The marketing of patriotism has reached new heights of excellence. Never have I seen such effective campaigning for placing ideas and political affiliations on the same plane as buying Coca Cola or Hershey's chocolate. Don't you want to be part of what the cool people are doing?
We made the mistake of thinking the thought police were going to come wearing starched brown uniforms, carrying guns and demanding compliance. How foolish we were. They knew that would never work. They had better tools at their disposal here in America. They had advertising, marketing and the media at their disposal. Why force compliance when you can truly alter the nature of human thought through a steady stream of images and slogans? How foolish we were.
No one even needed to manipulate the world of media, marketing and advertising. The system was set up so they could be fed and eat well at the table. Dissent is so much harder to market than the "good, old-fashioned values of the American way of life." Disintegrating conditions and the chaos of a crumbling nation are moved to the back burner by the media simply because stories of heroes coming home from war keep more people tuned in. Say it is good, people tune in. Say it is bad, people tune out.
Order and triumph sell.
Chaos is not marketable.
Whatever you may believe, the truth is irrelevant. The truth is not generally very marketable. It takes too much effort and too much work. We want instant coffee and scratch tickets.
I receive a request via e-mail to fill out a survey on how I feel about George W. Bush and the War in Iraq, so I decide, sure, why not, and click on over to answer their questions. At the end they want me to give them my name, address and phone number so they can send me a "God Bless America" t-shirt with a big American flag and the words "We Will Triumph" on the back. Next on my agenda is ordering checks so I can continue to pay my bills. I click on over to the site for the check ordering and the first thing I am asked is if I want their new selection of "patriotic images" in brilliant red, white and blue to "Show support for all your heroes!" This morning I was asked if I wanted to participate in a drive to collect "toothbrushes and Gold Bond foot powder for the troops." When I ask why a government that spends billions of dollars on a single airplane cannot supply its fighting people with toothbrushes, they asked me to make a cash donation. "Or maybe you are one of THEM," she remarks and gives me the evil eye. She then goes over to her associates, in the workplace, and points at me. They all shake their heads. I cannot believe what is happening.
Go out anywhere and people are talking about the "greatness of America" and how other countries and world leaders need to "start paying what they owe us or shut the fuck up." Every car seems to have an American flag and some sort of slogan announcing our alliance with God to bring a new and forceful order to the world. When they announced the War in Iraq was "over," the religious station the boys out in the warehouse at work listen to began playing "Onward, Christian Soldiers" and the rock station announced its "pride" by playing "We Are The Champions" from Queen and stating that although it wasn't by an American band, it was most certainly by a band from a country that "supports us."
And then, of course, the Baseball Hall of Fame decides to cancel its fifteen year celebration of the film Bull Durham because of the anti-war stances of two of its stars, Susan Sarandon and Tim Robbins... because everyone is worried that someone will make a political statement. Or, at least, an unmarketable political statement.
Woke up to the alarm clock radio the other morning, where the chatty cathy disc jockeys like to make sure they are selling themselves to the morning coffee commuter crowd. One of those middle of the road "lite rock" stations. Their newscasts these days consist of highly marketable press clippings about soldiers coming home from war and talking about how proud they were fighting for their country and the cause of freedom. They then like to prattle on about how wonderful such sentiments are and "wishing everyone could be so positive." They usually temper such chit-chat with remarks about the "negativism of these tasteless people who bring politics to nice events like the Academy Awards." It is "politics" when you speak out against something. It is "positive and wonderful" when you support something.
Yes, we foolishly believed the thought police would come wearing brown uniforms and brandishing guns...
See the future...