Thursday, 24 November 2016

The Dark Side of Black Friday: Madness of a Lost Society [Documentary]

What you are about to watch in this three-part micro documentary is mainly a byproduct of the early work of Edward Bernays, the father of public relations — or modern advertising. The Jewish, Vienna-born man was the nephew of Sigmund Freud and who, since the 1930s, has worked with major corporations of manufacturing and advertising, politicians, and the CIA.

Bernays considered the masses to be a bewildered herd driven by dangerous, chaotic, and irrational primitive forces which needed to be guided and contained. As we can see from the zombies in the videos, as well as all around us, the man had his reasons to believe so.

Bernays combined the ideas of Crowd Psychology or Mob Psychology with his uncle’s school of thought. He had a crucial and successful role in manipulating the masses by using their inner desires and fears to engineer public consent. The American citizen was then redefined as a ‘consumer’ and corporate greed was incepted, while Bernays became rich and famous in the process. He was later named one of the 100 most influential Americans of the 20th century by Life magazine.

That said, the modern day ideology of controlling the masses has been around as early as the late 1920s with Sigmund Freud and the Psychoanalytic movement. It was then carried on and later developed by his daughter Anna and nephew Bernays.

“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.”
– Edward Bernays, Propaganda

Interestingly, Black Friday is not the only holiday brought to you by consumerism. MoreHallmark Holidays like St. Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Grandparents Day, and Sweetest Day among others were solely invented for commercial purposes. Even the idea behind the engagement ring turned out to be a total scam. Yet, the general populace usually follows what the dominating small number of persons who understand come up with. In that regard, nothing has changed much in North America since the mid-Twentieth Century.

More about the topic of mind control, the history of propaganda, and the role of the media can be found in this earlier exposé of mine: Mass Control and The Redefinition of Freedom. Also in the eye-opening 2002 award-winning BBC documentary, Century of the Self, which is thoroughly covered in the piece.

And here are some wacky Black Friday Videos.

When I first watched Madness of a Lost Society I found it quite ironic that Americans trample over each other to buy stuff the very next day they are celebrating being thankful for what they got. I was residing in Canada at the time, so I couldn’t help but compare between both countries. Not the economy or what consumerism and corporate greed have done to the people, but only in terms of physical health, which has a direct impact on mental health and lifestyles.

So, Canada is healthier by ranking 33 on a 2007 Forbes list of fattest countries. The US ranks number 1, spending about 147 billion each year to treat obesity. Yes. One can easily spot the difference by taking a walk in the streets or going to the grocery stores.

According to data from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, two-thirds of U.S. adults today are overweight or obese; half are afflicted with chronic conditions like diabetes or high blood pressure which can usually be prevented with better diets.

Likewise, 17 percent of American children and adolescents aged 2—19 years (or 12.5 million) are obese, compared to only 5 percent in the 1970s.

In Canada, on the other hand, obesity rates have also increased since the 1970s. They have doubled, even tripled in some age groups to reach 24 percent for adults, and 12 percent for children (aged 5 to 17). Though according to this Joint Report From The Public Health Agency of Canada and the Canadian Institute For Health Information, rates in Canadian children are still as low as 9 percent.

This Article may try to answer why in America fruits and veggies happen to be more expensive than meat

One of those times my ex-partner and I crossed the borders from Canada to Buffalo, N.Y to attend The Wall by Roger Waters. Due to some bureaucracy by the borders we ended up by missing the concert. So we thought that since we made it in the U.S, we might as well eat something and went to a diner at a nearby casino. 

The sizes there were a clear reminder that we were not in Kansas anymore and that Houston does have a problem — of both portions and people.

The next table were three morbidly obese women; small, medium and large, just like the Goldilocks Bears. The biggest, calling her papa bear for short, was attached to some breathing apparatus with wheels and had cheesy oily nachos drop on her triple GG breasts, which were serving as a bed tray. I’m not sure if she couldn’t feel the dripping or if she had reached a point of no return in not giving a hoot, knowing that we were in a very public place.

Stopping myself from staring too much, I began to wonder if the rest of the bear family didn’t care for the health of their papa or how she looked; since them, too, were busy devouring the fatty meals. Or, perhaps the sight was rewarding to their own self esteem. You know, with “I can keep eating as long as I don’t look like her” kind of thought.

It is genuinely hard not to feel bad when seeing such people. But when you think about it, you find it kind of strange to be so sick and unhealthy yet still choose to eat unhealthily. It’s like they get themselves into a self-destructive mode. On the short run, it may be easier, cheaper, and more convenient to eat junk. Simply because consistently eating fresh, healthy foods can be more expensive than fast or packaged foods for Americans, especially those living in lower-income demographics. But, it’s our own health and lives we’re putting at stake here, and choosing the healthy lifestyle will eventually always win.

Of course, the melted cheese and the temptation were so intense in Buffalo, that we ended up by ordering and feasting on those yummy nachos before heading back to Canada.

Years later when I roamed around the States, I realised that the huge portions, and the unhealthy eating habits in general, is a thing pretty much everywhere. Only when I reached the Westside in Los Angeles have the menus and lifestyles radically changed.

Then again, you can always get some McDonald’s ‘meat’ burger for less than $1 while a small bottle of water costs $2 and a salad costs $5! Do you really think the ones-in-charge want a healthy general population?

Other than the sensible combo of exercising, sleeping well, and reducing stress, there are some things to do which could sincerely help Americans get back in shape.

One, is introducing healthy meals to kids at school, like Europe and Japan.

Since a staggering 28% of American adults do not know how to cook, a second solution I would suggest is to learn how to. When you do not cook, your food options are significantly limited and it gets boring after a while. Regarding well-being, you are certainly going to find it harder and/or pricier to stay healthy.

A third is dropping the number of doughnuts shops throughout the country. Simply because between every doughnut shop and the next, there is a doughnut shop.

An additional solution may lie in reducing the gargantuan portions available in most eateries. 

Now to the madness. Enjoy the documentaries and Happy Thanksgiving...

*Originally published in December 2011


Kicking That Sweet Habit

How I Dropped Two Waist Sizes in a Few Months

Mass Control and The Redefinition of Freedom

Are You Addicted To The News?

Arugula: The Healthy Ancient Aphrodisiac
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