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Keeping the Masses in Line: Critical Studies of Media, Propaganda and the Powers of Normalization

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  1. Introduction
  2. Extermination and propaganda
    1. Normalization and exclusion
    2. Discussing current normalization
    3. The plague model and the state of the leper
  3. Author Jacques Ellul: Understanding of exclusion
    1. The idea of the excluded and normalized individual
  4. Foucault's allegorical use of the Panoptic structure
  5. Robert Putnam's Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community
  6. Putnam's evidence that television has greatly influenced social disengagement
  7. Conclusion
  8. Bibliography

According to author Toby Clark in Art and Propaganda, Saliger's paintings, as well as those of other German artists who adopted similar themes, represent ?qualities of Aryan superiority . . . [and this] supposedly superior physical beauty was held to be the ultimate evidence of natural supremacy? (67). Clark reveals how art can become propaganda when, in works like Saliger's, arts that ?intentionally promoted the concept of Aryan beauty and excluded ?ugliness' and ?impurity' were actively complicit with the practice of excluding and ultimately exterminating non-Aryan people? (68). It is no coincidence that German art during the Third Reich looked so similar. There are at least two other paintings almost identical to Saliger's?Adolf Ziegler's Urteil des Paris (1939), and Georg Friedrich's Das Urteil des Paris (1939), and many more that impel similar themes?idolizing powerful male bodies and slim female bodies.

[...] Foucault uncovers this normalization of fixtures in his conclusion to ?Panopticism?: it surprising that prisons resemble factories, schools, barracks, hospitals, which all resemble prisons?? (128). And it should come as no surprise that I add the room? to this list. Selected Bibliography Clark, Toby. Art and Propaganda in the Twentieth Century: The Political Image in the Age of Mass Culture. London: George Weidenfeld and Nicolson Ltd Ellul, Jacques. The Ethics of Freedom. Trans., Ed., Geoffrey W. Bromiley. Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans The Political Illusion. Trans. Konrad Kellen. New York: Knopf Propaganda: The Formation of Men's Attitudes. Trans. Konrad Kellen and Jean Lerner. [...]


[...] These media would supposedly reflect the unity of the people in a nation, or as Clark states: ?Wartime propaganda attempts to make people adjust to abnormal conditions, and adapt their priorities and moral standards to accommodate the needs of (103). Clark asserts that politicians in the ?image-conscious politics of the television (105) used this type of manipulation with aid from ?theories in behavioral psychology? and ?market research surveys? (105). As an example of this manipulation, Clark also describes how, in America by the late 1960s, televised news widely portrayed such cultural as truths using methods like ?Happy ?Television pictures of fighting in Vietnam and on riot-torn streets in America were ?packaged' by broadcasters in ways designed to lessen their shock effects on audiences? (117). [...]


[...] In regards to a proletariat-like class, Ellul describes the specific aspects of alienation and how subjugation yields self-alienation or transforming of oneself (24). This transformation happens, for example, when man's meaningless goal becomes the endless consumption inherent in capitalism. He notes, however, that alienation in a capitalistic society is not restricted to one class; even those who possess money are alienated. This occurs because, Ellul argues, capitalism and the pursuit of money ultimately reduce the worker to an abstraction (24). [...]

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