"Begin at the beginning,and go on till you come to the end: then stop." (Lewis Carroll, 1832-1896)

Alice came to a fork in the road. "Which road do I take?" she asked."Where do you want to go?" responded the Cheshire cat."I don't know," Alice answered."Then," said the cat, "it doesn't matter."

"So long as I get somewhere," Alice added as an explanation. "Oh, you're sure to do that," said the Cat, "if you only walk long enough."

"All right," said the Cat; and this time it vanished quite slowly, beginning with the end of the tail, and ending with the grin, which remained some time after the rest of it had gone. "Well! I've often seen a cat without a grin," thought Alice; "but a grin without a cat! It's the most curious thing I ever saw in my life!"

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I am diagonally parked in a parallel universe. Like Arthur Dent from "Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy", if you do not have a Babel Fish in your ear this blog will be completely unintelligible to you and will read something like this: "boggle, google, snoggle, slurp, slurp, dingleberry to the power of 10". Fortunately, those who have had the Babel Fish inserted in their ear, will understood this blog perfectly. If you are familiar with this technology, you will know that the Babel Fish lives on brainwave radiation. It excretes energy in the form of exactly the correct brainwaves needed by its host to understand what was just said; or in this case, what was read. The Babel Fish, thanks to scientific research, reverses the problem defined by its namesake in the Tower of Babel, where a deity was supposedly inspired to confuse the human race by making them unable to understand each other.


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Thursday, August 24, 2006

"Keep You Doped With Religion And Sex And TV"

John Lennon's lyrics, "Keep you doped with religion and sex and TV and you think you're so clever and classless and free" is a comment upon the effects and affects of popular culture and the myths created by it. The song, "Working Class Hero" was written by John and appeared first on the album, John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band in 1970.
John Lennon was born in Liverpool which was a major industrial centre. During the 20th century, Liverpool lost most of its manufacturing base and was in economic decline. It is still one of the poorest areas of Britain. So to be from Liverpool was to be working class. John became "The Working Class Hero" or the popular cultural hero for the working class. He was someone who escaped his roots, but who recognised how his roots and culture shaped him.
I am also an observer of popular culture. Not only an observer, but someone who attempts to examine and analyse popular culture. Popular culture, or "pop culture" is literally "the culture of the people" as apposed to the "high culture" of the elite. The culture of the elite might be considered that approved of by the courts, the nobility, patricians or the rich bourgeoisie.
The culture of the people consists of the cultural elements that prevail in any given society. Most modern popular culture has its origins in and is modelled through the mass media of:
  • music,
  • film,
  • television,
  • radio,
  • video,
  • books
  • and the internet.

There is a set of industries which make profit by inventing and promulgating cultural material. The mass media is perhaps the most successful and powerful industry which promotes pop culture and other cultural, political and religious memes.


Popular culture creates the myths which are politically, socially, religiously, or economically useful to the given culture of their origin. A myth, in popular use, or in popular culture is something that is widely believed but probably false. So popular culture helps create and spread the myths we most want to believe about ourselves. Cultural myths are the lies a society tells itself or believes in, in order to reinforce, preserve and strengthen the religious, political, social or economic group.
Some of these popular myths may include: ~
  • Our form of government is the best.
  • Our nation has the best of all cultures.
  • Our culture has the one true religion.
  • Our heroes are truly heroic.
  • Our group is the most intelligent.
  • Our economic system is the best.
  • Any other system but ours is evil.
  • Without our religion there would be no morality.

Etc etc etc

Ad Nauseum

The cult of hero worship is also part of our modern popular culture. It is a cultural meme which fulfills a purpose in a society of animals which are, by nature, hierarchical. I suggest that we are hierarchical by nature because human society mimics our origins. Like the other hominids, we are pack animals with complex hierarchies.
The active beings in myths are generally gods and heroes. So it could be suggested that a basis of religion is hero worship. Hero worship is the creation of an ideal person, usually male, who has the characteristics and attributes to which others can aspire. This hero models the characteristics which are most favoured by his respective culture. Whereas the anti-hero might exhibit the characteristics and attributes which are seen in a less culturally favourable light, or those which might be considered a negative influence.
A cult hero can metamorphose from cult hero to anti-hero depending on chronology and geo-political climate. The juxtaposition of hero and anti-hero is a classic example of the false dichotomy and logical fallacy of "good Vs evil". This cult of the hero helps to create and perpetuate the complex hierarchies of humans by providing a model of behaviours which are approved of by a specific culture or cultures.
We are regularly exposed to cult heroes and anti-heroes via popular music.
For example: ~
Marilyn Manson's version of "Personal Jesus" makes an artistic comment on the cult of hero worship, and John Lennon's "Working Class Hero" makes a political comment about being a cult hero for the working class. Both songs are part of popular culture and both make comment upon the cult of hero worship. "Personal Jesus" is about the creation of cultural heros which take on the persona of gods. That is, they are cultural or political heros which are, at least in a figurative sense, worshipped. Whereas, "Working Class Hero" speaks of the political and social struggle of the poor and disenfranchised.
In "Working Class Hero" John suggests that popular culture acts as a drug. It keeps the masses doped, compliant, obedient and for most of the time, relatively happy. Popular culture acts as a conduit for Plato's Noble Lie. It is the suggestion to the mass of people that they are not responsible for their lot in life, but that it is part of god's plan for them.
So if you are born in poverty, like John, it was god's will. In other words, don't complain, don't ask for more, and be accepting of your lot in life. Your destiny was set at the time of birth according to god's will when he placed either gold, silver or bronze in your heart. Education and civil liberties or "Liberty, Equality and Fraternity" have been rationally denied to the working class throughout history based on the belief that people's station in life was designed by god. Plato's "Noble Lie" has been a popular cultural religious myth for centuries. Therefore to be a "working class hero" like John Lennon sang about, was to go against the odds, to be an anomaly.
Popular culture is not only a reflection of itself but it also contributes to the creation and promotion of itself. It therefore shapes the culture and is shaped BY the culture in which it is active. Popular culture acts as an envelope of societal approved practices and also as a mirror of societal habits, beliefs and practices. Popular culture helps to create the "Sweet Little Lies" which we so willingly wish to believe about ourselves.

"Working Class Hero" ~ The lyrics: ~

As soon as you're born they make you feel small
By giving you no time instead of it all
Till the pain is so big you feel nothing at all
A working class hero is something to be
A working class hero is something to be

They hurt you at home and they hit you at school
They hate you if you're clever and they despise a fool
Till you're so fucking crazy you can't follow their rules
A working class hero is something to be
A working class hero is something to be

When they've tortured and scared you for twenty odd years
Then they expect you to pick a career
When you can't really function you're so full of fear
A working class hero is something to be
A working class hero is something to be

Keep you doped with religion and sex and TV
And you think you're so clever and classless and free
But you're still fucking peasants as far as I can see
A working class hero is something to be
A working class hero is something to be

There's room at the top they are telling you still
But first you must learn how to smile as you kill
If you want to be like the folks on the hill
A working class hero is something to be
A working class hero is something to be

If you want to be a hero well just follow me
If you want to be a hero well just follow me




Blogger slim whale said...

religion, in a sense, is part of popular culture. i can't think of anything else that has propagated more lies in our society.

i like your post on original sin. i remember having argued with a Christian acquaintance about the origin of evil. I asked her how could Lucifer (then a beautiful, perfect angel) have had the seed of envy in his heart when he was supposedly created in the image of god himself? does that mean that evil came from god, too?

24/8/06 8:27 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

No mention of pop culture would be complete without Wikiality. :-)

24/8/06 9:02 pm  
Blogger beepbeepitsme said...

RE slim whale:

Isaiah 45:7 "I form the light, and I create darkness. I make peace, and I create Evil. I, the Lord, do all these things." God does creates the evil in the first place.

24/8/06 9:19 pm  
Blogger beepbeepitsme said...

RE wolvie:

The Colbert Report is both scary and funny at the same time. lol

24/8/06 9:25 pm  
Blogger kenju said...

Thanks for the visit and the link, Beep. I put that Johnny Lang Video in my favorites - he's good.

24/8/06 10:03 pm  
Blogger MAX WELL said...

Excuse the ignorance. What does -lol- means.

Beep. Can you help me? I have this very close friend, since chilhood, that is very, very, very Catholic.
I don't want to change him, because Catholic or not, I still like his friendship . . . which of your posts would you recommend to be polite, -and not offensive - to show him?
(I'm aware that maybe the answer is "none")

He was too angry with me, because I had said once that my new persination was: In the name of the Science, the experiencie and conciousness, amen.

25/8/06 5:09 am  
Blogger breakerslion said...

Thank you. Just...thank you. Like a breath of fresh air.

25/8/06 9:49 am  
Blogger Jeff said...

Very interesting post. This is John Lennon's lyrics at their best.

25/8/06 2:47 pm  
Blogger Lila said...

Thanks for visiting Pezland! Great post. Those are great lyrics. The irony is, Lennon was actually more middle class. The other Beatles were much more working class.

25/8/06 10:20 pm  
Blogger beepbeepitsme said...

RE sincronia:
lol means "laughs out loud"

It is used often in internet chat programmes.

Personally, I wouldn't try and talk your childhood friend out of his religion, nor make him question it; unless he is the obnoxious believer, who tries to convert everyone to his faith.

Or unless his religious beliefs are politically harmful to others.

I recognise that many people receive emotional or psychological comfort from their religion.

It is those who use their religion as a political battering ram I do not trust.

26/8/06 10:50 am  

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