Brain Dropping #19
Few people remember Chris Chataway. In 1954 he was the ‘rabbit’ who set the pace for Roger Bannister in running a sub four minute mile in a race at Oxford, England. In an interview he said that moving through the countryside at faster than four miles an hour meant you couldn’t see much, hear much or smell much. I feel the same way about the speed at which the news of the day passes and disappears – one minute it’s in the headlines – the next moment it’s gone, rarely to be followed up or resurrected. Beyond the sound-bites, we don’t know much, we don’t learn much and don’t understand much.
With the current news of the horrific chaos in Iraq I can’t help thinking of Colin Powell’s shameless charade before the U.N. holding up a vial of baby powder and proclaiming that there is irrefutable evidence that Saddam Hussein was stockpiling chemical weapons – or Condaleezza Rice’s dire reference to a “mushroom cloud.” Awareness of all that pernicious lying and the hundreds of thousands dead it caused, seems to have evaporated at the speed of a drop of water on a sizzling frying pan. How fast must we run away from any recollection of the truth to forget that we destroyed Iraq and murdered hundreds of thousands so that Exxon Mobil and others could have their oil. Listening to the pinstriped-talking-heads on the boob-tube – we don’t learn anything, we don’t understand anything, we don’t know anything.
As for the depredations of the thieves of Wall Street, they seem to be forgotten at the speed of light – disappearing into the black hole of memory faster than one nano second of an electronic stock trade. The celebrity gangsters, like Jamie Dimon immaculately suited, appear in the papers and magazines smiling broadly just minutes after having their wrists slapped by corrupt and compliant regulators. There seems to be a paradoxical law at work here promulgated by Eric Holder’s Department of Justice: “The more you steal the greater your immunity from the law – and the faster you move through the revolving door from government position to paid off corporate lackey the slower the wheels of justice grind.” We the people don’t get much, don’t protest much, don’t know much.