Today the web magazine Reality Sandwich published a second excerpt from my upcoming book All These Serious Faces Will Only Drive You Mad. I created the essay from a portion of my second chapter. The piece is called “The Not-So-Comfortable Concentration Camp,” which is a slight spin on a phrase that Betty Friedan used in her book The Feminine Mystique. Her book helped launch the second-wave feminist movement of the 1960s that demanded more rights for women in the home, the workplace, and elsewhere in society.
The essay explains how the modern public relations industry developed out of propaganda tactics used to promote American democracy in World War I. I noticed a strange parallel between William S. Burroughs’s description of heroin addiction and the commercial/lifestyle system built around suburbia. For those who live in suburbia, please try to suspend your judgment until the end of the essay. And keep in mind, I’m a product of this system as well. I’m just trying to find ways for us to transcend it.
Here’s the first paragraph:
The twentieth century was littered with warnings about the rise of technology and machinery in society. This became the general context for how we thought about “dehumanization,” whether we were talking about manufacturing cars by robot instead of manpower, creating music with synthesizers instead of traditional instruments, or communicating by text message instead of talking face-to-face. But discussing whether these phenomena are “good” or “bad” won’t be of much use without a proper understanding of how the human being has been “dehumanized.” To find that, we need only look at the supposed epitome of post-modern life in the West, the realm we call suburbia.
Read the rest at Reality Sandwich!