Father Dwight Longenecker
Lesson Three: Pop-Culture Is Propaganda
The demon Slubgrip's previous adventures were gathered and recorded in Fr. Longenecker's Lent Book, The Gargoyle Code. Written in Screwtapian style, Slubgrip instructs his protege Dogwart, while trying to keep tabs on his own 'patient'—all while the tempters tumble through Lent to Easter Day.
Flukes! Annelids! Nematodes! Flatworms and Tapeworms and Slimestrings all! Come to order.
Honestly, you would have thought that having one of the most senior and well-known tempters in the Lowerarchy here for your instruction, you would have been grateful and at least a little respectful. Instead I, Slubgrip, who should be your Master, am greeted each day with your adolescent pranks and japes. Whoever wrote the name 'Ignatius Loyola' on the board—it's not funny and I resent the implication.
Glimwort, will you kindly stop squirming in your slime over there and wake up? Snort, I'd like a word with you after class.
I instructed you poor squirmers in a few basics in the last session. I know philosophy isn't your strong suit, and I must admit whenever I have tried to do some serious thinking on the underlying processes and principles of temptation I have experienced a certain lack of clarity—a lack of grip. In the underworld, whenever one tries to see clearly, things go out of focus. Nevertheless, you've had the basics, now to some practicalities.
This is Pop Cult 101 so you will be learning all the tricks of the trade in modern popular culture. We'll begin today with Propaganda and then move on to a very intriguing subject indeed.
Propaganda, my dear slugs, we have defined in various ways down through the ages. It might be called 'Education' or 'Communication technology' or 'Human Resources Enhancement'. Whatever we call it, the bottom line is that propaganda is indoctrination. I choose the word carefully, for 'indoctrination' has to do with 'doctrine' and what we are most concerned about in propaganda is making sure the hairless chimps actually believe what we want them to believe.
What we aim to do through popular culture is construct a matrix through which the miserable vermin view the world that they think is so real. You see, unless they have a set of assumptions or, if you like, a particular set of eyeglasses, to view the world they might just be curious or open-minded and come to see or understand what the enemy calls 'reality' . . . and that would be most undesirable. What he means by 'reality' is the way things really are—"warts and all" as the saying goes.
This is not what we want. Instead the poor nincompoops must be given an image not of reality, but of some idealized future that they might one day attain. This is what we call propaganda. Through images, speeches, plays and entertainment and music, literature, and every kind of communication possible we build up in their minds a beautiful world that they want to attain.
Of course they will never attain such an idealized future because it was only ever manufactured by us to start with. It never did exist, never will exist because it never can exist because it was never real. If you turn to pages fifty-seven through sixty-nine in your textbooks you will see some examples of our most successful campaigns in the past.
Fr. Dwight Longenecker is the Parish Priest of Our Lady of the Rosary Church in Greenville, South Carolina. His latest book is Catholicism Pure and Simple. Visit his blog and sign up for Faith Works! his free, weekly newsletter on the practical practice of the Catholic faith here.