Friday, January 28, 2005


In an ever-changing, incomprehensible world the masses had reached the point where they would, at the same time, believe everything and nothing, think that everything was possible and that nothing was true. ... Mass propaganda discovered that its audience was ready at all times to believe the worst, no matter how absurd, and did not particularly object to being deceived because it held every statement to be a lie anyhow. The totalitarian mass leaders based their propaganda on the correct psychological assumption that, under such conditions, one could make people believe the most fantastic statements one day, and trust that if the next day they were given irrefutable proof of their falsehood, they would take refuge in cynicism; instead of deserting the leaders who had lied to them, they would protest that they had known all along that the statement was a lie and would admire the leaders for their superior tactical cleverness.

Hannah Arendt, "The Origins of Totalitarianism."

This sounds familiar. We are SO beyond 1984 and it's "up is down" and "black is white." Are we stuck in a strange loop? Repeating our mistakes until we get it right ala Bill Murry in "Groundhog Day?"

I am indebted to Jon Carroll at the San Francisco Chronicle for this quote and his commentary on it. I recommend him quite highly, also Mark Morford at the same paper. Both are available online, look under columnists (no registration required).

Cliches crowd my mind.

"its later than you think"

"the price of liberty is eternal vigilance"

"hey now, what's that sound,
everybody look what's goin' down"

I like the idea, proposed elsewhere in the blogosphere at Bouphonia, of good news friday. I didn't find any good news, so I'll close with more cliches.

"hope springs eternal"

"its always darkest before the dawn"

dread pirate roberts

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