“The Politics of Sight”
That’s the title of this column by David Sirota. The politics of sight — as in “out of sight, out of mind.” His column refers to a book titled Every Twelve Seconds by Timothy Pachirat. Every twelve seconds is the cattle-killing rate at the average slaughterhouse.
What if the only way to purchase meat was to walk through the slaughterhouse, or down long aisles of livestock animals crammed so tightly into their cages they don’t even have room to move. Would you change your diet? Or if nothing else, maybe you’d be so appalled and sickened, you’d only patronize local non-factory farms.
The food syndicate is thriving on the public’s “out of sight out of mind” oblivion. This is why Iowa — and other states are expected to follow suit — has passed an “ag gag” law, making it illegal to take clandestine pictures inside a slaughterhouse or factory farm. (This will be the subject of a future profanity-laden post.)
With all of the advantages of our modern life, there’s one glaring drawback: We’re completely isolated and sheltered from the horrifying realities that make these conveniences possible. We’re just basking away inside this comfortable little bubble. Ignorance is bliss.
War is another example. The one and only lesson our “leaders” learned from Vietnam was: Don’t broadcast these gory pictures into people’s living rooms. sssssshhhhhhh!!!! During the Persian Gulf War, how many times did you turn on the news so you could find out something — anything specific — about how the war was going? And all you ever saw was a bunch of colorful explosions. It looked like a Fourth of July celebration over Baghdad, night after night. And these pretty pictures were always accompanied by a slick soothing voiceover which told you absolutely nothing. Lesson learned.
This lesson has been improved and upgraded and fine-tuned to the nth degree for our Afghanistan and Iraq quagmires. These past ten years have brought total devastation to tens of thousands of soldiers and their families — plus of course the hundreds of thousands of dead and crippled civilians in Iraq and Afghanistan. And yet probably 99% of the American public is completely isolated from the horror. For people who are interested at all, it’s something to argue about on the Internet, or maybe see a passing mention of it in the daily paper or the evening news. And those “mentions” are getting fewer and further between.
And you’ve gotta love this Free Trade and the millions of cheap electronic gizmos that we can all buy. Every time you turn around there’s a newer better cheaper one. And we can remain totally unaware of the millions of American jobs that were outsourced and the millions of seven-year-old slave laborers who are making these gadgets for us.
Supposedly there’s a new app where you can see inside the Chinese factory where your smart phone was assembled.