, which it shouldn’t. You will note I say perception, because factually, the lower class isn’t as divided among racial lines.

Shifting Sands:
Those last two groups also are having their differences eroded by socio-economic factors; this has been occurring since (at least) the early 1990s Clinton era. Further, the predominantly middle class default of American culture is shifting; those with largest control over the media are becoming the dominant force in culture, eroding prior memes which were established in the 1950s (the middle class nuclear heterosexual white family among them).

Of course, here things tend to degenerate into meaningless statistics. (Ultimately, all statistics are meaningless, but more on that in a bit.) The foundation is the problem with deconstructing the class meme (or any meme for that matter). It can’t possibly hurt to remember that everything you read is wrong and everything they tell you is untrue. That you have to be discriminating in what you believe and that thinking for yourself is work but work worthwhile.
Who is “they”? This isn’t a philosophical point – it’s EVERYONE. Advertising is designed to subvert the truth and influence behavior (which sounds an awful lot to me like the definition of propaganda. Hey, it works!)
You can’t believe the government – they use fear (and loathing!) to keep you under control. To influence (again) behavior. Every time you are in an argument with someone who argues the law is good and breaking it is bad – without actually considering the law and it’s implications – you are, essentially, arguing with a meme that has been given human form to walk and fart.

Do you have any idea what television has done to anyone capable of reading this? Perception is reality – and if this is so then the simple act of turning on your television is an act of surrender – potentially at least. You are signaling your willingness to be submit your interpretation of reality before someone else – someone whiter, wealthier, and likely,

Racism, classism, and all of those other “-isms” are learned behavior, which ultimately, are merely refinements of little memes that we pop as children down with our Flintstone’s vitamins.

Of course, certain agencies take full advantage of those toxic memes we imbibe in our milk years. The Mormons, the Republicans – the PMRC, the War on Drugs. All of it boils down to “Repressive forces fighting the war on independent thought.”
There is no objective truth, no 1=1 reality. It’s all a matter of perception – example: I was looking for images of a certain variety; I Googled “Screaming” – but nothing I got came close. On a lark, I Googled yelling, and most (80%+) fit precisely what I was looking for.
But, to me, yelling and screaming are not the same thing. What I think of as screaming – apparently – most people, or most Google search bots anyway, think of as yelling.

Interesting. In looking back over this it seems to have gone off the rails into essaytown and then opted for some offroading in the mudpits near tinfoil city. I suppose I should learn my lesson and recognize that some subjects simply can’t be expressed in a tight tiny little space without at least some little bit of rambly.
Against my better judgement, I’m going to hit publish on this in a second. A heroic (if not masochistic) feat if you’ve read all of this blather. Especially given that I think most of the point I (latter) was trying to make can best be expressed by this image:

MySpace comments, images & graphics


~ by Auntie Ranty on April 8, 2009.

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