Hugh Manatee Wins » Sat Dec 02, 2006 10:49 am wrote:
My examples aside, the plausibility of mass media cultural psy-ops has a historical track record.
So it seems to me that to believe the National Security state would not
promote 'programming' that:
>blunts the idealism of youth
>portrays war as inevitable and/or progress
>idealizes authority figures, mostly male
>perpetuates stereotypes to exploit
>keeps citizens hooked as an audience
>sow entertaining disinformation to use up bandwith
........is just not plausible.
Especially given the history of CIA efforts to influence post-WWII Europe with state-sanctioned culture affecting the 'thinking/sharing' middle-class who staff and run social infrastructure.
Would the recruitable masses be left out of Culture War? Of course not.
Despite my young years I could tell something odd was afoot when the TV sitcom 'Hogan's Heroes' had a laugh-track for Nazis. I'd already seen Buchenwald photos.
I recently heard Randi Rhodes joking on Air America Radio that she had learned all she knew about the Geneva Conventions from 'Hogan's Heroes' and all she knew was that "Lebeau could cook."
The history of the CIA-run Congress for Cultural Freedom is informative.http://www.monthlyreview.org/1199petr.htm
The CIA and the Cultural Cold War Revisited
by James Petras
Frances Stonor Saunders, Who Paid the Piper: The CIA and the Cultural Cold War (London: Granta Books), £20.
This book provides a detailed account of the ways in which the CIA penetrated and influenced a vast array of cultural organizations, through its front groups and via friendly philanthropic organizations like the Ford and Rockefeller Foundations. The author, Frances Stonor Saunders, details how and why the CIA ran cultural congresses, mounted exhibits, and organized concerts. The CIA also published and translated well-known authors who toed the Washington line, sponsored abstract art to counteract art with any social content and, throughout the world, subsidized journals that criticized Marxism, communism, and revolutionary politics and apologized for, or ignored, violent and destructive imperialist U.S. policies. The CIA was able to harness some of the most vocal exponents of intellectual freedom in the West in service of these policies, to the extent that some intellectuals were directly on the CIA payroll. Many were knowingly involved with CIA "projects," and others drifted in and out of its orbit, claiming ignorance of the CIA connection after their CIA sponsors were publicly exposed during the late 1960s and the Vietnam war, after the turn of the political tide to the left.
The CIA's involvement in the cultural life of the United States, Europe, and elsewhere had important long-term consequences. Many intellectuals were rewarded with prestige, public recognition, and research funds precisely for operating within the ideological blinders set by the Agency. Some of the biggest names in philosophy, political ethics, sociology, and art, who gained visibility from CIA-funded conferences and journals, went on to establish the norms and standards for promotion of the new generation, based on the political parameters established by the CIA. Not merit nor skill, but politics—the Washington line—defined "truth" and "excellence" and future chairs in prestigious academic settings, foundations, and museums.
The CIA's cultural campaigns created the prototype for today's seemingly apolitical intellectuals, academics, and artists who are divorced from popular struggles and whose worth rises with their distance from the working classes and their proximity to prestigious foundations. The CIA role model of the successful professional is the ideological gatekeeper, excluding critical intellectuals who write about class struggle, class exploitation and U.S. imperialism—"ideological" not "objective" categories, or so they are told.
The singular lasting, damaging influence of the CIA's Congress of Cultural Freedom crowd was not their specific defenses of U.S. imperialist policies, but their success in imposing on subsequent generations of intellectuals the idea of excluding any sustained discussion of U.S. imperialism from the influential cultural and political media. The issue is not that today's intellectuals or artists may or may not take a progressive position on this or that issue. The problem is the pervasive belief among writers and artists that anti-imperialist social and political expressions should not appear in their music, paintings, and serious writing if they want their work to be considered of substantial artistic merit. The enduring political victory of the CIA was to convince intellectuals that serious and sustained political engagement on the left is incompatible with serious art and scholarship. Today at the opera, theater, and art galleries, as well as in the professional meetings of academics, the Cold War values of the CIA are visible and pervasive: who dares to undress the emperor?