My Blog Week: October 11 to October 17
A Word on the Week
What’s the Reason?
I’m reminded of a WWI scandal involving William Randolph Hearst (detailed here), that I learned about when writing my neglected Yellow Press series. (I’ll get to Joseph Pulitzer, James Gordon Bennett, Lords Northcliffe and Beaverbrook, in good time.) The scandal has some interest in light of modern circumstances. Paul Bolo, a general-purpose shady dealer, who came to be known in France as Bolo Pacha, had got backing from a German count, via New York-based banking, to buy French newspapers and require their editors steer the conversation along a particular line. Germany expected by this time to lose the war, and wanted a favorable armistice. In 1917 the term defeatism was coined, to name the attitude Bolo’s venture promoted. Further, he and his backers aimed to divide the French public from its government, by suggesting the Germans were the reasonable ones, who wanted the war to end, and the French, by insisting on their own terms, were obstructing this goal—that the people should be angry with their leaders, not their enemies.
Bolo Pacha, and some of his editors, were executed for treason.
How would we like to define treason, in this present era of media campaigning to destabilize western democracies, deeply undermine the economies of affected nations, and draw the people away from a fundamental trust in their governments? Do we refer to rises in nationalism and suppression of human rights we are all aware of—in America, Britain, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Belarus, et al—as gross injuries to sovereignty and wellbeing, such as a foreign aggressor might inflict? Is the COVID death toll, where political calculations superseded coherent response, a gross injury? Are job losses, evictions, financially crippling medical bills, a lawless plutocracy unwilling to view its wealth as a public responsibility, gross injuries? Then, if the purpose and pursuit of a media entity, friendly to foreign sympathizers, hostile to (but exploitative of) the powerless, are to promote defeatism, division between the citizenry and institutions trusted in the past—division sowed by a line of rhetoric combined with electronic access unseen in the past, and traceable from its period of origin, to the present disfunction—do we have a strong case for treasonous practices, to the detriment of, for one, the sovereignty and security of the United States of America?
We need to think hard about the GOP, about gerrymandering, calls for paramilitary “polling place monitoring”, this week’s ballot-box lawbreaking in the state of California and the party’s defiance of the law when threatened with it; as well as Mitch McConnell’s machinations, his refusal to honor the spirit of confirmation proceedings for Supreme Court and federal judges. A party that won’t obey laws or respect systems of fair cooperation (which can no longer be left uncodified) because they don’t like the people in charge, or won’t allow anyone but themselves in charge; one that has an entity to encourage it and egg it on, might be inflicting a gross injury upon the nation.
How do we define that?
On Monday, a new Totem-Maker, Nur-Elom in a tight spot tests the power of the totem. Tuesday, The Mirrors (conclusion), wound up the story with a marriage, a meeting, and the Guide’s intended message for Charmante. Wednesday, “it hates”, a Jumping Off poem. Thursday, part thirteen of Shine!, by Mathilde Alanic, the beginning of part two, and Annie’s happier life as assistant and researcher. Friday, “Nedforum (part three)”, Anton discovering himself communicated with; Saturday, part four of “Celebrated”, necessity teaching Tom a new skill.
Images on my posts often have a link to related information (click first image), sometimes serious, sometimes whimsical, sometimes in answer to a direct reference. Since people can be leery about links, I include them here: what they are, what sites they point to.
My Blog Week: October 11 to October 17