Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Killer Storm – Weapons of Mass Distraction

A few weeks' ago I Googled the term “Weapons of Mass Distraction” - just at the time that one of our Progressive Bromley Film Co-op members suggested that we watch 'We Are Wisconsin', together.

Looking at the Image results for “Weapons of Mass Distraction” included one of two women in the US military, joyfully breast-feeding their children. The point of the picture was that they were wearing US military uniform and their joy, for them, was enhanced by the fact that, for the first time, they were now allowed to breast-feed their babies while wearing military uniform . . .

A search for 'We Are Wisconsin' (see http://vimeo.com/33579940) revealed that, at Vimeo, there is a fairly lengthy trailer for the film – it looks good, and I wonder if it will be in a dvd format that can be shown here on my ex-Canadian Dell lap-top (of such micro-detail trip-ups is technology made – grrr!). There, I discovered that the film-maker – a woman, Amie Williams – had also made two further interesting items, among many more.

The first ('Voices of the Heart') is about a Band of plains Indians working hard to retain their native language - a subject worthy of an extended discussion – while the other is called 'Homeland': http://vimeo.com/74537004

This latter film relates well to that photo-image, above.

In 'Homeland', we are introduced to the life of a young plains woman, of European descent who decided to enlist in the US military after seeing the images of the planes being flown into the NEW York World Trade Center buildings:

Clip from 'Homeland'

She did two tours of duty in Iraq, but only managed to survive them by using alcohol and other drugs.

As a consequence, she left the US military with a 'Less than Honorable' discharge: the result of which is that she's not considered to be a US Veteran and so not eligible for pension, medical care, etc, etc. The film, however, showed her being befriended by an older ex-military woman at a voluntary organisation and her struggles to keep going forward.

One poignant clip showed the two preparing a birthday party for the younger woman, in which she says that it was the first time she could recall having a birthday party being set up for her . . .

Another, earlier on in the film, showed her in the cockpit of an armoured vehicle in Iraq – showing us the size of the bullets that the vehicle's gun fired. Whether intended, or not, another heart-wrenching moment was seeing a collection of children's photos stuck around the inside edge of the vehicle's cockpit.

My mind went back to those two breast-feeding women.

So, what's this to do with the 'Killer Storm', “Weapons of Mass Distraction” and 'We Are Wisconsin'.

Simply this: people complain that 'No-one's doing anything about this mess – they are all too greedy and/or complacent/indifferent/bored/burnt-out/couldn't care less/what-ever'.

In large part this is because there isn't a well-known alternative (which there is – I call it Co-operative Socialism, but others can decide if that claim is justified), but also to the fact that there is, both, a continual barrage of “Weapons of Mass Distraction” - like the frenzy around The Killer Storm (no mention of average day deaths by capitalism in the UK – road 'accidents', construction industry 'accidents', lost fingers, eyes, what-ever – lives even), along with the – consequentially-created – mind-set (literally, minds-set-in-stone) of Contrarian, 'You know I'm right', alcohol- 'gaming-', TV-, Radio- and other-drug maintained, brain-addled, brain-addling, assertive narcissistic non-sense.

In a tellingly-titled book, John Hull, reader in Religious Education at the University of Birmingham asks, 'What Prevents Christian Adults from Learning?'

The same, but secular, question is urgent: how can adults learn? - a) when they have been groomed into this assertive narcissistic state, and b) when they are under continual bombardment of these capitalism-created, brain-altering, “Weapons of Mass Distraction”.

The first step of the twelve Step program would help: recognising that we - I – all of us - have a problem,

Then a level of emotional-awareness (that I tried to sketch in the Robert Owen, New Lanark, UK Society for Co-operative Studies 2008 presentation, 'Emotions, Personalities and Politics' – to be logged in the papers' section of the Interest-free Money web-site - as part of an exploration of the Co-operative Socialism option.

Finally, getting rid of your telly, your radio, all capitalist newspapers (including 'The guardian' and 'Observer') and magazines, not buying other than you need (really need! – all very hard!) and even, perhaps, helping set up a local Progressive Film Co-op ('Just Films' in Birmingham is one good model! Our Quaker Meeting has been very generous to us here in Bromley as a free venue for our Progressive Bromley Film Co-op!

And finally – those Weapons of Mass Distraction are intended to co-opt y/our mind and time.

The alternative to co-option is co-operation.

Of the co-operative socialist-kind, I'd say - of course!

John Courtneidge
Beckenham, Kent
29 October 2013


No comments: