Friday, October 06, 2006

Shakespeare and McChesney and Nichols

I spent three weeks in Mexico in the summer of 2003. After a week in Mexico City, and nearly another in Oaxaca, I landed in the mountaintop city of San Cristobal de las Casas, in Chiapas. I spent one afternoon lying in a hammock reading Shakespeare's Measure for Measure, and another reading Our Media, Not Theirs. I just found the notebook that I kept on that trip. From Shakespeare:
"Our doubts are traitors,
And makes us lose the good we oft might win,
By fearing to attempt."
Lucio, I.iv

"Who is it that hath died for this offense?
There's many have committed it."
Isabella, II.ii

"O, it is excellent
To have a giant's strength; but it is tyrannous
To use it like a giant."
Isabella, II.ii

"I had rather give my body than my soul"
Isabella, II.iv
And from Nichols and McChesney's Our Media, Not Theirs:
"Because the fight we propose is first and foremost a struggle for democratic processes, the potential base of support includes everyone in the population who favors democracy over plutocracy. In short, the traditional distinctions of left and right are not decisive categories. The more accurate split is between up and down, those who benefit materially from the corrupt status quo, and those who do not."

"Perhaps the strongest indictment of corporate journalism is that the preponderance of it would be compatible with an authoritarian political regime. So it is that China has few qualms about letting most commercial news from the United States inside its borders; it can see that this low caliber of journalism is hardly a threat to its rule."

"At its worst, in a case like the current war on terrorism, where the elites and official sources are unified on the core issues, the nature of our press coverage is uncomfortably close to that found in authoritarian societies with limited formal press freedom."

"[T]he cheerleading from American newspapers and television commentators [serve] as a reminder that the sympathies of those who enjoy the freedom of the press in the U.S. do not lie with those who seek to preserve basic freedoms and democracy in other lands."

"This is a generation that is under pressure from the media it consumes to be brazenly materialistic, selfish, and depoliticized: devoid of social conscience. To the extent one finds these values problematic for a democracy, we should all be concerned."

"The fundamental challenge at this point is not convincing people that something should be done. . .[t]he challenge is to convince people that something can be done."

"When faced with organized money, the only recourse is organized people."

"[W]e need to weave the project of radically changing the media into the braidwork of the larger movement for peace, democracy, and social justice."

"All the organizing in the world won't amount to a hill of beans unless there is something tangible to fight for, and to win."

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