The Ministry of Truth
Most readers are familiar with George Orwell's novel '1984'. It is a vision of a dystopian society called Oceania, built on the remains of the former Great Britain. It was published in 1949, after the English people were exhausted from WWII. After the war they faced extreme economic hardship, their usual venal and corrupt leaders, and the spectre of the Soviet Union. It was a depressing time. The vision of society that Orwell saw was one that combined the most manipulative aspects of the Communist beast with a more sinister vision of a living hell, controlled by the Beast himself. 'What is the goal of power?' 'Why, complete and total power...there is no other goal.'
.A pyramid diagram of Oceania's social classes; Big Brother atop, The Party in middle, the Proles at bottom.
'1984''s main character, Winstone Smith, works for the Party, and his job is at the 'Ministry of Truth'. This is the 'department' where reality is created through manipulation. In fact, language is even 'invented' here. All historical documents are under the Ministry's control, and can be altered at will, for what ever purpose suits the Party.
In the US, we have a Ministry of Truth also. But it is more de-centralized than Orwell's. It is spread out though the organs of mass media including television, radio, print medium, and most influential of all, 'Hollywood'.
Some have called this media 'combine' the Cryptocracy. We shall stay with that description for now. The most directly used medium used by the Cryptocracy is television. Consider the word: 'tell-a-vision', You tell people what you see, or, maybe, what they should see. A powerful concept, fraught with potential for good and evil.
The Cryptocracy, in the modern era, first practiced it's 'art' through early era television, and advertising (Madison Avenue). It was a rather benign period, family oriented and proclaiming the burgeoning consumer culture. Cheerios, Gillette shavers, Chevrolet, Swanson TV dinners, the Flintstones, Wide World of Sports and the like. Straightforward news anchors like Edward R. Murrow and Walter Cronkite. Products you could 'trust'. And, in most cases you could. Then things started changing.
The 1960s progressed, and we had assasinations: JFK, MLK, RFK, and we had the Vietnam War The first 'tell-a-vision' war. With the unfolding of these events, the Cryptocracy realized something: you could sell other, bigger things than cars and tooth-paste. You could sell 'world views'. It was a lesson that the 'Crypts' had to learn, because their grip on power was loosened during the 60s. Too many big people killed and shot with too many loose ends. Too many questions being asked. And too many artists and musicians doing their thing and getting too much attention and power.( Some people suggest that the Beatles and the 60s 'counter-culture' was a 'Crypts' project. I disagree: it was grass-roots, but later converted into 'product'). Well, anything the people could think of, the Crypts could answer. They had the power, and they had the motive. And they controlled the media.
We saw an evolution of Crypts 'production values' through the 70's with the 'Watergate: The Fall of A President' being a prime-time winner. Then after the rather uncharismatic leading man Jimmy Carter turned off viewers, we suddenly had 'Iran: The Hostage Crisis'...It wasn't quite a blockbuster, but it was a popular soap-opera, and set the stage for later spin-offs.
The 80s featured Hollywood's President, Ronald Reagan, who was a great character actor, with a flair for the dramatic. After the sad-sack Jimmy Carter, Reagan was like a 'new day dawning for America'. His show made for amusing diversion, and he sold a lot of products. But who was to know that his successor, that old Yale 'peckerwood' George HW Bush would bring Crypt production values into a whole new era?
The 'new age' was ushered in by the surprise 'reality' blockbuster 'Operation Desert Storm', directed by George HW Bush, with help from a whole 'krewe of advisors'. 'Desert Storm' had everything: The steady leading man George HW, the 'action figure' General Schwartzkoff, the Black Warrior, Colin Powell and the 'evil genius behind the scenes' Dick Cheney. It had the best video technology, 'embedded reporters' as cameramen, a great villain, the diabolical Arab Saddam Hussein, a man whose 'goon squads' threw 'babies from their incubators' in Kuwait and then sold the incubators as booty to other Arab tribesmen. And so many subplots like the frightened Israelis, afraid of being 'gassed' in Tel Aviv by the 'new Hitler'. What a show! It was such a success that George HW actually proclaimed that we were ushering in a 'New World Order'!
But see, Andy Warhol once said that in the future 'everyone would have 15 minutes of fame'. Because people get bored. They constantly have to get 'new images' to stimulate them. So, almost immediately after 'Operation Desert Storm' ended, people forgot about it. It was boring. There were more mundane issues to deal with. Like making a living.
So, the 'New World Order' was kinda 'dead on delivery'. Well, not really, but it was put on the shelf for awhile, until new 'production techniques' could be developed. But the Crypts are nothing if not persistant. They tried various 'pilot projects' thru the 90's, the longets running of which was 'The Clinton Body Count'.Bill had some charisma, and his wife was like Tabitha the witch, except not as cute. And he also played saxophone, and liked 'the girls'. Ooo-oo! So he was entertaining, and, hey some good product got sold too. Lke the whole United States. Some other semi-successful mini-series were 'Bosnia/Kosovo' and 'The 1993 WTC Bombing'. Oh, I forgot 'Waco' and 'The OKC Bombing'. Not 'blockbusters' but good practice runs.
The blockbuster came in 2001, under the directorship of George W.Bush and Dick Cheney (with foreign specialists handling the 'technical work'). Of course, I'm talking about '9-11'. Even the title was a stroke of genius. What nuber do you call when you need emergency help? You got it, 911! Marlon Brando once said that 'the Jews control Hollywood'. Well, when we observe the Israeli production values that run through '9-11', maybe the guy was right!
And the spinoffs that came right after! 'The War on Terror', 'They Hate Our Freedom', 'Islamo-Fascism', 'Afghanistan: The Hunt for Osama Bin Laden', 'Department of Homeland Security'.This was a bonanza for the Cryptocracy, Surely, they had hit the motherlode. 'Plans for the 'New World Order' mega-blockbuster were taken off the shelf, and pre-production got underway.
But wait. It seemed like this movie was the only thing on 'tell-a-vision'. People watched it over and over, with the spin-offs. And then, people started noticing that the production was a bit more shoddy than it first appeared. And there were flaws in the plot. The acting didn't hold up to repeated viewing. The Ministry of Truth, spread out in it's outposts from NY to Hollywood to London to Tel Aviv to Bagdad worked overtime to 'tell-their-vision'. But a lot of folks started seeing a different picture. Maybe the new thing called the Internet had some effect on the Ministry. People could create their own realities for themselves, or at least examine the historical documents. It was that ole 'grass-roots magic' weaving it's spell, kinda like the 60s. Maybe. But wasn't reality 'virtual' anyway?
We recently had a new show come on called 'The Georgian Conflict'. This was a new Crypto pilot, but it seemed to fall on it's face. First of all, it was scripted in the US, but it was filmed in Russia/Georgia. And, the Russians are 'artists' and 'cryptos' in their own right. But they have different production values than Hollywood. In fact, they are developing their own film industry. The show starred a Georgian comedian name Mikheil Saakashvili and a Russian villain named Putin, but somehow the acting was stilted, although Putin did have some moments of drama. But the plot, with the 'heroic little democracy' defeating the 'Russian Bear' was never gonna fly. It just didn't make sense.
But the Ministry of Truth did it's best. CNN, FOX, MSNBC and even the particularly repulsive 'voice of the baby boomers' NPR all wailed and bemoaned the 'Russian aggressors' and the 'threat to democracy'. All lies. All bulshit. All tired and old.
I think it's time for a wholesale employee turnover at the Ministry of Truth. They need new blood in there. But can one retire from the Ministry of Truth? I guess Winstone Smith had a sort of 'retirement'. Not a nice one. Maybe they are just afraid to quit at the Ministry. Or maybe you just can't get out with your soul. Maybe that;s it.
1994 online: http://www.george-orwell.org/1984/index.html
the '1984 Pyramid graphic': http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:1984_Social_Classes_alt.svg