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What is modern propaganda? For many, it is the lies of a totalitarian state. In the 1970s, I met Leni Riefenstahl and asked her about her epic films that glorified the Nazis. Using revolutionary camera and lighting techniques, she produced a documentary form that mesmerised Germans; her Triumph of the Will cast Hitler’s spell.
She told me that the “messages” of her films were dependent not on “orders from above”, but on the “submissive void” of the German public. Did that include the liberal, educated bourgeoisie? “Everyone,” she said.
Today, we prefer to believe that there is no submissive void. “Choice” is ubiquitous. Phones are “platforms” that launch every half-thought. There is Google from outer space if you need it. Caressed like rosary beads, the precious devices are borne headsdown, relentlessly monitored and prioritised. Their dominant theme is the self. Me. My needs. Riefenstahl’s submissive void is today’s digital slavery.[...]
Today’s “message” of grotesque inequality, social injustice and war is the propaganda of liberal democracies. By any measure of human behaviour, this is extremism. When Hugo Chávez challenged it, he was abused in bad faith; and his successor will be subverted by the same zealots of the American Enterprise Institute, Harvard’s Kennedy School and the “human rights” organisations that have appropriated American liberalism and underpin its propaganda. The historian Norman Pollack calls this “liberal fascism”. “All is normality on display,” he wrote. “For [Nazi] goose-steppers, substitute the seemingly more innocuous militarisation of the total culture. And for the bombastic leader, we have the reformer manqué, blithely at work [in the White House], planning and executing assassination, smiling all the while.”
Whereas a generation ago, dissent and biting satire were allowed in the “mainstream”, today their counterfeits are acceptable and a fake moral zeitgeist rules. “Identity” is all, mutating feminism and declaring class obsolete. Just as collateral damage covers for mass murder, “austerity” has become an acceptable lie. Beneath the veneer of consumerism, a quarter of Greater Manchester in England is reported to be living in “extreme poverty”. [...]
Jason Mattera was really proud of recent game of gotcha with Senator Al Franken of Minnesota. So proud, in fact, that he posted a video of his encounter to YouTube—on the pretense that he had exposed Senator Franken's lack of knowledge of what was in the landmark health insurance reform bill recently signed into law.
Mr. Mattera is an up-and-coming young conservative involved with the Young America Foundation and a wide variety of other conservative media enterprises and ventures, and he is absolutely right. The video is an embarrassment—except, it humiliates him and conservatives everywhere, rather than Senator Franken and the Democrats. You see, what Mr. Mattera managed to do is unprecedented: in three minutes and twenty-five seconds of some of the most painful video you could possibly watch, he exposed single-handed everything that is abhorrent about current conservative political strategy.
On today's Kagro in the Morning show, Greg Dworkin brings us news CT's new gun laws, plus a new Q-Poll showing continuing support for universal background checks (with a very interesting observation about what that might mean). A report on yesterday extraordinary #GunFAIL stories. A new round of strikes by fast food workers in NYC, and a check-in with Mike Hummel (aka bluebarnstormer) on last night's event with Biddeford, ME's former Hostess workers. Finally, how much might the NRA's proposed "School Shield" program cost? Anyone think those behind it will pony up when the bill comes due?