Edward Bernays (1891 – 1995) was a pioneer in the field of public relations and propaganda, referred to in his obituary as ‘the father of public relations.’ He combined the ideas of Gustave Le Bon and Wilfred Trotter on crowd psychology with the psychoanalytical ideas of his uncle, Sigmund Freud. He felt manipulation was necessary in society, which he regarded as irrational and dangerous as a result of the ‘herd instinct’ that Trotter had described.
Propaganda is a 1928 book by public relations pioneer Edward Bernays. It argued that the scientific manipulation of public opinion was necessary to overcome chaos and conflict in society: ‘The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country. We are governed, our minds are molded, our tastes formed, our ideas suggested, largely by men we have never heard of. This is a logical result of the way in which our democratic society is organized. Vast numbers of human beings must cooperate in this manner if they are to live together as a smoothly functioning society. [...] In almost every act of our daily lives, whether in the sphere of politics or business, in our social conduct or our ethical thinking, we are dominated by the relatively small number of persons [...] who understand the mental processes and social patterns of the masses. It is they who pull the wires which control the public mind.’
The Century of the Self is a British television documentary film; it focuses on how Sigmund Freud, Anna Freud, and Edward Bernays influenced the way corporations and governments have analyzed, dealt with, and controlled people. Director Adam Curtis introduced the program: ”This series is about how those in power have used Freud’s theories to try and control the dangerous crowd in an age of mass democracy.’ Sigmund Freud, the founder of psychoanalysis, changed the perception of the human mind and its workings. Freud himself and his nephew Edward Bernays, who was the first to use psychological techniques in public relations, are discussed. Freud’s daughter Anna Freud, a pioneer of child psychology, is mentioned in the second part, as is one of the main opponents of Freud’s theories, Wilhelm Reich, in the third part.
Along these general themes, The Century of the Self asks deeper questions about the roots and methods of modern consumerism, representative democracy, commodification and its implications. It also questions the modern way we see ourselves, the attitudes to fashion and superficiality. The business and political world uses psychological techniques to read, create and fulfill our desires, to make their products or speeches as pleasing as possible to us. Curtis raises the question of the intentions and roots of this fact. Where once the political process was about engaging people’s rational, conscious minds, as well as facilitating their needs as a society, the documentary shows how by employing the tactics of psychoanalysis, politicians appeal to irrational, primitive impulses that have little apparent bearing on issues outside of the narrow self-interest of a consumer population. Paul Mazer, a Wall Street banker working for Lehman Brothers in the 1930s, is cited as declaring ‘We must shift America from a needs- to a desires-culture. People must be trained to desire, to want new things, even before the old have been entirely consumed. [...] Man’s desires must overshadow his needs.’
The Edelweiss Pirates (Edelweißpiraten) were a loose group of youth culture in Nazi Germany. They emerged in western Germany out of the German Youth Movement of the late 1930s in response to the strict regimentation of the Hitler Youth. Similar in many ways to the Leipzig Meuten (anti-Nazi, pro-communist gangs of young adults in Germany), they consisted of young people, mainly between the ages of 14 and 17, who had evaded the Hitler Youth by leaving school (which was allowed at 14.) and were also young enough to avoid military conscription, which was only compulsory from the age of 17 onward.
The Raspberry Pi (or RasPi) is a $35 single-board computer developed in the UK by the Raspberry Pi Foundation which aims to ’promote the study of computer science and related topics, especially at school level, and to put the fun back into learning computing.’ The design is based around a Broadcom BCM2835 system on a chip (SoC), which includes a 700 MHz ARM CPU, VideoCore IV GPU, and 256 Megabytes of RAM. The design does not include a built-in hard disk or solid-state drive, instead relying on an SD card for booting and long-term storage. The foundation has released one model (Model B) initially, and a second model (Model A) will be released sometime later. Model A will have one USB port and no Ethernet controller, and will cost $25, while Model B contains two USB ports and a 10/100 Ethernet controller and costs $35. Though the Model A doesn’t have an RJ45 Ethernet port, it can connect to a network by using a user-supplied USB Ethernet or Wi-Fi adapter. As is typical of modern computers, generic USB keyboards and mice are compatible with the Raspberry Pi. The system will use a Linux kernel-based operating systems.
Ecofont is a TrueType font developed by SPRANQ in the Netherlands. The font uses tiny circles placed in the characters to cut down on ink costs. It claims to cut down the amount of ink usage by approximately 15 percent.
Wim Delvoye (b. 1965) is a Belgian neo-conceptual artist known for his inventive and often shocking projects. Much of his work is focused on the body. He repeatedly links the attractive with the repulsive, creating work that holds within it inherent contradictions. He has an eclectic oeuvre, exposing his interest in a range of themes, from bodily function, to the Catholic Church, and numerous subjects in between.
Though Delvoye started tattooing pig skins taken from slaughterhouses in the United States in 1992, he began to tattoo live pigs in 1997. He ultimately moved the operation to an Art Farm in China in 2004 where restrictions regarding animal welfare were less strict. The pigs have been inked with a diverse array of designs, including the trivial, such as skulls and crosses, to Louis Vuitton designs, to designs dictated by the pig’s anatomy. Delvoye described the process of tattooing a live pig, ‘we sedate it, shave it and apply Vaseline to its skin.’ As another manifestation of contradiction in Delvoye’s art, he owns a pig farm though he is a practicing vegetarian.
The Dougie is a hip-hop dance generally performed by moving one’s body in a shimmy style and passing a hand through or near the hair on one’s own head. There is no defined way to perform the Dougie, and each individual performs with his or her own variation. The dance first originated in Dallas, where it took its name from similar moves performed by 1980s rapper Doug E. Fresh.
Xenophilia [zen-uh-fil-ee-uh] means an affection for unknown objects or peoples. It is the opposite of xenophobia. Xenophilia is a theme found in science fiction, primarily the space opera sub-genre, in which one explores the consequences of love and sexual intercourse between humans and extraterrestrials, particularly humanoid ones. A satirical example is ‘XXXenophile,’ an X-rated comic book written by Phil Foglio. A more somber example is the relationship of Sarek and Amanda Grayson (Spock’s parents) in ‘Star Trek.’ The 1970 film ‘Watermelon Man’ centers in part around a white man trying to have sex with a white woman he works with. His efforts fail until he is magically turned into an African American, at which point she is more than willing to sleep with him. It is only the following day that the protagonist realizes, to his horror, that the woman is a xenophile and only had sex with him because of his race; she had no interest in him as a person.
George Washington, in his 1796 Farewell Address, described the influence of xenophilia in politics, which he saw as negative: ‘Such an attachment of a small or weak towards a great and powerful nation dooms the former to be the satellite of the latter.’