Friday, July 6, 2012

Love me some propaganda

for ever. FOR EVEEEEEEEEEEEEE-

I was prepping an SASE for an American agent when I had to have a chuckle over these stamps. They seem really emphatic in that foreverness, which is ironic given, well, history: Americans have routinely had to fight for freedom and equality, and are continuing to do so today (although, to be fair, they are technically "permanent stamps"--i.e., their value will never change, it will last forever...). Although I guess, also, I'm not technically sure whether "forever" is the same as "eternal," as in, "was and always will be." But, again, there's the Occupy Wall Street movement, so I think it's safe to assume that, my own biases aside, there are Americans who would disagree with these stamps right now.

Don't get me wrong, though: despite the example, this isn't a chuckle really particularly directed at the United States. All states--or "countries," or whatever--produce propaganda and internal myths of this sort. Another example of propaganda: Canada's national anthem. The opening line is, "Oh Canada / our home and native land." I'm guessing Canadian First Nations groups did not compose this song. In fact, I wonder if they groan every time they hear it. I mean, uh... this is a colonized country.

Anyway, propaganda is funny, when you think about it. We're all so not related to one another that we desperately need to build these myths and ascribe to fantastic, made-up values. This is probably particularly bad in post-colonial countries; I mean, I was just reading an article about how Canadian literature is only just getting over "identity crisis" as its primary theme, which is apparently because of linguistic duality, but of course totally ignores, you know, the colonial thing (not to mention how it conveniently forgets Aboriginal narratives). And how we are neither as powerful nor prestigious as America or the UK, and yet we're so very like them, and we can't escape their orbits. (On Canadian permanent stamps, there are images of the Queen, of Parliament, and then there are images of luges, of polar bears...).

Maybe that's all I'm doing when I'm writing stories. Maybe I am a professional propaganda machine... for myself. I am drawing links to the world from which I feel disjointed. I am mentally uniting myself with theoretical values and existences. COOL MAN.

-bn

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