The dog days are almost upon us as the great Sun has reached its northern zenith, and is already ten days into its six month voyage back to the equator and beyond. While the reminder that the days are now slowly but surely getting shorter may be something of a buzzkill; the summer solstice just means that the season is now racing forward in high gear like Hunter S. Thompson in his Cadillac, ‘The White Whale,’ doing 90 miles per hour through the desert on the road from Los Angeles to Las Vegas. Summer is Americana at its finest: ballgames and barbecues, the lakes and the shores, camping and hiking, lots of hours and little clothing. It’s easy to get lost in it all.
No matter how old you get, or what you end up doing for a living, these months will always manage to capture that essence of your childhood summer vacations. Lost in warm nostalgia, I got to thinking about those summer-reading lists we all got assigned back in the day, and how they relate to this blog. One of the main purposes of my writing is help steer people towards better channels of information. It’s not so much about presenting what I see as the truth (although this perspective will be pervasive throughout), because ultimately we all must determine “the truth” for ourselves. No, here at the Monday Morning Punter we are more about getting our readers better tools to make said determination.
If you, the reader, come away from this blog with only one thing stuck in your mind, like a fly buzzing around in there, let it be this: virtually all the information that is available for mass and convenient consumption is disseminated by a small handful of mega media giants. Let me repeat that: everything you read, see, and hear, all comes from high atop 5 humongous media pyramids – Viacom/CBS, GE/NBC, AOL/Time Warner, Disney/ABC, & NewsCorp/FOX. And bullshit certainly runs down the side of a pyramid much faster than down a hill.
Today the average American is working harder and longer for what is clearly less and less, especially when you take into account the meteoric rise in the cost of living. More than ever we need an informed citizenry aided by an independent media. But gone are the watchdogs. Gone are the pit-bulls; replaced now with one of Paris Hilton’s shitty little yapping lapdogs. No wonder we are only getting two minutes of Iraq coverage per night. No wonder Europeans laugh at the differences between the stories written by our respective medias. However, there is a brilliance coming to outline these thunder-clouds: the infant that is the Age of Information.
We are, all of us around the world, careening towards a time when the physical constraints of time and space will be rendered irrelevant as technology shrinks the planet to a neighborhood. Already we are seeing the seismic affects the internet is having on traditional media, evidence in the decline in nightly news viewers, and most strikingly in the apparent death rattle of the newspaper business. Now that people are getting their mainstream news from the same place and in the same format as the underground and independent media, namely, us. Articles from bloggers and Time staff writers now rub elbows; and YouTube videos catch fire and spread in a manner that Madison Avenue could only dream of. And when you combine all of this with an angry, fed-up, tech-savvy generation of citizens, who are tired of being pushed around by those with an insatiable greed for money and power, what you get is a revolution; a digital revolution fought with gigabytes instead of guns and bullets.
All this is well and good, but there is a catch: as more and more information is becoming available to us, we are often too busy to sift through it all. Because the Information Age has yet to start crawling, there is still a lot of catching-up to do when it comes to providing people with an alternative to the corporate raised horseshit being shoved down everyone’s collective throat. And there is still a lot of plumbing to do when it comes to a political system that is dependent on its media partner’s obfuscation, in order to distract the Voters from its ulterior motives. But inevitably this will all reach a critical mass, and, to paraphrase Princess Leia, “The more they tighten their grip, the more star systems will slip through their fingers.”
As we enter into the heart of the summer season, starting with this weekend’s Fourth of July celebrations, the reading lists of yesteryear, meant to keep us sharp and prepared for the rapidly approaching new school year, seem like an appropriate analogy for staying informed and prepared for this Autumn; and specifically the first Tuesday in November. Because so many of you out there are extremely busy and your time is very valuable, and because it is very easy to loose one’s self in the joys of summer vacation, the Monday Morning Punter is going to provide its “Summer Reading” series; which will certainly not be limited to just the printed word. A lot of the recommendations will come in the form of websites and blogs, as well as films and documentaries (some found on the web), and also some thought provoking and political music suggestions (yes, believe it or not, there is socially conscious music out there, and its growing). We will even recognize the few air pockets of independent thought found in the increasingly toxic cloud of the mainstream media visa vie the television. I spend many hours each day getting information from a wide array of sources, and have become very good at separating the wheat from the chaff.
So, stay tuned to the Monday Morning Punter throughout the week, and into the patriotic celebration of our United States of America’s 232nd birthday, for some alternative sources of information. And during this 4th of July, remember something that Thomas Jefferson once said/wrote:
“Convinced that the people are the only safe depositories of their own liberty, and that they are not safe unless enlightened to a certain degree, I have looked on our present state of liberty as a short-lived possession unless the mass of the people could be informed to a certain degree.”–Thomas Jefferson to Littleton Waller Tazewell, 1805
The first item on the Summer Reading list is a remarkable blog that is constantly being updated with all sorts of alternative media. Here you will find articles, video, foreign media, and links to tons of other useful information. Some of the stuff you will come across on Dandelion Salad might make your head start spinning, but you will feel like you have awoken from a coma. If you really want to get informed about what is really going on behind the scenes, then bookmark this site, add it to your homepage, and don’t go a week without dropping by. Lo, the site’s founder and moderator, is the embodiment of Patriotism. Her motto is “Audio Panton, Cogito Singularis.” Which is Latin for: Listen to everything, think for yourself.
So if you want the straight dope, Daddy-O, then go visit Lo over at the Dandelion Salad and grab a bowl.
- Andy had his primetime debut last Tuesday, and the only thing I can say is, “Hai, Majide!” If you got a chance to watch I Survived A Japanese Game Show then you know that “Majide” is the name of the popular program that our intrepid American brothers and sisters must compete on; and you would know that the name is loosely translated in English as, “You have to be crazy!” according to the pisser of a host, Rome Kanda (Majide is literally translated as, “Seriously?”). I Survived…premiered with some very solid ratings – an estimated 8 million people tuned in to watch moshi munching and treadmill face-plants. And, judging by the response to my blog, a number of those 8 million are already big fans of our man Andrew Kelly-Hayes. See for yourself in the comments section of my Andy feature. He is also apparently a big hit amongst the “bear” loving community. After the show, the Monday Morning Punter had a huge spike in hits, doubling the previous one day high.
- On Sunday, June 29th, I reluctantly acknowledged the one year anniversary of a day in my life I’d rather forget. Let this be a cautionary tale for some of you out there. Last year some of us planned a weekend in Montreal, Canada, for a friends bachelor party; and most drove. Well, to make a long story short, our neighbors to the north weren’t very neighborly, as I was greeted with the Heisman stiff-arm and told, thanks but no thanks, you can’t come in. Now I know what you’re thinking, but no, I did not have anything illegal in the car, and yes, I was on my best behavior. Nope: sometimes honesty is not the best policy; as was the case in this situation. Upon questioning after a random car check, I simply answered in the affirmative regarding past brushes with the law, as I figured there was nothing serious like a felony, and everything should have been wiped clean by now. Eight hours later I pulled into my driveway exhausted and agitated. I figured wrong. Fortunately, everyone else was able to make it in and have a ride. But the moral of this story is that if you are trying to cross the US/Canadian border, make sure you have your ducks in a row, or dummy up like Dick, Karl & Scooter, and simply say that you don’t recall.
- Sorry for not having a late week post up last week. That may happen now and again during the summer, as most weekends are chockfull, with some requiring preparation. It was great to be back in Connecticut these last two weekends; and it was wonderful to spend some quality time with so much family. And Friday, while back in lovely Fairfield county, I got this sweet tattoo as a birthday present from my brother, done by his friend Brian, who is an amazing artist. Thanks Chris and Brian. Here’s a link to Brian’s studio, the Iron Butterfly Tattoo, in Danbury, CT. If you are in the tri-state area, and are looking for some ink, its well worth the drive.