We got some hate mail the other day that got me to thinking. We get lots of hate mail, most of it falling in either the “you think you’re so cool but you’re not as cool as I am” or “this stuff is filth” categories (both which provide a good laugh). This letter was special, because it illustrated a point. The media influences us and shapes our perceptions in ways we don’t even realize. Read a little further, if you will.
This letter focused on Rupert Hines’s Direct Action article found a few layers into the site. It read like this (the letter not the article) :
- Howdy neo-freemen: RE:
Last time I saw this shit was in proto-militia booklets
I saw when my dad took me to gun show about 15 years ago.
Your next-of-kin, the miltia nuts, would be proud of you.
Fuck you! Ha ha!
Going back and rereading Rupert’s article I saw things like tree spiking, saving animals, fucking over your boss, how to defend yourself during protests, etc, hardly anything but whiny leftist “get the man” kinda stuff. True, some techniques could be used by right wing militia groups, but how many militias care about factory farming and halting fur production?
The letter was obviously a knee-jerk reaction to something this person saw as anti-authority. Why are we suddenly linked to militias? Because THAT is what is in the news. America NEEDS a common enemy to justify expenditures, and since the Cold War is over, and Saddam’s army has been smartbombed to pieces, the MILITIA THREAT grips us all with media induced fear, and anything out of step with proper behavior is now linked to militias.
25 years ago you’d be accused of being a Pro-Vietnam Marxist, 50 years ago as a Russian Communist, 80 years ago as a Socialist Labor Agitator, and 300 years ago as a witch. Every era has it’s bogeymen, and we’re currently suffering from Militia Madness. How many major Militia events have happened in the last 5 years, 8, 9? Give me a fucking break. It’s not like standoffs are anything new. Ever hear of the MOVE disaster? Bombs have been exploding since the invention of gunpowder. We’re in more of a media assault than a terrorist one.
And before you absolve yourself from being duped, answer this: what was your first reaction to the TWA crash? Militia? Islamic Terrorist? It sucks to be paranoid all the time, but I think a little paranoia is always justified, especially considering the degree of complexity public persuaion methods have attained. Not to say all media is controlled. I’m able to say this, and I doubt I’m the only media outlet the powers that be haven’t bought off, but be careful what you accept, even if it seems harmless. The most effective persuasion happens when you don’t even realize it’s happening.