Wednesday, May 27, 2009

propaganda in words and pictures

Exams season is on us again - and boy do I mean again: secondary schoolkids seem to have so many exams they talk like a multiple choice test ("what pizza do you want: a)Margherita...").

I've come into the posession of a couple of science past-papers that caused me concern, both from the Foundation element of "Twenty-first Century Science". I've scanned in some exerpts and posted them - apologies if parts are slightly blurred, they're a bit creased.

In one, from January 15 2008, there was a complicated scenario about a family united to ensure that an infertile sister could have a baby:

three sisters unite for surrogate birth - but what about the health of the egg-donor, or the discarded embryos?

Three things bothered me. The first was the phrase at the bottom of the above scenario, informing examinees that "Hannah...gave birth to a healthy son, Jake." Genetically, at least, the embryo's being "healthy" (if that means without detectable deformity) is a slam-dunk job, because under the terms of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act (HFEA), it is illegal to choose a disabled embryo for implantation at the expense of an able-bodied one.

Secondly, teenagers sitting the exam are informed that "Rebecca had an operation to remove an egg". I grant that the search is on to identify a method whereby a single egg can be extracted for the purposes of in-vitro fertilisation and implantation, but at present the only means to do this is for a woman to take medication to cause hyperovulation so that a bumper crop of ova can be harvested. This might result in a baby without overt disabilities, but hyperovulation not only results in unborn human beings being discarded, but is by no means unsafe for mothers.

And lastly, look at the question at the bottom of this cartoon vignette:

a range of views on surrogacy: but look at the loaded question at the bottom
So where has this politically-motivated exam questioning come from? It certainly didn't spring fully-formed from the board of OCR, the examinations syndicate which boasts that it works in "close consultation with...government to ensure [qualifications] are relevant for learners today".

I would answer that it is the endgame of a process of cultural colonialism by radical left-wing intellectualists, who see complex concrete problems as abstract diversions to be resolved by methods that are judged according to their propinquity to liberal-socialist praxis instead of relevance to real life. Case in point: Harriet Harman's loudly-trumpeted plan for employers to be given the power to choose a female applicant over an equally-qualified male one. A good plan, but the Minister for Equality forgot one thing: employers have always had this power.

As's Sandy Rios shows, key academic and political posts in civilised societies have been occupied by the ideologically beautiful, who are more interested in promoting propaganda to young p'Everything for Victory - Women of the USSR for the Front'eople than resolving problems up to and including preserving life. They have jumped through the appropriate hoops (or, as Rios says, "gamed the system") until theirs is the dominant clamour to the exclusion of more reality-based voices.

Once in position, the ideologues need to spread their message - to reproduce their memes, if you want - by propaganda. The best way to do this is, as the Soviet Government found, by means of pictures. Although pictures are a great way to educate in general, hence the success of the "For Beginners" series, one group of people loves to learn through pictures: children.

Sophie Grillet is a cartoonist born in Cambridge who is now resident in the US. Her 1997 Feminism for Teenagers is available in libraries as far apart as Stornoway in Scotland's Western Isles (Outer Hebrides) and the Waimakariri District of New Zealand's South Island.

The book makes many complex points with the aid of cartoons, for example that gender-based wage parity is to the benefit of all in that men do not find themselves undercut in the labour market, and that "reproductive rights" campaigns in third-world countries serve interests which "want to prevent people in poor countries from 'breeding' too much".

On abortion, however, Grillet tows the establishment line:

in propaganda, a picture is worth and often subverts a thousand words
We still don't have control of our own bodies, our own wombs. The Government, the Church and various extremists fight for control over my internal organs. As long as women can be forced to bear an unwanted child - we can never be equal.

With this, Grillet sidelines all the many women - like Don't Poke the Alison Davis - click to go to No Less HumanBaby's Linda or Alison Davis (left)of the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children's group for disabled people No Less Human - who are not "on-message" with her. Needless to say, there's a strong anti-religion element, as indicated by the cartoon below right. If she'd done her homework she'd have found that the pro-life movement is almost totally composed of people who follow a religion and are without doubt pro-family, but part of our job is to make it easier for women who are single because they are unmarried or have been abandoned to choose life for their children.

The book is ostensibly aimed at teenagers, but while even Letterbox Library ("celebrating equality and diversity in the best children's books...Our expert selection process means only books of the highest quality are chosen") says it is aimed at young people aged 12+, the London Borough of Waltham Forest advertises it on its libraries site as "feminism - children's literature".

Meanwhile, pictorial education goes on, even in the exams. In the Twenty-First Century Science past-paper from 14 June 2007, we are given the following reactions to genetic testing for genes for breast-cancer - with no clarification as to what post-screening advice to affected adults might consist of, eg have an abortion; or deny yourself children because, presumably, never to exist is preferable to have one's life terminated by that which cuts short every life:

a rounded range of views for genetic screening for breast cancer - but check below for what came jsut before

OK, there are two voices against and two for, which is vastly better odds than we usually face, but context is everything: here is what the students have been exposed to on the previous page:

repetition is a key tool for brainwashing - look at the above pic to see just what came after this
Last year Dr Jessica Ringrose (left), Senior Lecturer in the Sociology of Gender and Education at the University of London's Institute of Education - who lists her interests as "postfeminist, neo-liberal educational discourses of gender equality and feminine 'success', feminist and critical pedagogical theories of power and privilege (i.e. race, 'whiteness', class)" - called for feminism to be taught in the classroom. She would like to see girls empowered against the pressure to define themselves with pejorative sexual epithets as objects of male desire.

All the best to her; but - as her interests indicate - she will know as well as any of us that when the parts of the different shcools of feminist thought that seek to empower and enable women clash with the destructive, hegemonic pro-abortion agenda of established power, the latter will win every time. So you won't see any indication in Sophie Grillet's book that when women have maternity leave or career-breaks to raise families, the biggest losers are anti-family money-worshippers to whose music feminists dance. Which is why you won't find the whole truth in Feminism for Teenagers any more than you will in modern educational policy abuses for which works like Grillet's provide the Sitz-im-Leben. As, to finish, Radagast explains:

When gifted writers...abandon the notion that moral truth is objective and that the development of the human person is deeply related to truth, they contribute to a culture that has also abandoned the idea that the child needs truth to flourish.


  1. 'Truth' is a dirty word amongst many in the social sciences as it smacks of 'oppressive ideologies' - most of which can be listed as almost a cliché of causes which it is now politically obligatory to oppose in Post-Everything Britain: Nation, Church, Family, Marriage and especially Motherhood and Child-bearing. It's astonishing that even one Feminist can get born these days.

  2. A very powerful point, Radagast. What also occurs to me is that, if proponents of political correctness feel bound to oppress everything oppressive, should not the more perspicacious of them now be opposing political correctness?

  3. YIKES! I'd have had a hard time believing if I hadn't seen it. Those, for a child's schoolwork? How blatantly propagandist!


  4. P.S. - IT WORKED!


    Now maybe I can go back and comment on the bullying blog...?

  5. I couldn't believe it, and I held the papers in my hand.

    GREAT TO HAVE YOU BACK!!! I I hope you manage to get on the bullying blog...


Please feel free to leave a comment - Frugal Dougal.