National Geographic, Bread and Circuses

It was my turn to be on-call this weekend.  The a past partner and I saw a really interesting exhibit at the Boulder-CU natural history museum,  ran some errands and generally had a lazy Sunday since I was on my electronic leash.

As we were in the grocery store, I saw this magazine cover:


Whiskey. Tango. Foxtrot.  But not unexpected…

I won’t get into the political fracas about Murdoch and his ideological leanings.

What I do know is that a once great and influential magazine seems to be going the way of other schlock in our society.

What’s the harm some may ask? When we as a society tolerate such obvious garbage and malarkey, it is very easy for the people in power to constantly erode our rights, take away liberties and deceive the populace.

Carl Sagan wrote prophetically about this concept  over twenty years ago in Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the DarkWhen we routinely accept pseudo-science as normal and acceptable, we check our brains and do not question other things.

One of the saddest lessons of history is this: If we’ve been bamboozled long enough, we tend to reject any evidence of the bamboozle. We’re no longer interested in finding out the truth. The bamboozle has captured us. It’s simply too painful to acknowledge, even to ourselves, that we’ve been taken. Once you give a charlatan power over you, you almost never get it back.

We actively enjoy the bamboozling. People in power knew this 2000 years ago. And it is true now.

“What does this have to do with the outdoors Paul?” a person may ask.

Good question.

When hardly a peep is made about our public lands slowly being sold out to private interests but people know more about the EPIC JOURNEYS though the land itself, something is wrong.

Shows such as Long Island Medium (Theresa Caputo) are popular. We see schlock being peddled as news by a once well respected magazine. And we celebrate journeys through our wild lands without any thought to perhaps donating to, or volunteering with, the  organizations that protect the land itself.

NatGeo - October 2008
NatGeo – October 2008. A little different.

Or, to quote a sage from my  earlier years, “Here we are now, entertain us!”



2 thoughts on “National Geographic, Bread and Circuses

  1. This makes me incredibly sad. The Guardian has a decent write up of this story. Read it. NG can now dismiss geology, history and decency. Who will take up the good work that this magazine used to produce? Where can one go to find such beautiful work? Good work Mags.

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