Hello again from a Kozy place!
There’s a new trend out there in the media (that bastion of truth!). It goes like this: _______ is the new ________. “Fake is the new real”, “Forty is the new thirty”, “Small is the new big” are just a few of the actual quotes I have heard. Most recently an ad campaign for a major petrol company announced a two-for-one promotion called, you guessed it, “Two is the new one”. Catchy? Funny? Unique? Might I suggest frightening?
Here are a few more for you: “War is peace. Freedom is slavery. Ignorance is strength.” Where did I pick up those little gems? A Ford truck commercial perchance? No, not on TV but from George Orwell’s prophetic novel, “1984”. For those of you who didn’t write your grade ten final paper in English 300 on that novel, it is about the future…er…um…well… it was the future when it was written…and in that future humans are controlled by Big Brother and the Thought Police. Language, known as ‘Newspeak’ becomes a tool to enslave the masses. Oh George, how did you know? How did you know??
FYI, I’ll be quoting George a lot in this edition.
“Political language — and with variations this is true of all political parties, from Conservatives to Anarchists — is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind.” (See, told you.)
Ah politics, nowhere does language prostitute itself more. I love the little sound bytes, the ambiguity, the subtle shifts from black to white and back. Just the other evening I watched a montage of Bush Admin speeches. At the outset of the Iraq debacle the phrase “stay the course” was repeated again, and again, and again. “We’re going to stay the course!” Well it seems now that public opinion has changed a little and so staying the course is not as popular as it used to be. Today’s phrase, based on results from the latest polls I’m guessing, is “adapt and win”. “We’re going to adapt and win!”
Whoa. Stop. Back this train up buster! OK, can anyone tell me what either of those two statements mean? What is the course and why are we staying on it? What are we adapting to and what exactly do we hope to ‘win’?
Advertising and politics. They’re pretty much interchangeable. The goal is simple, distract us. Keep us hating enemies we know nothing about, keep us buying things we don’t need, keep us from thinking.
“In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act.” (Love ya George! More than you know.)
The truth. Here’s a quiz for you…
Your spouse is cheating on you. You don’t know this. But his/her best friend does. Do you want his/her best friend to:
a) Tell you the truth and let you deal with the consequences or
b) Keep quiet and have your life go on happily and peacefully as it is right now.
Did you pick (a)? Ooooo, I’m sorry. Because now you are divorced and your life is in shambles. Your spouse hates his/her best friend for ratting him/her out and he/she blames you. And the “bit on the side” has moved into the center…and your side of the bed.
Did you pick (b)? Too bad friend. Yes, your life meandered along happily, for awhile, but one day you got the old, “it’s not you it’s me speech” and the love of your life was out the door quicker than you could say, “Should have signed a pre-nup” leaving you with nothing but a broken heart, two kids, and a nasty rash on your naughty bits.
See the thing about the truth is, it hurts. If it doesn’t hurt you now, it will sure as hell bite you in the behind in the future.
"And if all others accepted the lie which the Party imposed—if all records told the same tale—then the lie passed into history and became truth. ‘Who controls the past’ ran the Party slogan, ‘controls the future: who controls the present controls the past.’" (George, you rock my world!)
Here’s the truth (brace yourselves) we are being lied to. Everyday in countless ways, we are being lied to. Take a walk down the skin care section of a drugstore if you don’t believe me. Row upon row of products seducing us with their promise of: “younger more youthful looking skin”, “fights aging”, “visibly reduces the appearance of wrinkles”. We are blowing our wads on this shit and you know what I see when I look around? A lot of old, wrinkly people in debt up to their old, wrinkly ying yangs.
We are fed the words, fed the promises, and we gobble it up. Lies, lies, lies. Yum, yum, yum.
The Prez’s pet peeve du jour (well, not including his pet peeve about me getting up three times a night to take care of my senile cat – long story) is about the current, popular trend in small car ad (lies) campaigns. Why would you buy a small car? Economy? Fuel efficiency? The ability to actually open your doors in a parking lot? If you said yes to any of those then bravo, those are all good, sound reasons to buy a small car. But not good enough for the ad people (liars). There are a plethora of ads trying to show us how BIG small cars are. (Well, big is the new small after all). Ads depicting giddy fun-something-year-olds opening the hatches of their teeny wittle autos to reveal entire trees, observatory telescopes, football teams and the like. It drives the Prez bonkers. “Why can’t they just say it’s cheap and it’s good on gas??!!?” he demands to know.
Um……..still working on that answer.
But on a larger scale, why are we being lied to? What is the goal of advertisers and politicians and other creative linguists? Like I said, keep us distracted.
We don’t want to know that the mountains of products we consume aren’t making us happier, aren’t making our lives easier, aren’t making us younger. We don’t want to know all the money spent blowing up things in other countries has NOT helped make our world safer and could have been used to send all our kids to college.
“War is a way of shattering to pieces, or pouring into the stratosphere, or sinking in the depths of the sea, materials which might otherwise be used to make the masses too comfortable, and hence, in the long run, too intelligent.” (George you’re going to make me cry, I swear.)
Too intelligent, that is the last thing any group of powerful, wealthy people (and let’s not kid ourselves about who calls the shots on this planet) want the great unwashed masses (that’s us) to be. I’m not some nutty conspiracy theorist locked in my bathroom with tinfoil on my head to block out the psychic rays (that only happened once and I go easy on the tequila now) I’m just a gal who likes to step back, look at the big picture, and do a little critical thinking from time to time.
There were people who came forward, before and after the attack on Iraq, and said, “There are no WMDs. There’s never been any proof of them.” And like all good truth tellers they found themselves shuffled out to the hall where they wouldn’t disrupt the other children. Sure there’s freedom of speech but when Big Brother controls the media he can make darn sure nobody hears that speech.
“Freedom is the freedom to say that two plus two make four. If that is granted, all else follows.” (George, if you weren’t dead I’d marry you.)
Two is NOT the new one. Two is two. One is one. Two plus two make four. And that, my friends, is the truth.
Question: Have you ever told the truth knowing it was going to hurt?
Until next week, I hope this finds you healthy, happy & lovin’ life!
p.s. – Laura, I loved "The Life of Pi". Slow start but worth hanging in there for. Yes, another book I’d highly recommend! I am always looking for good books to read. I have to do something to kill time until the next Harry Potter comes out!