Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Techniques of the Culture Creators

"The average citizen is the world’s most efficient censor. His own mind is the greatest barrier between him and the facts. His own ‘logic proof compartments,’ his own absolutism are the obstacles which prevent him from seeing in terms of experience and thought rather than in terms of group reaction."
- Edward Bernays, Godfather of propaganda

"For those who stubbornly seek freedom, there can be no more urgent task than to come to understand the
mechanisms and practices of indoctrination. These are easy to perceive in the totalitarian societies,
much less so in the system of 'brainwashing under freedom' to which we are subjected and which all too often we serve as willing or unwitting instruments."
- Noam Chomsky, linguist and social theorist

Everywhere and in-between, lifestyles are being promoted by companies of all trades and sizes. Besides production and innovation, advertising is the main vehicle by which companies expand their profit share, the main goal of a business. These days, advertisements are not merely a means of getting a name to the public, but, further, are designed to program a “consumer base” (what are actually individual persons, with their own personality traits) to behaving in a manner beneficial to a corporation or cartel thereof.

Consumerism was as important a driver for racketeers as was war in the 21st century, and now its opposite serves as wars counterpart.

Whereas yesterday’s consumerism promoted extravagant lifestyles decorated in luxury—the definition of luxury, bear in mind, was sacrificed upon an altar of distortion—today we are sold austerity for the sake of a financial system and planet under duress. Consumerism, but a fading negative of its once booming self, now consists mostly of electronic gadgets tailored to track and spy on its users. The industrial base of the United States, in other words, has done an astounding disappearing act far superior to any feat of Houdini. Moreover, it stands only to be replaced with a new world forged by the same “structural adjustments” that have been visited upon the Anglo-American empire’s periphery—that is, of course, the various peoples and cultures of the planet—for centuries.

The products, those things that fill up the space in our daily lives—from money to homes to cars and gadgets—fit into, and shape, certain lifestyles. The process that unfolds between sentient individuals and a culture standardized through promotion of certain stuff creates a feedback loop in which the related trends get selected into the future. In order to move considerable volume of a certain product, industry or collection of ideas, corporations depend upon a public who perceive they need or want what the corporations have to offer. By creating such a public, they guarantee their products and services spots in the future. And if the “consumer” feels as though what’s being sold is a friend or even a real personality in his daily life, the greater the impression left.

For example—and this is merely one example of so many—if a corporation can convince him he will get laid by buying their product, he’s sold (no matter whether or not his sex life actually spices up). And ladies, don’t think that you’re immune to blue screen insinuation about how to interact with males. ; )

Blow Job. Now that I have your attention again, the American media are considered to be the most sexually suggestive in the western hemisphere, and usually advocate casual and non-committal sex; a move away from the family championing forties and fifties, taken during the sixties, to help shape changing gender roles. In Burger King Advertisements for the BK Super Seven Incher (classically only six inches after an extended stay under the heat lamp), there exists a number of overlapping and overt sexual references. (1)

First of all: it just tastes better? I highly doubt this GM-sandwich, topped off with a high fructose corn syrupped Coca-Cola, would make anything inside our bodies taste better. If the U.S. succumbs to what former Assistant Secretary of the Treasury under Reagan, Paul Craig Roberts, refers to as “financial Armageddon,” we will be a former country of unsatisfied cannibals.

2. That’s seven inches?

3. It will blow your mind away—yeah, by severing a few million synaptic connections.

4. Hold the mayonnaise, please.

Here is what the fine print, rumored to have been penned by a well-known erotic author, has to say:

Fill your desire for something long, juicy and flame-grilled with the NEW BK SUPER SEVEN INCHER. Yearn for more after you taste the mind-blowing burger that comes with a single beef patty, topped with American cheese, crispy onions and the A1 Thick & Hearty Steak Sauce.

Just imagine what the interactive website designed for this advertisement looks like.

“Sex sells,” and sexual suggestions in advertising, and the media in general, are ubiquitous. Research on the subject is typically financed by marketers and media giants themselves, who are mostly concerned with consumer behavior. This research has helped to develop a new, synthesized field of science and marketing.

It is part-and-parcel of a movement sweeping over academia: neuro-everything. And neuro-marketing, a fledgling new discipline, has serious implications for the imagery we see in advertising. With this new field, the advertising industry could make a science out of marketing. Neuro-marketing began when, in 2003, Clinton Kilts of Atlanta’s Emory University posed the question, How does activity in brain cells mirror things we very much like, as opposed to things we absolutely hate or do not interest us?

As they were shown a number of consumer goods, volunteers for this study were taken through an MRI scan. When Kilts went back and analyzed the reactions of the test subjects, he noticed that each time one of them—regardless of sex—saw a product they really liked, blood rushed to a small location at the front of the brain called the medial prefrontal cortex, an area of the brain involved in our self-identification and the formation of our personality. This part of the frontal lobes is involved in how we relate to ourselves and who we are.

Kilts conluded that, if you are attracted by a product, it is likely that you identify with it. And, if sex sells, this must imply that a person identifies with the sex featured in an advertisement. Not only, then, is the consumer attracted by the product, but also by the act of sex itself, and the way in which sex is presented very well might have an affect on a person’s attitudes and behavior towards sex.

Most advertisements go further than simply including sexual content, oftentimes featuring sexual behaviors and other sorts of sexual attitudes and information. The different types of sexual advertisements even have their own categories, such as blatant nudity, erotic rendezvous, sexual suggestions like subtle innuendos and plays on words. Many people even view fully-clothed attractive people in advertising as subtly sexual. Attitudes about sex, through advertising, are portrayed either by individuals or interpersonal interaction. The latter has the ability to affect gender-relations. And, while women make-up most of the sexuality-based marketing spaces, males are featured more-and-more often. (2)

Nowadays, on the other hand, instead of being nurtured on the ideology of consumption—consumption for beauty, consumption for power, consumption to appear wealthy— we are learning, in a collective manner, frugality. How convenient it is, that the consciousness industry totally mobilized behind a political-environmentalism obsessed with carbon (that stuff we breathe), paralyzing taxes, and weaning the “masses” off resources. And it’s not only the invisible hand of the market guiding this trend, but, also, the counterpart invisible fist as well. Cliché, but still a classic tale of good cop-bad cop, it would make more for good television.

Good examples are the Audi Green Police commercials, which debuted during the Super Bowl. In the first commercial, a number of green-offenses are catalogued by the Green Police Force (and no, not that sort of green… Cough*). Among the green-offenses are a thrown away battery discovered after the Green Police do a neighborhood search of all trash cans; “possession of incandescent” light bulbs; and a Jacuzzi set at 105 degrees. Their motto is, “Protecting and Conserving the Earth.” There is no disclaimer in the commercial, however, as there is in the hit-show “Cops,” reassuring the viewer, “all suspects are innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.” (3)

The Audi commercial is a great example of predictive programming, whereby the future policies of governments and corporations are shown to viewers, to make them more readily accepting of the measures. Already, western countries all over the world are recruiting children as young as seven to spy on their neighbors. The “environment volunteers” will be expected to report on litterbugs, loud neighbors, and families who put out their garbage outside on the wrong day. The volunteers are enticed to join with publicly-funded handheld computers, with which they are supposed to take photos of violations, at a time when even the most basic services in many countries are being cut. (4)

A recent study reported that the typical American child spends more than 38 hours per week viewing media, whether it is in the form of television, videos, music, computers or video games. Young people watch television about 17 hours a week, and, by high school graduation, will have taken in 15,000 hours of television. That compares to 12,000 hours in the classroom. (5) Children are learning through television how cool it is to spy on their neighbors as part of a Green Police Force, as well as how to be properly sexy. By the way, in Switzerland recently, extra small condoms for 12-year-olds—called Hotshot’s—hit the market.

Ah, living the dream of pre-pubescence: children with police power and women on both arms, coming soon to a neighborhood near you.

Bombarded by stimuli, the data and information which we favor informs our views of the world. Data and information help to reinforce our common sense, our values and our interpretations. This data and information can be manipulated and presented in such a way as to influence individual decision making and, therefore, the behavior of the whole crowd. It’s psychological terrorism, and it ingratiates itself throughout all individuals and the entire culture—even individuals who think they are immune.

When so manipulated for specific ends, the false reality presented in the media gives rise to illusions and hallucinations in individuals and the general culture. Misinterpretations and phony creations of the mind, then, inform persons of themselves and their world, and when the view is, in part, contrived by a top-down technique of culture creation, it is highly prone to management and exploitation.

In the era of globalization, an unprecedented few wield power over world affairs. This uberclass, above and beyond politics and man’s historical moral universe, hail from business, finance, politics, the military, the arts, the nonprofit world, et cetera. What sets these individuals apart, is their position of influence over the lives of millions of people in multiple countries worldwide. By influencing, first and foremost, the minds of people, these persons maintain their insidious influence, even after grave mishandling of money and finance or involvement in war atrocities. (7)

If these “masters of the universe” want to breed a world of machines, then treat the people as such. Machines they might just become. And so therefore, on a regular basis, the corporate-controlled media present reality within the realm of a limited paradigm, cite apologist on behalf of elite information sources, and propagandize in favor of elite agendas. The media, dominant payers in the state-enterprise establishment, are profit-seeking businesses, owned by uberclass plenipotentiaries, within the rigged-market system. Simply by learning about the methods used to mold global culture, we unplug ourselves from the matrix of ever-present premises and assumptions, the majority of which stem from an agenda custom-fit to a civilization with a long history of dominance and exploitation.

1. McEwan, Melissa. “Burger King: Burgers, Blow Jobs -- What's the Difference?” AlterNet, June 24 2009.

Accessed at: http://www.alternet.org/blogs/sex/140893/burger_king:_burgers,_blow_jobs_--_what's_the_difference/

2. Frank, Lone. “How the Brain Reveals Why we Buy.” Scientific American, 2 November 2009.

Accessed at:

3. Green Police: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zVhT7P0lDfI

4. Ballinger, Lucy. “Town Halls hire citizen snoopers as young as SEVEN to spy on neighbours and report wrongs.” Daily Mail, May 18, 2009

Accessed at: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1183796/Town-halls-hire-citizen-snoopers-young-SEVEN-spy-neighbours-report-wrongs.html#ixzz0kcxsMYCb

5. Gallup & Robinson. “Sex in Advertising: An Essay.” Gallup-Robinson.

Accessed at: http://www.gallup-robinson.com/essay1.html

6. Williams, Alexandra. “Extra small condoms for 12 year old boys go on sale in Switzerland.” Telegraph UK, March 3 2010.

Accessed at: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/health/healthnews/7361181/Extra-small-condoms-for-12-year-old-boys-go-on-sale-in-Switzerland.html

7. Rothkopf, David. “Who Is the Superclass?” Newsweek, April 7, 2008.

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