cultural myth was Re:TERRORISM: the most implausible scenario

From: jeff davis (
Date: Tue Sep 18 2001 - 18:09:50 MDT

Robert Bradbury writes:

"First, I want to preface the discussion by explaining
to list members that over the last 6-8 years I've
spent an extensive amount of time (20-30% of my life)
in Russia. That experience has fundamentally changed
my American perspective that everything is as it
"appears to be" to one of doubt, suspicion and
questioning that everything is *not* as it appears to

Assuming I understand you correctly, I would say that
I feel the same way. I wonder just how widespread
this condition is.

I see a completely different world than that portrayed
by the media, and by the average American (based on
what I perceive to be his/her view) .

The media promotes and reinforces a certain view of
the world which I refer to as the cultural myth. The
ruling elites (global oligarchy, ruling class, rich
and powerful--call them what you will) own the
overwhelming bulk of the media, and promulgate, within
their reach, that view which most effectively serves
their interests.

When an individual sees past this deception--a
not-quite-conscious, not-entirely-external,
self-deception--he quite understandably experiences
self-doubt. "How can I be right and everyone else be
wrong?" Dissent is self-correcting. One finds
oneself wondering--because of its seeming greater
plausibility--if an explanation is to be found in
personal vanity, arrogance, elitism, or, sadly, in
plain old insanity. "I must be crazy to think I know
better and see clearer than everyone else."

But I suspect the answer is to be found in simple
human psychology, a psychology which lies at the heart
of media's effectiveness in building and sustaining
acceptance of the fictional aspects of the cultural

I call it: The Emperor's New Clothes Syndrome. In
that folk fable, seeing the truth--the emperor
unclothed--was a mark of treason. Speaking the truth,
clearly, implied correspondingly severe
consequences. Thus everyone would find
him-or-herself, initially, frightened into silence,
isolated by fear and self-doubt, convinced of their
social and ethical alienation by the seeming-unanimous
affirmation of the crowd. Then, of course, to escape
the personal danger, they would add their own
"huzzahs" to the general acclaim. Self-correcting and
self-reinforcing. At first, *fooling* everyone
provides a certain tenuous sense of personal safety.
Then, in an attempt to correct their unwanted and
seeming-mysterious failure of loyalty, they strive for
*belief* in the cultural fiction.

The ruling class has exploited, often savagely,
everyone within its reach, with perfect historical
continuity, back to Ur. The arabs/muslims have been
dominated, used, and--to whatever extent it has been
seen by those arabs/muslims as offensive--abused, in
modern times by the British imperial elite since
around the turn of the last century, and then in the
post-war era by the US elite.

To my thinking, there is no better example of this,
and the corresponding disparity between truth and
cultural myth, than the case of Iran. In the brief
moment of transition between British and American
hegemonies, Iran looked poised to embark on a course
of moderation and perhaps even democracy. Then the
CIA, taking up where the British elite left off,
removed the upstart potential moderates, and replaced
them with a severe dictatorship. The Shah, as I
believe is well known, used the petroleum resources of
oil-rich Iran to enrich the multinational oil
companies, the petrodollar handlers, the US armaments
manufacturers, himself, his clique of supporters, and
finally (I can't help but think of the term "trickle
down") the Iranian nation.

Under that foreign-installed dictatorship, political
opposition of any sort--most pointedly, moderate
political opposition--was brutally supressed. The
only avenue remaining for the expression of the will
of the people was the ancient, unwavering,
intransigent bedrock of the muslim clerics. The
mullahs and the Ayatollah. I leave it to the reader
to assess the logic that suggests that the severity of
the dictatorship forged the countervailing severity of
the fundamentalism that eventually replaced it.

When the Shah was finally deposed, by cancer and
Islamic militancy, the US technical support for the
Iranian military was recalled to the US. But not
before sabotaging much of the military inventory that
remained for the new regime. In light of the losses
suffered in the Iran-Iraq war that followed, this
fact, added to the others, is likely remembered with
pointed bitterness among muslims.

Regarding the Iran-Iraq war, I leave it to the reader
to investigate who started it, with what
justification, how it was prosecuted, who supported
whom, how many lives were lost, etc. The muslims
know. They know the agenda of the US power elite vis
a vis the muslim world. And Osama Bin Laden knows as

Contrast this to what the "average American" knows.
The Shah was an beacon of modernity, bringing progress
to an impoverished, ignorant, and, all to often
violent region of the world. When he was felled by
cancer, violent religious fanatics took over, led by
some kind of demon (the Ayatollah), who then proceeded
to attack and humiliate the US and its loving people,
the light of the world, by assaulting the US embassy,
and taking, holding, and tormenting 52 American
hostages for 444 days.

Here's reality, here's malarkey. Reality. Malarkey.
Reality. Malarkey. You be the judge.

I'm reminded of a couple of lines from the song
"Jokerman" from Bob Dylan's "Infidels" album:
"Freedom just around the corner for you
But with the truth so far off, what good will it do?"

As to Osama Bin Laden:

He was born into the Saudi ruling class. I would
guess that to members of that class the scope of
ambition is effectively unlimited. Osama Bin Laden
has a calling. He is clearly qualified to fill the
crying need of muslims for justice in a treacherous
and hostile world. He is thrust into the role of the
great muslim hero/warrior/redeemer. His social class,
resources, education, piety, and experience combine
with the events of his milieu to promote him along
that path. What remains to be seen is whether,
inshallah, his piety and his tactical genius can
prevail against the forces of the hegemon.

Despite Charlie's excellent factual essay, and the
immense power of the WTC tragedy to awaken people out
of their dream state, I seen very little opportunity
or inclination for people to find out what's really
going on. Retaliation by "terrorists "against the US
will be supressed, paranoia and the police state will
be ratcheted up, but beyond that I expect just more of
the same.

Good luck, Jeff Davis

      "Everything's hard till you know how to do it."
                                Ray Charles


Terrorist Attacks on U.S. - How can you help?
Donate cash, emergency relief information

This archive was generated by hypermail 2b30 : Fri Oct 12 2001 - 14:40:52 MDT