Friday, December 14, 2007

It Is A Wonder We Can Think At ALL

Kiernan Healy, over on CrookedTimber dot com, bemoans the slow, steady creep of "anti-History" into the prose he reads from undergrads. In particularly, he is (gently) exercised by the appearance in student papers of referrences to Iraq's participation in the 9/11 attacks. Quoting a commentor:
I have now received three (3) student papers that discuss Iraq’s attack on the Twin Towers on 9/11. All three papers mention it as an aside to another point. I’ve had two papers on the virtue of forgiveness that argue that if we had just forgiven Iraq for the 9/11 attacks, we wouldn’t be at war right now. I just read a paper on the problem of evil which asked why God allowed “the Iraq’s” to attack us on 9/11. The thing that upsets me most here is that the the students don’t just believe that that Iraq was behind 9/11. This is a big fact in their minds, that leaps out at them, whenever they think about the state of the world.
I'd flunk any student who floated such a piece of shit over my desk, but that apart, I replied:
The People of the United States have been the targets of the largest, most expensive, longest, most sustained, most extensive, most permeating, most cynical propaganda campaign ever undertaken in the history of Humanity.

It began in earnest in the early years of the last century, with the work of Freud’s favorite nephew, and the man—incidentally—who coined the phrase “the manufacture of consent,” Edouard (“Edward”) Bernays, Sigmond Freud’s favorite nephew and, when the old man was in the States, his amenuensis. It has continued unabated for close to 100 years. Bernays appropriated the old man’s ideas, wholesale, and wove them into the fabric of both ‘industries’ in which he as a major figure: ADVERTIZING, and the ‘field’ he is credited with founding, PUBLIC RELATIONS.

In the meantime, in the last 30 years, civic education has declined to the point of invisibility, while the schools bent every effort to ‘teach’ students to be willing, passive, uncritical consumers of media, especially television.

We may well despair for the fate of the country when we see such examples of propagandized ‘thinking,’ but really, we should be grateful, if not happy, that it isn’t more wide-spread than it already is (though there is no reason to believe it will not become so).
The trend is irreversible, of course.

1 comment:

Dirk Gently said...

the iraqs was prolly all hopped up on steroidals.