Tuesday, January 11, 2005

CBS's Story on Bush's TANG, Fast Food, and the Supreme Meal...

By now, lots of bloggers (Mossback, Joe Carter, and Atrios, e.g.) have weighed in on the unauthenticated memos. So has the Columbia Journalism Review.

However, I think the best critique on this, actually came from Alton Brown, except that he was talking about the movie Supersize Me.

Here’s what it comes down to kids. Ronald McDonald doesn’t give a damn about you. Neither does that little minx Wendy or any of the other icons of drivethroughdom. And you know what, they’re not supposed to. They’re businesses doing what businesses do. They don’t love you. They are not going to laugh with you on your birthdays, or hold you when you’re sick and sad. They won’t be with you when you graduate, when your children are born or when you die. You will be with you and your family and friends will be with you. And, if you’re any kind of human being, you will be there for them. And you know what, you and your family and friends are supposed to provide you with nourishment too. That’s right folks, feeding someone is an act of caring. We will always be fed best by those that care, be it ourselves or the aforementioned friends and family.

We are fat and sick and dying because we have handed a basic, fundamental and intimate function of life over to corporations. We choose to value our nourishment so little that we entrust it to strangers. We hand our lives over to big companies and then drag them to court when the deal goes bad. This is insanity.

Feed yourselves.
Feed your loved ones.
And for God’s sake feed your children.

Don’t trust anyone else to do it…not anyone. I’m not saying that you shouldn’t go out to dinner every now and then…that is after all one of the great joys of life…but it isn’t life itself and that’s what I’m talking about.

As I mentioned over on Carter's blog, the same argument could be made for the so-called "liberal" media:

Educate yourselves, your friends and your families. Be skeptical of information you can't immediately verify. The NBC peacock, the CBS Eye, and Peter Jennings don't give a damn about you, and don't give a damn about informing you. And they're not supposed to. They’re businesses doing what businesses do. They don’t love you.

In the US, the media is the McDonald's of information. Get a nutritious balanced diet of information, and always read the labels (or in the case of the media, the subtext.)

People are shocked when I say it (until they see for themselves), but there's more real content on CCTV-9 than there is on CNN (and one heck of a subtext).

Your worldview is "fed" by the information you take in. Information is like ingredients in a meal.

When this mountain monk [I, Dôgen] was at Tiantong Monastery, the position [of cook] was held by cook Yong, of the same province [as the monastery]. Once, after the midday meal I was passing through the east corridor on my way to the Chaoran room [where my teacher Myôzen was being nursed] when I saw the cook in front of the buddha hall airing mushrooms. He carried a bamboo staff in his hand, but had no hat on his head. The sun was hot, the ground tiles were hot, and sweat streamed over him as he worked diligently to dry the mushrooms. He was suffering a bit. With his backbone bent like a bow and his shaggy eyebrows, he resembled a crane.

I approached and asked the cook his dharma age. He said, "Sixty-eight years." I said, "Why do you not employ postulants or laborers?" He said, "They are not me." I said, "Venerable sir, your attitude is indeed proper, but the sun is so hot; why are you doing this [now]?" The cook said, "What time should I wait for?" I took my leave, but as I walked along the corridor, I began to realize how important an opportunity this position affords.

The media is biased, but not necessarily in the facile ways either the right or left suppose, although frankly, I think better criticism emanates from the left/progressive side than the right side usually (but not this time).

But all the griping obscures a vital fact: there are so many ways to get media today, it's silly not to take advantage of it. And it's equally silly (and disingenuous) to feign disgust when some media mistake happens when you didn't trust them in the first place.

No comments: