See here for review of a book, IRON FISTS (Steven Miller), on how dictatorships utilize graphics, or one might say even a gesamtkunstwerk mentality, as a tool to approaching the public and molding it into the desired frame of mind. The examples cited in the book include, of course, Hitler, Mao, Stalin and Mussolini.
Keeping in mind the very Madison Avenue mentality of the Bush administration, and its obsessive attempts to control all information (both coming in and going out: don’t want any info coming in about non-existent WMD, and don’t want any info about how folks in the so-called Dept of Justice were hired, etc. etc.), one certainly can see that their intentions follow faithfully in the footsteps of those listed, though of course using iconography suitable to the American social and cultural landscape. So earlier in his reign, George and his handlers, eager to use the Christian Right, lathered on heavily about GWB being “born again” and he himself talked openly about his alleged direct pipeline to god. And his handlers, careful image manipulators that they try to be, cranked out carefully composed photographs to not-so-subliminally underline this.
It seems of late, as the Bush administration swirls down the toilet of its own incompetence and ideological blindness, this tack has been jettisoned – we seem no more to find this imagery coming out of the White House, nor much of the cowboy-with-codpiece manly strutting (to be seen also in the above mentioned dictators, particularly in Sig. Mussolini). I am not sure what message comes out of their machine now, probably something more akin to the old Mad Magazine “What me worry” of Alfred E Neumann. Not that they aren’t still plotting that final attack on Iran, subsequent mayhem, and an excuse to declare the martial law they’ve carefully laid the ground work for.
One of the more sickening tricks, and most obvious, are the pictures emanating from the president’s public relations office. Some of them are portrayed on this page for the readers to inspect. If you look at them closely, you realize that they are not accidental. They are staged and Mr. Bush is posing for them.
The picture of Bush posing before a lighted cross, under a crown and the word LORD is probably the most pretentious of the lot.
Why would someone as elevated in office as our president stoop to such trickery? There is good reason.
As writers Renee T. Louise and Ruth M. Sprague explained it: “Television and movies have made us a nation, nay, a world that substitutes pictures for fact. We make stars of actors and heroes of those whose heroism exists only in their publicity releases.
“Every day we are shown pictures that the White House Republicans uses to influence our vote. A carefully constructed news item is released to the media knowing full well the pictures the TV outlets will run with it,” Louise and Sprague said.
As Our Great Leader himself has said, his job is “to catapult the propaganda” and that’s just what he do….