Struggling with Myself

Diary 6/17 to 6/20/22: CodePink and critical media literacy; Noam Chomsky; who can you trust? Democracy Now; Walter Truett Anderson on Reality and postmodernism; bullet journal; junk TV.

Copyright 2022 (text only) by Alan Carl Nicoll
All Rights Reserved

“battling twins”


Received my 1,000th “like” on my blog today.  Less than one a day, then.

The fiction writing continues fairly steadily, but its future remains problematic.

Watching a show from CodePink on Free Speech TV via Pirate TV that I watched once before and reviewed here on 4/4/22.  Tonight I was again impressed, though I only saw the last half because I was watching the Rigoletto broadcast on PBS.  Abby Martin said something that I wanted to get word-for-word, but I only got part of it:  “Critical media literacy is first and foremost” what we need to teach ourselves.  That’s more or less it.  I completely agree, but where do you start?

A basic question: 

  • Do you believe that your government lies to you?

I believe this and have had this belief reinforced over many years, starting with the Vietnam war.  I think it is uncontroversial that President Johnson lied to the American people about the “Gulf of Tonkin incident,” as revealed by “The Pentagon Papers.”

Regarding the second Gulf war, Wikipedia says this:  “…the United States Senate officially released the Senate Report of Pre-war Intelligence on Iraq which concluded that many of the Bush Administration’s pre-war statements about Iraqi WMD were misleading and not supported by the underlying intelligence.”

In other words, the American people and the world were lied to.  I believe that the U.S. government, including the President (whoever he happens to be at the moment) routinely lies to and propagandizes the very people they’re supposed to be protecting.

Noam Chomsky

Noam Chomsky calls the American people the most propagandized people on Earth.  The wording may be inexact (I’ve been unable to locate a source), and I think that many other nations also propagandize their people.

If this is true, more questions arise:

  • How can we learn about the ongoing lies, the current lies—maybe the lies about the Ukraine conflict?  How is this propaganda getting into my head?

Or in other words:

  • Who can you trust?

Well, who is speaking up for the oppressed?  Who, today, is accusing the government of lying?  Donald Trump certainly is, regarding the 2020 election.  Fox News certainly is, regarding that election and many other things.  Trump and Fox are also encouraging their followers to hate certain groups of people:  women wanting abortions, gays, transsexuals, immigrants, Muslims, Democrats…  These sources are untrustworthy because they encourage hate and violence; in other words, they pretend they are rational and objective.

What about MSNBC?  Have you ever heard anyone on MSNBC disagreeing with what the President is saying?  If you have, surely you must agree that they present the Administration’s words basically unedited, and with little pushback.  MSNBC is part of the propaganda system because they are presenting the Administration’s narrative, without much criticism.  When they want to talk about the military or foreign policy, they invite on generals, former CIA and FBI officials, Democrats, and the like, in other words, establishment voices.  Even Senator Bernie Sanders rarely gets a hearing on MSNBC these days.  In addition, they are supported by commercial advertising, which is another form of propaganda.  MSNBC is part of the problem, and similar things can be said about CNN.

Well, if you want to find out who is pushing back against the propaganda, there are alternative news sources, and I suggest starting with Democracy Now! (hereafter DN). The exclamation point is part of their name.  Their Monday through Friday one-hour show is presented on Free Speech TV and Link TV on my DirecTV.  These channels and DN are viewer supported by donations and are commercial-free.  People are willing to pay for the program because they believe in it.  Amy Goodman, the host, has been doing the show for decades.  Wikipedia lists awards Goodman and the show have won.  And, of course, they have their own website,, which makes recent shows readily available.

At times, DN has spent their entire hour (or more) interviewing Noam Chomsky.  Chomsky is a highly respected professor, writer, critic, and activist.  I’ve been reading his books for forty years, maybe more.  Manufacturing Consent demonstrates in exhaustive detail the propaganda and other things that suppress dissent and support the dominant paradigm and the Administration’s official stories.  It is decades old, but it also provides a basic education in “critical media literacy.”  He has published over 100 books, but this one I think is especially valuable regarding the questions I’m addressing here.  [To be continued, perhaps.]


Hemlock Club today.


Finished a second reading Walter Truett AndersonReality Isn’t What It Used to Be:  Theatrical Politics, Ready-to-Wear Religion, Global Myths, Primitive Chic, and Other Wonders of the Postmodern World, Harper & Row Publishers, San Francisco, 1990.  “Postmodernism” is a rather difficult word, but as presented by Anderson it’s become, for me, a crucial concept toward understanding the world.  I first read it about ten years ago, and I remembered it as being extremely interesting.  This time I wrote the following review on the title page:  “Unusually important and informative about postmodernism and how we create reality.  Not ‘dated’ despite its age.  Huge in scope, no excessive detail, persuasive, eye-opening.”

I highlighted much, probably too much—I feel resistant to doing all the work it would take to dictate and clean up the quotes.  Fortunately, I own the copy and can simply keep it on the shelf along with the other half-dozen books I look on as transformative, essential reading.


Met with Dr. Hall today.  I talked about the comment I wrote in my Bullet Journal this morning:  “I accumulate information faster than I can assimilate it.  It becomes a problem in storage and retrieval.”  Well, this is one of the things that the Bullet Journal Method aims at.  So I talked about my adaptation of the BuJo method, but that it wasn’t quite working because I also accumulated post it notes which then get put aside in a stack, rarely to be looked at again.  It was the post its that prompted my original thought.  What happens is that I never go through them and pull out what is important.

I don’t quite have a solution to this problem yet.

Had a dream this morning involving my driving a bus and flying a plane.  I’ve forgotten most of it, but I remember pulling the bus down a flight of stairs.

This morning I also got frustrated with my watching so much junk TV and working sudoku while commercials are on—Family Guy is the problem.  So I turned off the TV, thinking that I wanted to try doing without TV altogether.  The “important” TV watching I can also do on the Internet (mainly Democracy Now! and Thom Hartmann).  And I ran into an immediate snag:  what to do during meals?  I routinely watch DN! during breakfast.  I also have DVDs that I can watch during meals, typically an episode of Have Gun Will Travel—but I don’t want to be doing that two or three times a day.  So I ended up putting on DN! and otherwise falling into the bad habit, except that I didn’t watch FG except for a few minutes, less than an episode.  Maybe the easy way is just not to watch FG.

Richard Boone in Have Gun, Will Travel

What I want to do is write fiction; but I rarely do that for more than an hour at a stretch.  Over the past month or so I’ve written about twenty pages, which is pretty good these days.

Copyright 2022 (text only) by Alan Carl Nicoll
All Rights Reserved

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