Friday, April 22, 2005

When you say one thing and mean your Mother

A funny definition of "Freudian slip" I've heard.

NPR has a piece about Freud's work since this is the anniversay of his book, and the influence of his nephew, Edward Bernays, apparently the father of modern PR. So all these terrible commercials are HIS fault!

I hear it this morning on the radio and I was taken by the statement of one of the researchers quoted.

Well I tried to listen to it but I couldn't hear enough of it here in the Op Center. I need to get some headphones.

Anyway one fellow who was researching Freud said that (this is a paraphrase) "It's not that people can't think, it's just that the stuff shovelled at us is aimed to avoid that." His use of the word "shovelled" was indicative I think. And on the surface this makes a whole lot of sense. The example they use is his (Bernays) work for a bacon manufacturer. He asked several doctors if they thought a quick light breakfast or a hearty one was better. The docs (of course) said hearty. So he morphed this into bacon being equated to hearty and making people feel safe. Very clever. Devious in fact.

But upon consideration it seems that this theory partakes in one of the things typifying American society, avoidance of responsibility. It seemed to say to me "it's not our fault we don't think", which annoys the hell out of me and makes me hate people even more.

And if the advertising aims below our cognition threshold so that we don't think about their products, won't that just encourage us not to think when we can avoid it? And the mind will atrophy just like any other unused muscle will. Being a society that takes the easy path, if you haven't used your brain to think and it's hard to now, you won't. You'll abbrogate your decision making power to someone else. And they won't be concerned about your welfare, only with their chief concern (money?).

Look at Bush's energy bill, which just passed the house. He loudly proclaims that it has environmental facets as well as facets to lower gas prices. However even a cursory examination will reveal that it has 12 billion dollars in tax breaks and incentives to energy companys. Coincidental? I doubt it since he comes from a "texas oilman" business background. No doubt he has friends who helped his campaign in the oil business. Lining the pockets of his cronies? That sounds familiar, might I have come to that conclusion based on other things he did?

The bill supposedly has environmental facets but everything I see says they're too soft and shield gas additive manufacturers from lawsuits over poisoning the water supply. While making gas burn cleaner is a good goal, destroying the water table to do it seems counterproductive to me.

Opening the Alaskan Wilderness Refuge to oil exploration will meet more of our oil needs domestically and reduce our dependance on foreign oil. Possibly. However I venture to say that oil drilling in national wildlife areas will definately harm them, perhaps irrevocibly. And will more oil reduce gas prices? Not within the next few years since it will take time to find it, set up drilling, get the oil to refineries and get the gas into the distribution network. And if last month's lack of reduction in gas prices when oil prices fell by the oil companies is any indication what it will mean is more profits for them. Again, a goal of the President.

The House Minority Leader (a democrat from California) called the bill "anti-consumer, anti-taxpayer and anti-environment." Which fits right into my perception of the President's position on most matters. She also said it was "clearly designed to help energy companies make more money, not help the American people save money."

Well enough politics. All it does is validate my opinion and it seems, now that I've typed all this up, as me just saying "told you so". Which doesn't help anything much.


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