September 23, 2003

Mark Crispin Miller's Operation American Freedom: He's a Stand-Up Kind of Guy

Everyone should do something...to keep the wheel
turning..the LNS is my personal rain dance...but more
is required...Mark Crispin Miller is doing an
incredible thing by transforming the oral history of
this national tragedy into a powerful, empowering and
most importanly viciously funny performance...
"One of Miller's main points was that the media spreads the madness of public officials by not pointing out the contradictions, equivocations, and downright falsehoods uttered in interviews and press conferences. He inquired if any mainstream American journalists had closely scrutinized the President's speeches and exposed his bizarre syntax. Instead, he pointed out how FoxNews reporters applauded George W. Bush for his eloquence and "manliness." The complicity of the "liberal media"-Miller held up his fingers to make quotation marks in the air-allow the presidential administrations to distort facts, mangle logic, and deploy propaganda successfully, unchallenged by the journalists who are supposed to serve the public good."


http://baltimorechronicle.com/sep03_Miller.html">http://baltimorechronicle.com/sep03_Miller.html

PERFORMANCE REVIEW:
Mark Crispin Miller's Operation American Freedom: He's a Stand-Up Kind of Guy
by Elissa Thomas

Last weekend (Sept. 12-13), folks flocked to the
Creative Alliance's Patterson Theater to see media
critic Mark Crispin Miller in his stand-up/educational
performance entitled "Operation American Freedom."
Not Miller, but President George W. Bush opened the
show with a brief clip saying, "Many others have met a
different fate. Let's put it this way: they are no
longer a problem for the United States."

The audience was laughing from the start, and Miller
kept the crowd entertained throughout the show with
well-paced, intelligent comedy, discussing things that
weren't really so funny. The media critic delivered
his points in droll deadpan, only a few times cracking
a smile.

Miller continually referred to short excerpts of
speeches delivered, or rather, stumbled over, by
George W. Bush. After several such quotes, Miller
paused, waited for the laughs to subside, and asked:
"How can this happen?!" And: "Does anyone else in the
United States notice the insanity of what the
President says at official press conferences? Am I
losing my mind?"

He also read transcripts of interviews with Gordon
Liddy and Barbara Bush, emphasizing the national
epidemic of incoherent speech and fractured logic
evident in statements by high-ranking
Americans-statements which go unremarked in the media.

. At one point, Miller read a George Bush quote from
Bush's well-publicized visit to Africa. Bush had said,
"It's very interesting when you think about it, the
slaves who left here to go to America--" here Miller
paused and looked searchingly at the audience for a
reaction. "They left Africa," repeated Miller, pausing
for emphasis and shaking his head at the careless,
inaccurate and utterly nonsensical wording to describe
the Middle Passage events. He continued Bush's
statement: "--bringing their religion, their
steadfast, and their freedom to help change America."

"We all know how many animistic churches dot the
Southern countryside," quipped Miller. "And who would
have thought that-while the Polish imported Kielbasa
to America-we never thought about how the slaves
brought freedom." Miller encouraged the audience to
repeat the quote phrase by phrase. The words spoken
aloud in a chorus sounded even more ridiculous and
illogical than when pronounced by Miller, and could
not have made any sense spoken by the President in the
context of an official press conference.

One of Miller's main points was that the media spreads
the madness of public officials by not pointing out
the contradictions, equivocations, and downright
falsehoods uttered in interviews and press
conferences. He inquired if any mainstream American
journalists had closely scrutinized the President's
speeches and exposed his bizarre syntax. Instead, he
pointed out how FoxNews reporters applauded George W.
Bush for his eloquence and "manliness." The complicity
of the "liberal media"-Miller held up his fingers to
make quotation marks in the air-allow the presidential
administrations to distort facts, mangle logic, and
deploy propaganda successfully, unchallenged by the
journalists who are supposed to serve the public good.

There is no official repression of freedom of speech,
Miller pointed out; instead, disinformation works in a
more sophisticated way. He went on to describe the
structure of a successful lie. "You don't deny
anything," Miller said, pointing to failed lies such
as Nixon's "I am not a crook" plea. Instead, the
officials "work the denial into a positive statement."
The slogan for the US Army is "Be all that you can be
in the Army." Not, "your chances are 50/50 that you'll
die in service." Miller pointed out that advertisers
have been using this strategy of spin for decades.
They "tacitly negate" the unpopular aspects of a
product, while emphasizing positive attributes that
may or may not even be true.

Miller ended his performance with a reminder that "the
cost of freedom is eternal vigilance." He urged all
those present to take it upon themselves to spread
truth, to pester Congressmen and journalists, and-most
of all-not give up.

"Act like you believe in something," exhorted Miller,
"because you do!"


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Mark Crispin Miller teaches media studies at New York
University. He formerly taught at The Johns Hopkins
University. He recently established a blog; visit
markcrispinmiller.blogspot.com/.

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This story was published on September 19, 2003.

Posted by richard at September 23, 2003 09:46 AM