When trying to analyze media and how it affects us, there are many different paths that we can go down to not only analyze but expose subliminals, hidden allegory, predictive programming and subtext. To the general consensus a “cigar is just a cigar”, “a movie is just a movie” or ““television show is just a television show.”
To tell the observer that there may be different meaning or a hidden meaning to media presentations is a very tricky endeavor because average people do not want to think on a deeper level about what they choose to watch or listen to.
However, it is argued that the effect on the human brain on a deeper level is actually recorded whether the observer wants it in their heads or not. For example, I once sat in on a panel discussion about the infamous Ray Santilli “Alien Autopsy Footage” and the argument was all about whether or not the footage of an alien being cut up on an autopsy table was real or faked.
My position on the matter was that it did not matter either way. This surprised many people and I had to explain why I felt the way I did.
I concluded that the film was definitely a hoax; however, there was a lot of homework that went into the hoax and – like it or not – the footage was aired as a real depiction of a ritualistically butchered anthropomorphic being.
The Fox television network aired the “Alien Autopsy: Fact or Fiction” special with Jonathan Frakes as host. The special was aired twice on Fox and each time there was in excess of 17 million viewers. Time Magazine compared it to the Zapruder film, saying that no other film has had so much intense debate since the movie that showed Kennedy’s brains being blown out in Dallas.
Each viewer, regardless of whether or not it was a hoax, now has that snuff film in their consciousness and the ritualistic autopsy that some believed was a satanic ritual performed on a human.
The truth is that those who watched the television special do not realize that, even though your eyes saw an alien being cut up, you were also subtextually watching a human being – or an anthropomorphic facsimile being – butchered on prime time television.
The mental flashbacks that it caused and the historical nature of ritual sacrifice overcame me and I was convinced that, while the ‘hoax’ itself was subtle, the impact of a ritualistic murder and autopsy that reminded me of several famous murder or autopsy scenes.
The same would go for the footage of the September 11th, 2001 attacks. It has been estimated that the average American viewed an average of 18 hours of repetitive viewing of the same plane slamming into the towers from different views and each time we relived the trauma of knowing that human beings were inside those towers, suffocating, burning and eventually crushed when the towers fell in free fall.
Each time we see it in a documentary or a news show it reinforces the anger, trauma and fear that we are unsafe in our world and that the threat of a mass attack with mega death can happen at any moment. This is why the majority of Americans give implied consent to the government to continue in its efforts to create a surveillance state and a militarized police state, regardless of constitutional legality.
This weekend I was interested in seeing the new movie ‘Elysium‘, starring Matt Damon and Jodie Foster. While the film has been critically acclaimed by most movie critics there have been a few that surprisingly are slamming it because of its political subtext.
It’s not that the director Neill Blomkamp has not used the medium for a political allegory before. His film ‘District 9’ was an allegory for apartheid with aliens as the oppressed.
Blomkamp has now scored another hit which is a stark picture of a dystopian future of “haves” and “have nots.” However, that isn’t the only thing he sees in the future. He also sees the very thing that we are only getting hints of by our own leaders in reality.
That is the vision of a world where the elite will be safe and secure in their bunkers while the rest of us will be forced to live in a polluted, overpopulated, chaotic police state run by greedy corporate interests and patrolled ruthless robotic enforcers like drones and robot cops.
This forces the question: Is a cigar only a cigar – or are there deeper meanings to what we hear and see and do we pay attention? Do we write-off fiction until we are forced to live it and do we only pretend to know the subtext because it appears to apply?
I had a conversation with a friend about the book ‘Nineteen Eighty-Four‘ by George Orwell. We had discussed how there are a few people that will say that we are now living the Orwellian nightmare. Now, if someone is saying this. On the surface you can argue that they are aware of how our government and other world governments are creating the dystopian vision of Orwell. It would also appear that they are familiar with the book or that they have read it.
However, if one ventures into the details of the subtext of the book, such as what the total of 2+2 is in the false dogma of the party, or who Emanuel Goldstein is or what the tow minutes of hate represents we begin to see confusion when contemporary comparisons are made.
Do people understand how Goldstein is similar to Osama Bin Laden, Edward Snowden or even Bradley Manning? Is the false dogma of ‘2+2 =5’ a consistent comparison to how children are being indoctrinated with programs like ‘Common Core‘ in schools?
Imagine the power that lies in the ability to remold the entire American system into a seamless groupthink that extends from the cradle to the grave. A system that not only is for everyone but everyone has to agree on basics that do not find themselves outside the box. It is a system that hopes to kill creativity and the ability to grow with imagination and the ability to rebel against rules provided by the elite.
It is a sure fire way of creating a labor force that will determine the future of a child. Whether he be a laborer, a soldier, or a leader. It is a government wet dream that will determine the future of human resources and labor.
It is frightening to see that the future and the subtext along with allegory can be accepted as unavoidable fate and yet there has always been and always will be precautionary allegory that exists today in much of what we watch and listen to on a daily basis.
I sought out a few subtextual if not subliminal messages in films that are meant for children. I came across a few and I am sure that I was scratching at the surface.
I was intrigued by cartoons which featured G.I. Joe fighting an elite organization called Cobra. Cobra is a metaphor for the reptilian elite and how the wish to control the masses and how G.I Joe and his cohorts wish to destroy it.
I also remember at least two computer animated films that seemed to send a message to fight the elite and escape the police state.
In the first film, the 1998 animated movie ‘A Bug’s Life’, the leader of the grasshoppers explains what would happen if the worker ants were to realize that they don’t have to be under the control of the grasshoppers.
For a show meant for children, the speech given by “Hopper” is also accentuated with him actually killing or crushing three grasshoppers with an onslaught of grains that he says represents what would happen if the majority of the ants rebelled against them.
He argues that “just one ant” might not be a problem now, but if all the other ants were trouble like one of the ants named Flik, the grasshoppers can be easily overthrown. What may be lost on the public observing the film is the dynamic of how oppression can be beaten.
Hopper tells them “If you let one of them stand up to us, then they all might.”
It is unfortunate that to the majority a cigar is a cigar and there is no deeper meaning to films.
I often watch these films that are meant for children and see a political allegory placed in the subtext and I wonder if anyone pays attention. I was especially seeing a hidden subtext in the film ‘Toy Story 3‘, where the Fisher-Price chatter telephone is telling Woody the cowboy doll how to escape “Sunny Side Day Care.” Which, on the surface, looks like a perfect place to be – but in reality is lead by a fascistic teddy bear named Lotso.
Out of context, the scene could be about how to escape the surveillance state and what needs to be done in order for Woody to provide safety and freedom for his friends.
The objective is to eliminate the monkey in the sky or as the chatter phone puts it—“The Eye in the Sky” – and yet there are people who will go along with the prospect of drones flying above us watching our every move or cameras invading our privacy.
When we see images or hear the messages do we really hear them? Or do we dismiss them because we are told that there is no deeper meaning, that there is no real message to pay attention to. Is there a contingent that says that what we hear and see are distractions from the real problem even though no one can define what the real problem is?
I am beginning to notice that we may have overlooked some of the more simplistic warnings in songs, movies and even cartoons.
If you think it is a silly notion. Keep in mind that even nursery rhymes had their beginnings in the cold and macabre. There are stories of how ‘The Wizard of Oz’ was a political allegory and there have been many discussions about why it was written.
L. Frank Baum died before the debates over his true intent had started. But in the book’s introduction, he stated that he was only writing to please children. Today, people will argue otherwise.
Even in Baum’s vision, the flying monkeys will swoop down and take you out much like the drones of our time. Allegory appeals on several levels.
It is all part of the liberty of using creative license and imagination. The only hard part is that today we are told that using creativity and imagination is a weakness and that speculation and creating theory should be left to those who are appointed to do so.
The intention if we choose to listen is to teach us about various moral and practical aspects of our time. If what we see, read or watch functions in the capacity of warning us of what is to come then perhaps we should listen carefully.
I am sure we would be surprised and what we are really hearing and seeing.