For the MLA Rushkoff course Technologies of Persuasion last week we had to read a couple of articles and watch a BBC video called Century of the Self. I've watched part 1 so far. it goes into Freud and his nephew Edward Bernays and his prolific Public Relations career. from the 1920s, where he convinced women to smoke cigarettes by creating a media spectacle using female debutantes in a parade and the slogan "Torches of Freedom", which was previously only a man's habit. then later contributed towards the rise of commercialism both prior to and following the stock market crash in 1929. he worked on many campaigns over the duration of his career and advised & created PR campaigns for numerous corporations, business leaders and government officials, in order to control the masses. he didn't think in single person terms - he thought in thousands of people.
he wrote a few books, one called Propaganda, in 1928 - this is his most important book. Bernays argued that the manipulation of public opinion was a necessary part of democracy:
Agency considered in the philosophical sense is the capacity of an agent to act in a world. The agency is considered as belonging to that agent, even if that agent represents a fictitious character, or some other non-existent entity. The capacity to act does not at first imply a specific moral dimension to the ability to make the choice to act. Moral agency addresses issues of these type. Human agency is the capacity for human beings to make choices and to impose those choices on the world. It is normally contrasted to natural forces, which are causes involving only unthinking deterministic processes. In this it is subtly distinct from the concept of free will, the philosophical doctrine that our choices are not the product of causal chains, but are significantly free or undetermined. Human agency entails the uncontroversial, weaker claim that humans do in fact make decisions and enact them on the world. How humans come to make decisions, by free choice or other processes, is another issue. The capacity of a human to act as an agent is personal to that human, though considerations of the outcomes flowing from particular acts of human agency for us and others can then be thought to invest a moral component into a given situation wherein an agent has acted, and thus to involve moral agency. If a situation is the consequence of human decision making, persons may be under a duty to apply value judgements to the consequences of their decisions, and held to be responsible for those decisions. Human agency entitles the observer to ask should this have occurred? in a way that would be nonsensical in circumstances lacking human decisions-makers, for example, the impact of Shoemaker-Levy into Jupiter. In certain philosophical traditions (particularly those established by Hegel and Marx), human agency is a collective, historical dynamic, more than a function arising out of individual behavior. Hegel's Geist and Marx's universal class are idealist and materialist expressions of this idea of humans treated as social beings, organized to act in concert. A similar use of the term agency can be found in social psychology, referring to the self-efficacy of a person, the ability of a person to act on his own behalf. 
everything stays pretty much the same
he doesn't think twice about anything
that's where his power really comes from
he's got an other type of brain
it's this other type of brain that dominates
media literacy / teachers
trying to break 2000 years or more of cultural programming
this is the centre of something more radical than any revolution
DR: "I don't think we can quite frankly"
whenever a new medium arises
we end up teaching the "literacy of the last one"
history : we get text
God says to Abraham, "you'll be a nation of priests"
which means, you'll be a nation of people who can read and write
priests - heiroglyphs - the only people who could read & write; and pharoahs
we actually got a small number of rabbis / priests who could read and write, mostly just read..
plus a nation of 'hearers'
printing press - renaissance period
a way to write books
did we get a civilisation of 'writers'?
no - we got a civilisation of 'readers'
now we get a civilisation of writers
what we should have by now, is a civilisation of programmers
either you're programming, or you're programmed
the technology that people are using on internet now, the interface / internet / conduit they are using is still circumscribed by the same corporate interests that controlled your parents
time warner / AOL
now, instead of people paying to watch Warner Brothers content, people pay them to upload their own content. who cares? it's the same money - going to the same people
now, instead of doing this thing we think of as consumption, we're doing this other thing, that we think of as production, which is actually consumption
we work during the day, we come home and buy a video camera and pay the ISP and then upload the videos / productions that we made. and maybe they won't sue us for using their ideas & icons from popular culture
the money equation is the same
we're not actually looking at money and it's biases and how it's created
people's activity - renaissance / corporate way of creating people's media that we're building
what is energizing the rhizome?
the real currency that is moving through all of this
they speak the language of this new media
they are developing the new languages
are we anthropologists?
studying the kids? looking for the next big thing
or are we looking at the kids from a corporations pov
eg how do we subvert this behaviour
how do we make what they're doing, about what we're doing?
how do we make this communications revolution into a content revolution
"content is king" - the message of the past decade
first there was devaluing of personal contact & communication between people
and instead, value what content the corporations were outputting
then people started using that content as a medium of exchange
and the corporations replied with 'oh you can't use that - we own that'
which shows how little the corporations know about interactivity
and how much the corporations know about marketing
childrens tv programmes
they needed funding to produce the shows so the plush toys industry was started
idea came from Japan where this was already successful, eg Transformers toys
biases of media
if the bias of the media is to create the promotion & selling of the toys, then the stories themselves will change
eg fantasy universes that are unconciously designed to promote the sale of toys
that's why evolution became popular in Japan
when you have evolution, you constantly have new models
basic media literacy
the bias of the media changes
this was the opportunity to change focus
when TV was introduced there was an initial small change in focus
people watched and produced educational programs
but these didn't turn out to be the most popular in the end
emails, laptops, computers everywhere
on one hand, we have these tools that give us an inkling of our power as human beings to be the authors of our reality, of the very society that we're living in
on the other hand, we're in a society where we are so pressured to create applicable skills, that we lose sight of that
education conferences these days
are often about creating the "marketable student"; the "marketable graduate"
there's a lot of people putting money into creating these marketable skills
they're saying "how're we going to compete with the Chinese, the people in Bangalore"
but they may have to let students in on the fact that there is a conflict - between trying to promote real lateral thinking and the ability to create, and construct an argument.
same things they're trying to do in academy
some of the students are asking, 'why do we have to read McLuhan - these old white Europeans'
Walter Jackson Ong, S.J. (1912-2003) was a professor of English at Saint Louis University for over thirty years. Over the course of his career, Ong wrote a number of groundbreaking studies in the fields of orality and literacy studies. Some of these works include Orality and Literacy: The Technologizing of the Word, The Presence of the Word, and Ramus, Method, and the Decay of Dialogue.