Propaganda needs only to be as good as it needs to be, at any given time, for any given audience, so it isn’t detected – or exposed – and thus subjected to wholesale rejection.
We can all see through the clumsy bombast of some tin pot dictator’s propaganda and then mistakenly think we are immune to the citizen-training pervading society closer to home.
Shows like Family Guy and The Simpsons and Futurama and Rick and Morty go out of their way to emphasize the permanence of Americana product and pap culture in a way that’s superficially presented as satire, mocking recognisable baubles of national culture using a consistent formula of running gags.
But then it goes on and on, relentless, unchanging not only in formula but in ideology with certain absolute tropes defining every instance these familiar symbols are used. It’s too uniform and too prevalent and too “on message” to be accidental.
So why should these shows consistently try to sugar-pill medicate the viewers a certain self-aggrandising glorification of the everyday Ameri-colored mainstream? It certainly runs contrary to the exceptionalism, freedom and individuality that’ve long been the tagline of American privilege. And why always this delivery method i.e. the more subversive (within accepted boundaries) the content, the more insistent the message.
Some example thought stubs:
Computer game vs Germans has Allies depicted as Americans only. Flag only American. Unless a historical character is famous AND fits into Americana Narrow definition, must be depicted ridiculous irrelevant incompetent or duplicitous pegged to a known meme that is enough to bestow valid+ accurate+ trustworthy citation (meta).
Remember in the movie Annie Hall, Woody Allen at some high-brow party watching the Knicks basketball game and looking entirely absorbed by the sporting spectacle. Consider the over-bearing sports fanaticism of – say – American comedians who’re clearly the types to have hated sports in school and end up rote-learning stats and tactics and plays in adulthood as a pitch for social acceptance. Maybe it works. It evolves into an important component of personality. It’s like an immigrant adopting local ways to fit in, their children talking and acting more like natives than the natives themselves. It comes at a price.
There’s an unreal fascism to the shared version of Americana that is instantly recognizable (its own proof). It differs from genuine culture which isn’t so universally obvious and is ironically less signposted (no brand names) . In the UK this scene of uniformity is replaced by neurotic disconnection, comedy, village idiot vs embarrassing faux pas etc. Cultural inheritance represented and imbibed as by product. Organic. Sans paradigm branding.
Satire in brand culture is hyperbolic and enduring, apparent irreverence sugars the pill yet more but the thinly veiled morality play is fascist conditioning, always uncritical of anything substantially “off message” or that’d encourage thinking outside the box. Thus emphasis / asserting uniform ubiquitous.
Small wonder more of the mind spent judging conformity to brand culture than free think free act organic evolution etc. This transcends individuals it redefines history even memory of near past. Easily done to those too busy marching in uniform superego to perceive what’s actually around them.
* Aspects of a culture without branding get mistaken for less significant, less popular, less strident or more ambiguous. The lack of brand makes it harder to apply the fascism of conditioned conformity.