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92

The Century of Spin

In the formative days of public relations, elites imagined a “guided democracy”

(missing author)

4
terms
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notes

by Liz Franczak

? (2019). The Century of Spin. The Baffler, 44, pp. 92-105

(noun) a long parley usually between persons of different cultures or levels of sophistication / (noun) conference discussion / (noun) idle talk / (noun) misleading or beguiling speech / (verb) to talk profusely or idly / (verb) parley / (verb) to use palaver to; cajole

96

an excuse for a sex palaver

—p.96 missing author
confirm
1 year ago

an excuse for a sex palaver

—p.96 missing author
confirm
1 year ago

(verb) uproot / (verb) to remove or separate from a native environment or culture / (verb) to remove the racial or ethnic characteristics or influences from

100

populist rage burns through the deracinated industrial centers of the global north as liberal urbanites concentrate in increasingly isolated, privatized, and financialized city-centers

—p.100 missing author
notable
1 year ago

populist rage burns through the deracinated industrial centers of the global north as liberal urbanites concentrate in increasingly isolated, privatized, and financialized city-centers

—p.100 missing author
notable
1 year ago
102

[...] As digital monopolies steadily enclose whatever still remains of a public sphere, an impressive array of PR professionals have worked overtime to make it all sound liberating and democratic. Press releases gush out of all available servers, print articles and op-eds consistently reminding us not of the use value of their products (useful products, it should be noted, are not a Silicon Valley specialty) but, just as Bernays taught us, of the value of the corporations themselves: the great services they provide, the glorious number of jobs they create, their moral and ethical right-mindedness, and their proper place as the cultural and social pillars of all things American and exceptional—which is to say all things Hayekian and free. Far from simply building brand stories and shaping images, modern public relations is a perverse spin on what Bernays originally imagined the profession to be: it seeks to enshrine a privatized technocracy, swathed in the shallow veneer of a rhetorical, and endlessly fungible, commitment to social justice. And if present trends continue, our digitally administered information state may indeed be poised to finally extinguish the irksome throwback legacy that Bernays and his milieu found so threatening: democracy itself.

this is terrific

—p.102 missing author 1 year ago

[...] As digital monopolies steadily enclose whatever still remains of a public sphere, an impressive array of PR professionals have worked overtime to make it all sound liberating and democratic. Press releases gush out of all available servers, print articles and op-eds consistently reminding us not of the use value of their products (useful products, it should be noted, are not a Silicon Valley specialty) but, just as Bernays taught us, of the value of the corporations themselves: the great services they provide, the glorious number of jobs they create, their moral and ethical right-mindedness, and their proper place as the cultural and social pillars of all things American and exceptional—which is to say all things Hayekian and free. Far from simply building brand stories and shaping images, modern public relations is a perverse spin on what Bernays originally imagined the profession to be: it seeks to enshrine a privatized technocracy, swathed in the shallow veneer of a rhetorical, and endlessly fungible, commitment to social justice. And if present trends continue, our digitally administered information state may indeed be poised to finally extinguish the irksome throwback legacy that Bernays and his milieu found so threatening: democracy itself.

this is terrific

—p.102 missing author 1 year ago

(adjective) tending to cause discontent, animosity, or envy / (adjective) envious / (adjective) of an unpleasant or objectionable nature; obnoxious / (adjective) of a kind to cause harm or resentment

102

This, not coincidentally, is the same invidious rhetoric of superior virtue favored by the liberal’s adversary.

—p.102 missing author
notable
1 year ago

This, not coincidentally, is the same invidious rhetoric of superior virtue favored by the liberal’s adversary.

—p.102 missing author
notable
1 year ago

a concise saying or maxim; an aphorism

102

Like a tumor metastasizing undetected, this is the eerie, twisted echo of Thatcher’s apothegm about the illusory nature of society.

—p.102 missing author
notable
1 year ago

Like a tumor metastasizing undetected, this is the eerie, twisted echo of Thatcher’s apothegm about the illusory nature of society.

—p.102 missing author
notable
1 year ago
103

The logic of the corporate enclosure of the public sphere is truly a neoliberal wonder to behold. As our power elite steadfastly refuses to acknowledge any broader responsibilities or demands than the mandate to continue amassing ever greater quarterly returns, the rest of us meekly pantomime an odd parody of consent of the governed by focusing inordinate attention on the ever-mythic specter of enlightened corporate political agency. At least, we’ll cry, Twitter and Facebook will de-platform that rabid lunatic Alex Jones—that’s accountability! Or, at a minimum, we’ll plead, Nike will cast Colin Kaepernick in their sneaker campaign—that’s solidarity! Or again, at the very least, we’ll point out, Amazon is bringing jobs to Long Island City—that’s leadership!

In our actually existing consensual reality, it of course matters not a whit that the culture-war sport of celebrating corporate censorship betrays any supposed democratic commitment to protecting the rights of all citizens on an equal basis, subtly charging both Mark Zuckerberg and Jack Dorsey with the power to decide what is and is not free speech. (“If Trump supporters don’t care about my speech, I don’t care about theirs,” a typical liberal disputant will snort on any given social-media platform, in full Frank Rich dudgeon.) And no matter that Nike, a Hydra of exploitative global supply chains with dubious labor practices, degrades Kaepernick’s protest of racialized police brutality to the inert and content-free mantra “Believe in something”—a funny-except-it’s-not late capitalist parody of empty advertising slogans. (“Say what you will, but Nike is taking a risk and making a powerful statement,” the contented liberal online commentariat will predictably tweet.) Amazon might hold entire cities hostage, dangling jobs in front of desperate mayors in exchange for public cash, private development contracts, and access to municipal security apparatuses, but “only New Yorkers could complain about getting 25,000 jobs,” Saturday Night Live’s Colin Jost scoffs.

damn this whole piece is so well-written

—p.103 missing author 1 year ago

The logic of the corporate enclosure of the public sphere is truly a neoliberal wonder to behold. As our power elite steadfastly refuses to acknowledge any broader responsibilities or demands than the mandate to continue amassing ever greater quarterly returns, the rest of us meekly pantomime an odd parody of consent of the governed by focusing inordinate attention on the ever-mythic specter of enlightened corporate political agency. At least, we’ll cry, Twitter and Facebook will de-platform that rabid lunatic Alex Jones—that’s accountability! Or, at a minimum, we’ll plead, Nike will cast Colin Kaepernick in their sneaker campaign—that’s solidarity! Or again, at the very least, we’ll point out, Amazon is bringing jobs to Long Island City—that’s leadership!

In our actually existing consensual reality, it of course matters not a whit that the culture-war sport of celebrating corporate censorship betrays any supposed democratic commitment to protecting the rights of all citizens on an equal basis, subtly charging both Mark Zuckerberg and Jack Dorsey with the power to decide what is and is not free speech. (“If Trump supporters don’t care about my speech, I don’t care about theirs,” a typical liberal disputant will snort on any given social-media platform, in full Frank Rich dudgeon.) And no matter that Nike, a Hydra of exploitative global supply chains with dubious labor practices, degrades Kaepernick’s protest of racialized police brutality to the inert and content-free mantra “Believe in something”—a funny-except-it’s-not late capitalist parody of empty advertising slogans. (“Say what you will, but Nike is taking a risk and making a powerful statement,” the contented liberal online commentariat will predictably tweet.) Amazon might hold entire cities hostage, dangling jobs in front of desperate mayors in exchange for public cash, private development contracts, and access to municipal security apparatuses, but “only New Yorkers could complain about getting 25,000 jobs,” Saturday Night Live’s Colin Jost scoffs.

damn this whole piece is so well-written

—p.103 missing author 1 year ago