Thursday, 23 August 2007

How did this web site become so popular?

This posting should really be titled "How to write propaganda", but I wanted to make a point! (Exactly!) ... You'll see what I mean if you read on.

The best propaganda is the propaganda that you don't realise is propaganda. Soon as you realise it the game is up.

Anyone who is wise to it realises that the celebrity magazines, news media and shows which pretend to document the rises and falls in popularity or notoriety of any given celeb are in fact the very vehicle by which such celebrity is established. It is only because you got the magazine spread last week, and newspaper coverage the week before that you are considered interesting enough for chat show interview this week. It is a virtuous circle for those who manage to get on it and stay on it. The mistake is to think that the latest episode is simply a report on the truth of the matter of a celeb's status... rather it is the very means by which the celebrity's current prominence is being established. We are led to believe that this person is interesting, and that's why we should watch. In fact this person is quite possibly only interesting because media moguls have decided to promote them. Of course it is self-reinforcing. Propaganda is only effective propaganda when you don't notice that it's propaganda. It appears to be reporting on the fact of a celeb's celebrity, but rather it is the very means by which that celebrity is established.

It is a disguised "assumptive close". This week on bbc Radio4 a programme about the British Royal Family apparently reported on how they had managed to survive their rock bottom popularity after the death of Diana, Princess of Wales. The propaganda which is harder to spot is the assumption that is the premise of the program: the assumption that the Royals have in fact recovered their popularity. If you strip away the learned analysis, you realise that this program is in fact royal propaganda, subtly planting within the minds of the population the idea that the Royal family's popularity has recovered. This is done by asking the question: "How did the royal family recover their popularity?" - a question which is already proposing a view point that they did in fact achieve this. Again we see that propaganda is only effective propaganda when you don't notice that it's propaganda. The program never questions whether the recovery happened - something which at the very least is debateable - it only questions "how it happened".

So asking the question "how x happened?" is one of the cleverest ways of creating propaganda that it has in fact happened, regardless of whether it actually has happened or not, whatever that might mean!

So, as I was saying, How did this site become so popular? ... that's what I want to know?

Tuesday, 14 August 2007

How to reduce levels of violence in society

You may remember, back in April, I mentioned an organisation called the Wave Trust. Recently I was lucky enough to get to interview one of the trustees of Wave. The link shows some of the results of this.

How to reduce levels of violence in society