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:
"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 videos, available on Google Video, clearly show how the masses were and are controlled in America. interesting viewing!