Thursday, September 30, 2004

Kultur! Spanish Civil War Poster 3.  Posted by Hello

Wednesday, September 29, 2004

On Propaganda and Advertising 49-51

49. Carving perceptual niches, propaganda is a powerful means of polarization. Hence, we have race consciousness over class consciousness in a nation of mutts (ever hear a politician call it that?). Indoctrination occurs over a lifetime and may not be broken overnight. It may be bent by an emphasis on facts, but the emotional component is a different matter. "Us and them" need to be redefined. Intellectuals are best avoided in this concern. Their uselessness stems from their quick willingness to accept polarization. Consumed by non-issues, being apprehensive about their reputation and dependant upon stupid paradigms, they will not easily change horses in midstream. Perhaps, it is better to walk rather than ride away...
50. Complete freewill is a myth based on the erroneous viewpoint that one could always choose another track. Its proponents have never experienced responsibility or duty. Some pathways are blocked, whereas others are unacceptable. The greatest triumph of modern propaganda is the conviction otherwise...
51. On Limitations
Propaganda may sometimes prove so successful or pervasive that it negates itself by various means. Simple over-exposure thus confers immunity. Over long durations, propaganda loses its impact. As a result, the messenger becomes less credible. Hence, fresh approaches are necessary from time to time. Another inherent deficiency of propaganda effects its ability to demonize and terrorize. An opponent may be so smeared as to evoke sympathy. A little negativity goes a long way. Over-use de-sensitizes. Conversely, negativity confers legitimacy. A balanced approach involves fear coupled to a strong ideological foundation. Most opposition movements rely too much on appeals to reason...
1996 - January 1, 2001

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Anti-War Poster 2. Posted by Hello

Monday, September 27, 2004

A single picture can negate years of propaganda.

A single picture can negate years of propaganda as was the case with this picture of an execution of a North Vietnamese prisoner. A government can talk and talk but imagery is almost always more powerful. Of course, the U.S. government has learned nothing. In Iraq, the pictures and the death is in real time. The entire world can watch the death unfold. Where will it lead? Posted by Hello

Sunday, September 26, 2004

On Propaganda and Advertising 37-48

37. Advertising sells you something you don't need. Propaganda sells you something you don't want. Prevalence is indicative of effectiveness. Yet, despite the billions of dollars spent, most believe the influence of propaganda and advertising negligible. The power of both advertising and propaganda depends on the human propensity for self-deception. Awareness would negate much influence.
38. On Repentance
Propaganda is best disseminated by the willing. Nobody is fooled by confessions beaten out of someone. A backlash response is risked by those foolish enough to employ such gross methods. Rather, the admission of guilt must appear to be genuinely heartfelt. A carrot beats a stick anyway. A shorter prison sentence will do wonders in convincing someone the error of their ways. "Just make a statement and it will go easier. Besides, it is only words versus hard-time..."
39. Propaganda is limited by the willingness of the opportunist to exploit everything for maximum advantage. Except for appearances, the propagandist must not be concerned with any other baser morality. Outright lies, which cannot stand the light of day, should be avoided. Credibility is better than gold or sex to the successful propagandist. Truth is best distorted or bent but not broken. After all, if caught, one can always claim to have made a mistake. Perception defines reality, and many claims are best declared as an opinion in the form of absolutes. Ruthlessness might be a constant in achieving optimal results, but it must not appear as such. Nobody likes a bully. One must respect potential opponents or else possibly fall to hubris. Over-confidence is a sin to maximum advantage. Even the smallest enemies can always find a lynch pin, thus bringing everything crashing down. Fog provides cover. Only an idiot believes otherwise. However, a line must be drawn over which any who dare step must be dealt with for maximum advantage. Small threats may be magnified through scare tactics. However, large threats should be minimized and even publicly discounted to avoid panic. In so doing, the opportunist sometimes walks a tightrope. Some fall, but others are always waiting in the wings. Depending upon nobody, the system remains intact. The opportunist must never believe his or herself essential (especially if true). The passive spectator loves to see others fall and burn. Why else do most watch auto racing if not for the wrecks? Enjoying the suffering of others is shameful joy, but a pleasure all the same. A precarious position will always tempt someone to give a little shove. Of course, the opportunist may always exploit unstable equilibrium for distraction. Self-interest is everything. Over-reliance on others is a weakness. A web must be constructed which entangles, ergo forcing others to be dependant and supportive. Reciprocity should be limited. The opportunist must be at the center pulling strings. Talent is measured by the ability to do so without others being aware of it. A willing tool is worth more than anything but power itself. The leveraged offer lukewarm support at best, and may not always be counted upon to perform beyond the mediocre. Fortunately, for the opportunist, this sort will corrupt themselves by calling all associations mutual. They really believe it. A population, which has been subjected to endless propaganda concerning criminals and terrorists (whatever that means), is easily frightened into passive submission. A majority will yield much to feel safe. The opportunist must exploit this situation to maximum advantage in all things. Opponents should do the same...
40. Propaganda is intangible and often denied. "Nobody is directly forcing anyone to agree with it", says the target. "Only others are affected by propaganda. How could anyone believe such awful things otherwise? They must have been propagandized, but not me! I believe it. Nobody is forcing anyone to agree..."
41. Why does the above not seem familiar?
42. Successful propaganda demands an emotional investment and response. The herd mentality offers an easy platform. Individual knee-jerk reactions are undesirable in a mass society. Conflicting concerns will cause hesitation in proportion to mass. As a result, groups are more easily malleable and managed than individuals or family units. Even enemies are better gathered together and contained where they can be watched. Individuals and small cells are not easily stopped. Unpredictability contra maximum advantage. The lone wolf may do damage but will also spook the herd. Much freedom is willingly given up to feel safe. Hence, rebellion is tolerated, and even encouraged when money is to be made. Control is a side-benefit. Revolt is something else all together...
43. Propaganda cannot be static. Repetition confers immunity by masking. Propaganda utilizes both art and science through application of ever-refined technique. However, interestingly, propaganda is only studied and discussed when outdated. Its present incarnation is always disputed and denied. If identified, propaganda ceases to be propaganda, only a failed attempt at influence. It properly masquerades as truth. Over time, propaganda has evolved in subtlety and sophistication by moving into the realm of the abstract. Blatant manipulation does not really receive serious consideration in an information culture where supposed facts may be quickly checked and disputed. Instead, certain cultural myths are endlessly repeated in multiple incarnations. Constant repetition conditions but does not create truth. The same message will appear hollow before too long thus necessitating newer pastures and approaches. Hence, individuals and interests will come and depart from the scene, whereas the system becomes more seemingly stable by maintaining the illusion of democracy. Progress is defined by the parade of the spectacle. Eventually, the balloon fills with so much hot air, sails aloft and looses its mooring. Mesmerized, the inhabitants of the gondola fail to notice the extent of their removal from reality until it all comes crashing down. After hitting the ground hard, they die with a look of incredulity on their faces. External observers in hindsight simply shake their head in wonder while making the same ascent themselves. Hence, the cycle continues...
44. Counter-propaganda is effective but care must be taken not to allow it to be turned against its source for maximum advantage. In general, the opposition relies too much on ideals which will not stand the light of day when juxtaposed with the failings of their proponents. Additionally, few wish to be discomforted by truths and facts which violate cherished cultural myths. The messenger will not be given the benefit of the doubt. Effective counter-propaganda must be tailored to suite by appealing to immediate realities which cannot be ignored. A laid-off industrial worker may question the corporate world view which lead to his or her current predicament, but may not be ready for more fundamental questions concerning societal structures. Idealists want the whole pie, and therefore always fail. One bite at a time...
45. On Advertising
i. Advertisements and advertising techniques are well known and studied. Although related and utilized to augment propaganda, advertising deserves a separate classification by virtue of its more blatant approach. Advertising does not pretend to be anything other than what it is. Only small children fail to recognize an advertisement. Its aims are obvious, but effective. Else it would not be so pervasive, invasive and prevalent. Advertising has even developed to the point where it need not even attempt to sell anything specific, instead marketing brands. A favorable impression is conferred upon the parent corporation which allows the sale of any product and service under a well-recognized brand name. In addition, corrupt corporate practices may be glossed over by these slick advertising campaigns. Consequently, advertising becomes a new form of effective propaganda. Indeed, the masses even pay to be instruments of its dissemination by parading around with the logo...
ii. Advertising creates the verbal world of consumerism thereby propagating the mythological magic of the marketplace. Reality is supplanted. Never mind the emptiness of modern life and sweat shop labor, happiness and fulfillment may be bought. Nothing matters except shopping. The individual becomes dissociated from true needs. Emotions are manipulated by imagery and projection. "If only I could be like..." A value system is artificially created which shores support for the entire monolithic economic system. Consumerist inclinations are instilled, utilizing but not subject to the whims of fashion. Only the system matters, not product lines or even business ventures, thus generating the sensation of motion even while everything stagnates. A trend might fade or fail, but the instilled need to consume remains...
iii. Advertising's propaganda role is facilitated by several other factors. Socialization is a process which occurs on many levels which advertising exploits for maximum advantage in all matters possible. The most fundamental target probably involves interactions within the family unit. A child which views its parents as participants in consumerist culture will less likely question its entirety. Other influences, such as education, socialize the consumer to accept his or her place in this established verbal world. None will encourage the individual to buck the system. The worst backlash usually emerges as simple cynicism. Besides, integration with the verbal world of consumerism need not be indoctrinated in the strictest sense. One does not need to fully believe in the consumerist value system to be fully immersed in it. It doesn't strictly matter if one likes it. The heart and mind are irrelevant as long as money is spent. No other system is so base.
46. On Conditioning and Time
Propaganda requires utilizing existing structures and groundwork for maximum advantage in all things. The target must be optimally susceptible. A false belief in self-determination is necessary for maximum efficiency in these matters. Conformity is best voluntary. Force is a messy and inefficient means that might provoke a backlash, especially in the age of video. The conditioning process settles best when subtle. Collective perception defines duration and intrusiveness. Time is experienced differently. Granted, a sample of radioactive material decays in specific half-lives, therefore demonstrating the existence of time. However, point-of-view is a different matter. Accomplishing a task in the shortest time possible is the definition of efficiency. The individual must be conditioned to accept ever shorter time intervals. The program is advanced by over-loading the long term view with short term concerns through increasing levels of stimuli. The only defense is an exceptional retention ability. However, since the process is accomplished over decades, even long memories are affected. The result is a speeding up of the pace of work and relatively little resistance compared to accomplishing the same task in a shorter period. A typical office worker will unquestionably acquiesce to a work load which would have caused a peasant uprising in the middle ages. Some propaganda campaigns are extremely long term, but remain unnoticed by those caught up in the rat race. Orchestration is automatic and may be a by-product of a technological civilization. Unfortunately, the lack of any valid comparisons make such assertions highly speculative even while catching all in its net. Passivity is instilled when long term viewpoints are regarded incompatible with perceived reality. Vicarious distractions are a most efficient means which allows discontent to be channeled along harmless, and even profitable lines. Revolt is nullified by the resultant dissipation of energy. The primal instincts become submerged, and neurotic tendencies emerge. Hence, avenues for dissipation become necessary. For some, the directions channeled are not enough. We call some of these types deviants, insane, criminals or geniuses. Any deviations are branded, thus promoting the commonplace and conformity. The herd instinct is difficult for many types to buck. Positive reinforcement so often takes the form of being part of the group. The individual is further submerged and goes under. Only a few swim to the surface undamaged. The rest drown their identity in favor of roles and archetypes. Sometimes only the shadow remains. Malleability is often rewarded which further reinforces passive behavior. Of course, sometimes the populace must be incensed to support such things as war. Each instance confers immunity. As time goes on, the act becomes far more difficult. Some by-products are difficult to overcome...
47. Propaganda agitates, integrates or attempts both aims. Revolt is forbidden in this age. Rebellion is allowed. This epoch may be nearing its end...
48. Propaganda fills needs by supplanting others. Technological society increasingly isolates the individual by the offering of endless diversions. Common experiences are fewer. Reference points diverge. The herd wears blinders, and fail to see their fellows in the same row of the stampede. Facing trampling from behind, uncertain of the sides, the only stimuli is the thundering hooves to the front. None will stop. Yet all must. Perhaps a trip rope...

Saturday, September 25, 2004

Anti-Nazi Poster. Spanish Civil War. Posted by Hello

Friday, September 24, 2004

Anti-War Poster. Posted by Hello

Thursday, September 23, 2004

They shall not pass. Madrid 1936. Posted by Hello

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

On Propaganda and Advertising 25-36

25. On the Myopic
Social myopia is an ever present reality. Survival demands concentration on the immediate. The exhausted are incapable of the detachment necessary to see larger social and cultural constructs beyond those in daily contact. Empathy rarely is directed toward abstractions, and most simply believe at face value what they are told unless witnessed. No emotional stake implies a general disinterest in affairs that seem far away and uncontrollable. A passing familiarity is the best that may be hoped. Hence, the average American knows about the Iranian Islamic Fundamentalist Regime but very little concerning the Afghan Taliban and its influence in Pakistan. Most would probably equate the two, thus ignoring the distinction between Sunni And Shiite Muslims and their historic mutual antagonisms. On the other hand, I have been told by an educated Pakistani that he was initially unaware that the United States is not officially a Christian country. Ignorance may always be exploited to maximum advantage. The degree perception is removed from the actual denotes the level of anti-naturalness present in any cultural outlook. The mind will often fill in missing details. Constant repetition becomes rote.
26. On Analogies and Metaphors
Analogies and metaphors, being comparisons which require a common frame of reference, are among the best propaganda tools for enabling unlike comparisons. False correlations may be produced which allow unrelated incidences to be equated and used to justify repressive measures. Hence, bombings are equated to firearms to justify gun control after an incident like the 1995 Oklahoma City Bombing. Acceptance is instilled by base appeals to insecurities common to the entire populace. Susceptible to propaganda, emotional buttons are pushed. People on drugs kill, therefore everyone on drugs is a potential murdered. Hence, the population is convinced drug use is harmful even when it affects nobody except the individual. Over time such beliefs are built upon each other. The result is an impossible tangle. Repression and acceptance leads to more repression and acceptance until huge segments of the population are imprisoned. Yet, we still call ourselves free. Who said so? Analogies and metaphors become completely divorced from reality. Human instinct, behavior and motivation becomes defined as something other than its reality. A common perception equates economic stability with social stability, even though some very turbulent times, like the 1960s, enjoyed a very strong economy. Economic prosperity will always negate revolution. The community is less needed. The next economic depression will be the optimal moment. Propaganda produces more propaganda. Even blatant lies are difficult to pinpoint. Opponents are not united and often confused. No common plan of actions exists. The future is just too murky. The loudest voice rules. Real debate is pointless. Only false comparisons, stated convincingly, remain. The proper time for true opposition to the machine may slip by...
27. On Buffers
Since even the propagandist is susceptible to his or her own propaganda, the opportunist is best advised to create a buffer between the message and intent. Leaving maximum advantage in all things as the only consideration, older forms of ethics and morality must be discarded. Of course, alternate socialization will still wield influence. However, positive reinforcement, in the form of success, will dispel any nagging doubts. Only the end results matter. The means are nothing. The public only cares about appearances. Negation is acceptable. Yet be fore-warned: one may advocate unquestioned superiority, but must never believe it for a second. Inflated egos are an easily burst bubble. Perhaps the best mindset is that of an actor reciting lines. Ronald Reagan was a master of this approach. Once the stage lights dim, the real personality re-emerges. Except for fanatics, most propagandists do the same. In addition, fuzzy boundaries are best drawn so the opportunist has more room to maneuver. It would not do for even close associates to sense such crassness, but the amoral should not be bothered by such minor deceptions when propagating even larger lies. Power is the only absolute truth or concern.
28. On Quality
Quality is relative to expectations. Compared to fundamental or major concerns, minor issues are not expected to be given the same attention. Undue anxiety over the small may often be perceived as a sign of weakness. For the maximum advantage of appearances, sophisticated propaganda campaigns should only be expended for necessary and protracted uphill battles. In minor cases, simple rhetoric is all that should be necessary to provide a simple nudge. For example, Franklin Roosevelt would have had a very difficult time convincing the American people the necessity to enter World War II without the attack on Pearl Harbor. Before, any major effort was doomed to unsatisfactory results, and could only diminish presidential prestige. FDR had no worries. War was inevitable. On the other hand, the Cold War required a highly mutable campaign spanning decades. The Gulf War required less effort by utilizing the auspices of the United Nations to confer legitimacy, therefore necessitating little more than racist rhetoric to be directed toward the public. Besides, the U.S.A. needs cheap fuel. The path of least resistance has proven its effectiveness. Complicated appeals have little effect. Rhetoric has its limits. In the United States, Socialist appeals to rationalism have always fallen on deaf ears. The opponent should realize the limitations of propaganda and act accordingly. Quality is only demanded by the hard sell.
29. On Limiting Propaganda
The population is more easily whipped into a frenzy against external enemies than against internal threats. However, once escalated nothing is quite so bloody or nasty as a civil war. The populace will either sympathize or despise their neighbors and will not be easily swayed. On the other hand, many simply take for granted those far away as a threat. Xenophobia is alive and well. Agitation Propaganda (agitprop in the language of Orwellian Newspeak) requires less subtly. Lest Depression occur, aggression is best channeled outward. Opportunists may easily ride waves of unrest directed toward exterior targets. World War I proved the industrial working classes are more united by national rather than class interests. Gazing outward is easier. Potential threats may always be magnified by purposely promoting misunderstandings with rival powers. The people desire to believe in their own superiority, otherwise all their effort might just be for naught. The unknown is always more easily feared, and may be more efficiently propagandized. Agitprop, employed in limited doses, maintains a constant simmer. Nuclear annihilation serves no interest. The Arms Race makes the power elite wealthy. In the nuclear age, the opportunist must never fall into fanaticism. Ruthlessness is another matter...
30. On International Media
National broadcast media is nothing new, but international new sources are a relatively recent phenomenon. Propaganda may now be disseminated to a world audience. A diverse international audience requires the broadest appeals possible. Living standards appear to work exceptionally well in the promotion of Global Corporate Consumerism. Despite Marxist and other rhetoric, crass materialism appears to have a very basic appeal. One cannot touch or possess the abstract. Espoused viewpoints are always in line with the interests of large media conglomerates. The opposition is relegated to elite avenues like the internet. Unfortunately, most of the world population has never made a telephone call. The well-educated egos will not admit an inability to digest endless bytes of blabber. In addition, only large media operations have the resources to translate their product. Smaller outlets are often more colloquial and therefore more confusing to other cultures. A Chinese citizen simply will not relate to the perspective of a North American Anarchist website. Western media outlets are more respected than domestic sources, controlled by authoritarian regimes, who have such a bad reputation for falsehoods that nobody believes anything they say. The situation becomes a matter of degree and perspective. Major American news networks may appear disingenuous to discerning North Americans and Western Europeans, while seeming like bastions of freedom of information to those who cannot even trust anything reported by a government controlled press. The marketplace has enabled the development of more sophisticated methods of propaganda dissemination compared to the less advanced methods employed previously. Because facts may be checked, while spin is debatable, truth is best bent or stretched rather than broken. After all, slant is largely a matter of perception rather than blatant dishonesty. Indeed, a large "free" press is nothing to be feared by the power structure. Their interests are the same because they are the same. Smaller sources are negligible and "too negative." The Capitalist West has discovered selling is better than shoving. Propaganda digests better. Just like any other purchase, the citizen calls it his or her own. Perhaps the opposition might learn a thing or two from its nemesis...
31. Concerning Religious Propaganda
Religious propaganda is particularly susceptible to backlash reactions. It may martial the faithful but also alarm others toward reaction. Certainly historical precedents have shown that appeals for holy war have been successful and extremely bloody. Of course, many such cries are simply appeals to circle the proverbial wagons in response to external threats. Who could really blame some religions for being paranoid? Jews suffered an attempt at genocide, and many Muslims feel the west is destroying their world. Although some calls for religious wars are simply vehicles for the opportunistic, almost all are painted in the same brush. The modern opportunist should avoid it. The basic difficulty with such propaganda is that it is really a remnant from another time, and hence unwieldy in the present age of maximum advantage. Religious calls for action are easily exploited. Anti-clerical sentiments may be directed toward a certain sect but are often applied to all regardless. God really is dead for those nauseated by all religions. The best religion may expect from unbelievers (although it may get more) is tolerance. The opportunist would be best advised to avoid religious rhetoric except for the purpose of vote-getting from suckers in a western liberal democracy. Religion bashing is another matter...
32. Tolerance v. Affirmation
Tolerance and affirmation are often used synonymously. Tolerance is a supposed virtue. Hence, tolerance must be affirmed through propaganda. It goes beyond deed. Intolerant thoughts are considered immoral. However, the technical morality is not really concerned with wrongness, rather efficiency. If one is tolerant toward others in day-to-day life, then one must be tolerant toward allied rogue nations who slaughter their populations, or one might not be tolerant at all... Avoiding racial strife is a technical virtue. Some idiocies are below even mediocrity. Senseless Racial conflict enriches few and impoverishes everybody. Specialists do not flower under blatant or legal discrimination, therefore the most skilled do not effectively develop and the system is poorer for it. The opponent is thus faced with a conundrum concerning maximum advantage in all things. The technical morality contains both good and evil, but only incidentally as justified by a balance sheet. Tolerance is dragged into many issues by propaganda and debased. Therefore those disagreeing with Israeli policy toward Palestinians (a view shared by some members of the Jewish community) are labeled as intolerant anti-Semites, even though Arabs are Semites too! Political correctness is another example, which cuts the heart from true debate and discussion, leaving only hollow rhetoric, and nothing really changes. (Is it any wonder many minorities hate white liberals?) Dogma may always be established for maximum advantage by taking something promising and squeezing it dry of substance. It will often spread like a wild fire, therefore requiring only minimal effort for maximum gain. Soon the tolerant, who actually live in multi-racial communities, become labeled as intolerant, whereas those living within the confines of segregated privilege are now tolerant. Indeed, these spoiled children actually believe it. Lip service becomes more important than action. Semantics change while society stagnates, and the rich maintain their power. The situation is like running on a treadmill. One works up a sweat while going nowhere. Idealism may always be twisted about for the maximum advantage of the status-quo. True tolerance is allowing others their due without undue hampering and erecting obstacles to opportunity as defined by the individual. True tolerance is respect. The current white liberal definition is a self-serving elitist lie. In a real revolution, these sort will be among the first against the wall...
33. Small minds always believe themselves to be otherwise.
34. Morality requires memory for comparison. Propaganda may always sway recollection.
35. A re-evaluation of values may be forced by insulting and attacking deeply held beliefs. However, the opportunist should be aware of the potential for the herd to stampede as it is most dangerous when threatened. Propaganda is about influence for maximum advantage, not control...
36. On Economic Values
i. Decadence may be expressed nobly or ignobly. Degeneration occurs on all levels but its expression may vary. The manifestations are often co-dependant with a need for a sense of shared belief, or a feeling of belonging. Decadent propaganda will often fatally infect its propagators. Both master and herd become united by the shared experience. All levels relate which creates a sense of equality. A little goes a long way. The past is enshrined. Events, like World War II, commemorate purity of motive. After an economic depression, the working class and the elite fought together. As a result of having survived those times, the World War II generation enjoyed a far greater amount of influence than other age groups and essentially controlled the national agenda for decades. Having fought for an empire, they weren't about to give it up lightly. Money is the binding agent. Once the wealthy could disregard the lower classes, but the world changed. Mass media didn't make anyone smarter, but it did make the world population more aware. The system required an implied approval. Only a few crumbs were required to appease the masses...
ii. The dollar is a symbol of obedience and acceptance. As long as one participates in the economic system, it does not matter whether one likes it. Once one works or owns that which has economic value, one has a stake in the stability of the system. Simply another profit opportunity, stagnation is an irrelevant concern. Economic bonds cannot be completely broken by any significant segment of the populace. The normative standards may be altered, but not broken. Standing military officers should never be allowed political power. Influence is uncontrollable, therefore the opportunist is best advised to promote money as power over all other standards. The quantifiable is less disputable. Maximum advantage requires maximum gain for minimum effort. It would not be efficient to directly terrorize the populace (not to mention foolhardy with so many guns floating about). The herd is best kept moving in the quest to get ahead. The American Dream is a powerful work of propaganda that requires checks and balances lest its promise get out of hand. An overly comfortable population has the potential to cause trouble. Some people just do not seem to find decadent diversions satisfying. Let them rebel but never revolt. A learned helplessness may be instilled by denying most to even contemplate alternatives. Hence, we work harder and longer than peasants and call ourselves free. Clutching dollars, we can be like gods chained to mountain tops. Indeed, some might prefer that sort of bondage. The opportunist may always supply a substitute...
iii. Uncertainty is despised by economists. While a fact of life for working people, instability is bad for systems. A truly stable and vibrant society would cut into the profit margins of monied interests. Stability is more efficient to promote than maintain. Hence, some systems become completely dissociated from reality and are lost. The entire culture moves toward the realm of the anti-natural. Decadence and nihilism are often the end result of a fatalistic mentality which sees no way beyond. If this is the pinnacle of the possible, then why bother? Economics are empty. The current path is not the only possible. Rather than pointing fingers, the opponent must acknowledge those lies lived...
iv. Money allows the inferior children of mostly rich white people to rule. These inbreeds have no loyalty nor sense of kinship beyond wealth, and have no clue how easily it can all be taken away. Terror and fear is an excellent means. Propaganda has convinced these idiots that they have something to fear. Behind gated subdivisions, locked away and removed from reality, these elite genetic throwbacks hide. Extremely weak, their views may be shaped. One must be willing to seize the reigns and not spare the noose...

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

On Propaganda and Advertising 13-24

13. On Victims
Other than the innocent or those fallen prey to circumstances, many victims have chosen their role by failing to overcome their defects. Just like the learned helplessness of a tortured dog, no other way seems possible. Hence, victim tailored propaganda need only appeal to the supposed need for protection rather than as a call to arms against an oppressive system. Hence, the static system remains unchanging and vested interests will never be threatened by those at the bottom. Both winners and losers see their role affirmed. Nobody would ever admit being held down by propaganda. It accordingly becomes an affair of choice.
14. On Trivialization
Mass media is particularly effective for over-espousing the usual and obvious. Paranoia may be either distilled or alleviated through these avenues by flogging dead mules. Even the deviant or unusual can be made normal by endless repetition. One sees endless stories concerning crime and concludes a necessity for an increased police presence. An old problem becomes a new threat. Children have always murdered. However, looking at the mass media one would be tempted to conclude this a new phenomena. Hence, the citizenry stays inside and passive while failing to see the reality outside their walls is not much different than before (whenever that was).
15. On Self-Deception
Many people prefer to view reality through the distorted lens of their own self-perception. Their own creations are valued as the highest of virtues. Propaganda can attach itself to these tendencies in leach-like fashion for all it is worth. The self-deceivers will never admit it were not their own reason.
16. On Religion
Like it or not, religion is a strong component of culture, and has evidenced real staying power. Faith is a strong attraction which even proves addicting to some, and any complementary appeals are extremely powerful up to the point of instilling fanaticism. General appeals often have wide exposure. The religious addict will respond to those utterances which appeals to the addiction. Immediate gratification is sought. The compelling voice must have the strong moral authority imparted by the pulpit, and is therefore limited in scope if not depth. Even the blatantly manipulative or ridiculous may be accepted by the religious addict when spoken by the priest, minister, rabbi, etc. For the faithful, a soldier of god may do no wrong, including stealing from the collection plate or molesting young children. (Of course, the blatantly anti-clerical will seize upon such transgressions for maximum advantage, including justifications for the liquidation of all clergy.) An agitated fanatic may even be willing to martyr themselves for the cause, thus proving the power and extent of propaganda. The most powerful lies are the enduring.
17. On Military Rebels
The military indoctrinates its troops to instill unit cohesion, obedience and efficiency. Loyalty is infused. Under fire, unity is crucial. Both crude and sophisticated propaganda techniques are employed to these ends. Those weeded out during the process are examples which strengthen the message. Once military service is ended, the returning soldiers will often remain faithful to the values imparted by the military. Few would admit they fought and died for a lie. Nonetheless, those former soldiers who do become disillusioned may be among the most dangerous rogue elements. The Oklahoma City bombing illustrates this point. However, their actions may still be negated (if not undone) by damage control and reactive propaganda. Even the most violent and dangerous enemies have their uses. Only massive violence on the scale of war accomplishes anything.
18. On the Police
Although the police force necessarily has paramilitary features, cops are not soldiers. Their function is to maintain internal order in the civilian population through the legitimate use of force. Their actions must be propagandized on a personal rather than global level. Crime must be shown as rampant to justify widespread and invasive repression of undesirable elements. In the land of the free, the world's largest prison population is proof of the success of such approaches. An increasingly isolated general population accepts the false reality of the television screen and barricades itself inside. Their blind, dumb acceptance will someday come home to haunt them. An opportunist will someday seize that moment.
19. On Micro-Propaganda
Generally, the term propaganda conjures imagery of mass manipulation. Its deployment may be directed toward small groups, as in Maoist China, but its target is the population at large. However, more sophisticated technologies and techniques have been developed which allow propaganda to be specifically tailored to small groups and even individuals. Essentially, an environment has been created where propaganda has become so persuasive and unquestioned, that a certain susceptibility exists within all. Yet none would admit it. The ego will not allow it. Hence, ready to be utilized and exploited for maximum advantage by the willing opportunist, certain triggers exist in large segments of the populace. Blatant manipulation is not always preferable or desirable. A little knowledge of applied psychology, minus the ethical component, is extremely helpful in the process of peering within and ripping apart that which is held most dear. Most targets will never admit it. The specifics will necessarily vary, but preying upon the fears and insecurities of others is generally the path of least resistance. Micro-propaganda is tailored toward specific targets and based upon on that which is already believed and encouraging any resultant misapprehensions. It isn't pleasant, but niceness is for the weak and stupid who deserve everything they get. The pain of others is always exploitable to maximum advantage by using the pre-placed or conditioned effectively. Coupled with isolation, cult programming is similar, although more obvious to outside observers, because the instilled doctrine is not societal in extent. The propagandist plays, rather than twists apart the susceptible. One cannot go to far against the grain. A life-long republican will never accept Marxist dogma and rhetoric, but may still fear the ramifications of unemployment in a capitalist society. Frame-of-reference is important. Micro-propaganda must be spoken in the same language of the target, often tailored to specific archetypal personalities without much difficulty. Basic motivations and interests are worn on the sleeve and easy to identify. Human beings are not that mysterious. Another approach involves the creation of verbal worlds, sometimes centered around the propaganda, which can then be pulled out from under the target like a rug with agitating results. Those stupid enough to care are easiest to destroy by such methods. Betrayal is so devastating, especially after being told it was all a lie followed by malicious laughter at the expense of idiots. The resultant disorientation will be emotionally charged, which is the entire point. The victim may even respond violently, thus offering the potential excuse of self-defense in a court of law... In any case, it works.
20. On Conditioning
Over time, behavior may be conditioned. Subtle propaganda is a powerful tool. Courser methods agitate faster, but the potential for backlash exists. These lessons have been learned through experience by public relations disasters like the Vietnam War. The glory of war died and will never return. From the standpoint of the opportunist, subject populations are better removed from the natural rather than having their nose rubbed in it. Chewing cud, the herd appears most content to passively observe events rather than take an active role. Life is complicated enough without contemplating non-immediate concerns. The abstract is less worrisome. In addition, sheer over-stimulation leads to exhaustion. A middle-ages peasant worked less, but few question whether progress is worth the price. One forgets, what one has never seen is never missed. Kentucky Hillbillies never knew they were poor before television told them so. The middle class works itself to death, but thinks itself superior because they have a longer life expectancy. How many would admit those extra years (and then some) are wasted in the yoke? Perhaps dying young and economically idle would be better. The opportunist will attempt to promote the opposite. So much is culturally conditioned by the sheer pervasiveness present in the marketplace. Unlike totalitarian states, a million opportunists constantly spread their propaganda, and almost all believe it the absolute truth. Some are just larger than others. Those controlling the resources are the winners and the victims of their own success. The present is the only conceivable reality. Fundamental change is unthinkable or wistful at best. Any major shift will eliminate those incapable of facing reality. A return to nature is never going to voluntarily occur. Society will be forced along a different path. Some dinosaurs will become extinct. The new barbarians will be freed and seek vengeance for a time. The herd instinct fears the prospect (with good cause). Anxiety caused by the fear of collapse is exploitable. Anarchy has become a dirty word tied to any destructive actions and used to justify the police state. What exactly is the thin blue line? The opportunist will always evoke such simple minded rhetoric, because it has proven effective. Meanwhile, the opposition often stupidly attempts an appeal towards reason and is completely ignored. Of course, no attempt is made to silence critics. No one is listening very hard. The spectacle is something far away. Respectable opponents are passive, reasonable and essentially impotent. Perhaps the opposition should adopt a new approach. Few have the motivation. Mitigation is impossible.

21. On Choice
The perception of choice appears to be emotionally satisfying. Bonds are best chosen. The actuality of is far less important than the feeling of control. Totalitarian systems will always suffer open discontent and periodic unrest by their insistence in suppressing choice. Their efficiency is a mirage. The American system could care less about the path as long as the ultimate destination is the same, and jails more than China to ensure it. Few care. The incarcerated deserve it. Indeed, the power system is strengthen by the legitimacy conferred. Although not without concessions, satisfaction is relative and manageable. Mandatory military service will not be seen for a long time, but high education costs will provide a ready recruitment base. Due to its anti-cyclical appeal, the military will always swell if needed during poor economic times. Voluntary World War II enlistment was not all about patriotism. Mutability is an essential requirement for stability or the appearance thereof. Leaders change, but their policies all have the same ends through (slightly) different means. Stability is prime. Simplistic Comparisons attract the lowest common denominator in all things. Happiness and fulfillment are defined from above by the state of the economy. More than two become many and proven through statistics thrown at a mathematically illiterate population. The target chooses to be passive and calls it his own choice. The propagandist enables the abstract impression of choice imprinted on a concrete world. All roads lead to the same destination. The opportunist exploits the results for maximum advantage in all things possible. The populace has made this choice and deserves the consequences. The organized opposition has made their choice as well, and nothing changes. The true opponent should ignore it all.
22. On Uniqueness and Unity
Every individual is unique but reducible by propaganda to lowest common terms. Language is the means. The pragmatic opportunist never discounts the power which reduces human beings to abstractions. Through conditioning, even the target will believe it. Language allows common ground for necessary social interactions, but propaganda goes a step further by promoting unity over all. In the United States, market capitalist media conglomerates provide the glue. Unity is never along class appeal. The rich are free. Anger is directed toward the front lines. The police force bleeds. The system which trains, outfits and condones their actions is made stronger. The camera lens distorts all. Does the soundbite suite or condition short attention spans? Over-stimulation is common; substance is not. Rendered ineffective by negation, very little need ever be officially banned. Official censorship just draws attention. Screams in a vacuum make very little noise. Silence invalidates. Common frames are conveyed and based on the cheapest appeals. Unity is achieved through common conditioning. The natural world is sidestepped. Those encapsulated know nothing else. Disagreement concerns detail. Even a minor voice, like a ballot, will keep most from ever stepping over the line. The remainder are the new barbarians pounding at the gates from whom the populace must be protected. Shifting patterns solidify. Only motion matters. Directions are nothing. Only the unity of the herd thundering mindlessly to and fro' remains. The opportunist scales a slight height to gain the advantage of view. Meanwhile, Mohammed looks down from the mountain and sighs...
23. On Ambition
Ambition is an esteemed virtue. Its virtue is maintained via propaganda by uplifting stories concerning those who made it through gumption and hard work. As if time and place never change, the circumstances are almost always left from the context. Consequently, the American Dream is a myth almost as large as progress. Most believe it. Comparisons may always be made with other systems. Fringe elements have no real power. All roads serve the power structure. Those streets are not necessarily one way. Violence, terror, intimidation and lies may be counter-acted by the same. Principles have no systemic consideration or legitimacy. The power structure cares about the ultimate good. In fact, the machine is not human and cares about nothing. Both revolutionaries and demagogues are a product. An overworked populations fears losing their hard earnings. Only the idle start revolutions.
24. Propaganda was developed out of opportunistic necessity to shape the formation of mass attitudes. Counter-action is more propaganda. Competing verbal worlds collide. All systems insulate. Vectors permeate all human and cultural interactions. Listening is conditioned. Propaganda shapes all. No shield exists. Decay may be hidden but not reversed by propaganda. Mutability is required. Worn messages fall on death ears. Zeal cannot be maintained indefinitely. Familiar enemies become familiar and less feared. A successful verbal world allows threats to be changed like a pair of socks and more easily forgotten. Optimally, response should be reflexive. However, the instantaneous is too much to expect. Generally, maximum advantage dictates less invasive methods except for agitation during crisis situations. Fundamental myths are simply assumed with total confidence in their validity. Details are fluid. Only definitions are debatable. Ignorance confers a certain mystical (if not magical) quality. The weak and lazy have always looked toward a higher power. Technology is more encompassing. Disbelief only applies to application. Only the delusional could be the equivalent of a technological atheist. Rejection is another matter. A bomb kills whether believed or not. Physical existence is simple to verify. One may not touch an idea...

Monday, September 20, 2004

On Propaganda and Advertising 1-12

Propaganda cannot be written about without writing propaganda. In any event, one should fully understand one's enemy...
1. On Rhetoric and Propaganda
i. Rhetoric may be defined as the art of persuasive and effective expression of language, which may or may not contain insincerity or pretense. This tool is utilized for maximum advantage in all things by the propagandist. For any work, style and structure are important considerations determined and dependant upon both the desired effect and the target audience. For example, self-identified intellectuals desire and respond to appeals to the intellect, and may be stroked like a cat to achieve the aims of the propagandist. On the other hand, a less well formally-educated target may require a more blunt approach. Job loss fears are easy means. Optimal efficiency is the primary consideration. Knowledge is essential for mitigation. Errors always provide fruit. Extreme situations require specificity in focus, and must be decisive. The rhetoric employed must leave no doubt of the speaker's verbal sincerity even when questionable. Even when knowing better, the most determined adversary will respect those whom seemingly believe what they advocate. Often prior propaganda will provide fertile ground for planting additional seeds to be utilized later on for the appearance of consistency. Base appeals are preferable by allowing raw emotion to be harnessed and exploited for maximum advantage. Being less susceptible to rationality, psychological triggers are most effective when manipulating "gut" emotional reactions. Despite outward appearances, unless intentionally agitating an adversary, the successful propagandist never goes against the grain. Allowing less energy to be spent for maximum effect, the path of least resistance is always preferable. The ingrained is always more comfortable. Prejudices and stereotypes utilize the least effort by virtue of proven reliability. Tailored to fit a certain personality type, additional methods include archetypal appeals. The advertising industry is built upon this practice. Of course, nobody ever believes themselves susceptible, only others. Multifaceted approaches operate like a drift net. Some fish may escape, but the bulk will not, and even these may be useful for spawning purposes. After all, the propagandist may always claim dissenters have a right to their opinion, thereby demonstrating a supposed willingness to respect opposing points of view. Outright falsehoods and blatant exaggerations should by avoided at all cost. Rather than employed as a hammer, lies should be like grains of sand. On a large scale, burying is more efficient than bludgeoning. Few targets will appreciate being played for a fool and stand for it twice. The best tools are willing. No matter how skillful the rhetoric, nobody trusts an exposed liar. Mistakes are opportunities. Lies are stupid. Rather, the optimal approach involves exploiting established myths and supposed truths which contain very little substance beneath their hollow shells. Progress is the best tool for the job. Nobody can define it, but all believe they know it when they see it. Even under technical standards, which may always be suitably redefined, the greatest lies are always open to interpretation. The propagandist is best advised to erect a thick facade of sincerity. The best building material is propaganda already present and accepted. Political campaigns almost always center upon deeply ingrained themes. Convictions are instilled by constant repetition. Sheer bulk exposure creates the impression of widespread concern. Extreme points-of-view are given attention far beyond import. In a society where money matters, the talent largely does what it is told. Sales and Ratings are everything. Resources are difficult to replace. The alternative press cannot reach a broad audience or largely appeal to top talent. Until the poorest communities are wired through public computing networks, minority appeal is submerged. Systemic solutions are invalid. The possibilities seem worse, because the present order glitters. A void is filled with wants rather than needs, an anti-natural situation, which validates the faithful through passive participation in unfolding events. The system validates itself. A need is supposedly fulfilled through rhetoric. None will ever admit their own ignorance of issues or impotence over world events. Besides control is exercised in other more immediate concerns. Only the jobless start revolutions. At present, the relatively well-off population is not generally starving (at least in urban areas) and kept busy one way or another. Like a shorn lynch-pin, an economic depression would prove disastrous. Only the insane would pull such a structure down prematurely. Are the deranged always wrong? Policy decisions require passive approval, and an advocate who appears sure of the course will experience less obstacles than those who waver. The opponent is the misguided. Compromise is maximum advantage where both win. Who can resist? The day will come, sooner or later, but not necessarily made to order. Propaganda will often facilitate acceptance among the passive or uncommitted. Those using its tools become the enemy. Few will admit it. Power beats even money. It must be earned. The age of kings is over. The shadow creeps across the land. If this economic system were to collapse, what will be the replacement? Debate is simply another avenue of support for the machine. Talk leads nowhere but allows a safety valve. Having been enshrined in law, the First Amendment is the most powerful myth. It may be abused. We see it all as good. One wonders if a corporation is a person. It certainly is not a human organism. Portraying opposing viewpoints as not credible through guilt by association is a common tactic. Mediocrity is rampant for one reason or another. Of course, it is never our fault. It just happens. Technique systematically creates such impressions by washing overboard and drowning true discourse. The opposition negates itself through its own contradictions. Many people simply do not belong in the present era. Being forced into avenues demanded by the modern age, these sort are removed and easily systemically negated. On the other hand, idealists are the blind by-products of the modern era, and are best dealt with by facilitating the creation of verbal worlds off-center from their idealistic intent. The commonalities exploited are based on language and symbol. Thought may be influenced. The pragmatist will always win over abstractions in a world of concrete concerns. Be sure to hand the idealistic just enough rope...
2. The world view espoused and created by propaganda utilized for maximum advantage has dual purpose. Targets must be capable of being agitated by conditioned trigger responses while remaining largely submissive. The populace must be capable of emotional restraint. Discontent must be re-channeled. The propagandist will often become caught in his own web. Personalities oriented towards control must subdue themselves first. Mouthpieces may ride the wave but will always be engulfed one way or another. Any challenger will always employ the same methods. Tools mold their users. Mediocrity does not have much imagination. The less perilous road is best traveled for Maximum Advantage. Generalities will not trap one as a fly in amber. Corruption is a mistake. Every scheme has its limits. Like a controlled blaze which becomes a wildfire, some measures should be pondered with care. Specifics are highly flammable. Supposed truths should remain hazy and vague enough to offer at least partial concealment. The inclusive provides the best cover. After all, most opponents will also inhabit such realms (or believe they do). Unity maintains systems for maximum advantage by seizing a middle ground for opportunists to further their aims and goals. An opportunist would be ill-advised in not seizing any double edged swords to avoid nullification by their consequences. Unless some honorable defeat is desired, a call to arms will only benefit the opportunist unless successful. Hence, in the United States, the power structure has chosen to exploit appeals to patriotism rather than outright crass nationalism. Benefits are insured even in defeat. The ideal lives and may be called upon in future conflicts including those against internal adversaries. Devotion may always be questioned. The concept of "Un-American" really has no exact counter-part, and cannot be compared with any mere nationalistic concept. This allows the power structure a security unseen in history without invoking religion or boring Marxist rhetoric. The absence of the present order is simply unimaginable by the great mass of the populations, rendering the remaining tiny minority essentially inconsequential or exploited as proof of its benevolence and need. Mutability is also another great strength. Cosmetic change does not alter the actual balance of power in any significant manner. Stagnation is death. Internal stability is achieved by a mix of the mythical and tangible. Policy is best enforced through acquiescence rather than police truncheons, and any rogue elements may be cast adrift, ensuring easy survival of the whole. The power structure will not always win, but will never loose. Even defeat in war, both internally and externally, changes nothing fundamental, only the window dressing. The air is dense and stagnant. A boil is simply never reached. The rational is used as a cloak. Fluidity is efficiency is survival.
3. On War
Obviously, propaganda may be utilized to whip-up nationalist and patriotic sentiments in support of war. Strangely, not one single individual would ever admit to ever being influenced by any propaganda. We all just happen to think that way. The ego would never admit or accept that kind of realization of malleability. All egos are inflated in a media-driven society. Despite its power, propaganda does have limits. Immunity does develop. Conscription is now a matter of last resort. A clash between verbal worlds and reality will ultimately prove fatal for the former. In an age which does not value loyalty for its own sake, propaganda may not erase the reality of brothers and sons being returned home in body bags for no good reason. However, the enemy is a different matter, provided the carnage is kept as abstract as possible. An entire population may be starved provided no one actually sees it. Any casualties inflicted by the enemy must be portrayed to appear as much as victims of terrorist acts. Only the deranged would dare challenge official policy. Death may always be exploited to maximum advantage in all things. Agitation is a fine art. Too much or not enough will backfire. The gulf war learned much from the experiences of Vietnam. War must be kept as unreal as possible. The ease is amazing. Lest they be crushed like insects, any contemplating armed insurrection had best keep this new reality in mind...
4. On thinking
The Information Age is the latest incarnation of progress. An informed citizenry believes itself to be free. Progress is defined by increasing freedoms. Similar to a heroin addict, the good citizen feels a drive or need for data, even though possessing none of the analytical skills to digest it properly. This weakness may be easily exploited to maximum advantage in a culture which allows the free dissemination of propaganda. Indeed, the citizen will even pay to be propagandized, allowing financial profit to be gained as a fringe benefit. The advertising industry was among the first to make this realization, and subsequently utilized artistic expression to those ends. In a supposed democracy different viewpoints are accepted, but more radical (or reactionary) viewpoints will often discover an uneven playing field. Their existence is tolerated to allow an outlet, much like a steam valve on a boiling kettle, lest the true status quo ever really be threatened by anything more than words, stupid crap like plastic-hippies beating drums, and damage of insured property. Note the nonexistence in western societies of politically motivated assassinations. Only the lone lunatic remains, easily exploited to maximum advantage in justifying the price tag of the police state. Maintenance propaganda is tailored for the broadest cross section of society by preying on the fears of cattle. The ideal of unity may always be promoted by the crassest of means. The supposed need for data stimulation provides the path of least resistance. Propaganda feeds the cravings of an intangible psychological addiction for data. The individual has an instilled need to feel connected through mass rather than personal communication. Hence, in a materialistic culture, the propagandist, unlike a drug dealer, is never blamed and need take no responsibility for the product and its effects. Thoughts are a commodity like no other, ensuring, at least, the partial co-option of any and all new ideas. The propagandist asks for the highest possible price, and often gets it. Indeed even counter-propaganda has the same effect by continuing to propagate and promulgate the system, thus ensuring the cycle of addiction will never be broken in a technological society.
5. On Decadence
Decadence is exhibited by cultural and social decline, and may be considered a manifestation of disorder in these systems. The ordered life begins to decline, leaving only progress. After all, the idealized and romanticized past would never have tolerated such things. Essentially, a symptom of increased isolation from the base physical world, decadence has many shapes and faces sometimes mistaken for something else. Rather than as an expression of apathy with the world, a skilled propagandist may portray such things as a sign of increased freedom and tolerance. The idle need something to occupy their time, and mental pursuits simply fall short in a materialistic culture. The isolated feel a need to be part of something. Appositional solidarity may be divided and conquered through enabling certain segments to be diverted by decadent pursuits. Some feel the need to be part of the spectacle. As long as vested interests are never actually threatened, indeed actually profit, cultural decadence will be allowed as a safety valve. No matter the effort, the organized opposition will never satisfactorily channel the energy of the decadent. However, they can be guaranteed to keep on trying much like an idiot driver who keeps gunning the engine of a car firmly stuck in the mud. Too many believe in 1960s folklore. Any serious questioners of the current order should not even bother. The decadent are mostly lost. The bond of kinship between opponent and decadent must be severed. The opportunist would be ill advised not to take note of any failures. Associations are among the easiest to exploit.
6. On Conflict
Propaganda is useful for simultaneously alleviating and aggravating conflicts. Emotions best simmer without going beyond the point of control. An entire world view may thus be created based on eternal conflict. Clash and conflict is ripe for exploitation via propaganda. Although the end result may be anti-natural by its complete refusal to deny the possibility of cooperation, it need not be decadent or nihilistic. It depends upon choices or lack thereof. A skilled opportunist will always apply braking mechanisms before reaching the anti-natural. Unfortunately, most are not so talented...
7. Fiction and Myth as Propaganda
Outright lies are best avoided at all costs. Truth may only be bent so far. Even sheep question blatantly false assertions. The world has moved onward. New concepts are required. Subtlety is longer lasting and more efficient than harassment. Lies are out. Fiction and myth are different matters. Fiction, especially when coupled with imagery, is often taken for granted as based on reality. The opportunist must always exploit these tendencies for maximum advantage in all things. Ronald Reagan was a master of these traits because he believed it himself. History has always been re-written by the slanted premises of the ruling elite and power structure but never so easily. Fiction is beyond moral and escape. Ready believers are easily found due to a lack of knowledge considering actual occurrences. How could it be any other way? Crime paranoia may be instilled by a constant barrage of actual, semi-fictional and completely fictional accounts of criminal atrocity. Hence, the greater population supports the world's largest prison industry and calls itself free. Fiction enhances credibility. For instance, science fiction allows billions of dollars to be spent on unworkable schemes like the strategic defense initiative (see Scientific American). Romance novels (and pornography) allow isolation to seem more bearable. After all, that prince (or princess) is just waiting around the corner. Comedy and tragedy have always been utilized to explore moral and ethical issues, but now instills value. The herd is moved by the drama of the stage and literature, all the while suspending disbelief and forgetting it is all just an elaborate (if entertaining) lie. Propaganda is strongest at these openings, especially when exploiting the prestige of their authors and actors.
8. On Reactionaries and Radicals
For the purposes of regimentation, human beings are individuals that must be shaped into a mass. In a supposed democracy, where individuality must be given lip service, a single propagandistic approach will necessarily appeal to some while alienating others. Therefore, competing approaches toward the same aim must often be utilized to ensure unity of purpose if not thought. As long as compliance is widespread it matters little what each individual thinks of it. In fact, this state of affairs is actually most desirable because it requires the individual to incorporate it within the personality and claim it for his own. The non-violent upon whom this approach fails are symbols of a tolerant regime which respects the rights of all to hold divergent opinions. As mentioned above, the violent remainder is crushed and used to justify the expenses of a democratic police state.
9. On Homogeneous and Non-Homogeneous Populations
Being less segmented, homogeneous populations are more easily unified. Lacking the inherent internal divisions of a mixed population, the focus may be directed inward toward supposed improvements and maximized efficiency. All challenges may be portrayed as external. In the case of non-homogeneous populations, internal divisions must be exploited and directed along lines which will not threaten the power structure. Hence, racial differences may be played against one another, whereas class divisions are best avoided, lest one uncorks the genie of class warfare by allowing commonalities to overcome differences. This assertion means absolutely nothing.
10. On Revolutions
Revolution means nothing except change. However, revolution has still managed to maintain some of its mystical connotations. The opportunist will attach these even to the smallest alteration in circumstances, and exploit the result to maximum advantage in all things. Dissent may even be suppressed for a time by a resulting "wait and see" attitude. It might even be true. Revolution may also be coupled with the myth of progress to portray very little as something momentous. Lacking any concrete meaning or definition, any desire for radical change may be blunted by tossing a few insignificant crumbs to feed the birds until the next cycle of discontent. Else why bother?

11. A Warning for Opportunists
A successful propagandist is not necessarily immune to his own craft. Propaganda vectors effect and infect beyond intent. Even if the propagandist does not believe the actual content of the message, the cause may be a different matter, even in cases where pure power is the only motivation. After all, the propagandist must believe in their right or necessity to rule. Propaganda is an inevitable by-product of mass culture and may not be eliminated without its demise. One way or another, all involved are a product of that environment, including and especially its most ardent and vehement critics.

12. On Apologists
Apologists are a strange breed plagued by the guilt of actions they themselves did not personally commit. Their actions are similar to the Christian atonement for perfectly natural actions. The past never ends. The victims are kept in place by reduction. All actions are made equivalent. Hence, the social environment remains static and exploitable to maximum advantage. Being based upon the past actions of others, often long dead, the divisions thus created are artificial. Hence, nothing ever changes. Perhaps the minds of those living in the past are affected by a sort of twisted nostalgia fixated on the negative rather than the usual idealizations more common among the narcissistic. This requires a higher structure to prevent any possible reoccurrences, and its authority will never be questioned by apologists. Eventually, even myths are created to justify the need. In all, the innate evil of human beings is stressed, over the offenders being sad products of their time. As a result, the opportunist will always find the apologist most malleable. The opponent should view these sort as bullet stoppers.

Sunday, September 19, 2004

Spanish Civil War poster 2. Posted by Hello

Chinese Propaganda poster. Note the background. Posted by Hello

Friday, September 17, 2004

Thursday, September 16, 2004

Thanks for the postcard. Posted by Hello

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

US World War II Enlistment Poster. Posted by Hello

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

An insult to chimps. Posted by Hello

Monday, September 13, 2004

Sunday, September 12, 2004

Meaningless Data

1. On Information Manipulation: a Warning

The importance paid informational access is over stressed in relation to the actual ability to digests its significance. Data, taken out of context, lacks meaning and leads to erroneous assumptions regarding absolutes. Machine algorithms do not think. The computer has been marketed as the savior of the technological society. Instead, the computer skews balance by encouraging blind acceptance of the mountains of often meaningless data, disgorged by electronic media and absorbed by consumers. An opportunist would be ill-advised not to exploit those so limited as to believe being buried alive means freedom. Public education stresses operation over enabling students to actually question validity. Questions are kept to facts. Intuition is a threat. Idiots are allowed free reign. This situation progressively worsens by increased reliance of computers in the classroom. Interpersonal skills and intellectual ability are compromised by the lack of human interaction in understaffed schools. A computer cannot think, or respond creatively. However, computers are cheaper and less demanding than real teachers. A computer does not strike, or require medical benefits. Computers are easier to discard and replace. Meanwhile, the wealthy mostly send their children to private schools, which actually educate. Public high schools have become adolescent daycare centers. Rote memorization is no substitute for actually learning and stimulating thought. One must know the right questions. The educated elites generally understand the situation, but few have motivation or wish their positions compromised to upset the status quo. The system provides nicely for those people. Why bite the hand that feeds? Informed decisions prevent one from becoming a tool. Instincts can be valuable, but sometimes logically flawed. True education and life experience enable one to tell reality from fallacy. One must understand self-motivation and knowledge to successfully combat emotional manipulation. This could be considered the antitheses of docility. The chains that bind are made of bits and bytes of meaningless data. One must know more than just to question. Blind questioning is the providence of rebels. A rebel is only a slave with delusions of freedom. Rebellion might offer fertile ground for independent thought, but most rebels are mere tools to those they despise. Rebels have always made effective examples. Their nullification keeps the herd in line. Effort must be expended beyond revolt. Thought is required for true progression. One must consider the practical. Idealism is the dead-end prevention of substantive change. Fluidity does not come easily to a society made rigid by the dictates of herd-morality.
An old cliche states "truth is subjective." Those truths applicable to oneself must be determined, along with those greater. The definitions may be supplied externally. The individual must learn and acknowledge those greater truths, thereby determining their own place in its scheme. Powerlessness must be seen and dealt with accordingly. Most just turn a blind eye. Lacking context, information may be manipulated to ensnare those unwilling or unable to determine its uses. Gains and loses must be appropriately assessed for accurate conclusions regarding content. Forced reliance upon interpreters must be resisted on every level. Corporate media is a mouthpiece for capital interests, and will always reflect this stance. Sounding educated does not make one intelligent. Discourse is often the path to truth. Its divisive effect is uncontrolled and therefore discouraged by those with something to lose. An objectionable or even repugnant notion may stimulate far greater than the comfortable or agreeable. Of course, this should not be confused with agitation techniques employed by propaganda. One must question oneself, or be content with fear and ignorance. Unfortunately, academia is among the worst places to look for guidance. Cloistered, pretentious and even parasitic, academia is dogmatic to the extreme of stupidity. Doctorates are all products. Generalization is frowned upon and esteemed less than compartmentalized specialization. Linkages remain unseen or are ignored, resulting in incorrect or incomplete conclusions. Big money has invaded academic circles, thereby directing its course and encouraging ignorance beyond the unprofitable. The arrogance is also sickening: academia digs its own grave. Their increasing irrelevance is amusing.
Knowledge is valuable when utilized alongside wisdom and insight for properly understanding its significance. Misplaced information leads to a poorly substituted refuge of lies and egotistical projections. Limits are created where none exist, such as the political spectrum and laws. Blind adoption binds one in chains. Exploitation is easy. The fleeting false path is best left untrodden. The enemies of self-determination will eventually begin to believe their own lies, and wither by their power. The battle may be won without lifting a finger. The self will overcome the dictates of herd and authority by discovering its own truths. Morality rarely has the best interests of anything beyond the herd. Passivity over independence; equality over individuality; acceptance over thought; stagnation over advancement; indeed, death over life are its dictates. These abominations may be resisted easily by an act of will, then vanquished. Freedom is thinking: let that be your light through the darkness. The dawn will reveal little substance, for most power derives from instilled belief with little basis. The desperate remainder, failing this task, will be easily dealt with one way or another, by those who have seen night fall and the day break.

2. Technology dulls the intellect and facilitates the lowest common denominator by several means. First, the species is isolated from the base physical world. The anti-natural has superceded the natural by its allure of security and comfort. The weak survive. This state may not always be maintained, and could lead to unpleasant consequences for those unable to cope with anything else. Second, the playing field is leveled. The exceptional are made equal with the mediocre. Striving has become equivalent with surviving. Both are weakened in this process, by confusing the aims and goals. Third, technology provides a medium for dissemination stimuli with little or negative value. A million theatrical deaths discount the reality, thereby making it both palatable and potable. Anything may be reduced to its market value. The above three arguments may be only slightly restated, regarding politics or Christianity. Both have been the subject of past wars. Will technology be the scapegoat for future conflicts? Perverted by the anti-natural, warfare is the process of natural selection among the human herd animal by ensuring the strong will always weaken and thereby eventually become superceded. Removing causes would not end war. New justifications would arise or be created. In mass, humans are cyclically violent. Of course, the elimination of the herd might be an entirely different matter. We really like killing each other, but the instincts regarding war might be lessened in scale (if not intensity). Feuding is less nauseating. Physically killing someone is far more personal than collateral damage. One must have the courage to face, even embrace, their own destructive drives. The herd mentality would have no influence over such individuals. Heroes are no longer needed, only created for propaganda purposes. The genuine article needs returning in every thinking individual, rather than servile machines. Extinction is a deserved potential for those failing this task.
Refuse to be a lemming!

3. Pity those who speak with another's voice; feel sorrow for those heads filled only with the thoughts of influence; mourn for wasted potential; never trust. These types are dangerous tools, not unlike a spinning saw blade. Their reasoning abilities have been discarded, and may be manipulated even against self-interest and preservation. In fact, numbers should be exploited for maximum advantage: six of one, half dozen of another. Their choice has been the herd, but the ends can differ. Their conditioning is fertile ground for those possessing proper means and methods. Those seizing upon populist notions have an inkling of the technique. Greater success requires more contempt. The individual must learn the skills for resisting and even employing propaganda. Social conditioning is just another term for long range propaganda susceptibility; a preconditioning for the actual goals. Any image must mirror the original for greatest acceptance. New notions or fads may be required to overcome inertia. Familiarity will receive less critical attention, and may be unconsciously absorbed. Cosmetics and semantics are crucial. Short attention spans will increase the likelihood. The idea will be regarded eternal. A seed of doubt may be planted to weaken both state and herd. Popular ideals can be vivisected in the same manner the opposition was refuted. Glass may prove more valuable whole than smashing it. Destruction can be satisfying!
Similar approaches have largely failed by becoming co-opted by selling out to big money interests. A new trend will simply be bought. The old will not be considered worthy of such attention, only existing in its background niche. The highest bid is not always the best. Capitalism provides avenues for which Soviet dissidents would have bartered their souls. One must understand promotion and saturation for maximum advantage in all things.

4. Computers can be an important and useful tool. Care must be taken to avoid seeing more than a binary sequence of 1s and 0s. The motivations and gains expected by the programmers warrants questioning. Their failings are another important consideration. Even the best simulations are incomplete. Besides mathematics (usually unapplied), computer literacy curriculums emphasize only operation and programming languages. Understanding is crucial, but the question seems forgotten. The computer should be regarded akin to a hammer. Use both wisely.

5. Officially sponsored rebellion is the market response to unsanctioned rebellious impulses. Profit may be gained by this approach. Art students are employed. Musicians are kept busy. Otherwise, official rebellion accomplish little. Unfortunately, unapproved rebellion serves to create new trends. Opposed to mere defilement, true power is refusing to acknowledge imposed constraints and limitations. A law is made to be ignored, not broken. This notion may prove unsettling for some. Authoritarian sentiments operate both ways: some people crave domination. As an example, mainstream environmentalism views the planet as a series of loses and gains. Dissatisfied with lukewarm moderation, monkeywrench environmentalism seeks the further step, such as destroying logging equipment and torching research facilities, thereby making these operations unprofitable. Despite its charms, such actions generally lead nowhere. The perpetrators are arrested and criminally portrayed. Their crimes are made examples, and their damage is covered by insurance. A false conclusion is promulgated: the opposite of criminals must be supported, lest anarchy prevail. False cognition is rampant. Instead, let the car rust on its own while building with stone. Inaction destroys. The planet will survive humanity. Conservation and other delaying actions only encourage the same old consumptive patterns. Aluminum cans will not disappear from landfills. Some future enterprise will mine the trash. Altering the old will only prolong the inevitable. The mechanisms for shaping events are only useful for combat, not peaceful change, and their uses have already been determined. Forging new tools will only make the job harder. The path of least resistance is taken for optimal effect. Either way, passive or active destruction will strike those who deserve it.

6. On linear thinking:

For any system, the sum of its parts is different from the whole, not merely greater. Fallacies adopted by linear thinking result in failure to comprehend complex systems. Linear (or very simple non-linear) systems exist almost exclusively on paper. The remainder are special instances of a more general case. Except for very simple cases, mathematically, a system with more than two interacting bodies has no exact solution. Values are always approximate and dependant upon method. Larger systems produce perturbations. Superposition will only simplify linear cases. Conspiracies rarely succeed for this same reason. A maxim for power: events must be reacted to appropriately and exploited for maximum advantage. However, the illusion of conspiracy can serve a useful mask for inadequacies and portrayal of greater power. It's simple to claim responsibility after the fact. An image has been promoted equivalent to reality. The territory is not the map. One may exploit those failing to see otherwise, which is basic advertising principle. Linear thinking sells by reduction. Acceptance is a learned response become automatic. This cornerstone may be undermined. The population will not be educated. Most do not wish to listen. Simply use that which has been provided to different ends. Carpe Diem.
One might choose following general trends to their obvious conclusion, then insert its undoing or undermining. Be mindful. The longer lasting trends are most entrenched and difficult to influence. Random variables may intercede. One may see the proverbial forest, but the details may prove elusive. At this time, too few possess breadth. The whole is lost. Larger trends, including deficiencies in one’s opponents tools, should serve as a guide for effective action. Victory is always dependant upon resources. Rigidity must be avoided, while celebrating uncertainty. Delusions are for tools. Manipulation is easy. Even a simpleton can create propaganda. The system is vulnerable and can be brought down. The fall can be directed. The ease may prove laughable.

7. A Short Lesson:

The map is not the place; the place is not the map. Fluidity in thought and opinion are important, but only when worthwhile. Symbolism can obscure truth. The image has been promoted over substance: so be it.

8. Crackdowns are the result of policy decisions and past indecision, which often betrays weakness. Panic becomes bureaucratically manifested. Once the media spotlight has been lifted, remaining repression may prove a useful indicator of the extent the power elite are teetering. Too stupid, the upper classes are unable to determine cause. Only recognizing effect, these sort blindly stumble about a dark room. Their own beliefs are so often affirmed, by those paid to do so, that reality is obscured. Euphemisms, statistics, lies and delusions are employed to ease impact. The first gulf war was an “operation”. Their media shows no peace demonstrations, therefore acceptance is universal. The unemployment rate is real. War is sanitary. Deaths are only theatrical. Arabs have no reason to hate the United States. The 9-11 hijackers were Iraqi. Ordinary Iraqi love the U.S. It’s not about oil. The U.S. could easily beat the North Koreans. The economy is “in a jobless recovery.” We live in a democracy. “My ass is too fat,” rather than “I’m a parasite.” Everything else is fluffy and warm. The present is eternal.
The corporate-government propaganda machine always play to their numbers. Since, in a capitalist society, everything boils down to money, then everything else boils down to figures. This fundamental error is among the greatest flaws in modern thought (or what passes for it). Never before has unity been so diffuse, nor mentalities so grossly similar in self-interested mediocrity. The players are too caught up in self absorption. The actors are now living their roles. The world is a prop. The curtain will fall.
9. Never permit or allow the trains to arrive on time. Efficiency is the enemy of personal empowerment. Singapore anyone?

10a. On Military Propaganda and Civilian Order:

Televised warfare makes the remote horrors of war accessible, though surreal. Killing is trivialized by transforming three-dimensional life into a two dimensional image. Still, cameras do have an impact for the opposition by bringing the war home. Perhaps the audience may still relate to those familiar components. Military censors have learned to limit graphic content on a personal scale (unless highlighting a supposed enemy atrocity), while emphasizing bombing runs (which appear like advanced video games). Only indoctrinated reporters are allowed full access. The corporate media colludes to present the desired image. The aftermath is further limited to enemy surrenders and toppling monuments to megalomaniac. Positive photo opportunities measure success. The corporate media never shows footage of American troops gunning down civilians. The domestic civilian population becomes desensitized to official brutality on all levels by bulk exposure of limited content. Reading is required to dig deeper. The over-worked do not have the time. Many products of public education do not access or have the skills to discern credibility. One dead enemy soldier is pretty much like another. Eventually, even dead Americans cease to matter. Direct experience is lacking. Cops are supposed to beat prisoners. Unity is promoted by lowest common denominator jingoistic drumbeats and everyone can feel good about killing. Techniques are constantly improving. The propaganda mill learns from past mistakes. Vietnam will be the last public relations disaster. In addition to being handed the 9-11 attacks, the “War on Terrorism” is much more sophisticated. This campaign reflects fear. The Iraq War, a separate sub-campaigns, is vulnerable because it made tangible promises, like Iraqi glee and massive stockpiles of banned weapons. The financial cost was not admitted. Political propaganda is always second-rate compared to the propaganda of the machine. In this age, politicians do not create lasting verbal worlds. They like the sound of their own voice too much. Victories must be quick and limited to appear decisive. The first Gulf War was the result of an efficient war machine. The second gulf war is the anti-thesis of efficient. The regimes handling of Iraq is laughable. Politicians cannot do the job of technicians. In a technological society, political supremacy is an indicator of systemic breakdown. Cultural turbulence is spawned by the stupidity of leaders. As a class, leaders are best negated by their own actions. Propaganda specifically facilitates control, and extends beyond immediate uses. It influences, but does not create.

10b. After the Vietnam war, the military finally regained acceptance by being blurred with the increasingly militarized police. They became police while being trained for the ultimate war. The War on Drugs is fought with actual troops. (We all can agree how successful that has been.) Mass Murderers are hunted down by the military. The ruling elite miss the good old days of the cold war. Finally, like mana from heaven, the tragic deaths of September 11 were exploited to maximum advantage in all things. A light martial law decree was enacted with the USA PATRIOT Act, which allows the government to spy on civilians and detain American citizens without trial except by military tribunal. Immigrants from Muslim countries are being detained just like the Japanese during World War II. Never again has come again. Few member of congress even bother to read fascistic legislation before casting their votes. The U.S. Congress has abdicated, and weakened the federal courts and the states in the process. Drunk with power, the regime took a big step towards outright fascism. The Oklahoma City Bombing was an opportunity, but the World Trade Centers were a bonanza. A society dulled by diversionary stimuli may be easily traumatized by media saturation. Too many tuned into the nightmare. Too few turned it off. The frightened more readily accept the police state. Many simply enjoy being dominated. Policy had already been crafted to exploit the inevitable. A foreign group was eventually going to attack the U.S. mainland. The population only cares about itself. The same methods developed and employed during the cold war have been turned to other, more immediate uses. Propaganda is freedom! Stalin's KGB would be proud, even while superceded. The secret police are unnecessary in the streets. A wounded population stays indoors. In 2002, people on the west coast believed themselves in danger from the actions of the Washington D.C. sniper. Meanwhile, the opposition only squabbles over its piece of the greater lie. Nothing concrete exists to rise above, only ideals and economics. The likes of Robert Oppenheimer will never be seen again, only unfairly accused dupes like Leonard Peltier. Status above and beyond the childish whining of privileged children will not be found in a decadent society. Those sorts deserve a bullet, but their position ensures the opposite. Meanwhile, the rest rot. Control is easy to maintain without significant opposing leadership. Figureheads make good target practice. The best and worst are made equal when nothing exists for which to fight. Pre-packaged superficialities only deserve a tired yawn. The underlying support structure is another matter. One must see under the shiny veneer. The satisfaction alone is worth the trouble. Empty alternatives mean nothing. The party line is only so much tinsel. The sublime path is following ones own destiny, not cheering celebrations of slaughter. The enemy’s propaganda is worth ignoring, thereby putting its purveyors out of work. Their kind deserves and requires obsolescence, just like their jack-booted forbearers.

1995-1997, 2003