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October 12, 2009

Manipulation Nation

Steven R. Berryman

The control of your future behavior on an epic scale is the goal by some that will make us “The Manipulation Nation.”


In some cases it takes the form of the imagery in a commercial, and in others it could be an award that plays well to the personal esteem.


We are especially easy to victimize in America, with so many large egos and appetites in play. Madison Avenue advertising agents are but one example of capitalizing opportunist.


In a recent example:


Somebody convinced the entire American automobile industry to invest their fungible profit dollars into sexy racy television ads replete with masculine imagery instead of in research and development to keep the products competitive on the international market.


Why did they do it? Because the method paid-off; short-term.


In a classic example:


The manipulation lives in the heart of the Nobel Peace Prize, recently awarded to President Barack Obama. Certainly there is no concrete plan or action or endeavor one can point to in justification for this award.


And of course, based upon having 11 days in office to have judged from during the nomination process…


The excuse to award is clearly to reward a noticed trend in behavior, and ensure its propagation. For instance, will the Peace Prize make it difficult to accept the general’s advice to add 40,000 troops to win the war in Afghanistan?


Now with prize in hand, will we now have to call it something other than a war? Then…maybe just declare a semantic victory!


What Dynamit-Nobel AG founder Alfred Nobel sought to do in creation of the Prize was to manipulate world opinion about his invention of dynamite, precursor to many war-products. This, out of extreme guilt about his legacy.


Endowments work!


Of course, the “road to hell is paved with good intentions.” Just ask inventor of the machine gun, Hiram Maxim. His manipulation of reality had to do with the creation of a weapon so horrible that it may cause an end to all wars.


How’d that one work out?


Same for nuclear physicist Albert Einstein, who would wish to be known as a man of peace, forever is the father of the atom bomb now. After laying out the theoretical possibility of fission and the A-Bomb, his contribution was to urge President Harry Truman to not drop it on Japan.


Oh, well.


But be on the lookout for the little manipulations, as they are the most devious!


At the drive-in movies, back in the day, “subliminal cuts” were used to make you hungry for popcorn and Coke just in time for intermission.


The films used to project moving images had a cut in several places, and a small number of frames or “cells” of celluloid were added with delicious food imagery; not quite enough to see, as it was just a flash, but…it really worked! And the practice was eventually banned.


“Let’s go out to the lobby; let’s go out to the lobby…” is a tad less insidious!


Do you think that John Wayne and Humphrey Bogart loved to smoke cigarettes throughout the old black and white movies?


This paid-for manipulation not only traveled the nation, but circled the globe. Now we export far more tobacco to other movie-loving nations than we consume ourselves. Plan B worked.


To add insult to injury, simply remember that there was a day when we turned to cable TV to escape broadcast commercials…in the early 1980s.


And now the mind-controlling aspects of commercials can even be found preceding the cinema’s main attractions for up to 30 minutes at a typical show! Ironically, some of these in-movie ads are to remind us to watch broadcast TV, in a most incestuous demonstration of gall.


Manipulations are not always simply good or evil.


Speed cameras have now been introduced to Maryland, with opportunities now in school zones and work zones especially. How does one argue with that?


The goal is to manipulate your behavior relative to your driving speed habits, saving lives. The benefit is to free up our law enforcement officers for more important duty, while earning more cash to buy more speed cameras with…


Be sure to stay happy as this camera-cash virus grows, and you slam on your brakes for a driving emergency as the guy you are tailgating has a panic stop at the hint of the freshly-timed yellow lamp at the intersection!


There goes my darned popcorn and Coke, all over the floorboards!


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