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WWH – Dr. Woody thinks this is an example of a wrong-headed critique. It attacks the wrong folks. Sure, the people act like sheep, a lot. But they’ve been carefully taught.
We “Murkins” did NOT “dumb ourselves down.” If we display the crassest disregard for and/or apparently blissful ignorance about our situations, this is not the result of a flaw in the basic nature of our Citizens. It is, rather, evidence (more, if one needed it) of the overwhelming success of a surreptitious initiative begun over 40 years ago–with roots in the earliest days of the 20th Century–the designed-in goal of which was to prevent there EVER again being another cohort or generation of youth which could appeal to the common knowledge of the citizenry to critique the Bosses and win popular sympathy.
Murkins are the victims of the biggest, most expensive, most extensive, most intrusive, most effective, most comprehensive, most expansive, most complete, best planned, best executed, best designed, best enacted campaign of propaganda and brainwashing EVER attempted in the history of the world. It started around 1910, and has been relentlessly and endlessly propogated ever since, in war and peace, wealth and Depression, ever since.
Has it been successful? Look around you. Gimme 100 years of your undivided attention, and I can make you believe ANYFUCKINGTHING I WANT YOU TO BELIEVE.
Most Murkins reject the idea that they care susceptible to propaganda and/or brainwashing. But it is easy to demonstrate the flaw in their ointment: Ask ’em if they detect a difference between Ford and Chevy, of Coors and Bud, Tide and Gain, Crest and Colgate If they answer in the affirmative, it’s QED, all the way to the bank.
Anthropologist/psychologist Gregory Bateson famously remarked upon “the differences that make a difference.” There is a difference between a plum tree and a pick-up truck; there is NO difference between Coors and Bud, Ford and Nissan.
The United States of Amnesia.
It’s not really an exaggeration. Regularly, on the Netz, attentive viewers are treated to video accounts and records which demonstrate how ludicrously ill-informed are many “typical” Americans about even the grossest facts and events of their history, civics, and government. And often these vids are accompanied by diatribes and/or comments lamenting how terribly ignorant “Murkins” have allowed themselves to become.
Why wouldn’t folks know simple stuff, like the 3 branches of Govt., or the number of Justices on the SCROTUS? The name of your Rep/Sen is marginally tougher? And amazingly “average” looking Americans blunder and blush into dense thickets of cluelessness when asked innocuous questions.
But ask ’em “the Beeb’s hometown? (Dr. W. dunno it; I think he’s Canadian.)
Often the embarrassment of the interviewers and/or critics expresses itself in a jeremiad bemoaning how we’re ‘dumbing ourselves down. And t’s easy to excoriate “us” for this stufff. But, to me, that’s blaming the victims.
To repeat: We did not “dumb ourselves down.” This was done TO you! On purpose! By the best minds of their generations!
The decline and decay of US citizens’ civic and historical knowledge is the result of the conscious connivance of the corpoRats and their political flunkies, toadies, and lickspittles, at all levels of corporat and bureaucratic involvement. to see to it that the Owners’ hegemony would never again be threatened, as it was by the Boomers in the counter-cultural, social revolution movements of the 60s and 70s.
In about ’70-71, then-Pres. Nixon looked, aghast, out upon the turmoil in the streets of DC, and the rest of the country, over the Vietnam war and other social controversies– and upon the resistors who KNEW the law, the Constitution, and their rights–and decided THAT would never happen again. Within the next decade, social studies suffered dramatic reductions as schools focused more on science and math, and on accountability.
Raygun’s bunch really kicked it up, though. On the back of E.D. Hersch’s trick taxonomies in “Cultural Literacy,” Ed Sec. (Big-Bettin’ )Bill Bennett, with the assistance of notables like such as (now-converted) Diane Ravitch, and Chester Finn, and politicos like Lamar Alexander opened the flood-gates to corporatization and sank ’em into empty testing regimes, with gazillions of dollars from testing and test prep companies to underwrite the effort and hire sympathetic scholars.
You’ve heard the term “Learned Helplessness” (e.g., Seligman, 1967, et seq)? Putting the emphasis on “learning,” it seems to me removes the responsibility from the bastards who TRAINED the dogs into paralysis, makes them the victims of their own susceptibility to the (hidden) violence of the model.
We are a people TRAINED in perpetual adolescence. We’re narcotized by our diets and the drug industry, inundated with the very best in brainwashing propaganda and technology from EVERY institution in their lives–churches, jobs, media, bidness, gummint, and most of the academy, right down to their fucking cell-phones–deprived of adequate educations by the CorpoRat demands of spurious “accountability,” lied to as a matter of course by EVERY figure their traditions teach them to respect, all the while being atomically dispersed: Forget divide & conquer–by artificial divisions arising mainly from the marketing whims of their oppressors.
You can tell a little how much our Owners fear us by the amount of time, money, and resources they spend to keep us distracted.
Didja ever take a psych course, and learn just how effective “stimulus-response” training is, and how irresistible it can be if conducted skillfully? We Murkins, all of us, are experimental subjects in the biggest Skinnerian “experiment” ever conducted.
And it’s worked to perfection, so far.
I expect there’ll be an app any day now.“Dr. Woody” is a nom du blogue used by John Konopak, Ph.D., rogue scholar and rhetorical handyman who operates Konopelli Enterprises, a blogging and real estate empire that spans Albuquerque, NM, from the Valley to the Heights. He has formerly been a professor at a couple of big schools, a journalism instructor, a high school teacher, a union carpenter, a laborer, a journalist/editor, a critic, a door-to-door cold calling Kirby guy, a radio announcer/dj, a car salesman and a junior executive in a mining and manufacturing concern who worked his way up from the shop floor. He regards himself as a renaissance man; his BiL says he just can’t hold a job.