At the point I wrote this passage, I was convinced that the subject of propaganda was one which I might be unable to introduce to my academic general public. While I believe that academia is better suited to accept the word on its own terms, I still observe more than subtle indications that the word is looked upon as a negative, at least a virulent in the United States. I will continue to use it in my studies but I will remain very aware of this general bias in the term that overtly and covertly influence. (Note 1 January 2013).
“It is illusory to think that a well propagated ‘clear idea’ enters diverse consciousnesses with the same ‘organizing’ effects of widespread clarity. It is an ‘enlightenment’ error. The ability of the professional intellectual skillfully to combine induction and deduction, to generalize, to infer, to transport, from one sphere to another a criterion of discrimination, adapting it to new conditions, etc. is a ‘specialty’ not endowed by ‘common sense.'”
–Antonio Gramsci (1992, p. 128)1
Most people have an immediate aversion to oppositional politics and other discourse they do not agree with. This view simplistically presupposes that *Bad People* use lies to persuade/influence/indoctrinate *Good People* that those lies are in fact the truth. But what is this exactly? It is cultural conditioning by any another name. We see this in:
- Propaganda and it’s children:
- Public Relations
- Other Influencers
When we speak of truth, it is spoken of with an understood, common prejudice, our own perception of reality. It is a personal, subjective interpretation of events, ideas, and/or opinions. Then truth, as we think we know and understand it, does not exist as an entity independent of our own personal belief systems. Cultural conditioning utilizes what a group of individuals look uipon as their truth, takes that truth, and builds upon it to expand the size of the audience of that truth. As such, as personal truth in the hands of an influencer can become the collective truth of a society if it is repeated often enough and reinforced into every facet of their lives. (Examples for selective TV coverage here).
We could argue on and on upon this definition of truth and with it, my definition of cultural conditioning, but that would accomplish nothing and it would certainly not further understanding of this subject to a deeper level.
Thus, we can consider the following examples of the all-intensive and pervasive mass media coverage in light of an understanding of cultural conditioning:
- The first Persian Gulf War
- Olympic Coverage of US American athletes
- US deaths overseas
- So-called terrorist and enemy stereotypes
- News coverage
- Television situation comedies, especially those produced and aired in the United States
Buffalo Springfield – For What It’s Worth
Maggie Walters –Spin
Satisfaction – Jagger/Richards
Dedicated Follower Of Fashion – Kinks
(See later entry, “Propaganda As Pop Culture”
Assumptions of what the public thinks they know vs what they think they know are different. Propaganda is all around us, designer clothing, other clothing, train and bus adverts, music publicity of recent releases (major to local releases) and sometimes music itself, beyond the obvious self-promotion of the music itself, Internet radio DJs and taste makers, marketing campaigns for new brands, products, etc. It is everywhere but it is defined differently by various entities, tastemakers, trendsetters, and the like. So what is it? What defines propaganda?
Let’s look at it from it’s history beginning with the word itself. My goal is not to explain the “evils” of propaganda because evil is relative and Propaganda is not going to go away no matter how one party or another is offended by someone else’s propaganda no matter how effective, crude, or inept it may be. It is everywhere. My goal is to properly define it and explain it, help you recognize it in the area of [YOUR DAILY LIFE] to help you become more aware of what is already present.
My Personal Observation: “Propaganda: Neutral, but organized control of the masses.” “Propaganda” primarily so called by those that disagree with the position.
1. Antonio Gramsci (Joseph Buttigieg and Antonio Callari) Columbia University Press New York, 1992, Prison Notebooks, Volume I, p. 128