Friday, September 08, 2006

"The Path to 9-11": A Paradigm of Propaganda


What "damage" can the broadcast of the ABC/GOP "crock-u-mentary" (as someone on Eschaton aptly labeled it this morning) actually do, apart from the personal affronts to the named personages therein portrayed?

For all practical purposes, most of such damage as was going to be done is done already: the exculpating meme (Clinton guilty, Bush innocent) is "OUT THERE" once and for all. It has become part of the vernacular of the politics this year and into the future. In progaganda terms, the effect is complete. Such genies never return to their bottles.

Ellul 50 years ago explained how to identify the targets of propaganda: recognize those who have the most at stake in believing it. More interesting, imho, therefore, is asking "in whose interest does the meme operate: whom does it exculpate?"

In order to believe in the exculpation it provides, one must, I think, be already feeling a certain amount of guilt or remorse for some previous behavior for which the meme provides exculpatory relief.

By (apparently) "blaming Clinton," the film would be exculpatory for the Bushevik regime, of course. But the film isn't aimed at that audience. The WhiteHouse, even the Regime in toto, does not constitute either a reliable enough or a large enough population to justify this extraordinary feat of internal agitprop.

This suggests to me that, therefore, the intended audience for the film is a group of citizens who may be experiencing some uncomfortable remorse in the face of several (already enumerated) 'inconvenient truths' regarding the conduct of Busheviks whom those voters installed and (ostensibly) retained in and returned to the offices of power.

In this case, I'd suggest the behavior is the exculpee's willing, inadvertent, or blind culpability in the deeds done by the Busheviks in the aftermath of the IX/XI events, the cumulative affront of which is the very reason for the requisite propaganda coup in the first place. The film offers a way for the credulous and the morally crippled to rationalize what has since happened in their names, in Afghanistan, in Iraq, in Lebanon--and in New Orleans--the deeds they sanctioned and approved and that they have supported, but which might now seem to have been intemperate, or inhumane, even illegal. If responsibility for IX/XI debacle can be affixed to those whom the Busheviks (for whom the culpable voted) supplanted, then their choice to vote for the Regime looks better and better, more moral and therefore less susceptible to reform.

PT9/11 is not directed to, or even necessary for, the troglodytic 30%-ers who are Bushevik loyalists to the (illogiical) core. This confection of half-truths, fabrications, and outright lies is aimed right at the "Heartland," where support for the regime it seems might be wavering.

The remaining damage STILL to be done resides is in the possibility that--unwitting or conniving--teachers may require that students watch the show and then provide the Scholastic 'study guides.' If a teacher assigns the program for 'homework,' the student will be obliged to watch it at home, likely with some other members of the family...

(Or (if it could be) worse, if teachers WITHOUT A WIDE AND DEEP UNDERSTANDING OF THE FACTS AND THE ISUES (and most teachers i know have only so much room in their schedules for obsessions with middle-eastern politics and dynamics) arranges for an in-class screening and blindly follows Scholastic's pedagogical schema without knowing the framework for asking meaningful questions.)

On the whole, though, the meme is already abroad on the land, yet another rough beast slouching toward jerusalem, waiting to be born...

N.B.: I composed--and will now post--the majority of this as a comment on a discourse.net thread. Also: the image atop this post I shamelessly ripped-off from Atrios.

3 comments:

Eli said...

It also gives Republicans and their sympathizers additional appeal-to-authority backup: "It was in a documentary on TV, so it must be true! Clinton totally didn't do squat about terror because he's a dirty fornicator!"

charley said...

there's a back story to this. which is it must have been orchestrated with the white house.

tinfoil aside, it just seems "so well timed"

i watched a good bit of it last nite, it sucked, but one theme prevailed, the president must be able to spy, and be willing to use torture.

charley said...

woody has spam.

you'll want to read this, or perhaps you have.

The next day, Horowitz reposted his 2004 manifesto holding Clinton responsible for 9/11, explaining that, "With tonight's premiere of the ABC-TV movie The Path to 9/11, the truth [sic] impact of the Left's policies in bringing about the nation's worst terrorist attack is finally coming to light."

i watched about 75 percent of it. i actually liked the ending. great drama, if not 9/11 porn. i saw nothing about gwb's obvious fuck ups in the affair.