‘His Name is Mr. Ed’ (Part 1)
Last week we began talking about how the world seems off, and my belief that a man named Edward Bernays has something to do with it. Is he the whole reason the world seems off, you ask? No, it’s a lot more complicated than one man, but this is a blog on an indie rock website, cut me some slack! If I could dole out those kinds of answers I’d probably be living on top of a mountain somewhere answering mysterious, riddle-like questions from wayward travelers and truth seekers.
Where was I?
Oh yes, Edward Bernays…
Edward Bernays possessed what many ancient philosophers referred to as ‘dumb evil’ to such an extent that the mere mention of his name can cause good men to yelp involuntarily whenever he is brought up in polite conversation. Writing a few paragraphs to give you a brief history of the man makes me feel too much like I’m writing a term paper so let’s get through it with some bullet points, shall we? Quick! Like a bunny!!!
-Bernays was Sigmund Freud’s nephew. He’s also considered to be the father of what we now know as public relations.
-In following with his uncle’s thinking, Bernays believed that crowds reacted more to irrational impulse than to rational thought. One of his most famous examples of this was his promotion of cigarettes to women in 1929. At the time, there was a stigma against women smoking and Ed was approached by a tobacco company to try and reverse this trend. His idea was to pay young women to ‘defiantly’ light cigarettes in the middle of the May Day parade. He tipped the press off and suggested they refer to the cigarettes as ‘torches of freedom’. The tactic worked. Cigarette sales rose 30 percent among women shortly after the parade. Bernays had succeeded in getting people to associate smoking with women’s rights. ‘That’s ridiculous!’, you say. ‘What do cigarettes have to do with women’s rights?’ nothing at all my friends, nothing at all.
– Bernays was well-known for having a big, dumb head to match his stupid face.
– Bernays once said, and I’m not making this up, that he made up the phrase ‘public relations’ because the Germans had given the word ‘propaganda’ a bad name.
– Google search ‘Bernays, Guatemala’, but be warned, you may yelp…
– “Those who manipulate the unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country. We are governed, our minds are molded, our tastes formed, our ideas suggested, largely by men we have never heard of. This is a logical result of the way in which our democratic society is organized. Vast numbers of human beings must cooperate in this manner if they are to live together as a smoothly functioning society. In almost every act of our lives whether in the sphere of politics or business in our social conduct or our ethical thinking, we are dominated by the relatively small number of persons who understand the mental processes and social patterns of the masses. It is they who pull the wires that control the public mind.” (Edward Bernays, ‘Propaganda’)
“If we understand the mechanism and motives of the group mind, it is now possible to control and regiment the masses according to our will without them knowing it.” (Edward Bernays, ‘Propaganda’)
‘So what does all of this have to do with the price of eggs?’, you ask.
Over the last few blogs I’ve talked about all kinds of seemingly unrelated things. This is a blog about a music album, right? What does all of this have to do with your album?
Starting with Part 2 of this blog(later this week) I plan on explaining how all of these things relate to our little album. We’re not quite done with Bernays, but now we’ve got all the grunt work out-of-the-way so we can just talk a bit next time. I’m only planning a few more entries for this ‘Escapism’ blog(part 2, and maybe one more after that). I’ll certainly try and remain active on the site after this, but at this point, I feel the need to assure you that I will not be ranting on indefinitely.
I appreciate everyone who has taken the time to read my thoughts over these past few weeks. Until next time http://www.people. ; )