Wednesday, July 23, 2014
It's A Brave New World at ABC while NBC is chasing the Running Man
Aldous Huxley picked a great title for his book, A Brave New World that anticipated a slogan that propagandists can't resist. But of course his novel explained some of the methods an authoritarian government might use to indoctrinate their people; so the last thing spokesmen for such a government might want to do is draw attention to it by using this phrase, especially if they're using many of the same tactics described in the book or slight variations.
According to a Guardian article A Brave New World is among top 10 books some Americans most want banned. The reason given is sexually explicit material; however I suspect that some people are far more concerned about the political discussion and that some people might recognize similarities with what is going on in the media and the political establishment. This Saturday, for one reason or another, one of the pundits on the Morning show at ABC used the phrase when discussing whatever obsession of the day they were covering; then they quickly went into one of their bad jokes and everyone started giggling which is what they do almost non-stop on morning shows now.
I don't know how many people noticed but I suspect that they will avoid repeating it too often if they want to avoid drawing additional attention to it although they might not want to let people know why they would do so.
In A Brave New World the way they keep the majority complacent is to keep them happy when they can and they teach them at an early age to hate books and like many authoritarian books they heavily restrict access or ban books. In the modern world they don't quite ban books but they do everything they can to keep people distracted and they seem to be mixing up whatever method they can to keep people distracted and going along with the program of the political establishment by using what ever method they can including some from other classics as well, including The Iron Heel, by Jack London and, of course, Orwell's 1984; which is often compared to A Brave New World.
With consolidated control of the press and publishing companies it is extremely rare where anyone can get anything even close to the quality of these classics published anymore and even rarer for them to get much if any publicity if they do manage to get something published. Some of these books, including A Brave New World, describe how the political establishment conducts research into how to manipulate the public and convince them to go along with the program and in the real world they do just that but it isn't, by it's strictest definition entirely conspiracy, because it isn't completely secrets. As I discussed in several previous posts, including Political Psychologist Are Suppressing Democracy there is an enormous amount of research published in the academic and political world that is rarely ever mentioned to the majority of the public, or at least not in a manner that would enable them to avoid being manipulated.
This doesn't mean that there isn't additional aspects of it that does involve conspiracy; there clearly is. They routinely indicate that they do an enormous amount of psychological research which they consider proprietary, which means secrecy may be protected by law, in some cases. This clearly fits the definition of a conspiracy and even though they don't explain all of their activities they can't hide the results which are clearly incompetent if they want to inform the public in the most effective manner possible and they're also clearly manipulative so it isn't hard to figure what some of their manipulation tactics are designed to do.
One of the most effective manner they use now seems to be to entertain us by attempting to keep us glued to our TV watching true crime stories that are clearly done more to hype the truth and manipulate emotions and of the three major networks NBC seems to be the most effective at that with Dateline, To catch a predator and many other shows although they do their share of attempting to keep us watching with non-stop giggling at bad jokes in the morning and the other shows do their share of using crime to keep us watching; if there is one that does a better job with non-stop crime coverage it is probably Headline News with three consecutive hours of demagogues demonizing the crime du jour.
One of the few relatively new books that does describe authoritarian methods is The Hunger Games Suzanne Collins and it was also on the list of top ten books that people tried to ban along with Nickle and Dimed which is non-fiction and exposes Wal-Mart's practices among other corporations. Before that was Stephen King's The Running Man where chasing game contestants is part of the entertainment to keep the public glued to the television for entertainment purposes.
Anyone that rely s on the movie version of this starring Arnold Schwarzenegger might not realize how close the book, which was much better, comes to modern reality, although even it is an exaggeration, perhaps only a slight exaggeration. In the book the majority of the public were poor and barely got by and the best opportunity to raise funds was to enter "the games" where they supposedly offered a big reward for anyone that could survive a chase which was in the public streets, unlike the movie version where it was in an enclosed studio. The public was encouraged to call in and help hunt him down.
Whether it was the book or the movie it turned out that the government didn't keep their promises for a potential reward if they won and they were just used for entertainment purposes to keep the rest of the public cheering on while the government hunted down poor people who entered the games.
The fictional version may seem horrifying and too exaggerated to be true but the real version which is true isn't much better and they continue using poor people for entertainment purposes and it is luring in an enormous amount of people.
And in the real version many people almost certainly don't realize that they're being manipulated and that the next person that could be used for entertainment purposes could be them.
Ironically the people that find this entertaining, in many cases could be the most likely to be used for entertainment purposes and in some cases they actually volunteer for it at least when it comes to being participants in shows like Jerry Springer or Jenny Jones. Amazingly the manipulations tactics on the Jenny Jones show managed to incite a murder when a gay man told an associate that he had a crush on him and three days later killed him. There was a law suit which followed and the family of the deceased was awarded $25 million, but that decision was later overturned by the Michigan appellate court which ruled that the producers were not responsible for what happened to the guests after their appearance on the show.
Amazingly the use of people being manipulated by the media for entertainment on a trash show turned into a real life drama where someone really was killed for entertainment or something way to damn close. The media wasn't held responsible due to court rulings that overruled a jury system and the show wasn't canceled because of the law suit but because of ratings.
The justification to censor many of the books including the Brave New World, 1984 and the Hunger Games is often sex scenes or at least that is the reason presented by the media but the bigger problem is that they all might expose manipulation tactics, which they don't want to admit or draw additional attention to this might have been especially true about the Running Man but they seem to have used different tactics to avoid drawing attention to it.
When it first came out in the eighties it seemed like just another horror story but thirteen years ago the last thing the media might have wanted to do was draw attention to it because in the book version at the end its tanks were still better than a quarter full.
So they just ignored it and it seems to have worked better than trying to ban it.