#MikeBrownNotes :: Culture, Connection, Correction

Culture is something quite different. It is organization, discipline of one’s inner self, a coming to terms with one’s own personality;it is the attainment of a higher awareness, with the aid of which one succeeds in understanding one’s own historical value, one’s own function in life, one’s own rights and obligations. But none of this can come about through spontaneous evolution, through a series of actions and reactions which are independent of one’s own will–as is the case in the animal and vegetable kingdoms where every unit is selected and specifies its own organs unconsciously, through a fatalistic law of things. Above all, man is mind, i.e. he is a product of history, not nature…The fact is that only be degrees, one stage at a time, has humanity acquired consciousness of its own value and won for itself the right to throw off the patterns of organization imposed on it by minorities at a previous period in history.

The Antonio Gramsci Reader, Antonio Gramsci, D. Forgacs

Could the broadcast reform movement actually have been victorious in the 1930s, or was it a doomed, quixotic venture from the outset? Why precisely did the broadcast reform movement fail in its campaign to restructure U.S. broadcasting? If, in fact, the concentration and commercialization of broadcasting, not to mention the entire mass media, have increased since the 1930s with similarly negative implications for democracy, why has a new broadcast or media reform movement not emerged to carry the fight to a new generation?

Telecommunications, Mass Media, & Democracy: The Battle For The Control Of U.S. Broadcasting, 1928-1935, Robert W. McChesney


It is interesting that there are more “think” pieces about “Scandal” than Mike Brown’s Ferguson/StL. In a society of spectacle, the media can concoct and create moments of “progressive racial justice” that resonate more than actual protest. It would seems as though those that operate the gates that keep mainstream media from being invaded by people such as myself would rather have a facsimile of “progress” than the actuality. Or even attempts at a more rarefied system of human justice if only through protest. As I have hinted at elsewhere, the symbols of justice, the symbols of upward mobility, the symbols of a socio-psychological system whereby a melanin enriched skin toned coded stratification does not exist are all worshipped more than the actual pursuit through effortful means.


Human life with its monotony of daily gathering of sustenance and protection alloyed with the maintenance of that which has been acquired tends to lend itself to escapism. The magnitude of this desire for escapism increases exponentially when one is being forced through oppressive systems of their society to struggle two times as hard, or more realistically, two million times harder than one would if those societal restraints did not exist. This escapism seems to be also be fed in the minds of the members of the United States’ media consuming audience, at least, by the salacious, the overly dramatized, and the inordinately violent. For a few weeks, the salivating audience was fed the brutal treatment of Mike Brown and his St. Louis counterparts, and like Pavlov’s dogs conditioned to respond to tuning forks and meat powder, the audience was satiated by the time the news crews left only to mention Mike Brown and Ferguson in passing or after the suspicion of heighten violence might return.


For those that are just tuning in to the OWL’s Asylum, in many ways the story of a one OWL who began writing while homeless on a university campus working on a degree, I grew up in St. Louis. That attachment to the city of my nativity often causes me to hear my adored other’s voice from the bedroom begging me to stop watching livestreams from citizen journalist recording the daily and nightly protests and come to bed. In a media saturated society, it can be awfully expensive to not use discipline in matters of what one ingests, as well as what one does not. While President Obama(we shall address him as “Daddy Barry” going forward) has consistently only spoken of Ferguson in terse and almost indirect statements of abstraction, his major concern with ISIL/ISIS, the budding Islamic State nationalists, has become the center of media attention in the same way that George W. Bush’s Taliban had in the years following the incidents of September 11, 2001. For me, it is a little like giving advice, it is better to focus on cleaning one’s own terrorist at home, than trying to clean out another person’s terrorist abroad. Or something to that effect.


Due to the loudness reverberating from the chimes of the media silence regarding the Mike Brown Movement in St. Louis, I do a lot of reading on my Twitter timeline and livestreams(live recordings streamed to servers and broadcast via browsers) of those that are actually in Ferguson/St. Louis. Many of these people I have grown fond of over the last weeks, and those that I was already engaged with prior to the murder of Mike Brown have strengthened our ties to one another. In that viewing of these astoundingly wonderful human beings and reading their updates via social media, I have come to realize just how human history making can be. As I engorge myself nightly on the details of an irresponsibly overlooked confrontation of activists with local police, I go to work to a staff of US Blacks that are completely oblivious. I make calls and Facebook chats to family still in St. Louis that are oblivious. My media diet is that of the vegan in a world of cannibals.


There is always a nagging nostalgia that enters my emotional body with a blunt intoxication of sadness. Ferguson is literally down the street from where my mother worked and lived before she had her massive stroke. Infused with every viewing and every image I see of West Florissant and the surrounding community is that sentiment. So, there is an admitted lack of a certain type of objectivity on my part here. I often tell people that I do not miss St. Louis, I miss my mother, my little sister, my best friend, and St. Paul sandwiches. While quaint and sexy in its own way, St. Louis is the enviro-social womb that gave me the material with which I have formed my Self. The majority of my existence on planet Life was spent in St. Louis, Misery. However, it is not the sort of neglect of objectivity that often arrives when one is stuffing themselves full of cultural hegemonic messages in the form of charismatic fictional characters–or caricatures for that matter.

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