One of the primary methods through which the Multimedia Effect (ME) works to isolate and segregate the outer Selves from the core Self is by encouraging identification with the body. From height to weight, sex to race, the actual, physical appearance of the body comes to represent the outer Selves belief systems and ideologies in the journey through Time and Space. The subjugation of the Selves to the overriding cultural milieu necessitates the fetishization of the body in order to encapsulate conceptions of Reality within the confines of materially-oriented culture. At the most abstract, Nationalism and institutionalized Religion become pious exemplars of dedication and allegience to the State, and, more importantly, to the overriding cultural modalities of the day.
The cult of Individualism has a long and sordid history within the evolution of social consciousness. As the culmination of succedent eras of cultural and economic appropriation, Globalism succeeds in its transference of values and ideals stemming from Western moral and ethical mainstays across a planetary spectrum, its technological sophistication masking a very basic, human drive toward excess accumumation of material wealth based upon an underlying fear of deprivation. The Evolution of Corporate Entities as agglomerative collectivities amassing obscene amounts of wealth for a priviledged few stands at the apex of a pyramidal hierarchy of intention that represents the impetus of a materially-based culture millenia in the making. The inbred xenophobia of the Globalist system is, perhaps, an indirect result of a consciously directed effort to dominate and control the world’s markets through economic and political control. In addition, the widespread dissemination of western media (movies, music, etc.), the English language as the language of the Global Era, clothing and foodstuffs through Aid agencies (USAid, Goodwill, etc.) serve to foster an appearance of encompassing benevolence, affecting all aspects of material culture in societies subject to the good will of the developed nations.
At the interpersonal level, the body stands for cultural representation, with race and sex preening at the apex as immediate and indisputeable signifiers of either belonging or exclusion. At the zenith of Globalist culture stands the white male exemplar, followed by the white female. The hierarchy descends from those heights through the shade of yellow, red and brown to the depths of blackness, adequately and ably represented by diasporic Africans the world across. As mentioned in previous essays, these bodies, traversing western cultural spaces, out of place and time, represent the Other, an oppositional force to the perceived norms of societal space. In America, for example, a black body in what is perceived to be a white environment can be a cue that results in either exclusionary or inclusionary behavior, dependent upon the type of place and overriding zeitgeist of that space in time. In another western country with a different history, Germany, for example – where the experience of Blackness has a decidedly different history than that of the U.S.A. – that same black body in a percieved white space experiences a different reception based upon Germany’s peculiar history and cultural complex.
Given Globalism’s perceived multicultural veneer, some discussion of cultural appropriation and the theft of the black body may be helpful. The hoary beards of hook-nosed Elders nestle upon cloaked and sunken chests hoarding hardened hearts that hearken back in time to the early formation of Christianity, the Middle Ages of Europe (Ashkenazim and Sephardic Jewry, the Talmud) and beyond; the Curse of Ham and the experience of the Moorish Invasions of the Iberian Peninsula lighting the way to the Triangular Trade Era, otherwise known as the Maafa, and the accumulation of wealth and power west of the Atlantic ocean, in the Americas.
The reluctant approbation of the theft and transportation of black bodies from the west-central coastlines and interior of Africa to the Americas, by the Cardinal of the Indies – Bartolemew de las Casas – after the near-extermination of native populations, resulting in 400+ years of European ownership of black bodies, has birthed a rich tradition of racial and cultural stereotypes that the Multimedia Effect (ME) continues to employ to this very day, hour and minute. As the repository of this cultural history, all black bodies within western cultural space are subject to the residual effect of association by racial affiliation, each becoming representative of the whole in the eyes of the majority-white population, which is, for the most part, an unconscious imperative of the Globalist system as it attempts to normalize the interrelationships of its component sub-cultures. In effect, ages-old racial animus is played out daily at the individual, familial, societal and worldly levels of aggregation.
In today’s parlance, and, as an example of cultural appropriation, Hip Hop’s domination of the Global scene is seen as an affirmation of the multiculturalism and inclusivity of the Globalist agenda. The unspoken assertion is, “look at the African-Americans, blinging and singing, rapping and tapping their way to the heights of material success. If the children of slaves can do it, anybody can!” Appealing directly to the sensual and economic, hence, material, aspects of the Self, the forms of Hip Hop expression represents the dreams and desires of their primary consumptive audience. The shift in emphasis from conscious Hip Hop – in the late 1980s – to “Gangsta Rap” and “Booty music” reflected a conscious decision on the part of music moguls across the spectrum as this music became more popular with white, suburban teens far removed from the Urban jungles referenced in those sordid, misogenistic and formulaic fantasies of fast women and easy money gleaned from a burdgeoning and, possibily, govenment-instigated dope game. This shifting of of Hip Hop’s primary audience from black American to white American (who make up between 60 – 70% of all Hip Hop music purchased, by most estimates) audiences mirrors earlier examples of white American cultural appropriation of black American musical innovations in America, namely, Jazz and Rock and Roll.
Being a multi-billion dollar industry, the black bodies represented by Hip Hop music and videos represent dollars and cents, their beauty and atheletism a subliminal reference to over 100 years of conscious genetic manipulation. The Skinner-box-like apparatus known as The Projectsmagnify cycles of violence and disfunction while the surrounding anthropogenic landscape takes on the appearance and desolation of an area rent by urban warfare. In these locales, economic opportunities are strictly limited, while those businesses which are present are controlled by new, immigrant ownership cadres that do not look like those who reside there or corporate chains that do not hold a vested interest in the well being of those selfsame residential populations. While, in the mainstream and cable-based mass media, the predominant stereotypes regarding black men and black women (Project Populations) are replayed over and over again, becoming background to the elevation of Eurocentric appearances and norms which appear as neutral or overtly positive exemplars when held against the perceived degrading and immoral representations which have become all too familiar in the Hip Hop world. These differences are often highlighted overtly in commercials and shows, although hardly ever mentioned directly, a method of affirmation and reinforcement that runs on a continuous cycle of repetition, day in and day out. 24/7, 365.
Continuously subject to such stimuli, the outer Selves of individuals of all races become saturated, immersed within this virulent stew of xenophobic programming that acts to reinforce the institutional biases of a system that finds certain groups of people at the top, and other groups of people at the bottom. In the Now, to the eyes of many, it seems that what had previously been evident as societally and institutionally enforced segregation and repression has now become a self-perpetuating cycle of poverty and disfunction. What is usually left out of the equation, though, is the Multimedia Effect (ME) and its insidious effect upon marginalized populations. Taken alongside historical realities ranging from the devil’s deal of integration, where black communities were divided rich from poor and children bused from their neighborhoods to suburban or cloistered neighborhoods, to the questionable influx of different types of drugs into previously thriving black communities, the constant bombardment of the outer Selves, sheltered by black bodies, continuously reinforces their status within a society that sees them primarily as entertainment fodder and criminals, as reflected by the current makeup of prison populations the country across.
Racial animus continues to act as a release valve for societal pressures. Close observation of the employment of race during times of national crisis (911, Katrina, etc.) and even during election cycles reveals the conscious manipulation of programmed prejudices awakened by codes and key words that are clearly understood by certain populations, while remaining ambiguous enough to allow for official disassociation. For those black bodies attempting to navigate the cultural space of the Now within the confines of the Globalist imperative, nearness to the center is akin to walking a tightrope, with the slightest misstep resulting in imprisonment, lifelong economic privation or death.
The stakes remain as high as ever, the thin veneer of civilization masking the roiling imperatives of genetics and the yearnings of spirit and intention tears and Truth bursts to the surface without warning as individuals war within and amongst themselves for Self and group control. The battles between the outer Selves mirror the battles between external Selves, mirrors of Oneness, more alike than different, segregated and isolated by design and conscious intention. It is only when we access the core Self that the outer Selves fade away in the light of that inner brilliance that banishes all darkness and brooks no separation of destiny and choice. Winning the inner battle must, of necessity, precede the victory of good over evil, yet another turn in an endless spiral of spiritual and material progression.
The Ring Series
Rings of Reality 5: Self and race