The Coastal Post - October, 1997

Deities, Demons and Deceit

BY FRANK SCOTT

The creation of devils and gods has long served to keep people's minds off material systems of control. Jesse Helms has been one of corporate liberalism's most popular demons, offering a fund-raising bogeyman long before Newt Gingrich. Millions are collected from well-meaning donors simply by mentioning his name. He makes liberals salivate with visions of his defeat, the way conservatives drool over dreams of Clinton's impeachment. Meanwhile, corporate funders of both Helms and Clinton remain in control of the nation.

More important than the recent Senate power play by Helms are the antiquated men's club rules of that nearly moribund body, where spittoons still lie under many desks. Any committee chair can stop any nominee or proposed legislation, simply by refusing to allow the committee to debate. This is the problem, not the evil Helms, who did exactly what lesser demons have been doing for years.

The senator's ancient, and sometimes hateful, ideology is at least consistent. He is one of the more honest members of that often corrupt nest of corporate employees. Unlike most of the high-priced chameleons in Congress, you always know where Helms will stand. No matter how despised he is elsewhere, his constituents regularly re-elect him, despite the millions of dollars raised outside of his state in order to defeat him.

But why should any senator, not just the demon of the moment, be allowed to suspend democracy? The devil is in the details of our corporate economics. Corporate demonology of some will only assure that established power remains unchecked, as will corporate deification of others, like

Princess Diana and Mother Theresa.

Di and Mother

Aside from being exceptionally tall, slender and rich, Princess Diana was an ordinary woman, manipulated into becoming a loved member of the family for millions of people. But this massive case of mind management in creating an almost hysterical, if morbid, global mourning ritual, should not simply be judged as naivete or gullibility.

There were obvious overstatements about a woman who only became a celebrity because she was born to fabulous wealth and married into a dysfunctional oxymoron in an alleged democracy: a royal family. Public reactions of genuine feeling and remorse cannot be written off, no matter how much the result of media manipulation. Diana did respond to the public in ways beyond what would be expected of someone in her place, and while never criticizing the sources of poverty and war, did her bit to speak out against the end results.

The media orgy was disgusting, given the corporate paparazzi's snobbish criticism of their small-time brethren. Big time media engaged in a frenzy of around-the-clock hysteria surrounding her death, all the while looking

down on the collectors and distributors who sell them wholesale the celebrity garbage they then retail.

But more important than the mind machine and its hypocrites who chastise one another for being in the same business, was the reaction of the public. The outpouring of emotion from people all over the world gives the lie to notions of humanity as a race of cold, heartless marketeers, seeking the best deal for themselves and willing to step all over their fellows in order to get it.

For much of modern history, the prevailing model of the individual has been of an acquisitive beast out for gain, with little regard for anything except not to get caught breaking legal or moral commandments. The genuine remorse felt for a woman who, no matter how shallow the image, represented decency and kindness to millions of people, gives the lie to such views of human nature.

Of course, the princess myth loomed large, and people are easily led to treat their admired types as royalty. To its credit , America's "king" is a white, working-class man who, at least, brought black music and body movement to millions. But celebrity worship, like much religion, is a cry out against the drudgery and misery in life, and the hope that there is something noble and hopeful beyond ordinary reality.

This sentiment also applies to Mother Theresa, who, though much shorter and older than Diana, and also subjected to wafer-thin analysis, became deified because she helped the desperately poor, while never questioning poverty.

Mother Theresa and Jesse Helms had much the same ideology, but her anti-choice and other ultra-conservative stands meant little to millions who simply admired a little woman helping those in most desperate need. This, while all are supposed to be fed up with the poor! Big media rushed to deify her, too. She, like Di, never publicly wondered why poverty and war existed, merely accepting them as the will of universe. Sure-it's all God's fault, or the devil's.

If the compassion and decency mustered up for the rich princess and the poor nun could be focused on our fellow humans of less celebrity, we would all be better off. But that is the work of politics, and not religion or celebrity worship. Corporate media would rather deceive us with demons, saints and gods, and leave systems of entrenched earthly power alone.

A philosopher called religion the sigh of oppressed creatures, urging a transformation of reality to end that oppression. When such creatures begin affecting material change in their lives, they wont need devils or angels. In fact, they may achieve something close to divinity in material life, when they finally confront corporate deceit, instead of worshiping, or hating, corporate demons and deities.

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