Here Thar Be Monsters!

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Medium As Message

Bird Flu Virus
It is a frequent topic here on the Far Side about the use of media to instill 'behavioral templates' in the mass mind, so that when certain situations arise, we automatically drop into role and follow the pre-installed program.  Given that there are a number of scenarios about at the moment, it might be instructive to examine how this process works, and how you are programmed to react in a certain fashion.

That media work is not at issue.  It has been proven repeatedly that mass groups of people can be easily controlled and cajoled by what they see and hear in the media.  All advertising operates by creating a need or impression in you mind, and then supplying that need with some product.  Even media moguls are susceptible to it.

When Euro Disney opened back in the early 90s, Michael Eisner, then CEO, went to inspect the damage, I park.  Upon arriving, he began the tour with an inspection of the park's hotels.  If you're not familiar with Disney parks, they have on-site hotels for every budget, from discount family style to adult over-spender style.  Eisner went to the low-budget family box and found all these people arriving in Mercedes.  Well, he had a fit.

"Why are all these Mercedes staying at the cheap hotel," he demanded.  He was then made aware that the Mercedes C-class was nothing more than the Oldsmobile of Europe.  The brand had nothing to do with wealth, only the class of design.

Eisner, like many Americans, had succumbed to the marketing that had convinced everyone that the Mercedes brand meant high-priced luxury.  It didn't occur to him that they operate just like Disney, pimping low-rent and high-rent products for every budget.  Heck, just south of him in north Africa, every beat-up, run-down taxi is a Mercedes.

It works for just about every product.  Body odor was not an issue until the end of WWII, when a product called MUMM came out and they shamed everyone into 'needing' this product, so they didn't smell.  Feminine hygiene products, toothpaste, sodas, electronic gee-gaws...they all use your desire to project an image to sell you useless crap.  Everytime you look at a product and think, "Rich guy, lucky guy, wish I had one," you have been programmed.

A little reading on the subject of mind control and how this process works will give you at least some defense against the Dark Arts.

But, back to our topic at hand...behavioral templates.

What sparked this discussion was the CNN article pimping the latest designer virus called, ominously enough, Mutal Bird Flu.  Not only does the word 'mutant' engender fear, which we spoke of previously, but it is caused by something unseen, a virus, and it is vectored through something cute and cuddly, a bird.  All perfect plot points for mass mind control through fear.

For our discussion, we're going to choose the 1995 Hoffman flick called Outbreak.  We could choose any of dozens of flicks on this subject, including the brilliant Andromeda Strain, but this one is fairly blatant and easy to follow.

The primary message of the film is that the authorities have all the answers.  Don't be afraid, just follow orders and you'll be saved.  That there is a back story of a battle of wits between the Good Authorities and the Bad Authorities is secondary.  It serves to re-inforce the idea that at some level, there are people in power who have your best interests at heart, so just pile in the cattle cars and go to the detention centers and we'll get all this sorted out right away.

Among the many messages contained in the flick are: bad viri are manufactured to kill bad guys, cute and cuddly animals are scary, people who don't follow import/export laws are bad, the Good Authorities always win, and you're quarantined for your own good...if you try to escape you'll be blow to bits to save the world.  But the most important thing to learn is, the Authorities have all the answers; you're just a little, stupid civilian; just do as you're told and we'll figure this all out at levels much higher than you.  Oh, and take any medicine we tell you to take, for your own good...but more importantly for the safety of the world.

Basically, it comes down to a message you will hear repeated in all media all the time: You Can't Handle The Truth.

Even Batman tells you that.  In The Dark Knight, which you might think celebrates the empowered individual, we are told that we are incapable even of being a vigilante.  Only men with power and money, who work closely with the Authorities, are allowed to perform freelance law enforcement.  After all, you're only wearing hockey pads.  The same message is everywhere.

Back to Outbreak.

So, even though the Authorities created the viral menace, and a cute and cuddly vector (monkey) carries it, don't worry because they've also got the antidote.  That's right, even though they took your tax money at gun point and created a devastating and horrible disease while playing God with it, it's OK because they have the cure and if you just submit and follow orders, you'll be fine.

Don't worry that the Good Authority (Hoffman) is really only motivated to save his mean ex-wife (Russo) by fighting off the Bad Authority (Sutherland), the grandfatherly Shadow Authority (Freeman) will come to our rescue and give the hero the answer.

To tie all this together, any of the manufactured diseases that are currently in the wild or will be have already been 'cured'.  Our job as sheep is to follow directions and be penned up so that we can either be exterminated (to save the world) or innoculated (to save Big Pharma).  Those who don't follow the orders will be gunned down like rabid dogs and no one will question it out of fear and because that's what our 'behavioral template' tells us will happen.

No matter what happens, whether it's alien invasions, plagues, severe weather, or terrorism, we are to follow Authority at all times, because they always have the answers and will always come to our rescue.  We must allow them to do anything, be it torture, killing or round-ups, no matter what violations of liberty and freedom it requires, because it's for our own good.  The Authority always knows more and better than we do.

Whether it's 24, or Beverley Hills Cop, or Law and Order, the message is always the same: do not hinder the Authorities.  Their badge and gun means they can do anything in the name of saving us.  Our job, as stupid goy, is to stay out of their way and follow orders, for our own good.  In other words, we are all 3-year-olds, and Mommy and Daddy Authority are child-proofing the world for us.

Oh, and the 'behavioral templates' work both ways.  They teach us that being an Authority is fun because you have power over the goy and can do anything you want.  You can grope children's genitals and steal people's things and beat folks to a pulp if they don't show proper respect for your Authority.

The media teach us how to act if we are goy, glorify Authority to make us want to become Authority, and then show us all the cool things we can do with impunity once we pass the Mystical Test and become a member of Authority.  That's why cops strut like preening roosters and TSA agents violate every boundary of prudence and FBI agents all look like they stepped out of Men In Black.  They've been implanted, too.

Sigmund Freud
If you really want to feel the hair on the back of your neck stand up, read some of the theory and practice of media, especially from the turn of the 20th century.  It was a little more open and honest back then.  Read up on the history of media, and how it followed a parallel track with phychology, as both professions learned how to manipulate and control minds.  They truly worked hand-and-glove to bring you to submission.

Read up on how they telegraph events through dramas, how they subtly change your behaviors and beliefs through comedies.

In physiology, they have studied how persistence of vision creates the illusion of motion with as little as 12 frames/second, and how the flickering of the frames cause a sort of trance state that allows messages to by-pass your normal defenses.

It's bone-chilling and it's far worse than is possible to cover in a single column.  Suffice it to say that if your are consuming media, then it is consuming you.  And yes, even markerting geniuses like Michael Eisner are prone to its control.  Educating yourself on something so ubiquitous as media is the first step towards freeing yourself from its control.

The Big Question is, what will you do with the knowledge?

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