20th century America

[From the archives]

Sigmund Freud’s shadow hung over the Twentieth Century like a dark storm cloud. F. Scott Fitzgerald’s ditzy 1920 heroines were “hip to Freud” , and it was Freud’s nephew Edward Bernays who invented the science of public relations which rules us today. During WWI Bernays — along with the two other PR founders, Rockefeller press agent Ivy Lee and the neoliberal philosopher and pamphleteer Walter Lippmann — was in charge of manipulating a reluctant populace into accepting the war (with the help of the usual contingent of jackbooted thugs). From this came the American dream of world domination in the service of freedom and virtue.

After the war Ivy Lee worked for the Nazis, while Bernays worked to gain the right to smoke cigarettes for the beaten-down women of Puritan America, who were never allowed to have any fun.   As for Lippmann, already the brains behind the New Republic tabloid, he became one of the  elder statesmen of the American media and of the Democratic Party and one of the founders of neoliberalism. He convinced the Democratic powers that the general public is a mindless mass, and a detriment to wise governance which only responds to gimmicks and buzzwords. And finally, in 1956, Ivy Lee’s nephew William Burroughs revolutionized American literature and showed us America as it really is. (Burroughs got his cynicism from the source).

That’s a lot of culture to pack into 40 years, and everything you need to know is right there. Various other Americans were once thought to have been culturally important in some way, but in the long haul none of them amounted to a hill of beans.

Author: John Emerson

An nescis, mi fili, quantilla prudentia mundus regatur.

2 thoughts on “20th century America”

    1. Praise be to God, should he exist.

      Reading Freud’s “Dora” next to Schnitzler’s “Fraulein Else” is utterly damning.

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