Madinat al-Muslimeen Islamic Message Board
|Don't let them spoon feed you!|
|01/11/02 at 00:33:49|
|The subliminal influence in Popular Culture|
Don't let them spoon feed you!
[This essay is based on a speech given on 14th Nov 2001 by the author himself on the Subliminal Influence in Popular Culture.]
Friends, I like to thank you all for attending this seminar and hope you can bear with me for the next one hour (went up to 2 hours). Firstly let me wish you all a Happy Diwali, the festival of light.
My topic today is the subliminal influence in popular culture. You may or may not agree with some of the issues that I am going to talk about.
After I held talks with a few students in the college, I came to the conclusion that not everyone was aware of such an influence and also some of the groups promoting such influence.
Information to share,
Anyways, before I kick off this exciting talk, I am RE-emphasizing the fact that this is NOT an expert talk on the topic. I came across some interesting information, which I would like to share with my fellow students. This is not meant to debate and dispute, but only to SHARE. On this festive day of Diwali, let me quote the words of Sri Narayana Guru, the great reformer of India who said, addressing a world faiths get together, "This is not to argue and win, but to know and inform (each other)"
Some slides were being played here initially, of which you may or may not have an idea… The first slide read: "Fragrance Requires No Publicity"
Information: The fragrance
of 21st century
The second slide read: "Information is the Reduction of uncertainty"
By fragrance I meant, in metaphorical way, the information. Information, like fragrance, is SUPPOSED to flow freely throughout the world without any intervention by nature or man. Information is the fragrance of 21st century. But unfortunately, it is not so. We are proudly claiming to be living in the Information Age.
Although in the words of the 'richest nerd in the world', Bill Gates, information is available at our fingertips. All the information is accessible within an arms length. We need not travel to China to learn about their arts. An 'intelligent keyword' in the search box will do the job. Information seems to be everywhere: on the radio, the TV… if you look out of the window to admire nature, the billboards will distract you…. We are getting caught in a web of information.
But the irony is that, in my humble opinion, there has been never been a time in the history of humanity when Information or knowledge is so curtailed, so monitored, so controlled, so manipulated… we are becoming fools by contending with what OTHERS WANT US TO KNOW. We do not know the facts as it is.
Media: East vs. West
The third slide read:
""We are being subject to a cultural alienation plot, which aims to instill foreign concepts in our youngsters and make them rebel against their social traditions," - Princess Sara said while speaking at the closing session of a four-day conference held at the Sharjah Women's Club on "The UAE National Girls" that was attended by Her Highness Sheikha Jawaher bint Mohammed Al Qasimi, wife of His Highness Dr Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah.
The Saudi princess also continued her speech openly disapproving the sad state of media in the third world "The Arab media, on the other hand, has become a mere recipient of what pours in from the West. Also, most of what is being presented on Arab channels has been imported. Even Arab news agencies mostly depend on reports that emanate from Western agencies, which may not be telling the truth as they are and only giving us what they want us to believe in".
Friends! If the media moguls arrive at a consensus that tomorrow a particular topic will become the headline in a particular wording, then that becomes so. And people like us will talk about that, we'll chat about that to our friends and relatives… Like I mentioned on the notice, they will 'spoon-feed' you with the information that THEY think is right!
The headlines are framed in such a way that it suits the interests groups behind it.
The War Coverage:
Now and Then
Now we have the war going on: America strikes back or Attack on Afghanistan- whichever way you put it. Yet I remind you that the war is not our topic. But seeing the way in which the war is portrayed in the mainstream media, we cannot afford to ignore it.
You may have heard of the Al Jazeera Channel- they have really stolen the show this time. But ten years back when the allied forces bombarded Iraq, and continue to do so, it was CNN that stole the show. They had the most exclusive news, interviews and even 'some inside stories', which the US intelligence never thought of. And after giving such coverage, the channel was well established in the soil of Asia, especially Middle East. A foreigner residing at a hotel will be watching the news- news according to CNN, which may or may not be the fact.
I say this because during this war the CNN president Walter Isaacson had issued a memo urging staff to guard against presenting too much of the Taliban's point of view now that the Taliban have begun letting a few foreign journalists into Afghanistan under tight surveillance, (AFP).
In a memo to international correspondents, Isaacson said: "As we get good reports from Taliban-controlled Afghanistan, we must redouble our efforts to make sure we do not seem to be simply reporting from their vantage or perspective. We must talk about how the Taliban are using civilian shields and how the Taliban have harbored the terrorists responsible for killing close to 5,000 innocent people." "As more errant U.S. bombs have landed in residential areas, causing damage to such places as a Red Cross warehouse and senior citizens' center, the resulting television images have fueled criticism of the American war effort."
BURGER-EATING AMERICAN vs. ROTI-EATING AFGHAN
If you have been giving close attention to the recent happenings, you may be MADE TO FEEL a distinction between the innocent civilians killed in the WTC attack, for no fault of theirs, and the innocent children and elderly men of Afghanistan, again for no fault of theirs. The fact is that the innocents killed at both the sides have nothing to do with the war. Yet We fail to weigh the life of the average BURGER-EATING AMERICAN and the ROTI-EATING AFGHAN with the same scale. Why is that?
Are we getting influenced? Subliminally influenced? Is someone else planting a tree in the soil of our thought without our knowledge?
We are 'forced' to get content from the biased news networks because we do not have the expertise and experience to undertake such ventures. To quote an example, an ASIAN example, the words of The Cultural Architect, maybe cited to highlight the games media, the western media in this case, play causing havoc for humanity:
""We are now in the spotlight and our movements are being monitored, even our travel, as if we are criminals. But we should realize that people there (in the west) are angry and that they are falling victims to allegations being leveled by their media. Now the international media has realized the mistake they have made and have started correcting it," - Dr. Sheikh Sultan bin Muhammad al Qassimi, the ruler of Sharjah.
The racial violence that broke out in US after the WTC attacks is a shame for the very soul of that civilized nation. But the sole responsibility for such attacks goes to the media who got obsessed in telecasting the same face of 'the man in a turban'. And it was, again, the innocent colored race that paid the price for such a HATE-ful broadcasts.
Biased Dish by
the Biased Ovens
An average American is fed on the 'biased dish' served by these 'biased ovens'. Like any other peoples, they see and hear and believe what their TV and RADIO says. After all what has a common man to do with the global power sharing equations- he is happy with the everyday stuff- French fries, a chicken leg, some noodles and little sauce along with a carbonated drink. His stomach is full and so is his intellectual belly.
Another method how mainstream media tries to influence us is by the play of words. They often confuse between 'terrorists' and 'freedom fighters'. The words are used sometimes to blacken a legitimate struggle and sometimes to soften the state sponsored killings. Thus invading forces are fondly called 'security forces' and assassinations are called 'targeted killings'.
The Palestinian cause basically suffers due to the poor publicity of their plight. They cannot 'market' (as a student of marketing let me put it that way) themselves or their plight to the rest of the world in an efficient manner.
Because we are discussing the subliminal influence of media, we cannot divulge further. However, no issue is central to the Arab world as the Palestinian issue (as the cultural Architect of Arabia puts it). So let me conclude it by quoting Mahatma Gandhi, the apostle of peace and father of Indian nation
""Palestine belongs to the Arabs in the same sense that England belongs to the English or France to the French. It is wrong and inhuman to impose the Jews on the Arabs...Surely it would be a crime against humanity to reduce the proud Arabs so that Palestine can be restored to the Jews partly or wholly as their national home." …in my opinion, they [the Jews] have erred grievously in seeking to impose themselves on Palestine with the aid of America and Britain and now with the aid of naked terrorism... Why should they depend on American money or British arms for forcing themselves on an unwelcome land? Why should they resort to terrorism to make good their forcible landing in Palestine?"
Movies: Seeing what
you are made to see
So that was about news media. Let me shift to the movies. Those beat 'em up and shoot 'em up movies. Those movies where man and machine embrace each other to become something else. Those movies where a UFO comes in preying after humanity. Those movies where an enemy is in possession of a weapon or a 'worm' that can endanger the rest of the world. Movies where a Virus can literally take over the reins of life from human beings. And mammoth creatures are let loose in a wild park which may demand another Darwin to explain that hopeless theory of evolution.
So far I was very excited to watch the Independence Day, True Lies, Terminator, Virus, Last Action Hero, Star Wars, ET… 'coz I could actually see (or in other words I was made to see) the happening side of modern man- sophisticated man-made computers that humbled the God-made humans.
It was only later that it clicked me-the underlying theme of majority of movies was one- FEAR. Fear was used as a weapon to influence the viewer's mind.
Independence Day and Terminator:
Dumb and Dumber
If you take Independence Day, for example, it shows that the Extra Terrestrial force us attempting to attack not just US, but the entire humanity. And it is finally the leadership of Uncle Sam that rescues the world. It shows that the world's nations- from the middle east to the African forests- are assembling under a single banner of the World Cop… as if no other nation is capable of handling a situation like this?
It seems a little funny to see that most of the aliens speak English and not any other language.
That was DUMB!
The plot of Terminator 2 is even DUMBER! The survival of mankind is dependent on the life of a kid, AN AMERICAN KID that is to say. The audience is getting conditioned to the myth that if that westernized kid dies, so does mankind!
While we have nothing personal against the makers of the movies, the question arising is: how are such movies becoming 'chart busters' at the expense of the audience's wallet? If there is no subliminal influence, then how can the viewers tolerate such 'nonsensical myths of aliens and UFOs and man-machines?'
Primitive vs. Modern Man
The primitive man was destined to idolize the wild beats and natural forces. But look at the civilized man: he is wasting his time on UFOs and comic characters with no touch of reality. The primitive man feared the lions and elephants in the jungle. But the modern man is living in fear of computer viruses and aliens? Are we being spoon-fed without we asking for it? The Information Age has created 'virtual beasts'.
Music Industry: Obsessed
with the Devil
In the music industry, we see an increasing trend in the use of hidden symbols to directly or indirectly influence our belief system. The artists are getting 'obsessed' with satanic worship. It is being regarded as 'cool' to adorn oneself with such symbolisms. Tattoos and attires are designed to liberate the Devil from the psyche of man (and put to chains the angelic side of man). The other day while at the Net Lab, a fellow student came asking me where he would find the mobile logo of 'the Devil's Eye'.
What has happened to us: this sudden fondness for Mr Devil? Is it the result of some 'virus' that hit our thinking system? Is there a Trojan inside us constantly shaping our mind?
One of the albums of the King of Pop, 'Dangerous' cover 'has on it a picture of a bald headed man well known to the occult as Alistair Crowley. He himself was a Free Mason who became a Satanist and wrote the book "The New Law of Man" which stated in it that it would one day replace the Qur'ân as the law of man.'
With all respect for the talent and crowd pulling capacity of the King of Pop, we ask ourselves: what is the need to depict this old and bald man on the album's cover? Is it meant to convey something? Convey in a subliminal manner?
Why to get bugged?
It is the duty of every believer in God to become conscious of this subliminal influence around us. Be he the subscriber of any faith, everyone has a reason to get 'bugged' with this irrational craze for satanic symbolisms. The basic nature of every human being is goodness. It is the 'influence' that makes adds strength to the forces inside him. In the inimitable words of the Holy Prophet , "Every child is born in Fitrah (purity)".
How adorable are cartoons?
NOW, let's travel back in time and think of those days when we sat glued to the idiot box to watch cartoons (and some of us still do). Let's talk about the coolest characters in 'Simpsons'. For time being put aside the very fact that its creator was 'a self-confessed anarchist' and that he had admitted 'to get his own political ideas across within his work'. So how 'cool' is Simpsons? Its centrally revolves around rebellion against parents- which we all consider 'cool'. No respect for elders and teachers- we are all 'good' at that.
There is a specific scene where 'the father figure of the family, Homer Simpson, becomes obsessed with the group called the stonecutters. Upon joining the group his fellow members find a birth mark on him the mark that makes the rest of the group declare him to be the chosen one but with his new found honor and dignity he, Homer Simpson, fools himself into thinking that he is god.'
And I need not tell you how much we adore these 'adorale characters' … we have our younger siblings going to school with the Simpson-styled pencils, erasers, bags and water bottles.
So have we begun to think like Bart Simpson? Is the Simpsons' lifestyle influencing us?
Wanted: A conscience
for Information, not Deception
The verdict is yours. I am only presenting my case before you. Isn't it time we RE-evaluate our morals under the light of these facts?
For how long we, as sensible beings, will allow the media to make a 'jackass' out of us? For how long will we imprison our logic with the myths of aliens and UFOs? Is it not time we tell 'them' that what we need is quality information: free from bias and prejudice and as transparent as the fragrance.
We need a new gospel of media culture to distinguish information from deception. The Poet of East, Allama Iqbal, is speaking to us from the depth of his heart when he says:
Criterion of good and evil is your conscience
Your art, the mirror of vice and virtue.
Individual posts do not necessarily reflect the views of Jannah.org, Islam, or all Muslims. All trademarks and copyrights on this page are owned by their respective owners. Comments are owned by the poster and may not be used without consent of the author.The rest © Jannah.Org