Public Values

Cultural myth production is an enormous industry

How corporations and television create a "Stockholm Syndrome of the soul".

Joe Bageant questions cultural assumptionsby Joe Bageant, Alternet

This text is drawn from a series of recent speeches delivered by Joe Bageant, including the Adler School of Professional Psychology in Chicago...

... No matter how smart we may think we are, the larger world cannot and does not exist for most of us in this room, except through media and maybe through the shallow experience of tourism, or in the minority instance, we may know of it through higher education.

The world however, is not a cultural history course, a National Geographic special or recreational destination. It is a real place with many fast-developing disasters, economic and ecological collapse being just two. The more aware among us grasp that there is much at stake.

Yet, even the most informed and educated Americans have cultural conditioning working against them round the clock.

As psych students, most of you understand that there is no way you can escape being conditioned by your society, one way or another. You are as conditioned as any trained chicken in a carnival. So am I. When we go to the ATM machine and punch the buttons to make cash fall out, we are doing the same thing as the chickens that peck the colored buttons make corn drop from the feeder. You will not do a single thing today, tomorrow or the next day that you have not been generally indoctrinated and deeply conditioned to do - mostly along class lines.

For instance, as university students, you are among the 20 percent or so of Americans indoctrinated and conditioned to be the administrating and operating class of the American Empire in some form or another. In the business of managing the other 75 percent in innumerable ways. Psychologists, teachers, lawyers, social workers, doctors, accountants, sociologists, mental health workers, clergy - all are in the business of coordinating and managing the greater mass of working class citizenry by the Empire's approved methods, and toward the same end: Maximum profitability for a corporate based state.

Yet it all seems so normal. Certainly the psychologists who have prescribed so much Prozac that it now shows up in the piss of penguins, saw what they did as necessary.

And the doctors who enable the profitable blackmail practiced by the medical industries see it all as part of the most technologically advanced medical system in the world.

And the teacher, who sees no problem with 20 percent of her fourth graders being on Ritalin, in the name of "appropriate behavior," is happy to have control of her classroom.

None of these feel like dupes or pawns of a corporate state. It seems like just the way things are. Just modern American reality. Which is a corporate generated reality.

Given the financialization of all aspects of our culture and lives, even our so-called leisure time, it is not an exaggeration to say that true democracy is dead and a corporate financial state has now arrived...

To read further, please click on the link below.

Joe Bageant is author of the book, Deer Hunting With Jesus: Dispatches from America's Class War. (Random House Crown)

Links and sources
  Bageant: We've Let Corporations and Media Rob Our Souls, by Joe Bageant via Alternet, April 6 2009
  www.joebageant.com

Posted: April 06, 2009

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