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Stream of Consciousness on Earlier - The Life and Thoughts of Zach

Jul. 15th, 2003

01:05 am - Stream of Consciousness on Earlier

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I wanted to clarify that when I talked about paying attention to what is happening in my community (as opposed to the international scene) I didn't mean trading CNN for NewsChannel 15. All that TV news stuff is about Fear. We are controlled by Fear, We are addicted to Fear. Fear is why the IMC got shut down. Politicians invent things for voters to be afraid of (dangerous venues where your kids congregate and COULD DIE) and then they "save" them from those fearful things. Fear sells products and it gets votes. Fear keeps you tuned to the TV news like watching a train wreck, it is horrible but you can't take your eyes off of it. The TV news reports about murders and robberies and fires and diseases you can catch and oh my is there a knot in your stomach? do you feel the need to run away? well why don't you run to McDonalds and bite into a nice fatty burger, that'll make you feel comfortable and happy for a little while. Aren't you glad you're an American and you have the freedom to eat Fast Food any time you want? Vote for the Candidate that will protect you from the things that you fear and promise the free flow of hamburgers. Please drive through.

So yah. That's not the kind of local news I'm talking about. In any very large group of people there's going to be some violence, some mayhem, some senseless death. We do our best as a society to band together and prevent that stuff but it's going to be out there. The thing to keep in perspective is how frequent is it. Is it more likely that you will be in a car crash or that some random murderer will come and get you? FAR more likely that you will be in a car crash. And yet, because the TV news isn't about how dangerous cars are (automakers buy more advertising than regular murderers do) we don't think twice about popping over to the store in our cars to buy some milk. The news brainwashes us into fearing things that a) we can't really control and b) we don't really need to worry that much about anyway because we can't worry about every possible way that we could die at any given moment....almost all of us are going to keep on living for a good long time.

What is happening in my community that is important? The food coop, the IMC, Sunday Sing, COUCH, the 85% coalition, the Queerstock Music Festival in October, the IMC Music Festival on Labor Day weekend, the Experimental Improvisation music festival, the IMC folk music series, Girlzone and GrrrlFest 2003, Salon, Critical Mass, the progressive majority on Urbana city council, the IMC Capital Campaign, WEFT community radio, the green party, skeleton danse, WAIT, movie fests, potluck dinners, sushi, the folk music association, the roots music association, the blues society, the school for designing a society, independent culture jammers, cafe paradiso, that's rentertainment, ISEN, the permaculture project, UPTV, the CU Wireless project, Krannert, OJC Technologies. There are so many ways in which our neighbors are coming together to connect with each other, to get to know each other, to enjoy their lives more, to help others enjoy their lives together, to create alternatives to Television and Fear. I could write long LJ entries about each and every one of these things. And there's so much more missing from the list. So much hope. So much community. So much joy. So much satisfaction. And ain't none of it on the TV news.

Don Blaheta seems to capture everyone at their best in his quotes file. Here's something relevent I apparently said once:

"Every moment someone hangs out with their neighbors is a moment they aren't watching TV is a moment they are closer to the realization that other people are humans too." --Zach Miller

Comments:

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From:soulsong
Date:July 15th, 2003 04:17 am (UTC)
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So much hope. So much community. So much joy. So much satisfaction. And ain't none of it on the TV news.

And very little of it in alternative news sources such as indymedia either. Mostly from them we hear how terrible Bush is and how the world is falling to shit and how powerless we are to stop it.

It should be as easy to connect with my neighbours (or at least connect with the ones I like) as it is to order pizza. Once people started getting mobile in search of jobs, we lost the community thing and had no skills to restart it.
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From:zarfmouse
Date:July 15th, 2003 07:36 am (UTC)
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Well, 'round these parts our indymedia is a pretty integral part of any of the projects that I mentioned. Our IMC provides meeting space for many of these things, our radio and newspaper groups report to the community about these things, we use our webserver to organize many of these things (email lists, web hosting, etc), our IMC is fiscal sponsor for many of these things.

The IMC in Urbana-Champaign is a major hub of our community I think because we are a small community without a huge pre-existing activist infrastructure so the activists who founded the IMC made it everything for everyone whereas in other cities IMCs are run by activists who have a million commitments to a million other things and exist in cities where there are a million other community resources.

I've found that if you want to order the pizza of neighborly connection the first step is often to just walk over to the IMC and see who is hanging about there.
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From:soulsong
Date:July 15th, 2003 07:40 am (UTC)

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That's great. I still dont see much positive news on Indymedia though.
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From:zarfmouse
Date:July 15th, 2003 08:05 am (UTC)
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I don't spend a lot of time on the other newswires but when I do I've found a lot of good stuff. You've gotta do some serious filtering because 90% of the stuff is just reposts of articles from elsewhere and spam. But when you find the articles that are locally produced there's often really good stuff in there. Especially during the major protests is when IMC tends to shine (that being where it got it's start). For me stories about the restistance are themselves inspiring. Not just "this is wrong with the world" but "this is wrong with the world and 100,000 of us are in the streets because of it". I love that, I love reading about it and seeing pictures of it.

Mostly though, because of their uneditted or undereditted nature I think of the IMC websites as more of a distribution mechanism for raw materials than a regular news source. The newspapers, video reels, radio products, etc are more interesting to me.

It's all a work in progress. And the signal to noise ratio is much lower than it should be.

And of course, the usual answer is: Write some positive news and post it to the newswire!
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From:soulsong
Date:July 15th, 2003 08:14 am (UTC)

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I did like the coverage of protests - it was fantastic to see a minute by minute account of the MayDay protests in London in 2000. I could watch the protests being cornered by police via a bunch of webcams, and then the webcams would all mysteriously go offline, but the minute-by-minute account would continue, and then you'd read "The Wombles are coming" and there'd be all this excitement as the white overall movement broke through the police lines....

Reporting like that is rare now though it seems.
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From:folkyboy
Date:July 15th, 2003 05:29 am (UTC)

Please drive through.

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hahaha that's so fucking true! people are afraid of EVERYTHING!
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