WHO ARE THE BRAIN POLICE?
Is the western world now a continent-sized village of the damned?
I’d like to reference what will be to perhaps many, two arcane or even possibly unknown U.S. media creations. The first is a song by Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention from their first album ‘Freak Out!’, ‘Who Are The Brain Police?’ and the cult movie, ‘Village of the Damned’.
For those unfamiliar with one or the other of these creations here are two manifestations of the thoughts behind this commentary:
First is the above-mentioned ‘Who Are The Brain Police?’ written by Frank Zappa. It’s not so much the lyrics that are important here but rather the baleful sound that introduces the song along with of course the title itself.
As to the second item named here is a poster for the film which conveys part of the general concept I wish to explore.
We are told that the western world is the free world and that it is only other nations where you must watch what you say for fear of some Big Brother entity finding fault with you and acting to shut you down. But how true is it these days that the West is the bastion of free speech?
A British poll has just revealed that some 57% of Brits are somewhat afraid to express their opinions freely in case they get into trouble of some kind and not only with the authorities but with their friends and families too.
And if you are a celebrity or public figure of some kind and say something that is measured on some new scale to be judged as wrong then watch out, you are likely to be sent to Coventry as the old British phrase used to call it. Not only will no one speak to you, but you are also likely to find that you have been abandoned by the entire rank and file of people you used to consider colleagues and/or friends.
Say something ‘out of turn’ and you can be hauled before the court of a certain panel of adjudicators who now wield immense power and who can break you with no right of reply. Once you have been found guilty of having an unacceptable opinion that’s it, you’re out and to listen to you and your feeble excuses, justifications and anything else you might say would be against their principles which include talking to… whatever epithet they designate you with.
Frank Zappa wrote ‘Who Are The Brain Police?’ in an entirely different time period from now, the mid-Sixties. ‘The Village of the Damned’ came out around the same time. It’s pure coincidence that they both occurred at a time when the USA was just about to go through an era where the boundaries of what you could say, be and do were about to be explored to their fullest. So what happened? How did we arrive at the fearful state that now exists in the western world around what can be said and what will be shunned?
In the Sixties, old realities were being questioned like never before. New ways of life were being sought and sometimes found. One of the favourite sayings of the time was, ‘Tell It Like It Is’. How did we get from there to ‘Watch What You Say’, for fear of losing your credibility, status, job, friends and family?
It seems to me a generation has arisen in the West that is singularly rigid in its way of thinking, quite obviously lacking humour in certain circumstances and also sunk deep into an alternate reality where adherence to the principle of freedom of speech is subordinated far, far below the demand that everyone hold certain truths to be self-evident… and “truths” far removed from those contained within the Declaration of Independence of the United States.
It is almost as if a new declaration has been written for a continent-sized village of the damned which if not obeyed will receive the frozen and career-freezing stare of unrelenting punishment from which there is no release. The ultimate irony perhaps is that many who assert the right to condemn others for untoward free speech count themselves to be liberals. Anything less liberal is hard to imagine.
The land of the free, existing as claimed in the free world appears to have its own version of street spies, ready and willing to report anyone, including their parents to the brain police, their peers, the mass of like-minded souls who stand tight-lipped, ready and waiting, only lacking their black Gestapo uniforms and editions of Mao’s ‘Little Red Book’.
Other nations look at these developments in the USA and now increasingly in the UK and draw back in justified fear and disbelief. They see grown adults running in fear of losing their livelihoods ny getting shut down and cancelled by a generation of totalitarian teenagers and twenty-somethings helped along by adults of a “liberal” persuasion who you might expect to know better.
What’s the agenda here? Well clearly it’s conformity. And a rigid conformity at that, a conformity to newly-created rules that get set in stone never to be disobeyed except at potential pain of death of all associations you hold dear.
Perhaps it is just as well that Frank Zappa didn’t live to see what was apparently his worst nightmare come true in living and just-about-still-breathing daylight.
As for the inhabitants of the continent-wide village of the damned, we are still being told almost on a daily basis that it has the greatest, best, most exceptional systems ever seen or likely to be seen and the rest of us must conform to its ways or be converted, by force if necessary. And that may well be an integral part of this whole horrorshow. The rest of the world, free at the moment, MUST conform to the demands made upon it by the West. Or suffer the consequences.
Does this sound familiar at all?