Was Rowdy Roddy Piper Right?

By Ben Howling

they_live_01

The Rich Truly Are Different From You And Me

Rowdy Roddy Piper died Thursday night at age 61. In 1988 he starred in the film They Live, about which Wiki says,

They Live is a 1988 American science fiction horror film written and directed by John Carpenter. The film stars Roddy Piper, Keith David and Meg Foster. It follows a nameless drifter (called “John Nada” in the credits), who discovers the ruling class are in fact aliens concealing their appearance and manipulating people to spend money, breed, and accept the status quo with subliminal messages in mass media.

The more political elements of the film are derived from Carpenter’s growing distaste with the ever-increasing commercialization of 1980s popular culture and politics. He remarked, “I began watching TV again. I quickly realized that everything we see is designed to sell us something… It’s all about wanting us to buy something. The only thing they want to do is take our money.” To this end, Carpenter thought of sunglasses as being the tool to seeing the truth, which “is seen in black and white. It’s as if the aliens have colorized us. That means, of course, that Ted Turner is really a monster from outer space.” (Turner had received some bad press in the 1980s for colorizing classic black-and-white movies.) The director commented on the alien threat in an interview, “They want to own all our businesses. A Universal executive asked me, ‘Where’s the threat in that? We all sell out every day.’ I ended up using that line in the film.” The aliens were deliberately made to look like ghouls according to Carpenter, who said: “The creatures are corrupting us, so they, themselves, are corruptions of human beings.”

A few years ago, Piper sent out this Tweet:

theylivedocumentary

I am inclined to think that Rowdy Roddy was on to something.  See this article for the various and nefarious ways that advertisers and shills stalk us:

No, it’s not your imagination. The amount of advertising and marketing North Americans are exposed to daily has exploded over the past decade; studies show, that on average, people living in urban centres see up to 5,000 ads per day. [1] At the gas pumps, in the movie theatre, in a washroom stall, on stickers on fruit, during sporting events—advertising is pretty much impossible to avoid.

http://mediasmarts.ca/marketing-consumerism/advertising-its-everywhere

Just go to the link for the details on the methodology.  We are under the same assault on our senses from the various political factions.  I will be writing more in the future, but this has been a fact of life since Edward Bernays wrote his book Propaganda in 1928. This extended blurb found in wiki says it all:

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. (p. 37)

In almost every act of our 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 that control the public mind, who harness old social forces and contrive new ways to bind and guide the world.  (p. 37–38)

In theory, everybody buys the best and cheapest commodities offered to him on the market. In practice, if every one went around pricing, and chemically testing before purchasing, the dozens of soaps or fabrics or brands of bread which are for sale, economic life would become hopelessly jammed.  (p. 39)

Propaganda is the executive arm of the invisible government. (p. 48)

A single factory, potentially capable of supplying a whole continent with its particular product, cannot afford to wait until the public asks for its product; it must maintain constant touch, through advertising and propaganda, with the vast public in order to assure itself the continuous demand which alone will make its costly plant profitable. (Page 63 (1928 edition?))

If we understand the mechanism and motives of the group mind, it is now possible to control and regiment the masses according to our will without them knowing it. (Page 71 (1928 edition?))

https://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Edward_Bernays

Thank you Rowdy Roddy Piper! You tried to warn us. Rest in peace.

Ben Howling

FootNote 1. This is from the 1988 film, They Live.

FootNote 2. Here is a pdf copy of Bernays’ book:

Bernays_Propaganda_in_english_

FootNote 3. About the caption, The Rich Truly Are Different From You And Me:

If you’re a quotation buff, you’ve probably heard of a legendary exchange about “rich people” that supposedly took place between the American novelists F. Scott Fitzgerald (1896-1940) and Ernest Hemingway (1899-1961).

Fitzgerald is usually quoted as saying either “The rich are different from you and me” or “The rich are different from us.”

Hemingway is quoted as responding: “Yes, they have more money.”

In fact, this quote-counterquote repartee never actually occurred. But it is based on things written by Fitzgerald and Hemingway.

Here’s how it became a legend…

In 1925, Fitzgerald wrote a short story titled “The Rich Boy.” In 1926, it was published in Red Book magazine and included what became a very popular collection of Fitzgerald’s early short stories, titled All the Sad Young Men.

The third paragraph of the story says:

“Let me tell you about the very rich. They are different from you and me. They possess and enjoy early, and it does something to them, makes them soft where we are hard, and cynical where we are trustful, in a way that, unless you were born rich, it is very difficult to understand. They think, deep in their hearts, that they are better than we are because we had to discover the compensations and refuges of life for ourselves. Even when they enter deep into our world or sink below us, they still think that they are better than we are. They are different.”

Clearly, that’s not a favorable view of rich people.

The rest of the story is at this link:

http://www.quotecounterquote.com/2009/11/rich-are-different-famous-quote.html

 

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About Penelope Dreadful

An attorney, with a rye sense of humor.
This entry was posted in Ben Howling Posts, Propaganda and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Was Rowdy Roddy Piper Right?

  1. Paul C. Schulte says:

    I enjoyed John Carpenter’s early films, but by the 80s he was trying to tell me how to live. I don’t need a film maker to do that. Rowdy Roddy Piper was an interesting wrestler, but not a great one. Not sure how he was as an actor.

    Like

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