Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Words Are the Most Powerful Drug Known

Rudyard Kipling said that. And he would have known (I still have a paperback copy of his The Mark of the Beast and Other Stories - which I'd had since I was 12). He knew of which he wrote.

I also have a copy of Mein Kampf, which I was never able to finish except for the part on propaganda. Hitler was half-insane, half-genius, but he understood the power of words.

Advertising, propaganda, the news - all of it is an attempt to influence people by words.

Trump won because of words. "Make America great again." What did the other Republican candidates or Hillary Clinton offer? Nothing. Just insults like "Basket of deplorables." What moron wrote that for her? (When she said that I finally knew beyond all doubt she was going to lose.)

I have been intrigued by words my entire life. When I was about four I found a pencil and began scribbling on a piece of paper. I asked my father if any of them looked like words. He said one looked like "deer" (or maybe "dear). I was astonished. I remember that just as clear as can be.

I ended up as a newspaper reporter then editor, then left the field because most of my bosses (except one) were morons. Most newspaper stories are just filler around the ads. And selling ads is how newspaper make their money.

I much prefer this blog, which maybe nets me $150 a year. Which is fine with me. It keeps me in cigars (I had one woman tell me to stop blowing cigar smoke at the computer screen on Skype).

How people ended up being so influenced by words is beyond me. I know it has to do with telling stories, which is why I write so much about folk tales (misnamed "fairy tales" and myths.

People will always fall for stories, for good and bad.

We no longer have any common stories for this country. Instead we have at least two different cultures, and the the stories of those two different cultures determines how people vote (I guarantee you anyone who is a fan of "Law and Order" voted for Trump).

"Oprah"? Voted for Clinton.

I was 20 years old when the first Star Wars movie came out. It was a lot of fun but I was puzzled as to why it was such a huge hit. Then I found out it was based on the work of Joseph Campbell, the famous mythologist. Stories!

The United States (indeed the entire West) was founded on the stories of Christianity. It still has a powerful influence. The myths of the Greeks and Romans are pretty much gone. The influence of non-Christian stories (Judaism and Islam) has been a catastrophe for the West.

People always seek three things - meaning, importance and community. Anyone who can tap into those three things, by the power of words, can end up as President. Which is what Trump did. And until the Democrats can tap into those things they will always remain a coastal party appealing only to the stories of anti-American Third Worlders.


lowly said...

"We no longer have any common stories for this country."

It's not for lack of trying by the lefties. They have an insidious hold of the game industry and entertainment in general. In particular, the old fairy tales that generation of folks have grown up with are being replaced.

I watched the movie version of video game, first season of 'The Walking Dead', and damned if minorities and women weren't good, except for a one white female, and white males were hillbillies and overgrown brutes if not outright cannibals. The main character is black and as selfless and pure as Snow White.

So these are now the life long morality tales young'uns are imbibing while their folks are out making a living, because, and let's face it, most folks don't have the time to police all the crap that is being spread like manure nowadays.

Anonymous said...

Amen, words are powerful. In faith we often call our Lord, The Word, and declare that we ourselves were spoken into existence.

What fascinates me is trigger words, advertising, brainwashing. This election was a good peek into how that all works. "Racist" became a word so overused, that once everyone was a racist, no one was anymore. "Deplorable" was an epic miscalculation, who doesn't want to be a cute little yellow minion, a deplorable, a Despicable Me? One word can shape people's perceptions, trigger emotions, and we're all surprisingly similar in our response.

A Texan said...

A regional look at who watches what TV programs by the Old Grey Whore.

Eduardo the Magnificent said...

"We no longer have any common stories for this country."

"They have an insidious hold of the game industry and entertainment in general. In particular, the old fairy tales that generation of folks have grown up with are being replaced."

Watch a football game. It's never "how will a zone-blocking o-line fare against a defense that stunts and has disciplined LBs" but "HEY! It's QB with this personality from Team A vs. QB with different play style from Team B!" I noticed about a decade ago they were shifting all the pregame and in-game commentary to stories of player personalities and team chemistry, and very little actual football gets discussed. Gets the women to watch. Rating skyrocketed. Only problem is football is unpredictable, they're in too deep and can't go back, so the NFL is having to fix games to make it work. This is what happens when you get rid of the common fabric of stories. You now have to invent them. Only our stories today do not center around teaching lessons and building civilizations, but turning a profit.