By Mickey Z.
I’ve known Jen Angel for years. She and fellow Clamor Magazine founder, Jason Kucsma, appeared in my book, The Murdering of My Years: Artists and Activists Making Ends Meet and I wrote for Clamor on occasion. None of these facts, however, explain why I read and appreciated Jen’s 44-page chapbook, Becoming the Media: A Critical History of Clamor Magazine (from PM Press which yes, is publishing a book of mine soon). Simply put, it’s right down my proverbial alley. I’ve written about corporate media propaganda for decades and never fail to include a spiel like this in my public talks:
“Whether you label them liberal or conservative, most major media outlets are large corporations owned by or aligned with even larger corporations, and they share a common goal: to make a profit by selling a product—an affluent audience—to a given market: advertisers. Therefore, we shouldn’t find it too shocking that the image of the world being presented by a corporate-owned press very much reflects the biased interests of the elite players involved in this sordid little love triangle. That’s why every major daily newspaper has a business section, but not a labor section. Why at least once a week those same newspapers run an automobile section, but no bicycle section. This is why when the Dow Jones Industrial Average drops, it makes headlines. But if the global infant mortality rate rises, it’s questionable if it will even make the papers—and if it does, it’ll be buried on page 23. In other words, if you created a blueprint for an apparatus that utterly erased critical thought, you can make none more efficient than the American corporate media.”
Jen Angel doesn’t need me (or anyone) to explain all that to her. She knows it firsthand and has spent much of her time creating and supporting media that offer the perspective of women, workers, immigrants, and everyone else outside the mainstream umbrella. Not just writing and design, but also issues of distribution, diversity, workplace dynamics, etc. The story of Jen’s role in Clamor—told concisely and with honesty—is part blueprint, part kick in the ass. “The real challenge,” she writes, “is getting people, on a large scale, to understand how media works to nurture, sustain, and strengthen social movements.”
In other words, if the corporate-owned media drives the getaway car for global criminals, it’s high time to create our own independent methods of communication to not only expose what’s going on but also talk openly about what needs to be done…now.