28 February 2012

Invisible Government

Propaganda by Edward Bernays, 1928, Excerpts

The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Governments, whether they are monarchial, constitutional, democratic or communist, depend upon acquiescent public opinion for the success of their efforts and, in fact, government is government only by virtue of public acquiescence. Whatever of social importance is done today, whether in politics, finance, manufacture, agriculture, charity, education, or other fields, must be done with the help of propaganda. Propaganda is the executive arm of the invisible government.

As civilization has become more complex, and as the need for invisible government has been increasingly demonstrated, the technical means have been invented and developed by which opinion may be regimented. The systematic study of mass psychology revealed the potentialities of invisible government of society by manipulation of the motives which actuate man in the group. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country. We are governed, our minds molded, our tastes formed, our ideas suggested, largely by men we have never heard of.

27 February 2012

Invisible Rulers

Propaganda by Edward Bernays, 1928, Excerpts

Who are the men who give us our ideas, tell us whom to admire and whom to despise, and what to believe? The words and actions of our most influential public men are dictated by shrewd persons operating behind the scenes. There are invisible rulers who control the destinies of millions.

The invisible government tends to be concentrated in the hands of the few because of the expense of manipulating the social machinery which controls the opinions and habits of the masses. To advertise on a scale which will reach fifty million persons is expensive. To reach and persuade the group of leaders who dictate the public’s thoughts and actions is likewise expensive.

A presidential candidate may be “drafted” in response to overwhelming popular demand, but it is well known that his name may be decided upon by half a dozen men sitting around a table in a hotel room. Propaganda tends to make the President of the United States so important that he becomes not the President but the embodiment of the idea of hero worship. The politician is able, by the instrument of propaganda, to mold and form the will of the people.

26 February 2012

Intelligent Few

Propaganda by Edward Bernays, 1928, Excerpts

It was the astounding success of propaganda during the war [WWI] that opened the eyes of the intelligent few in all departments of life to the possibilities of regimenting the public mind. [See Creel Commission] The manipulators of patriotic opinions made use of the mental clichés and the emotional habits of the public to produce mass reactions against the alleged atrocities, the terror, and the tyranny of the enemy. It was only natural, after the war ended, that intelligent persons should ask themselves whether it was possible to apply a similar technique to the problem of peace.

Propaganda will never die out. Intelligent men must realize that propaganda is the modern instrument by which they can fight for productive ends and help to bring order out of chaos. Ours must be a leadership democracy administered by the intelligent minority who know how to regiment and guide the masses. Only through the active energy of the intelligent few can the public at large become aware of and act upon new ideas. Only through the wise use of propaganda will our government be able to maintain that intimate relationship with the public which is necessary in a democracy.

In almost every act of our daily lives we are dominated by the relatively small number of persons who understand the mental processes and social patterns of the masses. It is they who pull the wires which control the public mind, who harness old social forces and contrive new ways to bind and guide the world. It has been found possible to mold the mind of the masses so that they will throw their strength in the desired direction.

25 February 2012

True Motives

Propaganda by Edward Bernays, 1928, Excerpts

It is chiefly the psychologists of the school of Freud who have pointed out that many of man’s thoughts and actions are compensatory substitutes for desires which he has been obliged to suppress. A thing may be desired not for its intrinsic worth or usefulness, but because he has unconsciously come to see in it a symbol of something else, the desire for which he is ashamed to admit himself.

Men are rarely aware of the real reasons which motivate their actions. A man may believe that he buys a motor car because, after careful study of the technical features of all makes on the market, he has concluded that this is the best. He is almost certainly fooling himself.

This general principle, that men are very largely actuated by motives which they conceal from themselves, is as true of mass as of individual psychology. The successful propagandist must understand the true motives and not be content to accept the reasons which men give for what they do.

24 February 2012

The Group Mind

Propaganda by Edward Bernays, 1928, Excerpts

Trotter, Le Bon, Wallas, and Walter Lippmann established that the group has mental characteristics distinct from those of the individual, and is motivated by impulses and emotions which cannot be explained on the basis of what we know of individual psychology. If we understand the mechanism and motives of the group mind, is it not possible to control and regiment the masses according to our will without their knowing about it? The recent practice of propaganda has proved that it is possible, at least up to a certain point and within certain limits.

No serious sociologist any longer believes that the voice of the people expresses any divine or specially wise and lofty idea. The voice of the people expresses the mind of the people, and that mind is made up for it by the group leaders in whom it believes and by those persons who understand the manipulation of public opinion. It is composed of inherited prejudices and symbols and clichés and verbal formulas supplied to them by the leaders.

Human desires are the steam which makes the social machine work. Only by understanding them can the propagandist control that vast, loose-jointed mechanism which is modern society.

23 February 2012


Propaganda by Edward Bernays, 1928, Excerpts

Modern propaganda is a consistent, enduring effort to create or shape events to influence the relations of the public to an enterprise, idea or group. This practice of creating circumstances and of creating pictures in the minds of millions of persons is very common. Virtually no important undertaking is now carried on without it. Its use is growing as its efficiency in gaining public support is recognized.

It takes account not merely of the individual, nor even of the mass mind alone, but also and especially of the anatomy of society, with its interlocking group formations and loyalties. The public is made up of interlocking groups – economic, social, religious, educational, cultural, racial, collegiate, local, sports, and hundreds of others. It sees the individual not only as a cell in the social organism but as a cell organized into the social unit. Touch a nerve at a sensitive spot and you get an automatic response from certain specific members of the organism.

The whole basis of successful propaganda is to have an objective and then to endeavor to arrive at it through an exact knowledge of the public and modifying circumstances to manipulate and sway that public. Propaganda is most effective through the manner of its introduction.

Joseph Goebbels, March 1933:
This is the secret of propaganda: Those who are to be persuaded by it should be completely immersed in the ideas of the propaganda, without ever noticing that they are being immersed in it.

10 February 2012

Money Money Cabaret

Money Money
Liza Minnelli and Joel Grey in Cabaret

Money makes the world go around,
the world go around, the world go around,
Money makes the world go around,
it makes the world go round.

A mark, a yen, a buck or a pound,
a buck or a pound, a buck or a pound,
Is all that makes the world go around,
that clinking clanking sound,
Can make the world go round.

If you happen to be rich, and you feel like a night's entertainment,
You can pay for a gay escapade.
If you happen to be rich, and alone and you need a companion,
You can ring ting-a-ling for the maid.
If you happen to be rich and you find you are left by your lover,
Tho you moan and you groan quite a lot,
You can take it on the chin,
call a cab and begin to recover on your fourteen carat yacht.

Money makes the world go around,
the world go around, the world go around,
Money makes the world go around,
of that we both are sure.
(Raspberry) On being poor.

When you haven't any coal in the stove and you freeze in the winter
And you curse to the wind at your fate.
When you haven't any shoes on your feet and your coat's thin as paper
And you look thirty pounds underweight,
When you go to get a word of advice from the fat little pastor,
he will tell you to love evermore.
But when hunger comes to rap, rat-a-tat, rat-a-tat, at the window
See how love flies out the door.

For money makes the world go around, the world go around,
the world go around.
Money makes the world go around,
the clinking, clanking sound
of Money, money, money, money,
Money, money, money, money,
Get a little, get a little,
Money, money, money, money,
Mark, a yen, a buck or a pound,
That clinking, clanking clunking sound
is all that makes the world go round,
It makes the world go round.

09 February 2012

We're in the Money

We're in the Money
Film Gold Diggers, 1933

We're in the money, we're in the money;
We've got a lot of what it takes to get along!
We're in the money, that sky is sunny,
Old Man Depression you are through, you done us wrong.
We never see a headline about breadlines today.
And when we see the landlord we can look that guy right in the eye
We're in the money, come on, my honey,
Let's lend it, spend it, send it rolling along!
Oh, yes we're in the money, you bet we're in the money,
We've got a lot of what it takes to get along!
Let's go we're in the money, Look up the skies are sunny,
Old Man Depression you are through, you done us wrong.
We never see a headline about breadlines today.
And when we see the landlord we can look that guy right in the eye
We're in the money, come on, my honey,
Let's lend it, spend it, send it rolling along!

Gold Diggers, We’re in the Money

05 February 2012


The American Way of Death Revisited by Jessica Mitford, 1996, Excerpts

Cremation is no doubt a simple, tidy solution to the disposal of the dead. It appeals to the nature lover and the poet, who visualize their mortal remains scattered over sunny hillside or remote strand. It has appeal for the economy-minded; logically one would expect the expense to be but a fraction of that incurred for earth burial. And, to continue along that seditious line of thought, why not bypass the undertaker altogether, by taking the corpse directly to a crematory, there to be consigned to the flames – the only expense incurred: a modest crematory charge?

Cremation, like every other aspect of disposal of the dead, has long since been taken over by the cemetery industry and mortuary interests, which prescribe the procedures to be followed and establish the regulations to which the customer must adhere. Existing state laws, regrettably, serve only to help the industry play havoc with the consumer’s desire for a simple, cheap funeral. Therefore, he who seeks to avoid the purchase of a casket, embalming, and the full treatment will not succeed by the mere fact of choosing cremation rather than burial.

Administered by the cemetery interest, cremation has become just another way of making a buck, principally through the sale of the niche and urn, plus “perpetual care,” for the ashes. Casket manufacturers now offer a dazzling array of products topped by an “art-urn” line featuring elaborately sculptured pieces such as a seascape wit leaping dolphins. Also available are urns crafted in bronze, wood, semi-precious metals, glass, and marble.

New 'green cremation' machine opens in Minnesota
16 Aug 2012
A Scottish company has installed its second "Resomation" machine, in the US state of Minnesota. The new facility in Stillwater, Minnesota, has already processed the remains of 20 individuals. Resomation is billed in the US as "green cremation" or "flameless cremation". Resomation involves the heating of the remains at some 300C in a pressurized vessel containing a potassium hydroxide solution. The process takes around three hours and reduces the body to skeletal remains which are processed into a white powder which can be given to the family, like ash from crematoria. Its makers claim it produces a third less greenhouse gas than cremation, uses a seventh of the energy, and allows for the complete separation of dental amalgam for safe disposal. Mercury from amalgam vaporized in crematoria is blamed for a proportion of airborne mercury emissions worldwide.

Funeral homes turn cremation into hot new business
28 May 2012
A surge in popularity for cremations in the US is threatening to overwhelm its "mom-and-pop" funeral homes, which count on big burials for their profits. Two of the largest publicly traded funeral home chains in the country warned investors the continuing upward trend in cremation could harm revenue and turnover. An immediate, no-frills cremation is much less expensive than a full-service burial: $2,070 (£1,299) on average, compared to $7,755. As cremation has grown in popularity, employment in "death care" businesses has declined, especially hard hit were skilled embalmers. The key, say industry leaders say, is for funeral directors to steer families away from immediate "direct cremation" with a no-frills container for the ashes toward more costly urns, ash accessories and services.

04 February 2012

Death Care Definitions

Funeral and cemetery arrangements after a death has occurred.

Purchase of products and services prior to a death occurring.

Pre-need Backlog
Future revenues from unfulfilled preneed funeral and cemetery contractual arrangements.

Burial Vaults
A reinforced container intended to house and protect the casket before it is placed in the ground.

Cemetery Perpetual Care or Endowment Care Fund
A trust fund established for the purpose of maintaining cemetery grounds and property into perpetuity.

The reduction of human remains to bone fragments by intense heat.

The burial or final placement of human remains in the ground.

Lawn Crypt
An underground outer burial receptacle constructed of concrete and reinforced steel, which is usually pre-installed in predetermined designated areas.

A method of identifying a deceased person in a particular burial space, crypt, or niche. Permanent burial markers are usually made of bronze, granite, or stone.

An above ground structure that is designed to house caskets and cremation urns.

03 February 2012

Death Care PC Terminology

The American Way of Death Revisited by Jessica Mitford, 1996, Excerpts

Funeral Director or Mortician  NOT  Undertaker
Mr., Mrs, Miss Blank  NOT  Corpse or Body
Deceased  NOT  Dead
Passed On or Expired  NOT  Died
Memorial Service  NOT  Funeral
Casket   NOT  Coffin
Floral Tributes  NOT  Flowers
Reposing Room  NOT  Showroom
Display Area  NOT  Casket Room
Drawing Room  NOT  Parlor
Casket Coach  NOT  Hearse
Interment Space  NOT  Grave
Opening Interment Space  NOT  Digging Grave
Closing Interment Space  NOT  Filling the Grave
Preparation Room  NOT  Morgue
Shipping Case   NOT  Shipping Box
Cremains  NOT  Ashes
Clothing  NOT   Shroud
Relatives and Friends  NOT  Mourners
Vital Statistics Form  NOT  Death Certificate
Investment in the Service  NOT  Cost of the Casket

02 February 2012

Embalming Mr. Jones

The American Wayof Death Revisited by Jessica Mitford, 1996, Excerpts

John Eckels, President of the Eckels College of Mortuary Science: “In the hands of a skilled practitioner, this work may be done in a comparative short time and without mutilating the body other than by slight incision, so slight that it scarcely would cause serious inconvenience if made upon a living person. It is necessary to remove the blood, and doing this not only helps in the disinfecting, but removes the principal cause of disfigurements due to discoloration. The earlier this is done, the better, for every hour that elapses between death and embalming will add to the problems and complications encountered.”

The preparation room has the tiled and sterile look of a surgery. His equipment – consisting of scalpels, scissors, augers, forceps, clamps, needles, pumps, tubes, bowls, and basins – is crudely imitative of the surgeon’s, as is his technique, acquired in a nine- or twelve –month post-high school course at an embalming school. He is supplied by an advanced chemical industry with a bewildering array of fluids, sprays, pastes, oils, powders, creams, to fix or soften tissue, shrink or distend it as needed, dry it here, restore the moisture there. There are cosmetics, waxes, and pints to fill and cover features, even plaster of Paris to replace entire limbs.

The blood is drained out through the veins and replaced by embalming fluid pumped in through the arteries. Every operator has a favorite injection and drainage point. Typical favorites are the carotid artery, femoral artery, jugular vein, and subclavian vein. There are various choices of embalming fluid. If Flextone is used, it will produce a “mild, flexible rigidity. The skin retains a velvety softness, the tissues are rubbery and pliable. Ideal for women and children.” Suntone comes in three separate tints: Suntan, Special Cosmetic, and moderately pink.

About three to six gallons of a dyed and perfumed solution of formaldehyde, glycerin, borax, phenol, alcohol, and water is soon circulating through Mr. Jones, whose mouth has been sewn together with a “needle directed upward between the upper lip and gum and brought out through the left nostril,” with the corners raised slightly “for a more pleasant expression.” His eyes, meanwhile, are closed with flesh-tinted eye caps and eye cement.

The next step is to have at Mr. Jones with a thing called a trocar. This is a long, hollow needle attached to a tube. It is jabbed into the abdomen and poked around the entrails and chest cavity, the contents of which are pumped out and replaced with “cavity fluid.” This, done, and the hole in the abdomen having been sewn up, Mr. Jones’s face is heavily creamed [to protect the skin from burns which may be caused by leakage of the chemicals], and he is covered with a sheet and left unmolested for a while. He has been embalmed, but not yet restored, and the best time to start the restoration work is eight to ten hours after embalming, when the tissues have become firm and dry.

The object of all this attention to the corpse, it must be remembered, is to make it presentable for viewing in an attitude of healthy repose. The embalmer, having allowed an appropriate interval to elapse, brings into play the skill and equipment of sculptor and cosmetician. If a lip, a nose, or an ear should be missing, the embalmer has at hand a variety of restorative waxes with which to model replacement. Pores and skin texture are simulated by stippling with a little brush, and over this cosmetics are laid on. Head off? Decapitation cases are rather routinely handled. Ragged edges are trimmed, and head joined to torso with a series of splints, wires, and sutures. It is a good idea to have a little something at the neck – a scarf or high collar – when time for viewing comes. Swollen mouth? Cut out tissue as needed from inside the lips. If too much is removed, the surface contour can easily be restored by padding with cotton. Swollen neck and cheeks are reduced by removing tissue through vertical incisions made down each side of the neck.

The opposite condition is more likely to present itself – that of emaciation. His hypodermic syringe now loaded with massage cream, the embalmer seeks out and fills the hollowed and sunken areas by injection. In this procedure, the backs of the hands and fingers and the under-chin area should not be neglected.

Positioning the lips is a problem that recurrently challenges the ingenuity of the embalmer. Closed too tightly, they tend to give a stern, even disapproving expression. Ideally, embalmers feel, the lips should give the impression of being ever so slightly parted, the upper lip protruding slightly for a more youthful appearance.  This takes some engineering, however, as the lips tend to drift apart. Lip drift can sometimes be remedied by pushing one or two straight pins between the two front upper teeth.

Masking pastes and cosmetics are heavily laid on, burial garments and casket interiors are color-correlated with particular care, and Jones is displayed beneath rose-colored lights. Death by carbon monoxide can be rather a good thing from the embalmer’s viewpoint: “One advantage is the fact that this type of discoloration is an exaggerated form of a natural pink coloration.” This is nice because the healthy glow is already present and needs by little attention.

The patching and filling completed, Mr. Jones is now shaved, washed, and dressed. A cream-based cosmetic, available in pink, flesh, suntan, brunette, and blond, is applied to his hands and face, his hair is shampooed and combed, his hands manicured.

Jones is now ready for casketing. Positioning the hands is a matter of importance, and special rubber positioning blocks may be used. The hands should be cupped slightly for a more lifelike, relaxed appearance. Proper placement of the body requires a delicate sense of balance. It should lie as high as possible in the casket, yet not so high that the lid, when lowered, will hit the nose. On the other hand, we are cautioned, placing the body too low “creates the impression that the body is in a box.”

Jones is next wheeled into the appointed slumber room, where a few last touches may be added – his favorite pipe placed in his hand, or, if he was a great reader, a book propped into position.

Lenin Embalmed


01 February 2012

Father of Modern Embalming

The American Way of Death Revisited by Jessica Mitford, 1996, Excerpts

The two widely divergent interests which spurred the early embalmers – scientific inquiry and the financial reward of turning cadavers into a sort of ornamental keepsake – were to achieve a happy union under the guiding hand of “Dr.” Thomas Holmes and is affectionately referred to by present-day funeral men as “the father of American embalming.” Holmes was the first to popularize the idea of preserving the dead on a mass scale, and the first American to get rich from this novel occupation.

Holmes developed a passionate interest in cadavers early in life, and when the Civil War started, he saw a great opportunity. He rushed to the front and started embalming like mad, charging families of the dead soldiers $100 for his labors. Some four years and 4,028 embalmed soldiers later, Holmes returned to Brooklyn a rich man. During the late 19th century Dr. Thomas Holmes embalmed a young girl from Kentucky. In the 1940's the remarkable upper torso was donated to the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology.

Dr. Bunnell's embalming establishment in the field 1861-1865