Lesson Six: The Power of Sentimentalism

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 protégé Dogwart, while trying to keep tabs on his own "patient" -- all while the tempters tumble through Lent to Easter Day.

Sentimentality is the subject today, slugs. I trust you've read the chapter and attempted to stretch those miniscule organs you call ‘brains'.

I spoke last time about the glory of the screen age. However, you mustn't be too simplistic about it. The screen itself is neutral. What we must do is use the tool to discourage honest enquiry and genuine thought while we manipulate the images to produce emotions. A bit of psychology this morning, worms. You must understand how your patients operate.

They like to think that they are rational creatures. Because they have the ability to think things through and come to a conclusion, they believe that this is how they make decisions. Happily, very few of them decide anything at all on a purely rational basis. Instead, they decide not by what they think, but how they feel. I'm happy to say that their decisions are often even more base than that. Think of it like this, my happy worms: the brutes have three centers of decision making -- their brain, their heart and their pants. They like to think they decide with their brains. More often, I'm happy to say, they decide with their pants. They are driven by their disgusting urge to mate and breed. It's all so crude and physical -- and to think that the enemy himself took on this gorilla-like manifestation and coped with this animalistic instinct. Ugh!

Let's move on to a more salubrious subject. What's that, Forkschnozzle? You want to know what's happened to Glimwort? Ask Snort if you like. Let us say that Snort and I took Glimwort down to the training center the other day and at the moment he's "resting."

Where was I? Yes. We use popular culture therefore to dull the rational faculties of the humans. Allowing them to think too much and muddling up their thinking is a risky business. Just when you have them going down a nice line of mis-information and propaganda, the enemy will insinuate some doubt about what we're saying, or impose one of his own writers or thinkers, and years of work will disappear in a flash of what they call ‘enlightenment.' Instead it is much safer to lower the intellectual demands and focus on their lower decision-making centers. I will devote several lectures later on how to keep them focused on the area below the belt, but for today I want you to understand the power of sentimentality.

The images we produce should appeal to their emotions. Yes, we want the emotions of rage and frustration and fear, but almost any emotion will do as long as it is only emotion. With our constant images you want to pull on their heart strings constantly. Use puppy dogs and kittens and children and grandparents to make them feel warm and tearful. Use soldiers and flags and coffins and grand landscapes to make them feel patriotic and noble. Use home and hearth and happy teenagers and youthful mothers and handsome fathers to make them feel the glow of nostalgia and "there's no place like home." The warm rush of emotion gives them a little "high." It makes them feel good. Just make sure the warm and lovely emotion doesn't lead them to any positive action. Keep the emotions flowing through the images. Keep it light and fluffy and keep it constant.

You want them to become addicted to this pleasant emotion. The next stage is to turn the constant stream of pleasant emotions into a state of mind which values "niceness" above every other virtue. This is a knife's edge. You want to keep it at "niceness" or "being normal" or "tolerance." You must keep your patient in the dark about anything so dangerous as solid, self- sacrificial virtue. Happily, our departments of philosophy and education have engineered society's thought patterns into something called relativism. Don't worry if this is above you, worms. You'll pick it up in time.

To put it simply, the brutes have stopped believing in any such thing as "truth," and subsequently any such thing as virtue. "Truth" (whatever that is) was always one of the enemy's big lies. Most of the humans have abandoned it. Having done so, all they have left is sentimentality, and this is what we can now manipulate with great skill through popular culture. As I was saying, if you are successful, your patient will soon be in a sweetly hypnotized state in which he is so swamped with sweet and sentimental images that he will think "niceness" and "being normal" and "tolerance" are the only virtue. In this state of mind you can lure him into every kind of intemperance, sexual promiscuity and selfish pleasure. Before long he will be addicted to his new habits, and anyone who opposes them will be seen as "intolerant" and "not nice" or "not normal."

With just a little push he will quite happily imprison, fine, or even torture and kill such enemies. The delightful thing is, he will imprison, torture, and kill those nauseating creatures called Christians while all the time believing himself to be ridding the world of intolerant people who are not nice.

Time's up, worms. Get to work. Remember your failures. Remember why you were returned to the maggotry. Remember the motto of our Father below: Eat or be eaten.

Snort. Have you got a moment? What do you think about another session with Glimwort tonight? That was enjoyable, wasn't it? See you at seven then. Bring the whips and prods, will you?

3/11/2011 5:00:00 AM
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    About Dwight Longenecker
    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.