Propaganda works; that one of the main reasons that having a national news media that does little else in its “reporting” is so dangerous and destructive. Naturally, planting slanted, shades, manipulated and biased versions of facts and reality in the minds of trusting citizens (not to mention children) works best on trusting, badly educated, pliant and gullible minds, especially those inclined toward conformity. Thanks primarily to my habitually skeptical and iconoclastic father, I am anything but inclined toward conformity, and I’m proud of that, though it has caused me much pain and inconvenience over the course of my life. That proclivity also kept me from wasting money and brain cells on pot, led me to cross student picket lines when the SDS tried to shut down my college classes, and is the reason why I cannot be embarrassed by old photos of me with hair to my shoulders, wearing pink-tinted John Lennon spectacles and a tie-dyed shirt and flashing the peace sign. There isn’t one. It’s also the reason I used my law degree to get a job running a health care organization and to become an ethicist.
So you can imagine my horror to discover that the relentless pounding on the news media, along with other segments of the culture, on the bonkers, deceptive and unethical concept that any activity that doesn’t end up neatly aligned with racial and ethnic demographics must be considered an example of systemic racism or bias is seeping into my consciousness despite my determined resistance to it. First, I read a feature in yesterday’s New York Times Business Section under “Personal Finance” in which the Times published a set of college application essays “on money and life.” Let’s ignore for the purposes of this post the fact that all five of the essays featured were endorsing the mandated woke agenda: a condemnation of unwanted sexual attention in public, a lament about the need to conserve money, a celebration of a stay-at-home mother who rejected the role, an ode to day care, and a swipe at a lack of caring in America and the fact that “sometimes the color of my skin speaks before I can.” They were all extremely, suspiciously, even, well written and interesting. But I was immediately distracted by the weird demographics. Four out of the five were women. Only one of the five wasn’t “of color.” Surely, this distribution was intentional. What did it indicate? A bias by the Times against whites and men? I found myself checking on the identity of the Times reporter, Ron Lieber. Yup, he’s white and Jewish. Did he feel he had to tilt his article way from men and white lest he be accused of sexism and not being sufficiently “antiracist?”
I don’t want to notice these things. They were impressive essays, and they can’t possibly be just five among thousands—they’re too good: I know all too well how poorly most students write. This, however, is what indoctrination has done to me. Like hypnotist, the news media has been repeating, drilling into my subconscious, “Race and gender is everything! Everything! You must be vigilant about skin color and whether it is being given enough weight! Obey! OBEY!”
Well, it could have been worse: I might have been persuaded that I was a chicken.
In horror, I went downstairs and plopped next to my dog to join my wife in watching (for the hundredth time), the film version of “The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society,” one of her favorites. It is about a writer who falls in love with a local farmer in the process of researching events during World War II that occurred on Guernsey Island, as she hopes to write a book. It’s a terrific film, but this time, all I could think of was that there were no black actors. Well, of course there weren’t: the Channel Islands are as white as you can get, the flashbacks to the Nazi occupation provided no opportunities for gratuitous non-traditional casting (Stormtroopers of color?), and the story is about white people, just like the novel—and there’s nothing wrong with that. Or is there?
It’s getting to me, worming its way into my perception and priorities like the ugly bug Kahn puts in Checkhov’s ear in “The Wrath of Kahn.” I resent it, but I don’t know what I can do about it. If the constant proganda is reprogramming me, what is it doing to everyone else?