Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The Big Lie

I Read A Snippet of Adolf Hitler's Mein Kampf And Now I Think I Know Everything There Is To Know About Humanity 

Hitler.  What a guy.   And I LOVE how I've already broken Godwin's Law.  What a beautiful Law it is, too:

So, using Godwin's Law, I have proven something already:  the following post's topic is absolutely useless, inadequate and riddled with argument holes as large as Canada.   Well, maybe Canada without the Arctic Islands, because honestly it's more water and ice than anything up there--and it's really annoying to draw all of those tiny islands.

It's amazing how many famous Canadians will pop into your head when one sits down and draws a map of Canada.  Obviously, this is a tactic American Foreign Relations need to use on any country that currently hates us.  But, I do think Canada has one up on us:  famous Canadian people are just so cute and cuddly.  Famous American people are frightening.  Ah, stereotypes.

I digress.  While running around online a while back, I inevitably ran across a mention of the Nazis--more specifically this snippet from Mein Kampf. As Adolf puts it:  “…in the big lie there is always a certain force of credibility; because the broad masses of a nation are always more easily corrupted...Even though the facts which prove this to be so may be brought clearly to their minds, they will still doubt and waver and will continue to think that there may be some other explanation. For the grossly impudent lie always leaves traces behind it, even after it has been nailed down, a fact which is known to all expert liars in this world and to all who conspire together in the art of lying.”

—Adolf Hitler , Mein Kampf, vol. I, ch. X 

You know how in James Bond 007 movies the villain always reveals exactly what weapon or tactic he's about to employ to try to take over and/or destroy the world?  It's kind of...weird how Hitler...does that.  But, we now have a working definition:

The Big Lie.  [thuh big lahyn.
     -A lie so large, no one would think you'd be that crazy to lie about it and by the time it's revealed it's a lie, irreparable damage will have been done in the liar's favor.  

I could insert a WMD/Iraq War Joke in here, but honestly, it's not worth the joke because of how depressing it is, so instead I'm inserting a picture of a puppy.


But, there's a catch to Lying Big.  If I were to say to you, "I am made of cheese," you'd either agree that I eat too much of it, or not respond and question why we're friends.  However, you honestly wouldn't believe my hands really are made of gouda, or that I have cheddar elbows.  Sometimes I look at my stomach and see the similarity of consistency between my flub and brie, but that's a whole other issue.  

But, why doesn't this lie work?  Very simple.  It has nothing to do with you.  The Big Lie definition, therefore, has to be rewritten to have one specific addendum that is key to its success:

 The Big Lie.  [thuh big lahyn.
     -A lie so large, no one would think you'd be that crazy to lie about it and by the time it's revealed it's a lie, irreparable damage will have been done in the liar's favor.
    -Something utterly false that for some reason you believe will reflect on you, so you desperately wish to be true--so much so, that you'll risk the consequences of reality.

Enter, modern-day marketing.  

iphone = myphone, or me, me, ME

Have you noticed a trend in marketing recently?  Or perhaps, it isn't lately.  I've just had the unfortunate experience of realizing that the most successful marketing campaigns and massively-rich companies out there really have a grip on what the public wants to hear:  themselves.  They want to hear about themselves.  Or talk about themselves--basically anything to do with them is a-ok.  Meaning us. Wait, I'm getting confused. 

The most recent trick, however, has been to be quick and clever interlaying the use of our favorite subject and object pronouns:  I, You, & Me, or the possessive, My.  Any PR campaign that's out and out successful today has one of these words oh-so-delicately inter-spliced with the product itself:  Myspace, iphone/ipod, Youtube:  Broadcast Yourself, You HTC, etc.

Facebook remains to be a bit further out of that direct-campaign spectrum, but the general image that pops into your head when you think of Facebook is well, your face, or rather, your latest profile picture.  

Twitter is the same thing, except that instead of a picture you're given a 140 character limit to describe you--how tempting it is to one day reach those 1000 words equal to your Facebook profile picture, no?

We buy it because we love ourselves

I wish I was saying that in the happy-healthy kind of way, but no.  It's in the self-demoralizing, over-extreme polar opposites kind of way:  I-loathe-myself-but-also-can't-admit-this-outloud-how-obsessed-I-am-with-myself.  Remember the graph of sexy?  Insecurity runs highest when you're really trying too hard. 

I could be wrong but I think our American culture specifically has this tendency to repress--and each day our deranged self-love gets repressed, it becomes almost ferocious in its ability to eat anything up that quietly confirms this particular Big Lie:  You Really Are The Center of The Universe.  

And to top it off, these products allow us anonymity; no one will know how much you do love yourself because no one will ever know how much you really do log into Facebook and just reread your own profile or how dependent you are on your iphone, or how you'll cut a bitch for thumbing down your fan music video of Willow and Tara.


I've said too much.  But, this is my conclusion:  We are naturally self-absorbed.  But, we can't/wont/are told not to from the moment we're born.  So, we inherently repress and diverge that love into weird, unhealthy, obsessive habits.  These habits include:  live journal, blogging (example here), Facebooking, youtubing, iphoning, and if you were say, a 1930s German who is starving and being utterly handicapped by the Treaty of Versailles, that includes going to Nazi Ralleys and hearing about how you're part of the true superior race.


We need to buck up and start learning how to criticize constructively--and also how to handle criticism without turning to violence.  Because, if we don't know how to speak up ahead of time, and to handle a difference of opinion in the moment, much, much worse things will eventually bubble over.

And scene.



  1. ...i didn't see a puppy picture...

  2. ...it's a link, Amy. You have to...click...on it?

    Or I could be lying to you.

  3. I preferred your idea of just the puppy picture. Re-edit!

  4. the puppy was adorable!

    also, your comments on marketing are insightful/amusing. i had to do an assignment once where i watched 10 commercials and explain what they were really about/selling. they mostly sold self esteem, power, or sex.

    lol i don't have an id on blogspot, but this is bronwen

  5. Hey Bronwen!

    I figure if I just put at least one picture of a puppy in each blog posting then it will be successful.

    It's interesting, isn't it? I mean, I figured humans are generally self-obsessed but when I started to really examine it all it kind of depressed me on the sinking-stomach kind of level. But, if I blog about it, that makes it go away.

    At least, that's the running theory that I have.