On War and Patriotism

Offered by DA

Ok kulturCritics, let’s take a little time for some free-associative thinking on one of my favorite topics, America’s historical and ongoing (apparently with no end in sight either) fascination with all things war. I’d like to set aside for this discussion all the more obvious components that drive us: the obvious economic benefits to establishing what amounts to an entire global economic sector based on blowing things up so that they can be built right back up again and the obvious benefit of establishing what amounts to the largest unemployment service the nation’s ever known, with the added benefit of serving as an indoctrination service (USA! USA! USA!) for its many inductees. Or the obvious need for a suitably powerful enforcement arm to police and enforce the globe on behalf of the capitalist leviathan which it serves in the name of our new secular religion PROFITS (angelic harp chords here) for the few. No, these are the all too easily and widely recognized reasons why War Inc. was established by our wealthy overlords in the first place and are blindingly obvious to all but the most obtuse (read: patriotic) among us. What I’d like to consider today, and what has always baffled me for that matter, is why War Inc. in all of its current incarnations (DoD (and its many private sector clones), CIA, NSA, FBI, ATF, IRS, and all their many foreign counterparts) holds such a spell over the very people it is now quite openly attacking at every turn, especially when you consider that the ascendant political mantra in this country (first by the right, now by the left as well) has long been that big government is universally evil. And for those who don’t know my history already, I’m retired USAF enlisted myself, who at one time at least viewed the military and its efforts as a necessary evil. I’m not sure now I wasn’t deluded all along, but one thing’s for sure, nothing the US is doing militarily now can <i>even possibly</i> be construed as “national defense” by any sane, rational adult (hell, we even <i>created</i> a department, DHS, that supposedly does that); and it’s remarkable to me at least that so many of my fellow countryman can by that definition no longer be considered sane or rational, at least with regards to matters military, broadly defined.

So why did I join in the first place all those years ago? Yep, you’ve got it, almost purely for economic reasons, just as most of my compadres at the time did (and continue to do today) as well. Yeah there was the FTA (Fun, Travel, Adventure) factor as well, and that’s still a major selling point for prospective inductees, but as most vets find out all to soon enough, the fun factor is seriously overstated, the travel (a factor which has increased exponentially as the military has simultaneously downsized and increased its world-wide commitments) begins to wear on you after a while, and the adventure more often than not is not the kind you want to have. Nevertheless, I truly enjoyed the first ten years or so of my career. The FTA really is just that when you’re twenty-something and have nothing better to do. The money, although not great, ain’t half bad either, especially if you came from an economically disadvantaged background in the first place. All facts that I sensed were still true, albeit diminished somewhat, for the youth coming in behind me as I hit retirement age ten years back. But once again, these are all rather obvious factors for why the inductees themselves join the military and they bleed over into the reasons why our capitalist masters set up this whole system in the first place. In that sense, it’s just a symbiotic relationship. They need to keep employment at a tolerable level by whatever means necessary and the poor and disadvantaged need an income source. They need an enforcement arm to maintain global hegemony of Capitalism Inc., and we need…? What? To feel that we’re being patriotic in the face of some sort of existential threat to baseball, hot dogs, apple pie and Chevrolet? Think wearing military uniforms is just too cool to possibly resist? Just plain like killing and destroying shit and are now totally inoculated to the effects of violence by TV and video games, especially when military killing is now almost always electronic and impersonal as well? Just don’t give a damn about anything anymore and are searching desperately for any kind of thrill to make us feel alive again? That’s the meat of the question right there I think. What makes us continue to blindly support a system that is so obviously serving almost everyone involved so badly? Or as the old 60’s saying goes, “What if they threw a war and nobody came?”

Since addressing all of that in detail could turn into the proverbial “science project,” let’s focus on the first and likely the meatiest: patriotism. Admonitions about patriotism being the last refuge of fools and scoundrels (one with which I totally agree) notwithstanding, patriotism always boils down to two crucial factors to my mind. One is a religious, which is to say blind, belief in a cause, and the second is tribalism carried out on the national level. Or said another way, it’s a religious belief in the “tribe” of the US nation state. A definition that I doubt that would stir up too much controversy even among any “true patriots” who might hear it, if they would even bother to give it that much thought (introspective thought not exactly being a hallmark of religious zealots, no matter their stripe). And thus the popular saying “USA, love it or leave it,” which so popular during the Vietnam era. Setting aside any further discussion of religion for a moment (and you thought I was going THERE again, didn’t you?), the concept of tribalism has been examined fairly extensively in academic and talking head circles of late as well, and is usually found wanting for the most part, mostly simply because it’s pretty much by definition parochial and limiting in its world view. My main critique of tribalism in general is that it’s a failure to think bigger and more inclusively at whatever level it comes into play. Tribalism has obvious negative connotations for most Americans through its association with Native Americans, née Indians, but tribes are with us everywhere still. From the gangs of any major city, to the sports teams associated with high schools and colleges, to many of the professional associations we form (especially local legal and law and order), but even extending to inter-corporate departmental and/or functional divisions, and certainly to our national war making institutions; the military, the (increasingly domestic) spy organizations (CIA and NSA), and the major law enforcement arms (FBI, ATF, DHS, INS, and now with the institution of ObamaCare, the IRS). All of which are ultimately subsumed by the biggie, and one which increasingly claims global hegemony/dominance, the US federal government, aka, our good ol’ US of A! And as any seasoned bureaucratic infighter can tell you without a trace of irony, tribalism is pretty much synonymous with conflict at whatever level it’s practiced.

And so it is that I define patriotism as a near or complete religious belief in tribalistic nationalism. In short us and them. Perhaps best put to music by this classic video, which among other things put the name Dick Parry on the rock and roll map for his inspired Sax solo.

Not one that I imagine is too flattering at all, but which I also quite surprisingly (to me at least) would not expect to receive much push back from its many believers, at least the ones I know. Which is all well and fine I think, but what, in the end, is the result of all this so-called patriotic fervor with which we now find ourselves in the throes of? And is it all truly patriotism in the first place, or is it all some sort of misguided notion of patriotic responsibility that’s been sold to us through the overarching and overwhelming magic of the electronic hologram? Hmmm… good questions me thinks.

So, just exactly when did this current notion of patriotism begin the first place? Certainly hard to say for sure, but WWII (aka, “The Big One”) might be a good place to start. I know, I know, that’s being blindly and naively non-academic, but to tell you the truth, I think that’s as far as our cultural memory goes these days, and even that is rapidly vanishing as we speak. It was during that conflict that our cultural adrenal glands virtually wore out the concept, and which to my mind, we continue the attempt to wear them out, albeit with greatly diminished effect, to this very day. It was patriotism that allowed is to make the sacrifices to win the war against “naked aggression” then, even as we were later admonished so stupidly to “go shopping” to win it later. In the end, to interpret and condense history more than a little bit, patriotism was morphed into little more than a reinterpretation of our vanquished enemies philosophies – Fascism and Nazism – as the post war Red Scare, which in turn quickly provided us with first Korea, and then Vietnam, under the auspices of the newly minted Domino Theory, all too soon enough. In short, patriotism took on the dominant trait of its tribalistic aspect – fear/hate of the other. Equally religious as well? You bet.

But as time wore on, we became war weary and decidedly less religious. As even the Kennedy’s, Johnson, and King couldn’t convince us, the old guard embodied by Nixon first triumphed, and then crashed in a historical blaze of glory with the twin humiliations of Nixon’s Watergate and Vietnam. We were war weary, stoned out of our minds, and believers in nothing at all in the mid-70s when I joined up, so much so that not even a true believer like Carter could pull us out of our rut. We were just plain tired of our own bullshit and not willing to listen to it anymore.

Enter our Savior. “Only in America” is certainly an apt enough title on the face of it (even as it had already been done so well so recently with our recently vanquished enemies) to what happened next. A career actor and thus, professional purveyor of bullshit (Hitler, anyone?), did what he did best, and spread his bullshit all around to resounding acclaim. Unfortunately, in the aftermath of all his morning in America feel good shit, our existential enemy of yesterday proved too smart to succumb to the temptation of world-wide military dominance and simply (and smartly) folded its hand, and the good ol’ US of A found itself in a decidedly uncomfortable situation: a dominant military hegemonic power in control of a world which apparently had no threats. Hmm… might be time to invent some.

In the meantime and in the aftermath, our USA tribe/team experimented with the idea of “small wars.” Wars that were winnable in the short term (in political terms at least), and thus politically salable. Wars that risked only a small number of “professional cadre” (a side benefit of post-Vietnam disaffection and the end of the draft), in the effort to win “hearts and minds” to the cause of “freedom,” aka corporate capitalism. In spite of many initial misfires throughout the 80’s, The Reaganista’s seemed to perfect the technique for future generations. Our good friend patriotism was ascendant again. Good enough for two elections of one president and a rubber stamp election of his vice.

It’s there that our narrative gets a little conflicted. Just as “Bush the Greater” seemed at the top of his powers post Gulf War I, a “patsy war” in retrospect if there ever was one, Americans (aka, Baby Boomers) decided that all of that patriotic bullshit was just so “last century,” and decided to invest in themselves. Which they did. Exponentially. In houses, in stocks, in technology, in bullshit. In anything and everything! And that old bugaboo war was now a thing of the past. Hadn’t you heard? We were the biggest, baddest motherfuckers that ever lived, and who could possibly doubt it! Little did we know then, but the wheels were already turning. War was just too damn profitable to let it go to waste, and our old friend patriotism would be gussied up in some up to date stylings and trotted out once again in service of the cause. The era of the Shock Doctrine and an enemy under every bed writ VERY large was about to begin.

And here we stand in 2013, victims of a “Democratic Reagan” in first Clinton and then Obama (both rubber stamped for two terms), and a piss poor conservative version in Bush the Lesser (actually Cheney the Greater) interspersed as well, not to mention an electronic media hologram the likes of which we’ve never seen. The term “perpetual war” was finally embraced, as it was now being waged on a concept – terrorism – that could conveniently be applied to virtually anyone or anything (The War on Drugs, The War on Poverty, hell, the War on Humanity). And just what, indeed, are we to make of that now ubiquitous hologram in the first place? I must admit, at this late stage of my life, I simply don’t know anymore. Yes, I must admit, I, your DA, simply doesn’t know what to make of current events anymore. Join the club. If you’re not already a member, rest assured, you soon will be.

Question: Patriotism, assuming we are to continue to embrace it, just what exactly has it and will it reliably continue to bring us? And do we really need it anymore anyway (indeed, have we <i>ever</i> needed it)? Has patriotism itself become an idea that should be retired to the dustbin of history? I would submit that as a concept it’s been so polluted and obfuscated by hidden meanings and insinuations (the word liberal anyone?), and perhaps more importantly, linked to warfare and the warrior mentality, that we should just retire it altogether. Watching the now ubiquitous and obscene military and flag displays before our mega sporting events, bringing to mind nothing as much as Hitler’s Nazism or Stalin’s Communism themselves, who can possibly doubt it? But that, alas, is for future generations to decide.

Another take on patriotism by a rock and roll hall of famer, who in spite of his best intentions misses the mark with this one I think. In my view at least, the solution to raging patriotism on the right is not to try to wrestle it back into the hands of the left. Setting aside the polluted meaning of the word itself, it’s a battle that simply can never be won and sullies the reputation of everyone who gets involved with it. Becoming the truest of the true believers in such a dated and parochial concept is simply not a goal that anyone should ever aspire to. We’ve got bigger problems to deal with these days.

Thanks for listening,

Peace Out!


58 Responses to On War and Patriotism

  1. kulturcritic says:

    DA – I agree with your assessment concerning the consolidation of institutional power, but, I would call it ‘hierarchy’, not ‘tribalism’. I personally would reserve the word ‘tribal’ to be used only in describing the non-hierarchical, egalitarian relations obtaining among pre-civilized H/G banded societies (tribes or clans.). IMHO – kC

    • Disaffected says:

      Should have had this one ready for the 4th, but I’m a little slow these days. The HTML tags didn’t work either, but we’ll get that worked out. This one kind of came to me out of the blue on Saturday, so I decided not to self-edit and put too much thought into it. The whole team sports as a training ground for militarism, all wrapped up in the flag has really struck me again lately. The displays of faux patriotism these days seem to be getting more and more ostentatious all the time.

    • Sandy,
      Doesn’t each little room full of miscreants
      in the hierarchy at all levels behave tribally?
      Whether it’s a corporate boardroom or the oval office,
      each room full of greedy maniacs is tribal among its friends, right?
      Tribalarchy up to Malarchy?

      • kulturcritic says:

        George… it all depends who is feeding you your view of “tribal” behavior. Where do you get your idea of ‘tribalism’ from? From consensus ideas floating around in the socio-linguistic aether? And, no, I don’t agree that each member in a ‘civilized’ hierarchy necessarily thinks for the good of the group. IMHO… but you re certainly welcome to yours… I won’t argue. sandy

  2. Thanks DA for such a timely piece on the two bedfellows: War and Patriotism. You hit it on the head about the constant military “salute our armed forces” at the start of athletic events; how we raise our trained Government-sanctioned killers to godlike status How we make it so that you’re not a “real” man or woman unless you join the Army or Marines (like they have some special powers). We’re singing about “God Bless America” while blowin’ up dem nasty (Fill in the blanks).

    I could go more into detail, but again, you really hit it on the head. Thanks again! Peace!

  3. xraymike79 says:

    The myth of American exceptionalism and the spreading of its morally righteous gifts of (faux)democracy and (disaster)capitalism (with its built-in overconsumption) is probably a big anchor for this patriotism thing. Even though the American plebs have been working 2 and 3 jobs with declining wages, they are still programmed to defend the system because the unknown alternative is made out to be unthinkable. We’re just cogs in the bone-crushing wheel of capitalism.

    • Disaffected says:

      One can only hope that disaster capitalism will run aground on the shoals of resource depletion soon. Unfortunately, the Fed still seems to have other ideas. We’ll see…

      • Phlogiston Água de Beber says:

        It seems to me that disaster capitalism was born and raised on those shoals. No place for it in a deep resource river. I think the Fed believes that its job is to keep the shoal from turning into a sandbar.

        • Disaffected says:

          Yeah, the more history I read, the more I realize that capitalism was designed to do what it’s doing now right from the start. Roosevelt and the New Deal likely only prolonged our misery and made the coming inevitable crash and burn cycle that much worse. We’re just witnessing the late stage metastasis now.

  4. Phlogiston Água de Beber says:

    DA, a most worthy topic for this blog. I’m no JMG, but I think I can shine some historical light on the subject. By way of setting the stage, I have very recently gained an insight that we are recapitulating, with remarkable fidelity, the history of Rome. From throwing off the yoke of Etruscan rule to forming a Republic to surrendering representative governance in favor of executive dictatorship to imperial conquest with global ambitions. We’ve just run it all through a ZIP compression algorithym to speed up the download.

    Patriotism is kind of like societal Loctite. It keeps the nuts from screwing off and getting lost in the weeds. Patriotism in Rome sprang from making sure the citizens understood how their way of life was vastly superior to that of the neighbors who were denigrated as ‘barbarians’. Ragheads, slopes, etc, ring any bells? No way of knowing whether or not they may have chanted ROME love it or leave it, which Google says would have been spoken thus, Romam amant aut id relinque.

    Just like our Borgian scoundrels, their’s used the peoples devotion to the state against them. Citizens sent off to war often came back to discover they were now paupers. And Romans were always going off to war. The original Roman military was a citizen militia, much like our Continental Army of part-time soldiers that went home to plant and harvest the crops. When empire time rolled around it was professional army time. In the later days the Legions fought against each other to put their commanding General on the imperial throne. Our military departments fight each other for the biggest piece of the pentagonal pie. Our Kaisers are selected via rigorous competition between two teams of Borg. So, not much difference really.

    Regarding the future, the important thing to note is that the first and last rulers of Old Rome were both named Romulus. Hunker down if someone named Washington gets inaugurated.

    • Disaffected says:

      Patriotism is kind of like societal Loctite. It keeps the nuts from screwing off and getting lost in the weeds.
      Very nice! Yeah, I used to imagine that a military coups might be in our future, but in the interim, the military has been so romanticized (and the generals so politicized) that such an event would hardly be considered as such anymore, would it? Although, I imagine the whole Petraeus affair thing was an inside job to cut him off at the knees before he threatened the establish power brokers.

  5. Malthus says:

    Very Very good DA. My advice to everyone here is to leave it. Get the hell out and leave the rotting pile of crap to the zombies walking the isles of Walmart, the mutant business school greed heads, and the 4th of July patriots stuffing their fat faces with all kinds of burned flesh while swigging gallons of beer so they can at the end go home in frustration and living their barren hopeless life’s of consuming everything on the planet and beat up their wifes. And while you are leaving this huge mountain of bullshit be sure to pick a spot where there aren’t a bunch of these same zombies hiding behind enclosed gates in an other country and hoping to swap their wifes for fun and games all the while making fun of the poor inhabitants of said country for being so backward and doing everything they can to change it into another Utopian nightmare from which they came from.

  6. outsider says:

    I’m relatively new to the site and discovered it through Kunstler’s “Clusterfuck Nation.” All I can say is, very perceptive DA. Given how your mind works, I’m amazed you were able to put up with all the inane military bullshit for so many years. I was in for two during the draft years, so there was a lot of overt anti-war sentiment (remember the term ‘fragging’) within the Army during Vietnam (I wasn’t sent). I doubt if the all-volunteer (read mercenary) military puts up with that kind of dissention. Wars are much easier for the MIC without the draft. Why protest insane wars when you can’t be drafted? Anyway, I’ve come to believe that the MIC killed JFK because he (along with Kruschev) was taking a turn for peace. Obama, I think, really wanted to change the mindset of the country when first elected, but the MIC showed him who was boss. He didn’t want to get what JFK got. Lastly, I recently re-read Orwell’s 1984. The all-pervasive surveillance state and permanent wars (WAR IS PEACE, FREEDOM IS SLAVERY) he described are sure hitting home with the Snowden and ME situations. If fact, I’m a little paranoid to even post this. Should I be worried?

    • Phlogiston Água de Beber says:

      Of course you should be worried! About what is the less easily answered question.

      I once met a future fragee. A young Marine Lieutenant who was a friend of my father-in-law. He was married and seemed like a nice enough guy. But, he had his duty and presumably he dood it. Grunts were dying like flies then and I imagine his duty probably included forcing grunts to make themselves available to be killed. The grunts knew it wasn’t a Holy War, it was a wholly stupid act of agression against a people we knew nothing about and had no reason to hate.

      JFK died during my tour in the USAF. I can atest that he was not much loved by his troops and he certainly had made industrial enemies. At this stage of imperial insanity, no occupant of the oval office will ever be anything but a sock puppet.

      The surveillance state is not a recent invention, but a batch of recent inventions have turned it into a major industry. Like any good major industry it produces mainly effluent and waste. But, it’s not new. The Romans relied heavily on their postal agents to gather intel for the imperium. In the 1972 National Lampoon poem The Deteriota there is a line that goes Know yourself, if you need help call the FBI.

      • Disaffected says:

        First time I’ve ever seen that – pretty good! I’m going with the cosmic muffin. I think it’s at least as likely as all the other choices I’ve heard put forward so far.

    • Phlogiston Água de Beber says:

      Outsider, by divine intervention or whatever, the WHAT that you and all of us for that matter should worry about has been handed to me on a silver platter. So to speak. Even Guy McPherson hasn’t cottoned onto this yet.

      • outsider says:

        Thanks for the videos, Beber. Brightened my day. Sometimes it’s best to pour a glass of wine (any kind will do), get a piece of cheese and some crackers, sit in your rocking chair and say ‘ain’t it a bitch.’ No sense in getting too worked up over things you can’t change. In the words of Kramer from Seinfeld – SERENITY NOW.

        • Disaffected says:

          And as the immortal George Costanza added: “Remember Jerry, it’s not a lie if you believe it.” That might well be the new conservative/national mantra. And I’ll bet even Grover Norquist would raise a glass to that.

    • Malthus says:

      Yep you should be worried if you think that those people that love to stick their noses up everyone’s ass because they are the faithful and love being told what good people they are by their masters. If you don’t give a fig who or what they think they are like I do run for it. They have way more fire power and legions of kiss ass zombies to back them up. The term fragging comes from the concept of going into a bar in some distant land that we just need to stick our noses in and throwing a fragmentation hand grenade into a room full of fellow military types usually from another company just to show who the real bad ass is. After all you must remember that military means trained killers. What a pathetic concept.

    • Disaffected says:

      Thanks Outsider, but my mind din’t always work this way. Indeed, maybe I owe the military a debt of gratitude for helping me clear the muddled thinking of my youth. And yeah, I think that’s still the main question in my mind regarding Obama. Was he a trojan horse – a potted plant – all along, or has he been captured (read: threatened into acquiescence) by the MIC after he took office. Good evidence on both sides of that question still. Alas, we’ll probably never know for sure, as MIC insiders take their secrets to the grave.

      And the draft, I was going to post something on that yesterday. Lack of one really is the key to perpetual war, isn’t it? It means no one who doesn’t want or have to need ever be concerned about foreign policy. Especially when the MIC is cherry-picking winnable wars, or even better, wears that are “virtually winnable;” i.e., wars that degenerate into an “acceptable stalemate.” One with just enough conflict to ensure continued US presence under the guise of “peacekeeping,” but which is just quiet enough with regard to casualties and troop deployments to fall off the public radar here at home. And perhaps most importantly of all, ones which can be ramped up again at a minute’s notice to take the heat off back home whenever any untoward political circumstances pop up, as they are always want to do. Seems the Pentagon has mastered those concepts in the past decade. And who said Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld weren’t transformational? I think they might represent, strike that, easily are the most transformational administration in American history.

  7. the Heretick says:

    patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel.
    our armies are now, and have always been, a tool of the ruling class.
    now the world is sharply defined into power blocs and the armies do the will of the trans-national corps. operating thru our respective govts.

    war is now more nakedly than ever simply a process to keep the proles in line, the shipping lanes open, and enforce the will of the almighty UPC.

  8. Disaffected says:

    As usual, Fred Reed said this all a little better and more succinctly last month, at least with regards to war alone:
    Although, Fred’s a little older than I am, so the brutalities he details so well in this piece are almost relics of a bygone era already. In that sense, with the almost total divorce of actual human proximity and mortal combat, I think we’re headed for (indeed, we’re likely already there) brutalities of an altogether higher order. I world where our highest forms of violence are all remote and virtual, and thus, sanitized. A world where a democratic president can run as the “sane, reasonable, and peaceful alternative,” and actually escalate wars on all fronts with no one much noticing. Yep, pretty damn Orwellian indeed!

  9. Disaffected says:

    Another excellent post by Fred Reed:
    Yes, the VA is INDEED screwed up, and almost everyone who is able to just completely avoids them and forfeits any alleged benefits, especially medical. Another example of the selling of war and militarization. Promised benefits on the front side that mysteriously vanish or are greatly diminished on the back side. Beware gullible youngsters who come under the spell of the siren’s song of War Inc.

    • outsider says:

      Loved the links to Fred Reed, DA. He’s been a favorite of mine since discovering him on Lew Rockwell. Fred is an expat living in Mexico. I’ve read and heard from the idiot box that net immigration from Mexico is now zero. Washington has made the US such a disagreeable place that it would seem that only the poor from wretched third world countries would still like to come to the dying surveillance state to work (and get welfare). Many, I’m sure, would like to join old Fred in the expat community if they had the chance. Yeah – love it or leave it!

  10. Scrap says:

    Love it. Being a Vietnam era vet. (Joined for a great stereo and a women in every port) you can only understand the military and their system by participating in it. The discription of Ronny and a new morning is oh so true, but only if you hate him. Just the opposite if you love worship him and these things will never change. “When no discriminating thoughts arise, the old mind ceases to exist”

    • Disaffected says:

      I used to really despise Reagan as evil incarnate, but in the end, he’s just the perfect representative of the American mindset as a whole. His administration was truly transformational in that regard as well (which even Obama freely and quite publicly admits). Jimmy Carter asked all the relevant questions in his four years (although even the few answers he tried to provide were muddled and conflicted, he being a spawn of the MIC as well), and Reagan provided all of the relevant answers in no uncertain terms during his. Everyone in the aftermath has essentially been Reagan redux, individual quirks and peccadilloes notwithstanding. Bush the Elder was perhaps the least enthusiastic in that regard and was punished for it accordingly, even after his “big win” in Gulf War I, which fittingly left the door open for Bush the Idiot Son to provide us with the blockbuster sequel a decade later.

  11. Scrap says:

    Also forgot to add, I belong to Veterans for Peace. Mention that and it is like saying you are a communist to all those so called patriots. reading Chris Hedges latest will give you a bit of an idea how it feels.

  12. Phlogiston Água de Beber says:

    There are answers in examining even the most trivial subjects.

    • Phlogiston Água de Beber says:

      I hope they publish the time schedule for the Two Minutes Hate. I’d be willing to tune in for that. It’s bound to be entertaining.

      It does setup a historically unique situation. The NSA will collect the muddled interpretations of the propaganda by the public via their phone and email communications (not to mention the microphones on Windows computers). Should lead to some experiments where they try to see if there are ways to muddle the propaganda such that it might result in the public conjuring up the actual lies they wish to propagate. Ain’t science wonderful?

      • kulturcritic says:

        I was told by a knowledgeable source today that the Obama administration took some secret poll or study regarding use of drones over USA prior to using them, and they were prepared on the basis of the results for some significant push back from the body politic… but the ‘body’ did not complain, kick or protest at all about what the head was doing.

        • Phlogiston Água de Beber says:

          General Jack D. Ripper: Mandrake, do you recall what Clemenceau once said about war?
          Group Capt. Lionel Mandrake: No, I don’t think I do, sir, no.
          General Jack D. Ripper: He said war was too important to be left to the generals. When he said that, 50 years ago, he might have been right. But today, war is too important to be left to politicians. They have neither the time, the training, nor the inclination for strategic thought. I can no longer sit back and allow Communist infiltration, Communist indoctrination, Communist subversion and the international Communist conspiracy to sap and impurify all of our precious bodily fluids.

          The brainwashed General Ripper got the conspiritors wrong, but he was spot on regarding the outcome. The politic body is dessicated. There remains only a head and an asshole. The exhaust smells about the same at either end.

          • outsider says:

            Ah, ‘Dr. Strangelove’ – the greatest anti-war movie ever! Kubrick at his finest. George C Scott’s character (Gen. Buck Turgidson), was, I’ve read, based on bombs away Gen. Curtis Lemay. Peter Seller’s bit as Strangelove at the end was a masterpiece. The Hollywood matrix can’t (or won’t) make thought-provoking military satires like this anymore.

            • the Heretick says:

              strangelove is great, james earl jones first movie, i believe.
              i still have to go with “full metal jacket”, strangelove drags, i think full metal jacket was, at least intellectually, a remake of strangelove.
              by the way, have you ever been tortured mandrake?

              • Disaffected says:

                A generational thing, I think. Both reflected their times well. Strangelove was truly existential (Will we all die for the cause, no matter what). Full Metal Jacket was merely personal (Will I myself die for the cause, reluctantly or not, at that).

                • the Heretick says:

                  generational? maybe, except i have a few years on you, methinks. however, war does seem to be a theme Kubrick returned to several times, especially if you throw “Paths of Glory” into the mix.
                  i do like how his movies generally end up with nothing really changing, Kirk Douglas goes back to the front, Lolita is still kind of a tramp, the war rages on in the Nam, the world gets blown up in Strangelove, little Alex is cured (although Burgess did write a coda to Clockwork), no happy endings for Kubrick movies, because really, what the hell happened to Bowman? a continuation of the great circle of life? and death?

                  you would expect his movies to dwell on war, the English, and Europe, having two major wars inside of 30 years. i do like the comment someone else made about how our govt. does seem to have found the formula for perpetual war, like a fire in a peat bog, or a coal mine, just smoldering underground, out of sight……………………………

                • the Heretick says:

                  Kubrick also had the good sense to make movies from books, he started with good source material.

                • the Heretick says:

                  well yes, however, was he not probing what makes a killer? how Ripper swallowed the killer mindset whole? and dwelling on the mental struggle Joker had becoming a killer?

          • the Heretick says:

            not to mention our purity of essence.

          • Disaffected says:

            An interesting piece on the making of Strangelove, one of my favorites. Truly, an all-time classic!

    • Ron McCafferty says:

      You mean to tell me that there was a law against propaganda here in America? And that our government actually followed that law? Well ain’t that a hoot.

      • Disaffected says:

        “Government funded” propaganda anyway. Point taken. Political propaganda has long since advanced beyond the point of being simplistically labeled “government funded” or not.

      • the Heretick says:

        well, considering our govt. is owned by big business, and big business produces 90% of the advertising, and 90% of war materials…………………
        there’s not a lot of difference

        • Ron McCafferty says:

          DA, I hope you don’t mind my sarcasm. I am an old grunt, well, almost middle aged. Can’t help poking I guess. I like to think that we were once a great country. But when I break down the propaganda that our government calls an education and throw on top of that the religious training and advertising and anthems and all the other bullshit that equates to us being nothing more than a “consumer”. The facade fades quickly. I do enjoy your thoughts. Thanks, Ron

  13. Phlogiston Água de Beber says:

    • Disaffected says:

      George is becoming an icon already. Fuck the latest popes, I hereby nominate George as St George the First, Patron Saint of Truth Tellers, in the Church of No More Bullshit.

      I had an uncle who “mentored” me in the ways of George. Likewise an honest man who lived a modest life and was for the most part part ridiculed by his almost entirely fundamentally Christian family for his efforts.

      The truth, when you finally hear it, especially living in a society as fucked up as ours, is so refreshing it just slaps you in the face. VERY REFRESHING!

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