The Borg Cometh


Sponsored by the letter A.

In 1983 I graduated from high school and 90% of American media was owned by about 50 companies. By 2011, the same percentage was owned by just 6.  Just over 200 executives controlling the information diet of over 270 million Americans.

We call them corporations now.

Because they are just like people.

So AT&T is poised to buy all of Time Warner.  That means Disney and ABC, ESPN, Pixar, Marvel Studios and Miramax. Also, all of CNN, HBO and of course, Time and Warner Brothers.

Math isn’t my strong suit but I believe that takes it down to 5 or maybe 4.

What we have here is a deliberate failure to communicate. An assassination of accountability. If you’ve ever wondered how it was possible for the majority of Americans to believe the reason for the war in Iraq was WMDs or that Saddam Hussein was behind 9/11 as late as 2005, now you know.

It wasn’t only FOX News kids.

Just recently, a majority of republicans polled were positive that Obama was responsible for the disastrous response to Katrina, even though it happened in 2005.  Three years before Obama took office. America is fighting her longest war in history and nobody is even asking why.  Afghanistan. We’re involved in 6 other conflicts where we bomb and kill innocent people everyday but you never see that shit on the news.

This merger is all over NPR but nary a whiff on any network or cable news channel because they’re already owned by one of the five. When Rachel Maddow says on live television that Bill Clinton didn’t sign NAFTA, I know we’re all but fucked.

Our reality has become so thoroughly owned by our media that most of us would be intellectually and philosophically bereft without it.

I hate AT&T with a vengeance.  I’m on my third cable box in as many months.  They took over Direct TV and the product and service went to shit within weeks. None of the features I pay for work consistently.  I stopped paying them for internet months ago because every evening my DSL performed like a goddamn dial up.

The United States ranks 30th in the world for average internet speed.  We’re behind Romania, Iceland and Bulgaria.  We pay twice as much for half as fast.

My only alternative was Time Warner.  Except now Sauron is fixing to buy Sauraman.  The control of content and distribution will be more comprehensive than ever.  I don’t have a choice for cable or internet.

How is this not a monopoly?

This is macro and micro.

The power of Satan compels you to read “The Master Switch” by Tim Wu.  I’m putting it back within reach of the on suite toilet. Wu coined the term “net neutrality”.  It’s an absolutely fascinating book that details, among other things, the thorough and deliberate evil of AT&T and it’s creepy resurgence as a corporate leviathan.

We now return to your regularly scheduled programming.

Drinks for my friends.

*The Phenobarbidolls.  Easily the most eclectic record I ever made. “Fish Lounge”. Named after the common area lounge at A&M with the giant saltwater tank in the wall.  Betsy (her band), slept in the studio for most of the project.  She made tea in the mornings and flirted with me by giving head to a banana in the evenings.  Ropy thick sexual tension.  

The label was Sympathy For The Record Industry which means only Long Gone John ever listened to it.  Brought to you by Studio goddamn C and at least one Neve 8 channel broadcast console in addition to the the 32 input API and STILL only 24 tracks with all manual mixing.  No automation.  

Beautiful ballads and songs like this. My partner Alex had the vision here.  I fucked it all up on this song.  He made the mistake of volunteering to assist Niko Bolas across the hall in Studio A one day and showed up after being chewed up by Little Lord Fauntleroy late one night to wonder out loud what the fuck Michael Whitaker and I had done with this song.  

He said he liked it but I suspect he never forgave me.*   


2 Responses to “The Borg Cometh”

  • Jeffrey Zaiser:

    The perpetration of the internet, and the 19 century westward expansion of the railroads have obvious parallels. The railroads would be built by asian laborer’s without the co-dependency of the small family farmers and businesses entrenched. But In time, small family farmers would expand their operations into the emerging Agro industry, by acquiring greater acreage, with loans based on projected earnings, from higher capacity and faster transport of their goods to market. The robber barons: the bankers and railroad monopolists, would collude to squeeze every penny out of the hapless bastards who didn’t see it coming. Like wise, the great technocracy, (built with asian, sweat shop produced hardware) including all the businesses Michael mentioned and then some, are putting smaller business and consumers, alike, into the same box as those farmers. They have foisted a codependency, by making it impossible to maintain a business or a house hold without access to the internet. And to add insult to injury, they fail to protect the privacy of sensitive information they demanded we submit and/or they sell it to marketers without our expressed knowledge. Tel/com/internet provider juggernauts, like Comcast, have been applying the squeeze, long and hard, for years, forcing many users to cut the cable, and to depend on costly mobile data networks, one of the biggest being AT&T, btw. I have friends on Facebook who experience their entire digital reality, everything they see, and hear, and play, via a tiny cellphone screen. I haven’t gotten there yet, myself, and I hope I never do, but many have and untold will follow. Michael has provided us, another powerful insight into the workings of the power-that-be, and of their insatiable desire to screw us royally, at every opportunity. The good ole American way

  • Cherie McGinn:

    This is one of the most disappointing things to happen over the last couple of decades — the obvious reluctance to stop any moves towards monopolization in many fields — but in new communications most importantly. I grew up believing, and spent my entire teaching career teaching students that the US will not allow monopolies — that we had already learned that lesson.

    Not only are we living under serious monopolization of our news sources, but we also have one political party dedicated to increasing opportunities to monopolize and a competing party that seems to be afraid to say no to corporations.

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