This morning I suddenly felt the awe and wonder that Mulder and Scully exhibit as they watch an incredibly huge alien craft slowly emerge from the Arctic ice and snow after the exhausting ordeal they have lived through at the end of the 1998 American science fiction-thriller film motion picture The X-Files (also known as The X-Files: Fight the Future).
I wanted to start this blog post with the headline; "An Apple A Day..." but thought better of it. That old saw simply could not do justice to what was revealed in my mind during a Documentary Editing workshop at MassArt in Boston. Another oft used journalistic cliche "follow the money" also paled in comparison to what I had finally fully figured out but, hopefully, it got your attention.
The malevolent force generating my shock and awe was driven by the U.S. Tax Code.
The genesis of my revelation began with the incompatibility of video file formats. The issue is so utter and complete as to escape early understanding. One has to be immersed in the cultural incompatibility to fully appreciate the totality of incompatibility. Here's the sequence of events...
I was given "raw" video from which I was to create a scene for a class session. Never mind that the video was from a larger project creating a promotional piece. We were to create a scene from the stuff (Apple generated video files) we were given.
My PC based editing program would not import the files. I tried converting it to three different video formats. Nada. Finally I resorted to using a screen recording system to make an MP4 and eventually create an HD AVC H.264 format file of the video. It easily played on my PC laptop.
I labored into the wee hours this morning creating the scene for our Documentary Editing class-- a product I was truly proud to present. That was not to be the case however, due to the drastically allergic Apple incompatibility which I have come to realize is a metaphor based in reality, it would not play on the college's Apple-based systems.
The reality is that the Cult of Apple is not just a metaphor. It is more than real for us unfortunate, honest, hardworking, taxpaying, U.S. Citizen. The so-called Underground Economy is much like the alien craft in The X-Files movie-- unfathomably huge in size and scope. It is unfathomable in another way too-- economic.
The "left," anti-capitalists, socialists, Palestinian supporters, anarchists and other assorted radicals thrive in a tax-deductible ocean of non-profit funding. It is an economy all their own. This economy has a self-sustaining cash-flow guaranteed to forever grow and gobble up greater segments of the private sector. All this thanks to the U.S. Tax Code.
So, you may rightly ask, why is this relevant on a site devoted to photojournalism? The answer is simple. Nearly all of what passes today as "news" coverage and a very large portion of so-called "documentary" film making is actually fund-raising for the non-profit underground economy.
This economy is very, very fragile. The facade is structurally deficient. It is supported by an ever-more-popular disconnect from life's realities-- nothing is right or wrong, it's all open to an individual interpretation.
Have you given "your fair share" to non-profit causes, and of course enjoyed the tax deductible benefit? Who's to say what "your fair share" is? Certainly, for non-profit and not-for-profit organizations, the answer is more or, put more compellingly, not enough. Think "Cars for Kids." You are being unfair unless you give "your fair share!" The question is not yours to answer. There's only one answer for the hundreds of thousands of entities and organizations that savagely consume tax-deductible funding. But wait! There's more!
Slowly but surely colleges and universities long-ago became multinational conglomerate enterprises with a bewildering plethora of funding sources. Think televised college sports. Drawing money from the private sector is accompanied by intra-organizational funding and supports its "community." It doesn't stop there.
So-called "non-profits" like the AARP derive a generous share of their insurance company income stream from government contracts and, of course, foundation grants. By the way, have you noticed, the qualifying age for AARP membership is no longer just "senior citizen" status. Check out AARP-branded 50+ Life Insurance - NYLAARP.com to understand how this ever-expanding "non-profit" enterprise deftly expanded it market share for enhanced profitability.
No wonder today's "news" is infotainment and most of documentary is political propaganda. It requires one simple ingredient-- your suspension of belief accompanied by a disconnect from reality.
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