19 November 2014

It's Not News, It's Crap, And My Brethren (Refuse To) Know It

About every 3 months, someone criticizes Me for not watching local news, listening to local talk radio shows and/or not reading a local paper in print or digital format. I don't bother with any of it so that 95-98% of the year, I promenade through life in quieter contemplation of more important things. Which is pretty much everything.

Now some people might think But the news is about important stuff. (Yes, these are the kind of people who would say "important stuff." Therefore, I pity them, but I keep a poker face.) My cogent and erudite response to that is: It's all crap.


Example: A good friend and colleague of Mine, someone who I often disagree with, but find his positions largely defensible and understandable, swears that one can only understand Puerto Rico by listening to talk radio and reading the daily papers. He has a minor point: if you want to know how and why My Island is being screwed like a cheap whore in a crack house, then yes, you do need to listen to local asshats and read the sophomoric words written by local asswipes. (There are exceptions in both categories, but they don't even achieve a Pareto Rule level of 20%, falling closer to 10%, if that.) But if you want to grok My Island, to see beyond the crapfest slung daily, you have no other choice but to avoid the local media.

I'm on record, several times, as calling Our level of """journalism""" essentially sheep-like, with more similarities to sheep dung than to the woolly beast itself. Take TV news, please. (Ba-dum-bum!) Anchors here are like anchors in the U.S of part of A.: photogenic monkeys plastered in make-up. The field reporters are often stupid enough to start grazing if they fall on a lawn, but make up for their lack of intellect by being willing puppets to whatever power-that-be wants to play them. Again, there are exceptions, but the ones I can pinpoint to on My Island are no longer with the major TV stations, plying their trade on much smaller newscasts and on websites, distant from the masses.

If there's a category that defines crap, at every imaginable level, it is pundits, the folks lumped together as so-called so-called so-called experts, three magnitudes removed from any type of intelligence higher than that shown by retarded weasels with alcohol poisoning. These wretched morons, on TV, radio and in newspaper columns, are incapable of stringing coherent thoughts together unless it is in service of some controlling agenda, whether it is related to party politics, political agendas or socioeconomic objectives that the "haves" want to impose on the "have nots."

Now I'm implying that there is some sort of mindfulness behind all this, and that's correct. But it doesn't appear n the media, at least not directly ad not often. No, the public role of the media is to shovel crap in massive quantities at the gaping maws of mindless indifference that constitutes the greater majority of My Brethren. Folks who slap on talk radio in the morning, peruse the paper during the day (to avoid work and/or stay current with gossip) and then watch TV news in the evening. Whatever that percentage is, and it's well above 50% of Our adults, it's nothing more than a misinformed herd of passive beasts causing all of Us long-term harm. And if you think "misinformed herd of passive beasts" is harsh, My first draft read "walking bags of useless stupid shit," so, yeah, I have a gentle side.

For the past two years, I've kept track of predictions that My friend and colleague have made about local issues, from taxes and prices to status debates and political machinations. We sat down recently to go over the list, and after agreeing on 27 topics We had made some sort of prediction on, We verified who was closer to the actual end result.

No surprise: I was closer on 18 to his 9. It should be noted that on purely economic issues, We were both right on 6 of 9 predictions, albeit different ones. But in political matters, I was more prescient on 12 of 19, while he was on point on only three, even though he claims to be non-partisan and thus "objective" in his evaluation of political arguments.

Is he going to stop listening to talk radio? No. But I got him to admit that he often listens because it "entertains" him more than it informs him.

One down, about a million and a half to go.


The Jenius Has Spoken.

[Update: 6 December 2014: Via Eric Zuesse, of Washington's Blog, this scythe to the collective sheep-brain: the media in the U.S. of part of A. is extremely controlled.]


Captain High said...


Not to endlessly harass you with comments, but I was recently reading a bit about you on various parts of the internet. According to what I read, you were born in Puerto Rico (but moved around because of your father and etc).

With that in mind, I was curious if you have had much reason or desire to read any books about Puerto Rico? One could argue, having been born there and having lived there for a long time, there might be no need. This could be how you see it.

Anyway, if you do or have, would you be willing to share some titles with me? As I said, I do not know very much about the island, but I am trying to learn as much as possible. Reading your blog hipped me to the term 'the Puerto Rican experience' which was the turning point. So for that, gracias.

P.S. Not sure if you have seen this, but I thought it might be of minor interest. I get this very intolerant vibe. I could be wrong, though.

GCSchmidt said...

Captain, I'm working on one of your previous comments, which are always welcome, when I glommed this one.

And had to figure out if what I was feeling was surprise, shame or their bastard child, guilt. For as much as I read daily (I average over 130 books a year, plus mags, web content and cereal boxes), I almost never read anything written by a Puerto Rican author.

My rationale, and these are not excuses, are that: (a) books by local writers are harder to find than what I already have at hand over 30,000 ebooks and still have close to 1,000 printed books); (b) they tend to be twice as expensive or more than other books I'm interested in, and (c) I can't find torrents on them.

What it boils down to is that I'm cheap, preferring free books to paid and 2 or more books over 1 for the same price. With over 31,000 books at hand to choose from, My incentive to buy a book is not very high anymore.

There is another factor: My Brethren don't write much. I know one excellent author, Mayra Santos-Febres, who did a TEDx San Juan talk about this subject, one I fully agree with. And yet...I haven't read any of her books. I do read her columns, occasionally, but that's not the same as delving into a book, fiction or non-fiction.

The last book I read about Puerto Rico written by a local """pundit""" concerned the wholesale corruption unleashed by the New Progressive Party (neither one nor the other nor the other) after the 2008 elections. The author, Jay Fonseca, is one of the many crapmongering talking atriopores on V and the book is as superficial and useless as he is.

Okay, rather than bemoaning this state of affairs, here's My pledge: I will canvas with My friends and colleagues for suggestions on books by Puerto Rican authors and read a few to give My feedback on. You've struck a nerve and I'm happy you have, for every once in a while, it does a Jenius good to know that there's more out there than even He knows.

But I do have two firm opinions: skip "The House on the Lagoon," by Rosario Ferré. It is crap. My left elbow can write better and so can yours. If you want to try a book now, check out "When I Was Puerto Rican," by Esmeralda Santiago. Its first-person perspective on living and bridging two cultures rings true and has moments of deep emotion, at least for those of Us who've had to navigate those waters.

Thanks for the question!

Captain High said...


I am happy that my question had such an impact.

It is very interesting that you say that books written by local writers are harder to come by. Do you know if this is due to a lack of demand or something worse?

I will avoid Rosario Ferré and check out 'When I Was Puerto Rican.' I will let you know what I think after I finish reading it.

Are you much for online purchasing? If so, are you familiar with alibris or abebooks? It is what I use for the majority of my book purchases, since what I usually want is not available at the bookstore and it is relatively inexpensive.

I will hold you to your pledge! Please do not let me down.

Thanks again.