Our United States of Unconsciousness
Apathetic therapeutic and extremely addictive
The methadone metronome pumping out
150 channels 24 hours a day
You can flip through all of them
And still there's nothing worth watching.
TV is the reason why less than 10% of our
Nation reads books daily
Why most people think Central America means Kansas.
A natural forbear of Kate Tempest’s 2017 dystopian song highlighted yesterday, but much further back influenced by Gil Scott-Heron’s The Revolution Will Not Be Televised of 1971, we go back to 1992, where hip-hop was having a true and innovative heyday. Michael Franti’s powerful, intelligent voice, alongside the percussion and programming of Rono Tse, received critical acclaim with their first of two albums, Hypocrisy is the Greatest Luxury, but not commercial success, before Franti formed the more accessible music of Spearhead. But this is still perhaps his best known work, hip-hop's reading of Noam Chomsky crossed with Adam Curtis. Written in the climate George H Bush and the first Gulf War, yet the words and images still resonate even more today. But what is the “drug of the nation, breeding ignorance and feeding radiation" now? Television still plays its mind-numbing part, but it is more accurately the internet and within that, social media, the knowledge gaps of polarised opinions across the US and beyond, the issues of biased media, “fake news” and Donald Trump’s ridiculous Twitter feed. Ignorance is being bred at a faster rate than ever, still through a screen, just a slightly different medium.
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