Brainwashed by Words

Who compared Jeremy Corbyn to Hitler?

Not directly, you understand, but by quasi-subliminal word association?

Christina Patterson, freelance journalist, ex-The Independent, on Sky News’ Press Preview last night (Friday), launched a diatribe against Labour leadership contender Jeremy Corbyn. He might be sincere, she intimated, but Hitler was also sincere. Sincerity doesn’t stop people from being nutcases, we heard. For the ‘cognoscenti ‘ like Christina, from their lofty perches above the hoi polloi, Mr Corbyn’s popularity resembles an incipient car crash.

The association between ‘Corbyn’, Hitler’, ‘nutcase’ and ‘car crash’ took me to Norman Fairclough’s* book ‘Language and Power’. Published by Longman in 1989 – pre-Blair, early in the digital age – but so relevant.

“…the constant doses of ‘news’ which most people receive each day are a significant factor in social control, and they account for a not insignificant proportion of a person’s average daily involvement in discourse “, he wrote. (p.37 of the 1995 9th impression)

As he says, “control over orders of discourse by institutional and societal power-holders is one factor in the maintenance of their power”. (same page)  They try and persuade us that their particular ideology is ‘common sense’ and in modern Britain this brainwashing has achieved a high degree of success!

Norman again (p.107): “…when ideology becomes common sense, it apparently ceases to be ideology; this is itself an ideological effect, for ideology is truly effective only when it is disguised”.

Disguised as common sense, and pushed from the public arena by a cacophony of trivia.

* Norman Fairclough is Emeritus Professor of Linguistics at Lancaster University.

PDR, not a member of the Labour Party, but in Plaid Cymru and very concerned about the narrowing of debate in the modern world, where political philosophies outside the dominant discourse are rubbished and insulted by insidious, subliminal means as well as overtly.


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