The First Rule of Propaganda Club is Don’t Talk About Propaganda Club

Joel Watts writes:

Remember, the cardinal rule of propaganda is that it has to be based in truth, somewhat, believable, and purposeful.

First, let me state that you should go over and read Joel’s full post.  What are you still doing here?  Go there now.

Back?  What?  You still haven’t checked out his full post yet?  Get moving!

Okay, good, now you’re back.  Overall I really think Joel is onto something here.  But I am worried about his concept of propaganda for a few reasons.  First, if the whole of the United States recalls, we entered into a war in Iraq based upon propaganda which was based upon…WMD’s?  Bin Laden?  Harbor for 9/11 Terrorists?  Does anyone remember, really?  Because the fact is, we spent billions of dollars entering a war we never finished which cost the lives of thousands of Americans (and wounded thousands more) based upon…a lie.  Not just one lie, but many many lies.  So Joel’s entire mentality here is silly.  There are countless more examples from both the past (Lycurgus as lawgiver to Sparta, Horatio and the bridge of Rome, Romulus and Remus as founder of the city, Aeneas the last Trojan who became father to all future Romans, Moses the spiritual leader of the Exodus, Abraham, the father of all nations, etc…) to the present (Joel needs to watch the movie Wag the Dog and compare that storyline to the real war in Iraq).  The fact is truth does not necessarily stem from ‘what happened’.  Propaganda can stem from a true emotional feeling in a community as easily as it can stem from a real event or a real person.  To ignore this is to ignore the basic functions of the human psyche.

One Response

  1. Wag the Dog = Iraq War…. goes to prove my point in many ways, but I want to develop that later.

    We cannot be anachronistic in our approach to propaganda, I note that propaganda after the fact, to secure ideological proof, of even before, has to be rooted in a believable truth. Not the entire thing, but just some of it.

    Think about the stories which you cited are connected to others and then note what Girard says about the truth and myth of them. They are rooted in history. Granted, for Mark, if it is a Jewish War Text, he doesn’t have time to develop fully a complete Tradition to secure against Rome, but he does have time to encase his Truth into an existing Tradition.

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