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War, snake oil and circuses

Philip Farruggio
Saturday March 30, 2002



Take a few minutes to channel surf. Ah, the choices they give us, our corporate controlled media. Lets see, Channel X has the regular news talk show, covering our “War against Terror.” They inform us of how many troops we are sending, how many warships, air strikes and “collateral damage” to stop this spread of terror. Not one show ever questions the increased military spending, or how more weapons and troops can stop suicidal maniacs. Not one show focuses on why today’s “most wanted” were yesterday’s “most favored” (and financed) allies- or the futility of a multi-billion dollar missile defense shield. My streetwise grandfather said it best: “things are never what they seem!” The enemy of my enemy should not necessarily by my friend. 

Whatayasay we switch channels now? Let’s see, Channel Y has the televangelist network. Just in time, too, as the preacher is telling us what Jesus stood for and what his parables meant. Yet, though Jesus castigated the Pharisees for their riches and their hypocrisy, these preachers never take that road to salvation. They never quote Jesus’: “easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than a rich man to go to heaven!” In between the requests for donations and more donations, the sale of videos and pilgrimage bookings, one never hears mention about the polarizing wealth in the hands of the few, to the detriment of the many. 

Let’s see what's on Channel Z. Oh, right on, it's the sports center show. All day, all night, we can get up to the minute scores and highlights. Its so important to know, over and over again, who won last night, who scored how much, and of course, who signed what new contract for how many millions.  

Meanwhile, Mr. and Mrs. average family of four, with Mom and Dad both working full time, cannot afford the $200 needed to attend a professional game. That cash is better spent (and better be spent) paying off the too often used (lately) credit card. While on the topic of commercial ventures, how about that NCAA tournament? I call it the National Commercial Advertisement Association. Wasn’t it great to see a little basketball in between those commercials? 

So there you have it. Under the “spell” of the boob tube, to be patriotic is to follow the “pied pipers” of the airwaves. They direct us to wave our flags, support any war, (undeclared or not), give up the Bill of Rights and agree to suspensions of civil liberties. They want us to occupy our free time with prime time miracles and sports, sports, sports. Follow them we must, like lemmings into a sea of turmoil. 

Well, I’ll tell ya who the true patriots were. Men like Mark Twain, who said the purpose of government was “to protect us from the crooks and scoundrels” (hear that Kenny Lay?). Another patriot was “muckraker” George Seldes. He called apathy “the disease of civilization.” Seldes questioned government and corporate leaders so much that he was censored out of a mainstream career. 

Remember the founders of this republic? Those Patriots investigated many sources (censored or not) and compiled as many facts as possible. Then they questioned authority before it ended up questioning them! As for me, I’m gonna catch that channel with the black and white film noir, especially the one about the “Pods” taking over. 



Philip Farruggio 

Port Orange, FL 


Philip Farruggio, son of a longshoreman, is “Blue Collar Brooklyn” born, raised and educated (Brooklyn College, Class of '74). A former progressive talk show host, Philip runs a mfg. rep. business and writes for many publications. You can contact Mr. Farruggio at e-mail: brooklynphilly@