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ISSUE #114
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ArrowSchlep Boys
Failing forward in one act

Allan Uthman

ArrowThe Britney Budget
Matt Taibbi

ArrowEeny, Meeny, Miny, Moe
Blogger and journalist Brad Friedman of The Brad Blog on the hijacking of democracy and more

The best BS artist since Slick Willy

Matt Taibbi

ArrowSweet Nothings
Lies my paper told me

Allan Uthman

ArrowMenace in Seat 36F
Based on a True Story

Michael J. Smith

ArrowBEAST gets poetic on dat ass!
Saul Williams schools us on Hip Hop and our choice of lunch

ArrowCelebrity Buttholes Will Be the End of Us
A. Monkey

ArrowThe BEAST Melanin / Electability Index

ArrowThe Truth Spin
Sometimes, honesty really is the best policy

Allan Uthman

ArrowTV Highlights
CBSs Numb3rs signals the end of the end of the American Empire

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad

ArrowKino Korner: Movies
The Abandoned, Wild Hogs, The Number 23, Zodiac, Reno 911!: Miami, Amazing Grace, Black Snake Moan, Shooter, The Astronaut Farmer, Inland Empire

As divined by your ethereal guide

Arrow[sic] - Letters
The Pussy of the Christ, How Great We Art, Dumb Shit, PhD, All You Need is Loathe and more


Sweet Nothings

continued - page 2

It’s unbelievable how often so-called respectable news sources cite the Bible as a historical record when addressing religious issues. It sure is an easy way to support the Biblical narrative, and we saw an awful lot of it when it was deemed necessary to “debunk” The Da Vinci Code, a fictional novel. In reality, however, the Bible is no more a historical record than the Odyssey, or Fight Club for that matter. Beyond that, citing “all four Gospels,” as if the fact that they concur with each other constitutes meaningful corroboration, when three of them were entirely based on the first (which was written at least a lifetime after Christ is supposed to have died), is hilariously, deliriously disingenuous.

But the part of this I just love, the thing that I cannot believe even the psyche-blowers at Newsweek found printable, is that, after an astoundingly weak attempt to establish the preposterous premise that stories in the Bible equate to impeccable multiple witness testimony, and so we must accept as fact that this guy Christ’s body disappeared from a tomb overnight because four people said so centuries after the fact, these assholes have the gall to argue that the notion, only necessitated by that false premise, that someone might have snuck in and absconded with the body is too improbable to be believed, and it’s much more sensible to conclude that a dead person woke up and flew away into the fucking sky.

That’s Newsweek’s take on the matter. Making sense is obviously less important to them than drawing the conclusions that most Americans simply want to be true, by hook or crook.

I’m not saying the Jesus tomb is the real deal. I’m not even convinced that Jesus Christ the man ever actually existed (The God Who Wasn’t There makes a strong case that he didn’t). Either way, it’s not nearly the threat to Christianity that I’d like it to be. After all, Christians manage to retain their faith in the Bible in spite of all sorts of hard evidence against it—that the universe is several billion years old, for example, or that we and all other creatures evolved gradually from single-celled organisms, or that snakes don’t talk and people don’t fly to heaven. I highly doubt a little thing like Jesus’ corpse would have much of an effect on people who think you can fit two of every animal species in the world on a boat. But, regardless of the truth or falsehood of Jacobovici’s thesis, it may be enough to pry some away from the religious teat, and that is an objectively good thing in my opinion.

What’s thrilling to me is the graceless inevitability of it all. This piece by Miller and Chen carries a palpable sense of the mission at hand: not to illuminate or investigate, simply to diffuse the unpleasantness of difficult facts. What we see here, laid bare, is the fact that, for the people at the very top of the journalistic heap, the proverbial hill that shit rolls down from, there are issues that are just too important to tell the truth about.

Reassuring people that Santa really exists is one thing; deliberately frightening them about foreigners is another. And there’s only really one reason to lie about Ahmadinejad, the last person on earth any American journalist who knows what’s good for him would want to be seen as defending. Anybody who doesn’t think we’re going to attack Iran should ask themselves why so much effort is being made to paint its president, not even a very powerful position in Iranian politics, as the new Hitler. Remember the last new Hitler? That’s right; Saddam Hussein. It’s hard to say why we’re going to attack Iran—maybe Israel, maybe oil, or an election strategy, or maybe just executive insanity—but we’re clearly planning on it. The “wiped off the map” quote is vital to this process, and has paid off handsomely—the abysmal Weekly Standard, for example, ran a cover story on Ahmadinejad last month with the headline “Denying the Holocaust, desiring another one.” At the same time, the White House is busily concocting an impending nuclear threat and accusing Iran of supplying Sunni insurgents with bombs, which just doesn’t make sense. All of this is happening, of course, while the last bullshit-based war rages still, necessitating an even more intensely alarmist PR campaign to overcome the natural suspicions of a recently conned public.

The New York Times played a central role in freaking people out about Iraq, remember. Since then, there has been much hand-wringing on the subject. If they had it to do over… but now they do. Here they are presented with a second opportunity to get it right, to pull no punches, to treat the Bush administration with the scrutiny and skepticism warranted by the nefarious, lying band of blundering super-criminals that they have proven to be. The Times could be straight with us; they could tell the truth. If the New York Times—or Newseek, or Time, or the Washington Post, or NBC, or CNN, or any other major corporate news outlet had come out and definitively made the very simple case that the “wiped off the map” quote was simply, objectively wrong, it would have gone a long way toward deflating support for our third and perhaps dumbest invasion since 9/11, and might even have helped foster some healthy public skepticism on the issue. Of course, a lot of people would simply accuse them of treachery, which is one reason for press timidity. But by telling the truth, they could, in fact, have made the world a safer place and perhaps saved thousands of lives.

But that’s just not what the press does. What they do is they tell you lies; lies they already know you want to hear. Just as politicians look to polls to determine their policies, letting poorly-informed people lead them on important issues, the press can figure out what its readers or viewers believe, and make a hell of a living pandering to their egos and telling them that they’re smart. If they have no rational case, false or otherwise, to support the lies, it doesn’t matter much. All they have to do is say something is true, and it becomes true, especially when it confirms the central tenets of American epistemology: That we already know everything important, that we are always right, and anybody who disagrees is a dangerous threat to our well-being. They lie and tell you you’re right, and you never have to change your mind about anything. And you reward them, lauding them and paying them money to keep telling you those sweet, self-serving lies. So when the war in Iran is on and you’re wondering how the hell it happened, remember: The New York Times and Newsweek are symptoms. You are the disease.


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