Posts Tagged ‘Propaganda

The Real Adam Smith and Public Education As Propaganda

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No diet of reading is complete without a little Chomsky sprinkled in there. I recently came across an interview in which he gives a “soundbite” presentation of some of the ideas that he has repeatedly covered.

In particular, the interview touches on Chomsky’s assertion that the popular understanding of Adam Smith is a blatent distortion of what the author of Wealth Of Nations really believed. “Everybody reads the first paragraph of The Wealth of Nations where he talks about how wonderful the division of labor is. But not many people get to the point hundreds of pages later, where he says that division of labor will destroy human beings and turn people into creatures as stupid and ignorant as it is possible for a human being to be. And therefore in any civilized society the government is going to have to take some measures to prevent division of labor from proceeding to its limits.”

In the last third of the interview, Chomsky shares his views on mass education and its propaganda aims. “Mass education was designed to turn independent farmers into docile, passive tools of production… Emerson once said something about how we’re educating them to keep them from our throats. If you don’t educate them, what we call “education,” they’re going to take control — “they” being what Alexander Hamilton called the “great beast,” namely the people. The anti-democratic thrust of opinion in what are called democratic societies is really ferocious. And for good reason. Because the freer the society gets, the more dangerous the great beast becomes and the more you have to be careful to cage it somehow.”

So, if you are in the mood for some poking and prodding at established norms, check out the rest of the interview.


Written by Aaron Nee

March 10, 2010 at 2:32 am

Exhibit Focuses on Propaganda Art

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Interesting Article on Art and China’s Revolution Exhibit in the WeeklyStandard.

Taken from the exhibit’s website: “Art and China’s Revolution reflects upon one of the most tumultuous and catastrophic periods in recent Chinese history⎯the three decades following the establishment of the Peoples Republic of China in 1949. During this time, the government led by Mao Zedong sought to modernize China across all aspects of society, a process that included suppressing or destroying much of traditional culture. The government also sought to create a new visual culture to communicate its goals and ideology to the Chinese people.

Artists were encouraged to create art that reflected the revolutionary spirit of the time, in Mao’s words, to create art for the people. The impact of this directive on artists and art making was enormous. Oil painting in a socialist realist style replaced ink paintingwhich had been one of the most revered art forms in China for over one thousand yearsas the preferred painting style. Revolutionary heroes, such as workers, soldiers, and peasants replaced traditional subjects such as landscapes, birds, and flowers.”

Artists who forsook Mao and continued to work in the tradition of ink paintings where persecuted and subjected to physical and mental torture. The exhibit also features their work as well as a collection of the more impersonal, mass-produced Mao memorabilia items such as tea pots, cigarette packs, and buttons.

Another interesting exhibit: Rethinking Cultural Revolution Culture – Picturing Power: Art and Propaganda in the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution (1966-1976)

Written by annnee

November 30, 2008 at 3:00 am

Posted in Art, China

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