a rather provocative title i suppose… no one likes the word very much…not after how it has been used in the last few…hundred years.
but propaganda is planting…specifically ideas. in this regard it isn’t necessarily bad or good…it just is. it’s a method of beginning to grow something … either a new something, or an already existing something. it has been a thing since language began probably. one well-spoken person, with a convincing argument or an authoritative tone bringing others around to a certain way of thinking.
one homeschool lesson we did a month ago was about this subject. using films (one of propaganda’s finest media) like “propaganda” and one called “branded”, we began to unravel the notion of how propaganda can be used. i was quick to point out that really school is just propaganda, and just as with a real garden, what sort of seeds one uses for this “planting” or propagation definitely determines the crop yield.
but i’m not writing this to discuss the evils of state or corporate induced propaganda. or even the benefit of using propaganda to counter-act this ‘mind-control’. rather, this is a follow-up to my previous post of a few days ago: “in the air”
it struck me as fortunate that there exists this medium of film, of video and audio images entering into one’s thought realm…because there are clever people of good intent who have been using this to the benefit of people who are otherwise misunderstood.
around the holidays, nearly every local or national ‘news’ programme brings attention to the homeless. kudos to them for that. but the coverage fades after the season’s greetings have all been said, the decorations taken down. it isn’t enough.
to be effective, propaganda must be on-going, repetitive, interesting, passionate….it must engage without nagging…provoke without oppressing.
governments know this and have used film to win people over even to the insane mass murder of war since before the ‘war to end all wars’ (which didn’t end them, of course). corporations know this. they have whole teams of people, including psychologists, spin doctors and studies about how best to get their products ‘stuck’ in our heads. their messages are relentless. they know that this is how it is most effective. want to know with which country we will soon be at war? watch the movies, or better yet, television. the villainous breeds these days will speak with arabic, russian or sometimes chinese accents….this is not a coincidence. the propagandists know full well how to use their tools.
this tendency of visual images and stories presented in film or via the television to ‘stick’ is a sword that cuts two ways. because it can also be used to dissuade young minds (or even older ones) from bigotry, from ignorance about ‘those others’. it can educate, enlighten and improve lives! this is exciting.
money prevents some stories from being told. the people that hold the ‘purse strings’ want to be sure of a profit margin… some return on their investments. filming things is expensive, production is expensive. and whereas there always seems to be enough money to make a movie or docu-drama about war or crime, the stories that if told might lead to an end to these have trouble getting funded.
there are many good places to watch propaganda that actually plants good seed. most aren’t network t.v. or sometimes even the cable networks. because those venues are run by moneyed interests to the extent that compassionate portrayal of real stories aren’t as important as the profit made. i suggest as a start going here or simply google documentaries about:_______________. and fill in the blank.
lately there has been a lot of media attention directed toward transgender issues. i am thrilled for my daughter’s sake and for the benefit such exposure can have for a very oppressed part of society.
but i worry it will be a ‘flash-in-the-pan’…like all the ‘homelessness stories’ that pop-up around the holidays then vanish before the snows are gone. i worry that some of the most important parts of the stories will be glossed over for those that will satisfy a more voyeuristic bent, that the ‘sensational’ will be highlighted and the deeper parts of the stories…of the pain of rejection, betrayal…the mind’s discomfiture by the bodies contradiction…all the most important parts, those which can make a real difference in how society understands this sub-set of its own parameters might end up on the edit floor.
two projects in their beginning stages are crossing my path at the moment. altho i half hope that ziona isn’t chosen for the “inside-out” documentary about young transgender people…(mostly because of strangers lurking about with cameras). .. i am thrilled that another programme about people like ziona is being done! for propaganda to be effective, after all,
it must be on-going, repetitive, interesting, passionate….it must engage without nagging…provoke without oppressing.
and in its best moments, propaganda can change the world! … for the better!
p.s. here’s a link to a film called “hidden world: underground rome”, which was done by vicki dunakin, the same woman behind the “inside out” documentary i mention