Quote Quilt

Repressive societies always seemed to understand the danger of "wrong" ideas.

—Octavia E. Butler, Kindred


Propaganda—as prescribed, say, by Hitler in Mein Kampf—is information intentionally biased. Its effect depends primarily on its emotional appeal. While a pseudo-event is an ambigious truth, propaganda is an appealing falsehood. Pseudo-events thrive on our honest desire to be informed, to have "all the facts," and even to have more facts than there really are. But propaganda feeds on our willingness to be inflamed ... In a totalitarian society, where people are flooded by purposeful lies, the real facts are of course misrepresented, but the representation itself is not ambiguous. The propaganda lie is asserted as if it were true. Its object is to lead people to believe that the truth is simpler, more intelligible, than it really is.

— Daniel J. Boorstin, The Image: A Guide to Pseudo-Events in America


One day we went up there to the big house where the mayor lived, to march, and this was when we had been marching for a while now, and I remember when we got where the mayor was standing out on the steps and they had National Guards. We figured, well, this is it. Somebody was going to get killed with these soldiers there.

But the mayor said that from that day on, the marches would be protected. If anyone was caught abusing anyone or throwing rocks or anything, they would be arrested. We couldn't believe what we were hearing. When he finished his speech, we clapped our hands and started shouting and carrying on in the streets. The white folks and the Klansmen could not believe this was happening. They ran out as usual to do their own thing. The National Guards caught them and put handcuffs on them and took them to jail, and we were startled. We thought we were dreaming. We never thought this would happen—that the white man would go to jail for abusing us. We just couldn't believe this was happening. But we actually saw this with our own eyes. That was the most rejoicing day of my life.

Our friends and relatives would say to us, "What are you doing? Why are you doing these things? You will never be able to walk in the front door of the drugstore. You will never be able to live in a beautiful house beside the white man. It isn't supposed to happen in life."

But our friends and relatives and also the white man didn't understand the way we felt and the way we thought about the situation, which was we didn't care who we sat beside. We didn't care who we lived beside. We didn't care so much about walking in the front door. What we cared about was who are you to tell us what we can and can't do in America, the land of freedom, the land of democracy. That is what we got beat up for. It was as simple as that.

—Leon Walter Tillage, Leon's Story

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