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David Walters misunderstands what I'm saying. Nobody is proposing
"socialist realism" nor its cousin, "proletarian culture". But I think he
is being totally unrealistic to think that what people see on TV, the
images they "consume", don't affect their thinking. Does he really think
that all the TV shows that show cops protecting little children, that show
cops pushing around a serial child molester in order to get information on
where he's hidden his victims (thereby justifying police brutality) -- all
that sort of thing - does he really think those images don't affect the
thinking of millions of people?

Why does he think the automobile companies spend untold millions
associating their product with attractive young women or the cigarette
companies spend similar millions associating their product with healthy,
outdoor scenes? Does he think they just love to throw away their money? Or
is it possible that maybe - just maybe - they've actually commissioned
studies that show that these scenes actually work at some level, that they
actually succeed in getting these associations accepted?

Incidentally, even the Pentagon understands this. The book "The
Compassionate Instinct" recounts how the US military found that many US
soldiers resisted killing by intentionally aiming over the heads of the
"enemy" soldiers. So what they did was subject new recruits to scenes of
violence to help overcome that resistance. The authors theorize that the
increase in PTSD among vets since then is a result of the success of these
programs and soldiers doing things that violate what is really in the
"nature" of human beings.

Does he really think that the association of sex with domination doesn't
affect people's attitudes? I used to know a guy - a very nice and
thoughtful worker - who told me that when he was young, he'd watch scenes
on TV of a guy forcing a kiss on a woman who resisted and resisted and
then, suddenly - magically - she yielded and passionately returned the
kiss. This guy told me that for years he thought that that was true - that
if he forced a kiss on a woman, that at some point she'd want to kiss him
back. There was nothing unusual or psychotic about this guy, so there's no
reason to think he was unique.

Or take another example: They've done studies that show that watching porn
tends to increase the propensity towards sexual aggression. And if David
thinks that the idolizing of being rich doesn't affect the thinking, well
then, I think he's very wrong. Incidentally, the British left journalist
Monbiot wrote a very interesting piece on celebrity culture. It's directly
related to what we're discussing here. This is the link:

It is simply idealistic - non-Marxist - to think that what we see on TV
doesn't affect our consciousness.

As for rap music: David completely misses my point. That point was exactly
that rap originated as a form of expression of the experiences of life in
the inner cities and was then transformed by Hollywood.

My own personal belief is that all political movements are in a sense an
expression of the inner-most feelings and experiences of people and that
was true for the black revolt of the 1960s and '70s. When that revolt
declined and was crushed, then that self-expression found a different form,
one less overtly "political". That was what rap music originally was, as in
the example of Grand Master Flash. But even that was too dangerous so it
was taken over by Hollywood. I don't know about David, but I used to listen
to what my kids were listening to back in the late '70s and '80s when we
rode in the car together. I found it so distasteful that I'd make them turn
it off. If it were something that was overtly racist, we'd object. Why not
to music that's overtly sexist? What - we don't think that affects people's
thinking? Let's get real here.

John Reimann

"No one is going to give you the education you need to overthrow them."
Assata Shakur
Check out:https:http://oaklandsocialist.com also on Facebook
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