Great column from Jeffrey Simpson this morning on the propagandistic opportunism of the Harper Regime: Let's Not Exalt the Folly of 1812. PBS is also broadcasting a documentary on October 10 on the so-called war.
Nationalist propaganda generated through symbols is of course a classic strategy that assumes a gullible and - shall we say - less than well-educated electorate: the U.S., Russia, Nazi Germany in the 30s and 40's of course, and many aggressively militarized countries come immediately to mind. Who can ever forget the Triumph of the Will with Hitler symbolically descending from the clouds, the heavens, onto the earth, blessing us with his presence in doing so, just like another saviour with whom we are familiar in our culture?
The association with military rituals and sporting events is also very common and not just in overt fascist regimes - because group psychology can so readily and easily kick in with the right triggers. Witness Monday Night Football. We see telling overtures in this direction in this country with such manifestations as the increasing presence of the military at Canadian sporting events and Harper's well-publicized embrace of our "national" sport and his frequent attendance at games, where that receptive electorate gather. So celebrating a war, faux or not, is not surprising in that sense even if it distorts the accepted historical record, rewriting history and overt mythologizing being common techniques.
In this particular case, the mock celebration of 1812 is really alarming because it's part of a larger all too obvious fascistic tendency on the part of the Harperites that is rapidly becoming an entrenched policy. There may be unforeseen payback for the Harperites, however. Within four years, I predict aggressive resistance from the progressive elements in this country. It's only week two and we've been gagging every day.