CHRIS HEDGES: "How do we reclaim the culture that was destroyed by corporations? How do we fight back now that the consumer culture has fallen into a state of decay? What can we do to reverse the cannibalization of government and the national economy by the corporations?"

The Truth Alone Will Not Set You Free
by Chris Hedges

Published on Monday, June 29, 2009 by

The ability of the corporate state to pacify the country by extending credit and providing cheap manufactured goods to the masses is gone. The pernicious idea that democracy lies in the choice between competing brands and the freedom to accumulate vast sums of personal wealth at the expense of others has collapsed. The conflation of freedom with the free market has been exposed as a sham. The travails of the poor are rapidly becoming the travails of the middle class, especially as unemployment insurance runs out and people get a taste of Bill Clinton’s draconian welfare reform. And class warfare, once buried under the happy illusion that we were all going to enter an age of prosperity with unfettered capitalism, is returning with a vengeance.

Our economic crisis—despite the corporate media circus around the death of Michael Jackson or Gov. Mark Sanford’s marital infidelity or the outfits of Sacha Baron Cohen’s latest incarnation, Brüno—barrels forward. And this crisis will lead to a period of profound political turmoil and change. Those who care about the plight of the working class and the poor must begin to mobilize quickly or we will lose our last opportunity to save our embattled democracy. The most important struggle will be to wrest the organs of communication from corporations that use mass media to demonize movements of social change and empower proto-fascist movements such as the Christian right.

American culture—or cultures, for we once had distinct regional cultures—was systematically destroyed in the 20th century by corporations. These corporations used mass communication, as well as an understanding of the human subconscious, to turn consumption into an inner compulsion. Old values of thrift, regional identity that had its own iconography, aesthetic expression and history, diverse immigrant traditions, self-sufficiency, a press that was decentralized to provide citizens with a voice in their communities were all destroyed to create mass, corporate culture. New desires and habits were implanted by corporate advertisers to replace the old. Individual frustrations and discontents could be solved, corporate culture assured us, through the wonders of consumerism and cultural homogenization. American culture, or cultures, was replaced with junk culture and junk politics. And now, standing on the ash heap, we survey the ruins. The very slogans of advertising and mass culture have become the idiom of common expression, robbing us of the language to make sense of the destruction. We confuse the manufactured commodity culture with American culture.

How do we recover what was lost? How do we reclaim the culture that was destroyed by corporations? How do we fight back now that the consumer culture has fallen into a state of decay? What can we do to reverse the cannibalization of government and the national economy by the corporations?

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Today's Autonomedia Jubilee Saint — Mongo Beti

Superb Cameroonian novelist, biting social critic.

*Thann, France: Burning of the Three Fires. Celebrates three
“stars” that moved to a spot over the forest in the 12th century
and then stopped, marking the village’s founding.
*Festival of Endless Ass-Kissing.

1520 — Aztec sovereign Montezuma II killed by conquistadores, Tenochtitlan.
1620 — Tobacco-growing banned in Britain, granting Virginia colony monopoly.
1859 — Émile Blondin crosses Niagara Falls on tightrope as 5,000 watch.
1932 — Acerbic Cameroonian novelist Mongo Beti born, Mbalmayo, Cameroun.
1990 — Former East and West Germanies agree to unify their economies.
1997 — First Harry Potter novel published, Great Britain.

Excerpted from The 2009 Autonomedia Calendar of Jubilee Saints: Radical Heroes for the New Millennium by James Koehnline and the Autonomedia Collective

"Good job for ruling, guys and gals."

From the Penetrating the Void blog, on Arthur’s just-released limited-edition Transmissions From Sinai album, curated by Al Cisneros (Om, Sleep, Shrinebuilder):

“There are quite a few many beautiful gems on the new Al-Cisneros-curated mix CD from Arthur publications, entitled Tranmissions From Sinai. In all honesty, sometimes when I think I might be losing interest, these cursed West Coast conjurers brew up something that I have to buy. And it is always worth it. … We have quite a range of beauties here. From Lichens’ totally amazing cosmic yawn opener, to the sweet, sweet dubbed out reggae in hits from Linval Thompson and an outageously good Alpha & Omega. Two of my personal favorites–Wino’s fuzzed-out, drippy hot pickle sandwich of creeping doom “Silver Lining” (on the kickass album that I wrote about here) and Grails’ really (seriously) cool Pink-Floyd-y “Acid Rain”. Please understand that this is an expression of great joy. … This is a great record. Good job for ruling, guys and gals.”

Transmissions From Sinai is available for $12 postpaid US.

Cinnabar Chanterelles

Came across these little gems after ripping up a beaver dam that was flooding an orchid bog. They were delicious.

Cinnabar Chanterelles (Cantharellus cinnabarinus) are exploding in area forests right now. They are smaller and have a more delicate flavor than musky golden chantarelles and hearty, woodsy morels. Their flavor is subtle and is easily overwhelmed by chives, so go especially easy when you sauté them. Makes for an attractive and delicious summer dish with pasta and a light, crisp white wine.

Like morels, this species is mycorrizhal, and so is difficult to cultivate outside of the wild. They prefer oaks and pine, especially where beds of moss are also found. Cinnabar chanterelles will remain dormant during dry years, but this wet June has produced large troops, some numbering in the hundreds. They’re very easy to identify, and are a great introduction for novice shroomers. Remember: always get a second and third id confirmation before eating! Pays to be safe.

Happy hunting–and bon apetit.