by lefever on November 17, 2010
(…in leading the mind?)
[FBA note from JWL: I have found it important to realize the power images play in the different hands that use them – and to understand the world a bit better, it is crucial to see what is otherwise innocuous to a contemporary capitalist living in any industrialized/technological consumer driven society regardless of one’s spiritual beliefs. Culture here is worth examining in light of what it is we receive and why, not necessarily to adopt the means, but perhaps to see it as a negative, perhaps contrary to the positive call of creating an original culture that leads to a different set of values – or not – but certainly, if one was asleep, perhaps this is a wake-up that may stimulate our discussions on culture, consecration, etc.,]
By Edward Bernays
(The following review was found – we do not know the original source – a search reveals that bits and pieces of it are all across the web in book reviews)
The first lines: “The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country.” This was written in 1928. This nephew of Sigmund Freud worked in Woodrow Wilson’s creation, the Committee on Public Information, and saw first hand how the public’s mind can be manipulated. Wilson was elected on a peace platform and had to transform the country to go to war against the German Kaiser. Bernays later helped publicize the American Tobacco Company, and is credited as a “father” of public relations. Anyone interested in understanding how the masses are molded by the powers that be must read this book!
Propaganda, though written in the late 1920s, is an excellent resource for a citizen in general. This manual, a seminal document, is a key resource on the thoughts and workings of the public relations industry, then only a speck compared to what it is today. Everything from corporate PR to advertising in general has basically internalized what is covered in this book in order to serve those institutional functions that mold the public’s mind.
This is all related to the ‘manufacture of consent’, something that Chomsky, who writes a good intro here, and Ed Herman explored in depth in their book ‘Manufacturing Consent’ where they lay down a Propaganda Model.
This is a huge topic for Americans, period. While media and their role, and their ‘slants’ is a hot topic (sometimes even within the media, but to limited scope of discussion) this book is a straightforward reprint of the PR industry manual. It’s no ‘secret’–it’s more like company policy. It’s far more illuminating than …