Ruralist Lament: Dots com – Portland Press Herald


My grandfather died when I was just starting high school. I had cut his hair shortly before his sudden passing and my grotesque lack of tonsorial skill was visible as he lay inert in his coffin. It was way too real for my youth and I had to run away. Grandfather was frail and had received a small disability pension since being torn from the Maine countryside by the military and stricken with the so-called “Spanish flu” at “Camp Devens” during World War I. . This influenza leaping species was Spanish in name only. (Kansas was more likely its zero-origin site.) Spain was neutral during World War I and therefore was not subject to wartime censorship. When people started to get sick and die there, the Spanish press covered it. Reports of an invisible virus as deadly as bullets, bombs and poisonous gases entering and leaving the trenches were deemed bad for morale as the United States sought to consolidate its position as an imperial power. Therefore, the news was limited here.

World War I was marked by the first concerted efforts of government propaganda, “information management” or “consent fabrication” among a population who, left to fend for themselves, may not be so desirous of “killing other people and taking their things” through an ongoing process. global war and subversion in The American Century.

A week after the United States entered World War I, Woodrow Wilson “created the Committee on Public Information, a propaganda agency acting to publish information about the government, to boost morale in the United States. , to administer voluntary censorship of the press and develop propaganda abroad ”. (Wikipedia) George Creel was the head of the new team. He brought in other practitioners of this dark new art, including the deep thinker Edward Bernays (1891-1995) whose obituary called him “the father of public relations.” Bernays’ post-war campaign successes included making women addicted to tobacco (the cigarettes renamed “Torches of Liberty”) and helping the United Fruit Company and the CIA stage a coup. against the democratically elected government of Guatemala in 1954.

In 1928, Bernays defined the mission: “The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the habits and organized opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society… It is the intelligent minorities who need to use propaganda on a continuous and systematic basis. . Bernays argued that business and the corporate state had this “freedom to persuade and suggest” was “the essence of the democratic process”. It was simply “the engineering of consent”.

Yeah. Just glance at your newspaper or numb yourself via the mainstream (“authoritative”) electronic media. The U.S. military has a larger climate footprint than 140 countries and spends over $ 1 trillion annually on the military. But when the jets roar over NFL football games, that awkward fact is as welcome as a picnic skunk. When the Blue Angels (of death) regularly hold their recruiting competitions in the skies of Bath, Maine, as they do regularly, martial-spew-a-thon is reported as a healthy family treat. The role of the F / A -18 Hornet in bombing Iraq, Afghanistan and other mineral-rich targets of opportunity is not worth the ink. Apparently.

Death from above or kiddie war porn? You decide. Or not.

Despite the trillions of dollars paid to the military year over year, when the Biden administration proposes to invest $ 3.5 trillion in a society improvement program and small efforts to fight against climate catastrophe, “spending” is controversial. We are told.

Lately, the entertaining media have noted the official milestone of Covid deaths in the United States surpassing the sad toll of the ‘Spanish flu’ pandemic. Of course, the Covid numbers are likely a vast undercoverage when you factor in the spike in ‘excessive deaths’ over the past two years – but I digress. And the same goes for the seemingly distracting media – on the trail of “Dirty Laundrie” and the Gabby-selfie drama.

Given the surge in Covid infections in the United States brought on by the reopening of super-spreading schools, the almost total abandonment of basic public health disease eradication strategies and a big dollop of magical thinking / questing of “freedom”, one might think that some comparisons with other countries (more civilized?) might be appropriate. But we would be wrong.

At the risk of stepping out of the propaganda reserve, I would suggest the example of New Zealand. Reuters reports (09/21/21): “New Zealand eliminated Covid-19 last year and has been largely virus-free, with the exception of a small number of cases in February, until that the last Delta variant outbreak erupted in August. A nationwide lockdown followed. Cases have dropped.

New Zealand, of course, also has a national single-payer health program, like most civilized nations. Maybe that also plays a role. I’m just saying.

My grandfather is long gone. When I was younger, I never really connected the points of his lifelong disability with America’s pursuit of hegemony and our propagated acceptance of the Imperial Marauding. But the dots are there and while not “news”, the dots are going viral.

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