1958 Mike Wallace Interview with Brave New World Author Aldous Huxley

Mike Wallace talks to ‘Brave New World‘ author Aldous Huxley, focusing on the danger of slipping into totalitarian government as a result of overpopulation, increasing hierarchical organization of people in corporate structures, and improper use of television and subliminal advertising. He continually refers to the similarity between the methods of advertising agencies and those of political dictators.

Wallace: …and we’ll be persuaded to vote for someone that we do not know we are being persuaded to vote for?

Huxley: Exactly, I mean this is the rather alarming feature… that you are being persuaded below the level of choice and reason.

Perhaps that explains the election of George W. Bush, a raging drunk without the slightest education – a psychopathic false cowboy with delusions of a holy mission to invade the Middle East. It was national suicide. The election of Bush was the worst thing to happen to the United States since the Civil War and it cannot be explained by logic. The world is only at the beginning of decades spent recovering from the criminality and death unleashed by Bush. I think Huxley might have said that Bush was the easily predictable outcome of uncontrolled corporatization. Every corporation likes to push dull-witted and unimportant people into middle management positions where they can function as the tiered facade standing between the board members and the Chinese slave camps.

Documentary Film: The Century of the Self

The Century of the Self is a 2002 British documentary by Adam Curtis that explains how the psychological theories of Sigmund Freud were used by those in power to control the dangerous masses in democratic countries. Many of the most basic ideas behind American marketing and public relations during the 20th century, including the focus group, were invented by Freud’s nephew, Edward Bernays. The American economy was converted into a consumer economy that relied upon people wanting things and feeling a need for things that were designed to increase the feeling of want.

The idea underlying this entire documentary, its fundamental observation is simply that in a democracy nearly the entire population is made up of stupid cow-like people who can be very easily controlled into thinking of themselves as unique individuals who are making their own decisions. The fact is that people, for the most part, are cannon fodder. They are willing to throw their sons and daughters into the meat grinder of war for the pretense of defending an economic structure completely dependent upon people earnestly believing that they really really need the new version of the iPhone. The mind control has worked. You can tell from the lines in front of the Best Buy at midnight waiting for the new Xbox. If you find yourself standing in line to buy the first new iPhone, you are simply mindless meat strung between bones without the slightest capacity for self-direction.  You are one of the people in the crowd being laughed at by the guy in the window at the top of the skyscraper.

But it gets even worse.  If you are making a call on your iPhone you are very likely the same mindless meat as the person waiting in line to buy the phone.  Phone calls don’t exist anymore.  They are now just pools of water where you throw your quarters and make a wish.

The series consists of four episodes. Each episode is presented in six parts on YouTube. You can find all the related parts if you click through to YouTube.

Episode 1: “Happiness Machines”
Episode 2: “The Engineering of Consent”
Episode 3: “There is a Policeman Inside All Our Heads: He Must Be Destroyed”
Episode 4: “Eight People Sipping Wine in Kettering”

Huffington Post Presents Advertiser’s Commercial as News

I go over to The Huffington Post, a site that defines the words ‘mess’ and ‘indecipherable’ better than any dictionary could, looking for some news, and I come across a story entitled Secret Oil Rigs in Los Angeles Uncovered.  ‘Ho ho!’ I thought.  ‘Here’s something interesting and probably full of nasty secret pollution and damage to our health by oil companies!’  And of course I went stumbling right into the fake news trap.  Watch the ‘documentary’ above.  Notice how the young fellow doing the talking and walking is dressed kind of down with his jeans and boots.  Notice how the camera has a tendency to swoop to his feet.  To show the boots.  A lot.  The documentary, which purports to uncover the hidden oil rigs pumping crude from underneath Los Angeles, is presented on Huffington as being by Palladium Boots.  Unless you click on the link, you don’t realize that Palladium Boots is not the name of a fantastic little production outfit making cool films, but rather a boot company selling… boots.

So now we’ve got a major news and political opinion site putting up an article that looks like news about hidden oil wells in an urban center, but is really an advertisement.  The implication is that we are going to see the documentary confront issues surrounding these wells.  Issues like how many children would die if one of these things blew up next to their schoolyard.  Or how many people each year will get cancer because of oil wells nextdoor.  Instead we get a guy tramping around LA asking insipid non-questions and only hinting at darker possibilities.  We get a smattering of LA history and a lot of amazement at how well-hidden the wells are.  Frankly, if you’re in LA for more than 48 hours and don’t know about the wells, you are hopefully just passing through on your way to Orange County.  The real problem here is that a film produced as a corporate advertisement cannot confront real issues because the producers don’t want to create any real disturbance.  So they dodge all the important questions.  You’d think, after watching this ad, that oil drilling in LA is something just dandy.  Wonderful!  They’re pumping oil from under junior’s school!  Lovely!  We’re all better off for it!

But we’re just watching a boot commercial.  That’s it.  It’s not a cool citizen news report or hip internet filmmaking.  It’s just a company hawking its crappy boots to nitwits who think they are learning something.  A simple illustration of why this is so bad is to imagine your reaction if you found out that I had been paid by this boot company to write this very blog post.  You would never trust me again.  So what does that tell us about the Huffington Post site?

A smarter idea for this fake-news documentary would be to film a barefoot reporter who walks into the oil company executive’s office and politely asks him if he’d like to sit his own children down next to an oil well for a few years to see if they drop dead of cancer.  When thrown out of the oil company’s offices, the barefoot reporter would stagger down the street begging for a pair of shoes.  He’d end up with a pair of pink stilettos that fit him perfectly.  Just like Cinderella.

That would be my fake-news commercial.