Friday, 22 November 2013


"Never has anyone ruled on this earth by passing his rule essentially
on any other thing than public opinion," wrote Jose Ortega y Gasset in
*Revolt of the Masses*. While modern secular man presumably ought
to base her/his view of leaders on the prospect of a brighter future
for society's welfare, the politicians, their image-makers, and the
media formulate the candidates' public image on personal 'character
traits,' as though the politician is a marriage candidate for the

The age of mass media has created what mass politics requires
and voters have been duped to believing must be the criteria. Whether
U.S. and European presidents, or leaders of less advanced countries,
the leader must be a 'man or woman of the people' with a 'personal
touch,' regardless of whether the policies only strengthen established
interests to the detriment of society's welfare and social justice. To
distract from essential issues related to the widening rich-poor gap,
the corporate-owned mass media throughout the world constantly molds
public opinion and shapes the image of leaders for the masses,
focusing not on policies affecting the interests of disparate social
classes, but on sensationalized stories and personal lives. Because
human beings yield to irrational impulses, because the mass means of
communication cultivate peoples' voyeuristic proclivities, and because
most voters accept image as a substitute for substance, politicians
have a free reign to serve elite interests while trying to present
themselves as personable leaders with 'good' character traits that the
average person can feel good about.

Sensationalized scandals, including 'human interest,' sex and crime,
celebrity, and 'reality-show' programs along with organized religion
that is more political than political parties, befuddle the average
voter's mind to the degree that internalization of societal problems
means the absence of grasping complex problems regarding social
justice. When I was a graduate student in Chicago during the late
1970s, my neighbor and good friend Miriam, a Holocaust survivor, told
me that people are generally satisfied as voyeurs, rather than act to
help those in need. We have failed to realize that we live in Fritz
Lang's Metropolis, where we need to look beyond image and take action
to foster social justice.

Thanks to bourgeois institutions and the mass media that foster
individualistic value systems as the pillar of capitalism, we are
deluded into believing that we live in Hitchcock's Rear Window that
offers the psychological satisfaction the individual thinks he/she

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