Propaganda and the Public Mind by Noam ChomskyI own a copy of this book, and Im glad I do, because this is the kind of book that deserves a reread. The title of this book is pretty descriptive, but it is worth mentioning that this book deals with a variety of topics. It is written in an interview form, and a reader can feel a bit like he is conversing with Chomsky. The title isnt exactly misleading, but there is more to this book than just the theme of propaganda (as important to this book as it is).
Propaganda and the Public Mind is definitely a book that I will reread. I reviewed it first years ago on my old goodreads profile but I figured I might write something about it- again. Because I really havent come across that many similar books that were of the same quality. What impressed me most about this book was how it was so straight to the point. Chomsky doesnt beat around the bush (pun not intended but while it slipped in, I might as well mention that Bushs politics are also analyzed in this book.)
Propaganda is something that surrounds us all, whether we notice it or not. It always influences us, whether we notice it or not. I can think of a number of interesting fields that can be connected with this book. Now, that I think of it, Propaganda and the Public Mind can be a pretty good starting point for a research. Chomsky seems to be a man after the truth in this book. Not the pleasant politically correct truth. Just plain truth. Chomsky brings his thoughts to logical conclusions. Take for example this quote: “We still name our military helicopter gunships after victims of genocide. Nobody bats an eyelash about that: Blackhawk. Apache. And Comanche. If the Luftwaffe named its military helicopters Jew and Gypsy, I suppose people would notice.” Would people notice if Germany hadnt lost the WW2? Thats the question Id like to see answered as well. Does it always comes to that- history is written by winners?
I remember what I thought when I first read this book, finally a an intellectual that really thinks with his head. There are so many intelligent people out there that arent really independent thinkers. Being an independent thinker sometimes seems to be more a matter of character than anything else. Some people have a high IQ but they cant think independently to save their lives. This book felt like an independent opinion- and I guess that is why I appreciated Propaganda and the Public Mind so much. Written as a series of interviews focusing mainly on the important events of the 90-ties with just a bit of linguistics at the end, this book is pure gold. It goes strait to the point (or rather points since it deals with different problems and comments different events) and it is very easy to read.
By being easy to read, I dont mind it is a light reader. I just meant to say that the information is presented in a coherent and logical way. There is nothing light about the themes it deals with, either. Moreover, this book is filled with information. There is so much information in this book that I wasnt familiar with (and I thought I knew something about the topics covered). What I liked most about Propaganda and the Public Mind is that it speaks about things that I have been thinking about, that have been bothering me, about issues that I care about- just I was not able no to arrange them so clearly in my head or connect them in a way Chomsky did. The author speaks in such a simple and direct way that it is quite easy to follow even when he jumps from one topic to another. Speaking of which, it is worth noticing that not all the topics covered deal with public propaganda. This is a collection of interviews and there are many topics covered.
It is nice to see that someone is trying to grasp the complexity of the 90-ties world politics (wars, conflicts, aggression and all that has been going on). There is so much simplification out there in the media and in general. It is so refreshing to read a book that actually tries to understand and explain the dynamics of world politics. Besides putting acts of violence into perspective and striping them out of ideological excuses, there was another part of the book that is very important in my view. I think that another burning issue was well handed- the issue of loss of personal freedom. The power that different interests group have over the world is growing, the gap between the poor and the rich has never in the course of human history been greater--- We have to ask ourselves, do we really live in a democracy?
To conclude, this is a very relevant book for our time. It may speak about (recent) past, but pretty much everything it talks about is still relevant. We all sometimes victims of propaganda. We all sometimes fail to see what is really going on- and sometimes it is really hard to figure out what is truth. Most media is own by someone, it is increasingly hard to believe any news reports, and the world politics is getting more complex by the minute. That is why books like this can be so useful. Whether you agree with Chomsky or not, you have to admit that his thinking is always quite logical and his analysis straight to the point.
Propaganda and the Public Mind
Out of print for several years, this classic has just been reissued with a new introduction by Chomsky. In this collection of interviews with David Barsamian, Noam Chomsky interrogates the institutions that shape the public mind in the service of power and profit. Whether discussing U. Noam Chomsky, by any measure, has led a most extraordinary life. In one index he is ranked as the eighth most cited person in history, right up there with Aristotle, Shakespeare, Marx, Plato and Freud. The legendary MIT professor is a major contributor to 21st century linguistics. In addition to his pioneering work in that field he has been a leading voice for peace and social justice for many decades.