Newspeak

This spoken-word piece was named  “Newspeak” after the phrase coined by George Orwell in his novel Nineteen Eighty-Four. It’s just media language.

This piece is about a few different things including media language, violence, guns, history and corporations. It darts around and I hope you can follow it.

“Newspeak”  is also inspired by a poem called “How America Loves Ferguson Tweets More than the City of Ferguson” by Jaqui Germain on Button Poetry.

The media treats violence like a blockbuster. It’s  about being flashy, generating millions via ratings, or in the case of movies, the box office.


The media love mass shootings, legacy media do; not the tragedy and death but they love the ratings. News stories perpetuated like horror films. No, action films like Bourne and John Wick. Bang! Shots fired followed by news cameras editing down grief like a plot device, and they’re all fighting for face-room.

How we love school shootings more than the institutions themselves. How we love to tweet. #Parkland, and that’s just one but there’s been fifty-seven this year. Fifty-seven attacks. It’s going to be a long summer of worshipping the flag, as politicians attack people of colour, under the flash of ulterior motives.

Spectres in street lights while black bodies splayed in the haze of tear gas, making the headlines of articles that win Pulitzer Prizes and Emmys for stories that sound good, like the click of the trigger. The rounds in the chamber. It’s not good at all, is it? A taxidermy of people’s trauma. How we’ve trained ourselves to be the undertaker, as victims are blamed for being maimed by the choice to continue to use archaic legislation.

Photographer: Elijah O’Donell

Praise Twitter for microphones and media, making it harder for people to remain oblivious to the terrors vomited onto the streets of cookie-cutter neighbourhoods. If I were to die in police custody, the rungs of the cell would be the obsolete tears of my family, as they’d go unnoticed by the ones with quills.

Change the laws; stop hiding behind the 2nd Amendment, hand-to-hand hatred, outclassed out-dated . Put more limits on guns, as mental health-patients have more freedom to firearms than healthcare. But to be anti-gun means to be anti-American or so news corporations imply like they’re the House Un-American Activities Committee. Anti-gunners are the Hollywood Ten, communists who just want to live on a plot of land.

Heck, they just want to live! A patch of land would be a map of bleeding artefacts, as the history of America is the history of violence; the history of violence is the history of the West and it’s built on a mass grave.

These killings are nothing new; here we have Parkland. We have police creating more black stars than Hollywood. Or was it before that under the boots of slavery and Jim Crow? From Selma  1965 to Detroit  1967 to  Lord Mansfield and the Zong Case in 1781.

Or was it when white men forced the Native Americans to assimilate their whiteness? Or was it when General Washington won America’s independence for the white upper-class?

Or was it when the pilgrims came from England? Or was it  when Christopher Columbus came? And now America celebrates Thanksgiving.

It’s Britain’s historical amnesia. It’s America’s historical amnesia. It’s teaching schoolchildren that Columbus discovered America and the West Indies despite the already-thriving population – look to the Arawaks, the Caribs and the Amerindian past.

The right to bear arms. The right to fight in any capacity. It’s just right now, people can walk into Wal-Mart and then proceed to shoot up a school. The rules have changed, evolved, and technology with it. Mostly pissed-off white men who are as much terrorists as ISIS, not simply in a mental health crisis as the news says. Ready to condemn men with non-white skin, protecting the dominant culture’s melanin.

Legacy media love school shootings. They love terrorist attacks. They love violence and serial murder investigations that go on for months. They see ratings, we see grief and distress and horror.

They love children getting hurt. They love corrupt politicians. Lights, camera, action, cut, edit, effect. It’s a Hollywood movie. Car chases; car chases with guns, helicopters, speedboats, bomb blasts. Terrorist attacks on an iPhone, zooming in on faces of guilt and innocence.

Photographer: Rachael Crowe

Write the article how you want. Fake news. Alternative facts. It’s a damn tragedy. It’s a script. It’s a blockbuster. It’s nonfiction. It’s memoir, biography and someone’s life story.

And we, now, are watching them in the post-production phase of history. It’s us watching them watching us on this  ball in the vast expanse of space. And as long as we are who we are, history is the last place we’ll look for our lessons.

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