Art vs. Media: The Transforming Power of Human pain

In an age when media and government(s), corporations and personalities have devalued the definition of truth, when facts are muddled, fabricated and manipulated, what remains is the basis for sincere and believable communication among people?

The courts have upheld that FOX news literally has a first amendment right to lie. “Fair and Balanced” in no way promises truth, but their intention is for propaganda and promoting a tactic to confuse issues so that their ideology can seem acceptable. Ads promising utopian-esque wonders are ultimately negated by fine print. Herman Cain’s accusers were compelled to sign non-disclosure statements-effectively erasing their right to speak, allowing Cain and his propagandists to attack and impune these accusers without fear of retaliation. Where was the evidence against Cain? It was censored by lawyers and the courts. These are tactics used by corporations and the powerful to compel silence over their crimes. Truth has been extinguished, degraded and confused. So what remains?

The news media is, by definition, dispassionate with regards to our truest humanity. Certainly it can show us great suffering and tragedy, which cane move us deeply and bring some of us to action. It is, despite its best and most compassionate assertions, clinical in nature, and here’s why.

It cannot inhabit the deepest thoughts, nor the spark of those thought. It cannot explore the primordial evolution of a thought or an emotion, that moment when it escapes from a single cell at the dawn of our history, evolving through mankind or a single individual from a moment or over the course of a life. The news media is incapable of pouring itself into a soul and rummaging around for secrets and intentions each of us keeps protected or hidden from the world. Above all, it cannot properly quantify human pain.

This, this is the very precise dividing line between fiction and journalism. Much to the propagandists assertions, Left, Right or middle, it is a line journalism cannot cross without erasing itself. That is the definition of propaganda. That ultimately is the best argument against FOX’s assertion that they have a right to lie. Indeed they do, but then they abrogate their pretense of journalism. The proof is in the word lie, which FOX lawyers freely called it in court. I lie is a hidden fiction paraded as fact.   

Here is a test. What news story adequately describes your own pain? The news can only describe suffering and tragedy, but only fiction allows the reader to dissolve their existence into a story. It is here that the power of fiction and art transcends, but real art and honest fiction. That is, fiction and art that openly and completely describe themselves as such, nakedly allowing the audience to freely judge its merits.

In 8 days Occupy Chicago will put on a play, a modern Occupy retelling of a Christmas Carol before thousands in Grant Park.  The purpose was to transcend the media,  and the impassioned arguments that come close but do not fully connect us with the human suffering the Occupy movement seeks to address. But the characters are faced with the things each of us face, their words and actions deeper and fuller and more contextual than journalism would dare, or activism alone could accomplish. That is the power and distinction of art.

About 900poundgorilla

W.C. Turck is a Chicago playwright and the author of four widely acclaimed books.His latest is "The Last Man," a prophetic novel of a world ruled by a single corporation. His first novel, "Broken: One Soldier's Unexpected Journey Home," was reccommended by the National Association of Mental Health Institutes. His 2009 Memoir, "Everything for Love" chronicled the genocide in Bosnia and the siege of Sarajevo. His third book "Burn Down the Sky" is published exclusively on Amazon Kindle. It was in Sarajevo at the height of the siege where he met and married his wife, writer and Artist Ana Turck. FOX NEWS, ABC, CBS News, the Chicago Tribune and The Joliet Herald covered their reunion after the war. He helped organized relief into Rwanda during the 1994 genocide. Turck has been a guest on WMAQ-TV, WLS in Chicago, WCPT, WBBM radio, National Public Radio, Best Of the Left and the Thom Hartmann show. He has spoken frequently on Human Rights, Genocide and Nationalism. In 2011, his play in support of the Occupy Movement, "Occupy My Heart-a revolutionary Christmas Carol" recieved national media attention and filled theaters to capacity across Chicago. He remains an activist to the cause of human rights and international peace. View all posts by 900poundgorilla

2 responses to “Art vs. Media: The Transforming Power of Human pain

  • ponderingphd

    I teach a literature course for non-English majors, and this post exemplifies so much of what I want them to understand after my class. What a great articulation of the importance of fiction, poetry, and all art in today’s world.

    • 900poundgorilla

      Thank you for seeing beyond a couple small mistakes as I was writing this from my phone, which I think was what you were referring to correctly as toys in one of your posts. I do believe in the power of art to transcend, to adequately communicate our intimate humanity, confess our sins and serve as the conscience of the world. Be well.

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