Popular Culture, The Media, Entertainment

The Most Effective Propaganda Machine The World Has Ever Known

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CULTURAL CONSCIOUSNESS: The effect of the media and pop culture is to foster a certain pervasive consciousness filled with approved information which keeps the collective mind busy, largely programmed, while many of real important realities are hidden or submerged in the flood of data so as not to have enough time to think about them. What this does is to program what might be called both a collective consciousness and a collective unconsciousness. While in most cases it is technically allowed or legal to bring important issues out of the unconscious, the continuous overwhelming barrage of pap tends to overwhelm such and drive it back out of the consciousness into the unconscious befor it has any chance of challenging the controlling powers.

Actually radio, TV, video games, etc. have negatively affected everyone's lives relative to their expected potential. The internet is simply next on the list. The reason is all have been used to dumb down, emotionalize and hypnotize rather than to educate.

US daytime TV 'news' is 50% adverts and 50% PC propaganda slanted highly selective 'news'. I regularly watch BBC world news and Euronews rather than US daytime 'news' though that's not much of an improvement, it just gives a slightly different and broader perspective on things.

It is certainly true that the characters on TV and other mass media are extremely important role models for the masses who tend to mindlessly model their life styles on such models. The drop in birth rates in Brazil supposed to be one such effect is an important example, but unfortunately one of the few positive ones.

As McLuhan pointed out, the medium is the message. TV and modern media change preferences profoundly simply due to their visual ADHD format that conveys only skin deep visual imagery. The human mind's attention is naturally drawn to things that continually change quickly, thus the human mind tends to be directed to electronic media preferentially and to take in the only message that can be transmitted by that media, a message of surface beauty with none of the substance of warmth, fragrance, touch, and personal response of a real woman.

It is true that those unfortunate men raised on electronic media are often hypnotized or rather seduced and come to believe that the visual image of woman's looks is what is most important, but the truth comes out in real relationships with real women which are by far more satisfactory than a trophy bride, which is hardly better than a collection of Playboys or dirty videos under the bed.

US daytime TV 'news' is 50% adverts and 50% PC propaganda slanted highly selective 'news'. I regularly watch BBC world news and Euronews rather than US daytime 'news' though that's not much of an improvement, it just gives a slightly different and broader perspective on things.

THE IDIOCY TSUNAMI: Anyone who thinks TV is moronic should take a a look at the USENET groups, of which there are thousands on important subjects, nearly every one of which has been ruined by lack of moderation resulting in tsunamis of spam, flames and idiocy. It is a great failure of the web age that it is simply not possible to find groups on most important intellectual subjects where one can contribute along with professionals in the field.

It is De Tocqueville's tyranny of the majority and the reduction of everything to the lowest common denominator gone wild in the information age. The information age has facilitated the communication of an enormous increase in information flow - unfortunately what that means in practice is simply an enormous spread of triviality and ignorance and often prejudice.

American adults routinely flunk basic science tests, but they can tell you who won the football game, the latest episode of any soap opera in detail, and the latest famous person caught cheating or on drugs, and the names of every brand and model of unnecessary consumer products with near 100% accuracy. After all, that's what counts isn't it?

If anyone has any ideas on how to solve this let me know....

SHARING POP CULTURE LETS PEOPLE FEEL LIKE THEY BELONG: The pervasive meme of conversing about pop culture is simply a method of fulfilling the need to belong to some in group and a way to continually reinforce the fact that you are a member in good standing and thus are to be accepted and trusted rather than ostracized and possibly even seen as an enemy or at least an outsider. It's a modern manifestation of an ancient survival mechanism. In modern societies where tribes are based not on familiar relationships but relationships of association such mechanisms are necessary to maintain in group status since there is no shared group scent or established family relationships among members. So in group membership is much more dependent on shared interests and idols - that is the modern equivalent of shared religious beliefs or political affiliations to tribal leader or god or prophet or hero surrogates.

Sadly we see this widely exploited today by the mass media. Just this week 100 million Americans watched the superbowl, and the next day probably 1/3 of Americans were discussing it and by doing so feeling they 'were part of the herd' due to their shared participation. The same thing happens everyday to a lesser extent by people who share everything from common soap opera episodes, to obsessions with the latest Tabloid style news story. People who don't think for themselves and are insecure in their identities seem to want to belong to social herds in which they can find both identity and pre-packaged thoughts.

The danger of this is that it primes the entire society to accept propagandistic messages of any sort if they are presented as shared cultural experiences, and these are now routinely piped into people's brains through the mass media.

Scott Wiltermuth of Stanford University in California and colleagues have found (2/4/09) that activities performed in unison, such as marching or dancing, increase loyalty to the group. "It makes us feel as though we're part of a larger entity, so we see the group's welfare as being as important as our own," he says.

VIOLENT VIDEO GAMES: It is nonsense to believe violence in video games and popular media do not affect consumers, especially children. All the most popular games are exceptionally violent. Even if it is true that most can understand the difference between game and reality such violence desensitizes the player to violence and makes the commission of violent acts second nature and more expected and acceptable in society.

There are an enormous number of useful things that could be effectively taught with interactive game-like programs. In fact almost everything could be most effectively taught this way by semi-AI programs designed to teach particular subjects. And there is an enormous intellectual as well as financial opportunity here. Unfortunately with a few exceptions such as flight simulation, there has been little done in this respect compared to the enormous proliferation of violent video games. This is especially important due to the abysmally low level of competence of US public school teachers.

There was a recent study suggesting that kid's morals carry over from the real world to their preference for violent video games. This study seems to largely ignore the real issue. To what extent does the packaged immorality of violence carry over from the virtual world to the real world, not the other way around is the important issue.

THE DANGEROUS PHENOMENON OF PROFESSIONAL SPORTS: There is little doubt that professional team sports appeal directly to the same negative aspects of the human psyche that also are involved in nationalism, ethnicism and war. Whether the worldwide popularity of professional sports effectively sublimates these inclinations, making wars less likely, or reinforces these urges in human culture is I think an open question. Likely it does both, sublimating them into non-lethal fair play based contests, but at the same time reinforcing the need and acceptability for intergroup conflicts. The question is are human societies doomed to continual co-existing with such dangerous urges, or can they come up with a better alternative?

The most obvious and concerning example is the intensity and magnitude of fan mob responses to professional soccer we see all across Europe and other parts of the the world where huge mobs of often drunken youths pour onto the streets in intense and irrational emotional displays of nationalism and patriotism that often erupt into violence. The intense and totally mindless identification of personal identity with that of the performance of a sports team should be extremely disturbing to any concerned and objective observer.

This is precisely the same nationalistic mob mentality that so often has been so easily directed into war and genocide in the past. It also shares many similarities with the mindless fan adulation of popular music performers though that is typically more muted.

And sadly much of this is perpetuated and reinforced by the public school system where what gains students prestige is far more sports prowess and cheerleading than academic excellence. In my view all team sports should be cut from public school curricula. Not only is it a tremendous diversion of money away from academics, but it improperly skews the prestige scales away from academic excellence.

INTERNET PORNOGRAPHY AS DYSFUNCTIONAL SEX EDUCATION: The new wide availability of internet pornography to children and teens has both positive and negative effects. Ideally there would be no censorship and sexual material would be freely available to all as they desired and young people would learn beautiful and healthy sexual habits from it. However it turns out that the pornography produced by the pornography industry is in many ways abnormal for a number of reasons. One it depicts sexual acts between professionals (essentially prostitutes of both sexes who are paid to perform sexually) by and large rather than people who are in love and making love. Thus the sex depicted is often just repetitively going through the motions between semi-bored partners who have done it so often it has become mechanical and lost its emotional loving component. Then there is the overemphasis on close up un-esthetic shots that are more appropriate for gynecological textbooks. There is also the great overemphasis on kinky sex seen among persons who have sex so often they lose the intensity of it and must constantly seek more and more perverted variants in an attempt to recover that intensity. And there is a great skew to depictions of lesbian activity as 'normal' as men are turned on by such images.

Now the problem with this is that such depictions are now universally available on the internet to people of every age and young people are widely modeling their own sexual behaviors after the very skewed sexual meme propagated by the sex industry. Thus among young teenagers we see a huge rise in the emulation of pornographic behaviors as their new 'norm'. Young people of both sexes treat partners as disposable 'hook up' sex objects with little emotional attachment, young girls feel they are expected to engage in lesbian sex with their friends, young girls feel they are required to give oral sex ending in 'facials' to their boyfriends, and often to their boyfriends' friends as well because that's what they see happening in pornography. And on and on. Basically it is a very unhealthy behavior as the model they see is not real people in love having sex, but professionals who will perform any sex act for the money.

Sadly this will lead to even less emotional attachment and more and more women using sex as a valuable asset to be traded for money or goods or power.

I should point out that in primitive and traditional societies due to intimate living situations children were always discreetly exposed to adult sexuality between actual husbands and wives and modeled their behaviors after that so that the 'normalcy' of that society would thus be perpetuated.

Today's internet savvy children are instead modeling their sexual behaviors after the prostitutes of both sexes who appear in pornography...... The result will be a world in which all women are prostitutes who do it not out of love, but for power, money and advantage.....

SUSAN BOYLE: My heart goes out to this woman with such a great talent issuing from such a great soul. It seems quite obvious that she should have been a great and publicly acclaimed singer all these years but that due to a lot of hard luck, and very likely because of her looks, she was stuck instead in an impoverished downtrodden existence all these years, with a lot of resulting sadness and very natural hostility. One can only hope and pray that is now all about to change.

True Susan sings well technically and must have had considerable practice, but that misses the point. The triumph of her performance is her overwhelming ability to put her heart and soul totally into her song and fill it with emotive meaning. To put her self totally into her performance. That was the genius of her performance. That is much more than just practice to achieve technical excellence. That's real art!

I will certainly agree that her countenance was made radiant as she sang. But that is the inner beauty of her 'soul' expressed so well. Such inner beauty radiant in one's countenance comes from one's own beautiful inner state and has almost nothing to do with the fake surface 'beauty' of Hollywood and popular culture. The horrible popular view that she should be made to look like the usual plastic made up costumed pop idol is perverse. It's the contents of the package that is important, not the wrapping paper.

The many superficial critics of Susan Boyle's appearance seem to have accepted the pop culture beauty myth hook line and sinker. It is pathetic how many women devote their lives to this meaningless charade when what men actually want is love and character, intelligence (at least on the common sense level), a woman that works hard to take care of her end of the household affairs and manages it well, good health and a feeling of comfort to be close too. Instead they get made up silicone and hair spray, high heels, panty hose and the latest fashion design by homosexuals - a caricature of a a real woman. Go figure. Susan looks just fine as she is. I'd be proud to have her on my arm without a single alteration.

One needs to understand that the pop culture programming that is so pervasive is imposed by the few who would profit by its being swallowed by the many who are brain washed by such advertising messages. The point being that the pop culture ideal of female beauty is what maximizes sales for the companies that sell products rather than being what men actually find most attractive. Women are seduced en masse by this and many men who grow up as pop culture addicts also are.

But in natural settings men are actually much more attracted to real high estrogen semi-voluptuous women no matter what they are wearing or whether made up or not or with styled hair or not rather than the surface wrapping paper beauty of TV and magazine covers where the emphasis is on profit producing packaging rather than content. Those who think being programmed mainly by advertisers for their profit is being 'a normal human', well then just keep thinking that....

HOW MODERN MEDIA CAUSES AUTISM AND ADHD: It seems to me the cause of attention deficit disorder is almost certainly heavy early television exposure during the cognitively formative years. Think about the format of TV. Almost all TV shows are in fact characterized by an analogue of ADD-ADHD, namely continual quick scene switches and hyper-activity. In normal pre-TV childhood scene switches in actual reality would typically be much much slower, continous and generally much less emotion/activity intense. I believe it is the continual quick switches (averaging only a few seconds) between typically emotion intense scenes that programs cognitively developing minds to ADD-ADHD. The correlation is very strong.

I would extend the pernicious influence of early TV viewing during the cognitively formative years to autism as well. Autism is characterized by deficient ability to interact with other persons. That is precisely the case with the characters the young formative mind sees on TV. Interaction is never possible with the characters on TV though it is apparent that young infants do initially attempt to interact with them. When interaction is not possible with other people, or characters perceived as having a degree of reality, the personality tends to turn inward and withdraw. That is autism.

So in my view both ADD-ADHD and autism are caused primarily (there may be other influencing factors) by heavy early television exposure during the cognitively formative years. The large increases in both of these disorders correlates well with the advent of heavy childhood TV viewing. That provides considerable evidence in support of my thesis.

There could certainly be genetic components conveying a sensitivity to the effect of TV as some suggest, but TV is likely by far the primary cause of Autism and ADD-ADHD. Otherwise we would have to explain why either these genes arose widely only recently, or conversely why the incidence of autism pre-TV was so low.

There is obviously something in developing minds that make some of them more prone to these diseases than others. The strong correlation however is with TV viewing (see the graphs in my other post). Given that correlation we must identify the tv viewing itself as the main causative factor. We can then look for correlates, whether genetic, dietary, neural wiring etc.

There are a number of cultures in which TV's aren't available. I certainly haven't heard of any, if there are any, cases of Autism among the Yanomami or Bushmen. The incidence would certainly be an excellent test of my theory. Many claim that the increased incidence of Autism and ADHD is simply due to better reporting. However if the incidence of autism among Amish, Aftrican tribes etc. who did not watch TV had not changed over time that would tend to confirm my theory.

If an infant is even in the room with the TV on for long periods during the ages of early cognitive formation we would still expect the TV autism connection since it is still the constant intense scene shifting that will be much of the center of the infant's attention. It is even possible that infants in utero might be affected by the TV sound characteristics as it is known that late term infants do hear sounds from outside the mother's body.

Any one data point such as some autism in non-TV watching children doesn't falsify my theory of course. The important statistic is the great rise in the autism rate post-TV.

Here is the strong correlation between autism cases and US video programming (FCC data). I haven't located a good graph for TV hours watched by children of various ages in this time period. If anyone finds that please share it with me.

To explain ADHD by hyperthyroidism one would have to explain why hyperthyroidism has increased at roughly the same high rate as ADHD has. The contention is that that the noted thyroid problems are primarily caused by nutritional factors. Are you proposing some recent large and increasing change in US children's nutrition (iodine?) that correlates with ADHD increases? I'm not aware of any off hand.

One would expect to see multiple neurochemical and hormonal abnormalities associated with autism if it was basically a miswiring problem, since neural processes in fact regulate the concentrations of these chemicals. The fact that, as your references suggest, there are a whole spectrum of chemical abnormalities rather than just one associated with autism is supportive of a more basic mechanism such as miswiring rather than the influences of a single abnormal chemical process.

The sometimes quoted evidence of genetic or chemical causes suggests not so much a single neurochemical abnormality but a more basic neural miswiring problem producing a cascade of neurochemical imbalances. That is consistent with and even expected by my TV hypothesis.