daily preciousness

Thursday, May 12, 2005

perfect story

Here's how you make propaganda. It's easy. Just take a few elements that everybody can relate to easily, even if they have a grade school education.

First, take a handsome, all-American athlete. Just for the fun of it, let's say former NFLer Pat Tillman.

(Extra points if he has a better jaw line than most comic book heroes!)

Next, give him a full soldier makeover! Grrrr! You're so tough!


Now, add a rousing story of heroism and patriotic fervor. Here's one that the WaPo printed:

"Tillman died trying to save fellow members of the 75th Ranger Regiment caught in a crush of enemy fire," the story went. Tillman, said a friend and comrade-at-arms, had told his fellow soldiers "to seize the tactical high ground from the enemy" to draw enemy fire away from another U.S. platoon trapped in an ambush. "He directly saved their lives with those moves. Pat sacrificed his life so that others could live." [It was a] "storybook personal narrative."

Now, that's what I call true patriotism!

(And a source of ugly gif web memorials, too!)

And that's how a legend is born. News casts, radio shows, front pages... everyone sings the glory of the fallen hero. Yes, it's a story to be told and told again... a yarn worthy of EVERYONE's respect.

Except, of course, for those who like to stick to the truth.

Tillman was not the victim of terrorists or insurgents. He was not the victim of THOSE WHO HATE 'MERKA, as some are so fond of saying.

Nope. He was a victim of poor situational awareness.

Like when you get hit in a paintball fight by your own team. So-called "friendly fire."

But you'll never hear about that. It's too buried by other news to make much of a dent in popular consciousness.

So is it propaganda? Or just very well timed press releases? I'd say it's basically the same thing. Chalk up one more X-treme deception in the war against terror.

Oddly enough, the situation reminds me of a scenario from the video game...

"Richard Baxton piloted his Recon Rover into a fungal vortex and held off four waves of mind worms, saving an entire colony. We immediately purchased his identity manifests and repackaged him into the Recon Rover Rick character with a multi-tiered media campaign: televids, touchbooks, holos, psi-tours-- the works. People need heroes. They don't need to know how he died clawing his eyes out, screaming for mercy. The real story would just hurt sales, and dampen the spirits of our customers."

-"Mythology for Profit" -Morgan Stellartots Keynote Speech

Just like in the video game, the administration has used this man's death to promote the war on terror, pushing the truth out of focus so as not to "hurt sales and dampen the spirits" of the citizenry.


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