A community of NPR critics monitoring NPR for its corporatist, Pentagon friendly, pro-US foreign policy coverage of the news.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Remember How Proust Supports Our Troops?

Today's WESun was just an unending litany of awfulness. Maybe because the puzzle segment is one of the few I usually enjoy, it was the most galling:


Take the name "Proust," as in Marcel Proust. Using these six letters, repeating them as often as necessary, spell a familiar bumper sticker with three words, 16 letters altogether. What bumper sticker is it?

It often happens that a puzzle decontextualizes its subject matter. In this instance, the recombinatory "Proust" seems most apt, since atomizing and recombining news nuggets for optimal Pentagon promotion is part and parcel of what seems to be the propagandizing agenda at NPR. Of course, Proust's most famous work is A Remembrance of Things Past, an activity which Americans are most emphatically urged to avoid. As Gore Vidal has observed, we are The United States of Amnesia.

So deliberately do we seek to "not look back," and to proclaim "Yesterday's Gone" - which is as much Obama's theme song as it was the Clintons' - that NPR's Jon Hamilton reported a while back (if my memory serves me well) that, In Future, Science Could Erase Traumatic Memories. The general thrust of the story is that scientific research into the role played by the protective molecular sheath around the brain cells of the amygdala and the role this sheath plays in the creation of traumatic memory may lead to a cure for PTSD . A drug that can dissolve this sheath and erase painful memories has been developed. Hamilton sees this as a pharmaceutical cure for people who suffer PTSD. But as the commentator at WebNewser who first called my attention to that story wrote,

What Hamilton doesn’t say is that without traumatic memories human culture would be a wasteland and humanity, itself, a thing of the past.

Such a drug is certainly in the CIA mind control medicine chest, and perhaps many of the bathrooms of NPR staff.

Meanwhile, Americans are continually subjected to a sort of MSM version of Groundhog Day. In US Media Replays Iraq Fiasco on Iran, Robert Parry (his amygdaloid nucleus sheath intact) observes how many of the same voices of incestuous amplification that propelled us to invade Iraq are pounding the drums for violent action against Iran. Parry concludes,
But one might at least have hoped that the death and destruction in Iraq would have taught these media figures a painful lesson: that sometimes loose talk about foreign “enemies” can contribute to horrendous human suffering.
When "human suffering" is run through the NPR anagram machine, it comes out, "Um, snuff hearing." That's what I had to do when subjected to the music of 4 Troops who sing - their amygdalic sheaths stripped bare - lyrics like,
Soon as we could see clearly through our big black eye
Man, we lit up the world like the fourth of July.
As Dana Franchitto (Heaviest Cat) wrote in the NPR comments at this story

Unfortunately,this kind of pro-war puffery has displaced critical thinking on "public" radio


Mytwords said...

Holy, schamoly...how'd I miss the 4 troops rubbish? Sheesh. I went ahead and dropped my two cents on the NPR site. Arrgggghhh...

Fred Baumgarten said...

I'm so glad to see this brought out. I felt really used by the puzzle segment, too!

Anonymous said...

I don't know why you all are so heated up by NPR. Just the other morning I listened as a crack team of NPR "readers" finally told me jusy WHO was Carly Simon actually singing about when she did "You're So Vain". David Geffen!

And if that piece of "news" or "insightful commentary" doesn't make up for all the sins (alleged) you all "hear", well, then you all just ain't so cool and you'll never get invited to a party in NPRland.