A Life versus Death Struggle

Posted on May 29, 2008

by Trudy A. Martinez

If the Medical Profession Calculates the Value of Life on an Economical Basis, Who Calculates the Value of Death?

Once upon a time in America, an individual is guaranteed the right to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness”. Then death is a natural process. The meaning of “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” changes with the growth of the Medical industry. Life itself becomes a pursuit of the medical profession, leaving the value of death obscure and no longer a natural process as medicine views death as a failure. And then, when the right to die comes into being, it hinders medicines’ quest for technological immorality.

Because death is a failure to the medical profession, the prolonging of life by artificial means rejects bereavement, leaving death with no place in life.

When Mary Catherine Bateson examines, “What is needed to give death its proper place in life?” She says, “In rejecting death, [society sets itself] against nature” (8). “Having interfered with the process . . . [society] should accept the fact that the cast and glory of technical progress is to require choice: . . . choice of how to die” (8).

In other words, Bateson advocates the “right to die”. In 1971, the Supreme Court rules “there is no constitutional right to choose to die” (Kearl 412). Nevertheless, death does not necessitate constitutional approval. Death is a natural process.

On the other hand, death revolts physicians since natural death hinders medicine’s quest for technological immortality (Guillemin 32). Therefore, “dying . . . is not something the individual patient . . . really does, [dying] is a matter of . . . withdrawing life supports” (Guillemin 32). Many doctors feel to choose to die over maintaining life on life support is committing suicide.

In ancient time, “because life was so trivialized, Romans and Greeks raised few moral objections to suicide, and they usually only protested suicide when it caused economic or social loss” (Barry 25).

Life in America, on the other hand, is not trivialized; instead, life is immortalized, causing death to lose its natural right. As a result, in an immortal society for an individual to re-claim the natural right of death, he resorts to what the medical institutions now define as suicide, unplugging the machines. Such a death does not constitute a social loss when the individual’s quality of life is gone. To retain life that has loss quality causes an unnecessary economical drain on the family and the patient, while at the time, it has the opposite effect on medical professionals; they benefit economically.

Although a medical professional may believe he has the patient’s best interest at heart, not always does he serve the patient’s best interest. This is especially true when considering the spiraling cost of maintaining life supports in the equation.

“If antiquity privatized suicide and objected only when there was economic or social loss, Medieval Christianity saw a deeper meaning and value in life”(Barry 26).

However, in current times, death to a Christian is of more value than life as the medical institutions defines life. For a Christian death brings life forever after. Yet, life, in the sense of forever, is in heaven, not on earth. To some dying individuals, whether Christian or not, death has worth; it ends suffering and pain. To the Medical industry, life has worth; it increases profits, while at the same time, decreases a sense of failure. Consequently, a safeguard to the health-care profession’s own perception of adequacy requires the devaluation of death.

When death is devalued, the voice of the people rings out: “Whose death is it, anyway?” (Seligmann 69). Once, death came naturally. Then, a decision to die is not necessary. However, technology changes all that. For example, the question asked about Carrie Coons, 86, is “Does she want to die?” Such a question is unfair. Nobody wants to die if his or her life has a promise of quality. However, Mrs. Coons lost through deprivation a quality of life. She is “kept alive by a feeding tube,” a state “her doctor calls a ‘persistent vegetative state’” (69). “Dr. Michael Wolff . . . called her chances of recovery ‘nil’” (69). Even though she is in a vegetative state with no hope of recovery, Mrs. Coon’s sister has to seek and receive a court order “to have the feeding tube removed” (69). With total disregard for the family wishes and with the knowledge that her chances of recovery are non-existent, the doctor requests a hearing that blocks the order “to remove the feeding tube”. Why? Because doctors believe in order for death to be natural, it requires a decision. When the doctor asks Mrs. Coons “whether she wanted her feeding tube removed”, she answers, “according to Wolff, it would be a difficult decision” (69). Wolff assumes her answer implies she wants to live regardless of her quality of life. Yet, is this really the case? Her sister says, “From the look in her eyes . . . she [is] trying to tell me, ‘Let me go’” (69). She lingers now “in limbo until she either speaks clearly or dies” (69). In other words, her sentence is a life of suffering, not a life of happiness, but one that is literally a “Hell on Earth”.

In the past when our ancestors cried: Give me life, liberty, or death, little did they know that when life is given, liberty is curtailed, and death is denied.

“. . . To dispense death is one [decision] in which society as a whole has no interest” (The Economist 60). Today “. . . autonomy decides . . . theright to die’ but it is a principle that . . . leans toward life, not death” (The Economist 60). This is probably so because most people want to live. Nevertheless, some want to end the suffering and pain and die as naturally as possible. They want “To civilize death, to bring it home and make it no longer a source of dread . . . . The road leads . . . to acceptance and understanding” (The Economist 60).

Not all doctors agree abandoning treatment achieves the primary good or that an individual has the capability to decide for himself.

For instance, Dr. David C. Stolinsky, M.D. says, lawyers and ethicists persuade us to regard “. . . The cessation of active treatment for the senile or incurably ill and the omission of effective treatment at the patient’s request . . . as definite goods to be eagerly embraced . . . . [Therefore, the] competing good–beneficence–has been largely displaced. . . . [In addition] autonomy has outpaced beneficence. . . I believe it is a mistake to make [autonomy] superior to ‘Thou shalt not kill’ . . . . But those who encourage it, even for the best motives, are in fact performing an experiment with all of us as subjects . . . I don’t recall giving my informed consent” (Appelbaum 2).

The trouble with doctors like Stolinsky is they feel they are superior and they should rule over a patient’s right to autonomy.

Stolinsky says, too much autonomy can lead to blaming the patient for his illness, an abdication of responsibility for decision-making, an uncaring attitude toward society’s unfortunates, and (in the extreme) allowing various “undesirable” to die as we stand by (Appelbaun 2).

He says autonomy should not be superior to “Thou shalt not kill”, but in fact, unknowingly, he puts beneficence superior to “Thou shalt not steal.” When technology deprives a patient of death by supporting a life lacking of quality has not a theft occurred?

Because of these type of circumstances, patients like L. McAfee are forced to “petition . . . [courts] for permission to turn off” ventilators or other artificial means that purport to “prolong life”, when in actuality, they are only “prolonging death” (Death Wish 67).

McAfee’s death is prolonged after “. . . a motorcycle accident left him paralyzed from the neck down”, leaving him dependent upon artificial means to maintain a life without quality or hope. McAfee won his right to autonomy, his right to refuse medical treatment. In winning his right to refuse medical treatment, McAfee gains his “death wish” (Death Wish 67). “McAfee’s situation has revived a smoldering controversy over whether health-care providers should help the disabled commit suicide” (Death Wish 67).

The question is disconnecting an artificial means that maintains an inadequate quality of life committing suicide? If Stolinsky decides, the answer is yes. However, Stolinsky puts no value on death. On the other hand when you consider all McAfee wants is the removal of artificial means which is robbing his death from him, the answer to the question is no.

When the value of life is not meaningful, the value of death is priceless. Judge Johnson finds McAfee to be a rational adult and that his “death wish” has value. Consequently, he rules that McAfee has the “right to refuse life-sustaining treatment. . . .” The Judge said, “The ventilator to which he is attached is not prolonging his life; it is prolonging his death” (Death Wish 67).

Life is “The heartache that has no end” in the case of Kim Goetchius. She suffers from a severe head injury received after she fell from a “careening golf cart”. Since then, she’s been in a persistent vegetative state for eight years. Hope for her recovery is non-existent. Nevertheless, artificial means keeps her alive, hoping for a miracle. She is not

alone; 10 percent of the patients at the St. John Dealon Hospital share the same status. The spiraling cost annually per patient suggests profits of the institution plays a role in the decision to maintain life supports. Why else would Kim’s grave condition leave her doctor, Timothy Keay, agonizing “over the unanswerable question:” Are we “. . . protecting life or making a mockery of it?” (Buckley 54).

Not only is death prolonged but death also comes prematurely through unnecessary medical intervention. “Death comes from medical reason, not moral reasons” (Kearl 418) for the sake of profit. Evidence points to economic factors that leave the government with the bill. A Congressional investigation in 1977 discloses, “The likelihood of receiving unnecessary treatment is related to one’s position in the status hierarchy. . . . Useless surgery being performed on the needy and the poor [occurs] at twice the rate of that of the general population” (Kearl 419). Needlessly, the useless surgery lead to profits as further evidence reveals “2.38 million unnecessary operations” cause “11,900 needless deaths” and reaps “4 billion dollars” in the process (Kearl 418-419). “In overthrowing . . . the moral [reasons], medicine must now address . . . how patterns of death [relate] to the economic . . . structure . . .” (Kearl 423).

Since life through the health care system “is being . . . sold in the marketplace and distributed on the basis of who can afford to pay for it (Kearl 423),” then it must hold true financial factors determine and calculate the value of life. Successively, the value of death must come from the individual through the choice of not buying what is for sale.

Not buying what is for sale may mean not calling 911. Nine-one-one is a cry for help. If you do not wish help through resuscitation, have a family call the mortuary instead. A call to 911 brings paramedics and police officers. Once the call is made, all attempts possible will be made to resuscitate whether you want that or not. Only the immediate producing of a recorded copy of a Heath Care Power of Attorney can stop an unwanted procedure (the person with the power of attorney must be present to decline help).

In addition and as a normal procedure, a police officer investigates the scene to insure no foul play has occurred. To eliminate the hassle, call the mortuary and claim the value of death.

 

Bibliography:

Appelbaum, Paul S. “Death and the Doctors”. Commentary. Vol.82. July ‘86. 2-4.
Barry, Robert “The Paradoxes of ‘Rational’ Death.” Society. Vol. 29. July/August ‘ 92. 29-33.

Bateson, Mary Catherine. “Death–the Undiscover’d Country”: What is Needed to Give Death its Proper Place in Life? Omni. New York. April ’92. vol. 14. p8.
Buckley, Jerry. “How Doctors Decide Who Shall Live, Who Shall
Die”: The Heartache Has No End. U.S. News & World Report.
January 22 ’90. Vol. 108. 50-58.

“Death Wish”: Quadriplegic L. Mc Afee Wins Right to Refuse
Medical Treatment. Time. Vol. 134. September 18 ‘ 89. p67.
The Economist. “How to ‘Civilize’ Death.” World Press Review.
Vol. 38. October ’91. p60.

Guillemin, Jeanne. “Planning to Die”. Society. Vol. 29. July/August ’92. 29-33.
Kearl, Michael C. “Death and the Medical System.” Endings: A Sociology of Death and Dying. Oxford University Press: New York. 1989. 406- 453.

Seligmann, Jean “Whose Death is it, Anyway?” Newsweek. Vol. 113. April 24 ’89. p69.

Cancelled the Thief? The Negative Message Conveyed Through Advertising

Posted on June 21, 2006

By Trudy A. Martinez

Preparation for another Doritos commercial begins.  Chase is about to go on.  He starts to run then suddenly, we see two men running toward him, yelling, “Stop- – Stop!”  Short of breath they continue.  “You can’t,” they hesitate and gasp for air and then continue, “go on — you’ve been cancelled!” They exclaim.

“Cancelled?  Commercials don’t get cancelled.”

“Your ratings are down,” they explain.

“Commercials get ratings?  I’ve been cancelled?”

“Cancelled,” they reassure him.

Shrugging his shoulders, Chubby leaves the set but not before grabbing the old lady’s Doritos!  He is then seen outside the studio, eating the Doritos, when the old woman comes swooping down on a rope, fearfully hanging on for dear life, retrieving her Doritos.  The scene ends with Chubby taking the chip he still has in his hand, putting it in his mouth, biting it, and saying, “Good Chip.”

Saying, “Good” doesn’t make it good.  The effect is not much better than the first time — I still will not buy Doritos!  He steals her bag again!  She has to swing from a rope like a monkey to get them back.  The message changes, but only slightly:  Now, it is up to the elderly to retrieve their own stolen property.  Assisting them is no longer up to the youth of America or anyone else.  The endorsement by Doritos and Chubby continues. The message they continue to send says committing theft against the elderly, is okay.

You’re No Hero!

Posted on June 21, 2006

The Negative Messages Conveyed Through Advertising

By Trudy A. Martinez

“I’ll never buy another package of Doritos again!”  That is my thinking back in 1994 when I watch attentively as heavy machinery mows down an elderly woman.  In the scene, a group of people look on as a young man (Chubby Chase) comes running toward a gray-hair woman, appearing as if he is about to be her hero.  But instead, he grabs her Doritos!  He leaves her to be knocked down face forward in the muddy dirt and then acts as if he is a hero for saving her Doritos for himself.

The man (Cubby Chase) depicts is not a hero; he is a thief!  An audience watches and this member of the audience is very displeased with the negative message it communicates.  Knowing the same theme goes into millions of Americans homes, angers me.  The effect is not positive like the greedy man tries to convey by saving the Doritos.  The Doritos are not saved!  They are stolen!

In the process of the crime, the victim suffers humiliation.  It doesn’t matter the machinery knocks her down, not the man.  The message transmitted to society is the same as if he had: “It’s all right to steal, if the theft perpetrated is against an elderly woman.”

The Boy Scout assisting the woman after the fact does not make the crime any less of a crime.  This action only persuades the viewers the chore of the next generation will be to pick the elderly out of the gutter that the current generation pushes them into.

An Outgrowth of the Means of Control: Television and Technology (Paper 1)

by Trudy A. Martinez

Introduction:

According to The America College Dictionary, the term technology originates from the Greek form of the word technologia which means: systematic treatment.  With this logic and reasoning in mind, I intend to examine the relationship (in my series of papers (2)) between the root meaning of technology and the specific technological advancement of modern television and the outward application of systematic treatment.  A historical review of technology will foreshadow progression through the modern applications.  In the process, the hazards and possible ramifications of the modern application of television shall parallel the historical and come into focus with a convergent force, leading to the question:  are we as individuals free and in control?  Or are we being controlled?

Influential History:

Before industry is introduced on a large-scale to society, government, the nobles, and the church fashion and maintain a systematic treatment of the populace.  Imagination quails through fear.  Few use the fortitude, determination, or endurance to contradict the status quo.  The church functions as the mediator of facts and legitimacy.  Only upon emergence of the period of history known as the scientific revolution do individuals bring forth a challenge that will relinquish, foil, and peel the ideology of the church from the face of society.  As a result of the peeling of ideology, new doctrines emerge and create a new freedom that revolves around imagination.

Creative imagination becomes the forerunner of technology as we know it today.  The imagination of specific individuals brings about technology which results in an industrial revolution fueled by greed in Western Europe.  Expansion of industry facilitates the greed at the expense of the up and coming middle class and the lower classes.  Ultimately, reaction to overwhelming greed results in revolution.  After the French Revolution, it is apparent that repressive controls are in need to preserve the status of aristocrats in an industrial society.

American Historical Factors:

In the beginning, our forefathers seek to establish a governmental system of systematic treatment of equality and justice for all.  In their estimation, revolution will ideally be prevented through unity.  The America promise-land is established to free the people from oppression of their oppressor, England.  After freedom from oppression is gained, America remains isolated: close to nature and close to God.

Even though industrialization in the United States of America is not a revolution, technology allows it to flourish.  As a result, technology seems to change the emphasis of the America objective from freedom of the people to freedom of big business.  This change of emphasis parallels a change in ideology.

In the beginning, American commerce flourishes under the ideology of the Enlightenment:  “It assumed that history, at least modern history, was driven by the steady, cumulative, and inevitable expansion of human knowledge of power over nature” (Marx 1987, p.5).  Under this assumption, the “ideas of progress” grow to “a necessary criteria” for progress to achieve “political and social liberation” (Marx 1987, p.5) as a result, “scientific knowledge and technological power are expected to [work for the benefit and] improvement in all conditions of life–social, political, moral, and intellectual as well as material” (Marx   1987, p.5).  The ideology emphasizes the importance of the free individual.

Whereas, “the rhetoric of Daniel Webster . . . [and] Edward Everett . . . [produce] a new version of . . . progressive ideology”.  Webster’s version of ideology emphasizes big business rights over individual rights and instrumentation value over social value.  Technology comes first and the individual second (Marx 1987, p. 7-10). Big business literally takes the ball and runs with it.  They identify and establish their own systematic treatment of the people of America.  As history previously shows in France, a systematic treatment of the populace is necessary for control to be managed effectively, while at the same time, and still prevent revolution.

America’s industrialization follows a Civil War.  The establishment of a mandatory school system to educate the masses to a specific way of thinking provides a means of a futuristic control of a government for the people, while Yellow Press Journalism works toward a more immediate end for business by directing favorable thought toward imperialistic expansion.  Occasionally, fear tactics are exploited in the Yellow Press when necessary to maintain control (of the populace and the government) or expand the interest of business.  European technology furnishes the examples.  American technology needs only to maintain control.

Technological Innovations:

There is an air of excitement in the communication industry with radio transmissions.  (Yellow journalism had only the ability to exploit the literate, whereas radio had the ability to increase the realm of influence.)  The “radio transmitter” allows listeners to “hear the whack of the bat and the call of the umpire”; the listener’s imagination does the rest.  Future advancements of technology are not “an idle dream”.  Technology predicts the viewer will someday “see the dust raised by the sliding player’s feet”.  Even though America has the technology to proceed with the production and transmission of television broadcasting as early as 1930′s, wide-spread transmission does not occur until after World War II (Mac Donald 1990, p.8).

With the technological advancement of the radio, communication control emerges.  Technological advancement and government control always goes hand in hand.  The reason government finds it necessary to become the protector of the people (as a force measure) is to balance the scales of justice.  Radio advertising “jingles” stimulates commercial economic growth, while at the same time; programing provides entertainment which aims on educating; this eventually permits individuals to relinquish some reliance they may place upon their own individual enterprise.

With more and more progressive entertaining innovations, the industry grows.  Advertisements make the programing possible.  Communication enterprises and education institutions become the major controlling factors of maintaining the status quo of both government and big business.  Thus, continual growth insures the satisfaction of the upcoming entrepreneurs through education and the expansion of industry through advertisement and enterprise.

The thrust of technologies modernization, in the realm of communications, brings the radio into the homes nearly all Americans.  Americans listen.  Americans believe.  And Americans react.  They utilize their active imaginations in ways never believed possible.  Orson Wells’ broadcast of “The War of the Worlds” on a Halloween night proves a point:  the American mind can be controlled through the innovations of technology and imagination.  The broadcast brings about panic; it brings about death.  Some Americans offer their lives as a sacrifice by committing suicide to avoid the awful death imagined by their unconscious perception.

Can’t you just imagine the secret back-room conversations of corporate management and the questions that might arise:  What if advertisements can capture the same thrust as that of “The War of the World” broadcast?  Will the consumer’s imagination be the driving force that will determine whether or not to buy the product?  Advertisements on radio stimulate the imagination.  Advertisements on television replace imagination with a sense of imagined reality.

Technological Growth:

Television is an outgrowth of radio.  Advertisements paid the way.  A struggle for control of the industry emerges.  “RCA (Radio Corporation of America) controlled radio” (Mac Donald 1990, p.22).  Their dream is to control the television industry by monopolizing both production and programing.  In opposition to RCA’s control, fierce competition arises for jurisdiction in the up and coming television industry as it emerges.  When Radio Corporation of America (RCA) seeks a controlling interest of not only production but also programming, government commission steps in and attempts to avert RCA’s influence through government intervention and controls.  But when RCA forms the National Broadcasting Company (NBC), and “. . . enormous technical and financial power to programing and station ownership. . . ” it won the “governments blessings”.  Even so, Zenith and Phil co provide competition for manufacturing while Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS) provides competition for programing (Mac Donald 1990, p.22).

Technological Control:

The Federal Communication Commission (FCC) is established by Congress to superintend the broadcasting industry of both radio and television.  Its job is to protect the public and the critical aspects of the American economy.  But the magnitude of its “regulatory power raised questions” from both the “political left and right” (Mac Donald 1990, p. 23).  While in the arena of free business, there is a fear of “state control of capitalistic commerce and creation of centralized planned economy” (Mac Donald 1990, p. 24-25).  The FCC curtails RCA’s standards and literally forces NBC (owned by RCA) to sell part of its interest.  As a result, the American Broadcasting Company (ABC) emerges as another competitive programming force.  The FCC validates the criteria and Public Service Responsibilities of Broadcasting Licensees.  The FCC role is to monitor broadcasts.

Public Reaction:

The American public reactionary comments remain somewhat unchanged.  The only difference between the earlier eras of television versus the current is that the broadcasters programing has gotten progressively more presumptuous.  The following comment made in reaction to a survey conducted in the 1930′s can just as easily serve to summate the public reaction today.

“In no country except the United States have consumers’ organizations expressed so much or such bitter criticism of their national broadcasting systems and programs” (Mac Donald 1990, p. 29).

The general public opinion concerning programing really hasn’t changed that much.  The programing has just gotten progressively more presumptuous.

The Pros and Cons of Advertisements:

Without advertising, television will not flourish.  Advertisers pay the pay checks of the communications industry.  The U. S. Department of Commerce predicts that television “[will] become the nation’s leading sales tool” (Mac Donald 1990. p.51).  They fulfill that prophecy.  But what effect has the bombardment of advertising over the television tube had upon society?

In the perspective of my reviewers, advertisements have a negative impact upon society.  For instance, Michael Parenti (1986), “. . . believes . . . advertisers not only market their products, but sell a complete way of life”.  Parenti comes close to saying that commercials are hypnotic to the viewer.  He suggests, even though the consumer may know that the commercial speaks untruths and may be critical of its content, the consumer is affected by the commercial through suppressed suggestions.  It is important to keep the goal of the advertising campaign in mind.  The advertiser wants us to buy the product.  Therefore, the advertising tactics are not always straight forward.  The advertisements may waiver from a direct approach in order to achieve the goal of selling the product.  Viewers are taught through visual aids that “In order to live well and live properly, consumers need corporate producers to guide them . . . [they] are taught personal incompetence and dependence on mass-market producers” (Parenti 1986, p.191).

Contrary to what Parenti says concerning the advertising market, Christians, Rotzoll, and Fackler (1987, p.193) say that “the sheer volume of mass advertising dulls its message, thereby making it less effective”.  But if this was so, why then does an effective campaign find consumer mocking the jingles the commercial advertising produce?

Accordingly, Christians, Rotzoll, and Fackler argue that consumers have no difficulty perceiving the intended meaning of advertisements, nor are they “manipulate” by them.  In their reasoning, “advertising serves as part of our culture” and they argue that we should not “forget that we are, in part, a nation founded because of advertising” (Christians Et Al 1987, p. 194-195).  When they elaborate on this aspect of advertising history, they fail to realize they contradict themselves; the observations of Daniel Booskin, they so earnestly quote, draws attention to contradictions and discrepancy:

“Never was there a more outrageous or more unscrupulous or more ill-informed advertising campaign than that by which the promoters of the American colonies brought settlers here.  Brochures published in England in the seventeenth century, some even earlier, were full of hopeful overstatements, half-truths, and downright lies along with some facts . . . ” (Christians et al. 1987, p. 194).

What the pro-advertisers fail to recognize here is the fact that those people who are coerced into coming to America are manipulated by the falseness of the advertisements which ultimately results in oppression by the oppressor (the advertiser).  America fights for freedom to alleviate the pretext of a false front.  Americans fight to free themselves from the oppression of their oppressor.

The advertisers’ message says:  when there is no clear defense, claim ignorance; this ambiguous message is loud and clear:

“Advertising’s actual effects are . . . not clearly known” . . . “We understand advertising only if we understand its complexity . . . We understand advertising only if we understand its uncertainty. . . We understand advertising only if we understand its ambiguity” (Christians, Rotzoll, and Fackler 1987, p. 193-196).

With advertising’s overwhelming systematic treatment of the consumer, how can the advertisers say:  The public is not helpless to its influence?  Does not ambiguity, uncertainty, and lack of understanding present a hazard to society?  Does not the convergent force of the advertising messages take control of the unsuspecting?

Supreme Decisions

The following article was published in the “Inyokern News Review” as a letter to the editor in October 1990.  The letter was written in response to the unnecessary death of a young girl.  The question then was whose life is valued more an endangered species or human life?

The underlying importance of this issue highlights another question: Are we going to allow the loss of the rights guaranteed through the Constitution for all Americans as a remedy?

Even though the article was written in 1990, the issues surrounding it still exist today and will continue until the people’s voice is loud and clear that they will not stand for remedies, which result in the taking of properties.  The Fifth Amendment of United States Constitution clearly prohibits the taking of properties for public use without just compensation.

The Fifth Amendment does not say that “We the People” [the property owner] must do the compensating.  Nevertheless, across America, property owners are told they must compensate in order to improve their property when their property is said to be in the habitat of an endangered species.

Supreme Decisions

By Trudy A. Martinez

Tom Turner, author of “Courting Disaster in the Nation’s Capital”, (Mother Earth News, March-April ’88 p44 (2)) says, “The Supreme Court can go for long periods without rendering decisions in environmental disputes.”  Some recent decisions have ruled in favor of property holders.”

“ . . .  The Firth Amendment prohibits “. . . nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.”  The courts have ruled in favor of the property holder’s right to develop their lands and against environmentalist who wish to prohibit such undertakings.

The Mohave Ground Squirrel has posed some problems for our area residence.  Property holders are being robbed of property, money, and peace of mind in regards to this issue.  Inconsistency, extortion, blackmail, and plain highway robbery appear to be the tactics incorporated by the so-called public agency.

A recent death of a young girl in our area reveals that the Mohave Ground Squirrel’s life is considered of more value than human life.  The most dangerous intersection in Ridgecrest goes without a traffic signal because of the prohibiting of development.

Enough is enough!  Agencies such as The Nature Conservancy should be forced to have their day in court against the people of California and other states in the Union, if applicable.  Joint and/or single court action should be ensued.  True, court action may take years; but with the press, public records, documentation, and foresight, the people can again be victorious.

George Reiger author of “Unnatural Developments” says, “Although TNC uses millions of nonprofit dollars annually, it offers little accountability to the public underwriting its schemes”.

The Nature Conservancy’s record is not lily-white.  They want a monopoly with no competition.  If the people stand in their way, they move them, cheat them, and abridge the people’s rights.

A “Supreme Decision” is not just for the courts but also for the individuals and/or groups of individuals who are affected by mismanaged corrupt governmental concerns.  America is still a government of the people.  It is the responsibility of Americans to remind the agencies that tend to hinder personal rights guaranteed through the Constitution and the “Bill of Rights” to seek restitution.  Not always is the mere joining of special interest groups enough.  The way to pursue action if you want results is to challenge them.  “A squeaky wheel gets attention; a well oiled wheel is left alone.”  The more media coverage there is the better.  The more cases tried, the more examples set.  To question, to challenge, and to fight for the justice and rights that seem to be forever fading is a responsibility of every American.  The oppressive methods of “Special Interest Hip Pocket Agencies” who pursue personal gain by engaging the concerns of corporate, affluent Americans may only be stopped by the judiciary system.  Ignoring the interest of the people is only smart if the people allow their freedom to be abridged.  An agency like the TNC may shine on the outside, but they stink on the inside, polluting the future of America.

The Nature Conservancy needs to be given a copy of the “Fifth Amendment”; better yet perhaps someone needs to read it to them: the blind are sometimes able to see with the aid of words.  (A box of Q-tips may be needed to clear their ears so they can hear what is being said.)  I interpret the Fifth Amendment to say that if we the people are kept from our land through the taking of the land that we the people are supposed to be compensated.

Nowhere in the Fifth Amendment does it say “we the people” must do the compensating!

(Paper 1) Television and Technology: An Outgrowth of a Means of Control?

(Paper 1)  Television and Technology:  An Outgrowth of A Means of Control  By Trudy A. Martinez
  
 Introduction:
According to The America College Dictionary, the term technology originated from the Greek form of the word technologia which meant: systematic treatment.  With this logic and reasoning in mind,  I intend to examine the relationship (in my series of papers (2)) between the root meaning of technology and the specific technological advancement of modern television and the outward application of systematic treatment.  A historical review of technology will foreshadow progression through the modern applications.  In the process, the hazards and possible ramifications of the modern application of television should parallel the historical and come into focus with a convergent force, leading to the question:  are we as individuals free and in control?  Or are we being controlled?
 
Influential History:
 
Before industry was introduced on a large-scale to society, government, the nobles, and the church fashioned and maintained a systematic treatment of the populace.  Imagination was quailed through fear.  Few had the fortitude, determination, or endurance to contradict the status quo.  The church functioned as the mediator of facts and legitimacy.  Only upon emergence of the period of history known as the scientific revolution did individuals bring forth a challenge that would relinquish, foil, and peel the ideology of the church from the face of society.  As a result of the peeling of ideology, new doctrines emerged and created a new freedom that evolved around imagination.
 
Creative imagination became the forerunner of technology as we know it today.  The imagination of specific individuals brought about technology which resulted in an industrial revolution that was fueled by greed in Western Europe.  Expansion of industry facilitated the greed at the expense of the up and coming middle class and the lower classes.  Ultimately, reaction to overwhelming greed resulted in revolution.  After the French Revolution, it became apparent that repressive controls were needed to preserve the status of aristocrats in an industrial society.
 
American Historical Factors:
 
In the beginning, our forefathers sought to establish a governmental system of systematic treatment of equality and justice for all.  In their estimation, revolution would ideally be prevented through unity.  The America promise-land was established to free the people from oppression of their oppressor, England.  After freedom from oppression was gained, America remained isolated: close to nature and close to God.
 
Even though industrialization in the United States of America was not a revolution, technology was allowed to flourish.  As a result, technology seemed to change the emphasis of the America objective from freedom of the people to freedom of big business.  This change of emphasis paralleled a change in ideology.
 
In the beginning, American commerce flourished under the ideology of the Enlightenment:  “It assumed that history, at least modern history, was driven by the steady, cumulative, and inevitable expansion of human knowledge of power over nature” (Marx 1987, p.5).  Under this assumption, the “ideas of progress” grew to “a necessary criteria” for progress to achieve “political and social liberation” (Marx  1987, p.5)  As a result, “scientific knowledge and technological power were expected to [work for the benefit and] improvement in all conditions of life–social, political, moral, and intellectual as well as material” (Marx   1987, p.5).  The ideology emphasized the importance of the free individual.
 
 Whereas, “the rhetoric of Daniel Webster . . . [and] Edward Everett . . . [produced] a new version of . . . progressive ideology”.  Webster’s version of ideology emphasized big business rights over individual rights and instrumentation value over social value.  Technology came first and the individual second (Marx 1987, p. 7-10). Big business literally took the ball and ran with it.  They identified and established their own systematic treatment of the people of America.  As history had previously shown in France, as systematic treatment of the populace was necessary for control to be manged effectively, while at the same time, preventing revolution.
 
America’s industrialization followed a Civil War.  The establishment of a mandatory school system to educate the masses to a specific way of thinking provided a means of a futuristic control of a government for the people, while Yellow Press Journalism worked towards a more immediate end for business by directing favorable thought toward imperialistic expansion.  Occasionally, fear tactics were exploited in the Yellow Press when necessary to maintain control (of the populace and the government) or expand the interest of business.  European technology had furnished the examples.  American technology needed only to maintain control.
 
Technological Innovations:
 
There was an air of excitement in the communication industry with radio transmissions.  (Yellow journalism had had only the ability to exploit the literate, whereas radio had the ability to increase the realm of influence.)  The “radio transmitter” allowed listeners to “hear the whack of the bat and the call of the umpire”; the listener’s imagination did the rest.  Future advancements of technology was not “an idle dream”.  Technology predicted that the viewer would some day “see the dust raised by the sliding player’s feet”.  Even though America had the technology to proceed with the production and transmission of television broadcasting as early as 1930’s, wide-spread transmission did not occur until after World War II (Mac Donald 1990, p.8).
 
With the technological advancement of the radio, communication control emerged.  Technological advancement and government control have always gone hand in hand.  The reason being that government found it necessary to become the protector of the people (as a force measure) to balance the scales of justice.  Radio advertising “jingles” stimulated commercial economic growth, while at the same time, programing provided entertainment which aimed on educating; this eventually permitted individuals to relinquish some reliance they may have place upon their own individual enterprise. 
 
With more and more progressive entertaining innovations, the industry grew.  Advertisements made the programing possible.  Communication enterprises and education institutions became the major controlling factors of maintaining the status quo of both government and big business.   Thus, continual growth was insured to satisfy the upcoming entrepreneurs through education and the expansion of industry through advertisement and enterprise. 
 
The thrust of technologies modernization, in the realm of communications, brought the radio into the homes nearly all Americans.  Americans listened.  Americans believed.  And Americans reacted.  They utilized their active imaginations in ways never believed possible.  Orson Wells’ broadcast of “The War of the Worlds” broadcast on a Halloween night proved a point:  the American mind could be controlled through the innovations of technology and imagination.  The broadcast had brought about panic; it had brought about death.  Some Americans had offered their lives as a sacrifice by committing suicide to avoid the awful death imagined by their unconscious perception.
 
Can’t you just imagine the secret back-room conversations of corporate management and the questions that might have arisen:  What if advertisements could capture the same thrust as that of “The War of the World” broadcast?  Would the consumer’s imagination be the driving force that would determine whether or not to buy the product?  Advertisements on radio stimulated the imagination.  Advertisements on television replaced imagination with a sense of imagined reality. 
 
Technological Growth:
 
Television was an outgrowth of radio.  Advertisements paid the way.  A struggle for control of the industry emerged.  “RCA (Radio Corporation of America) controlled radio” (Mac Donald 1990, p.22).  Their dream was to control the television industry by monopolizing both production and programing.  In opposition to RCA’s control, fierce competition arose for jurisdiction in the up and coming television industry as it emerged.  When Radio Corporation of America (RCA) sought a controlling interest of not only production but also programming, government commission stepped in and attempted to avert RCA’s influence through government intervention and controls.  But when RCA formed the National Broadcasting Company (NBC), and “. . . enormous technical and financial power to programing and station ownership. . . ” it won the “governments blessings”.  Even so, Zenith and Phil co provided competition for manufacturing while Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS) provided competition for programing (Mac Donald 1990, p.22).
 
Technological Control:
 
The Federal Communication Commission (FCC) was established by Congress to superintend the broadcasting industry of both radio and television.  Its job was to protect the public and the critical aspects of the American economy.  But the magnitude of its “regulatory power raised questions” from both the “political left and right”(Mac Donald  1990, p. 23).  While in the arena of free business, there was a fear of “state control of capitalistic commerce and creation of centralized planned economy”(Mac Donald 1990, p. 24-25).  The FCC curtailed RCA’s standards and literally forced NBC (owned by RCA) to sell part of its interest.  As a result, the American Broadcasting Company (ABC) emerged as another competitive programming force.  The FCC validated the criteria and Public Service Responsibilities of Broadcasting Licensees.  The FCC role was to monitor broadcasts.
 
Public Reaction:
 
The American public reactionary comments remain somewhat unchanged.  The only difference between the earlier era of television versus the current is that the broadcasters programing has gotten progressively more presumptuous.  The following comment made in reaction to a survey conducted in the 1930’s could just as easily serve to summate the public reaction today.
 
“In no country except the United States have consumers’ organizations expressed so much or such bitter criticism of their national broadcasting systems and programs” (Mac Donald 1990, p. 29).
 
The general public opinion concerning programing really hasn’t changed that much.  The programing has just gotten progressively more presumptuous.
 
The Pros and Cons of Advertisements:
 
Without advertising, television would not have flourished.  Advertisers paid the pay checks of the communications industry.  The U. S. Department of Commerce had predicted that television “would become the nation’s leading sales tool” (Mac Donald 1990. p.51).  They fulfilled that prophecy.  But what effect has the bombardment of advertising over the television tube had upon society?
In the perspective of my reviewers, advertisements have a negative impact upon society.  For instance, Michael Parenti (1986), “. . . believes that advertisers not only market their products, but sell a complete way of life”.  Parenti comes close to saying that commercials are hypnotic to the viewer.  he suggests, even though the consumer may know that the commercial speaks untruths and may be critical of its content, the consumer is affected by the commercial through suppressed suggestions.  It is important to keep the goal of the advertising campaign in mind.  The advertiser wants us to buy the product.  Therefore, the advertising tactics are not always straight forward.  The advertisements may waiver from a direct approach in order to achieve the goal of selling the product.  Viewers are taught through visual aids that “In order to live well and live properly, consumers need corporate producers to guide them . . . [they] are taught personal incompetence and dependence on mass-market producers” (Parenti 1986, p.191).
 
Contrary to what Parenti says concerning the advertising market, Christians, Rotzoll, and Fackler (1987, p.193) say that “the sheer volume of mass advertising dulls its message, thereby making it less effective”.  But is this were so, why then does an effective campaign find consumer mocking the jingles the commercial advertising produce?
 
Accordingly, Christians, Rotzoll, and Fackler argue that consumers have no difficulty perceiving the intended meaning of advertisements, nor are they “manipulate” by them.  In their reasoning, “advertising serves as part of our culture”  and they argue that we should not “forget that we are, in part, a nation founded because of advertising” (Christians Et Al 1987, p. 194-195).  When they elaborate on this aspect of advertising history, they fail to realize that they contradict themselves; the observations of Daniel Booskin, they so earnestly quote, draws attention to contradictions and discrepancy:
 
“Never was there a more outrageous or more unscrupulous or more ill-informed advertising campaign than that by which the promoters of the American colonies brought settlers here.  Brochures published in England in the seventeenth century, some even earlier, were full of hopeful overstatements, half-truths, and downright lies along with some facts . . . ” (Christians et al. 1987, p. 194).
 
What the pro-advertisers fail to recognize here is the fact that those people who were coerced into coming to America were manipulated by the falseness of the advertisements which ultimately resulted in oppression by the oppressor (the advertiser).  America fought for freedom to alleviate the pretext of a false front.  Americans fought to free themselves from the oppression of their oppressor.
 
The advertisers’ message says:  when there is no clear defense, claim ignorance; this ambiguous message is loud and clear:
 
“Advertising’s actual effects are. . . not clearly known” . . . “We understand advertising only if we understand its complexity . . . We understand advertising only if we understand its uncertainty. . . We understand advertising only id we understand its ambiguity” (Christians, Rotzoll, and Fackler 1987, p. 193-196).
 
With advertising’s overwhelming systematic treatment of the consumer, how can the advertisers say:  The public is not helpless to its influence?  Does not ambiguity, uncertainty, and lack of understanding present a hazard to society?  Does not the convergent force of the advertising messages take control of the unsuspecting?