The price and penalty of influence

Anyone who has conducted an insightful examination of global history soon discovers that the theme of benefit is governed by interested parties. These two polar elements of existence – advantage and control – are in the result effectively in the hands of whomever is at the steering wheel. The alignment is as elemental as nutrition and appetite; that is, people (like any animal) are instinctively governed in what they eat by what they want to eat. This paradigm is however changing. Which is not to suggest or pretend like Pollyanna that people are becoming more altruistic or beneficent; rather that appetites are changing albeit predominantly unwittingly.

It doesn’t require much perspicuity to acknowledge that the model of television production and advertisement is changing dramatically. Television, in spite of the glamour surrounding technology and the likes of Facebook, YouTube, TikTok and Twitter, remains one of the greatest resources for communication with the so-called “public” which, like it or not, embraces every one of us not just hoi polloi, the “plebs”, “rabble”, “masses”, “great unwashed”, “riffraff”, “proles” or “proletarians”.

The phrase probably became known to English scholars through Pericles’ Funeral Oration, as mentioned in Thucydides’ History of the Peloponnesian War. Pericles uses it in a positive way when praising the Athenian democracy, contrasting it with hoi oligoi, “the few” (Greek: οἱ ὀλίγοι; see also oligarchy).

It is helpful that the application of the modern corruption to ancient democracy has its etymological foundation in the division between the “many” as opposed to the “few”. Take for example the recurrent presence on television – both its dramas and advertisements – of people of colour. Shocking as it is to confess, historically television ignored for most of its evolution a huge portion of the population when rendering its characters in both theatrical and commercial themes. Gradually, by acknowledging the existence of all people, the disposition of formerly singular groups will alter. It is but an axiomatic revolution prompted by a palatable evolution. You can be assured that in the background at work is nothing more uplifting than a new scheme to satisfy the capitalist appetite.  Which is not to diminish it, rather to highlight that there is nothing mystical or spiritual about the amendment.  Greed is as callous as it always was.  But the engineering of the unity of advantage and control has changed.

Another demonstrable alteration is the acceleration of women in business and government (including the highest juridical bodies). I rejoice to affirm in this context that lately my doctor, my lawyer and accountant are all women. This is not something one would have either asserted or enthusiastically admitted years ago.  And why?  Because until recently there was no archetype for the association.  Men predominantly ruled the world!  Yet by now seeing the influence of a new model of behaviour we have – again unwittingly – transitioned to what I consider at least an improved and fairer platform. Meanwhile people like Chelsea Handler seek to apply the comedic vehicle to the welcome dilution of the role of women limited to the bedroom and the kitchen (a perverse quip which existed for years). Nor is it an accident as a result that the population is declining.  Women have other things to do than to produce and oversee the management of children.

Casting a brief look at other features of influence in modern life, the one in particular that disturbs me almost to the point of disgust is the preoccupation of so many manifestations with violence.  It would I am certain be easy to trace the support of the gun lobby to many of Hollywood’s atrocious dramatizations of violence, often to the point of utter vulgarity.  And remember who is watching the stuff, not just the older members of our community who persist to thrill at a Roy Rogers cowboy silliness.  I am adamantly opposed to war and violence of any description.  Which once again (I know I am repeating myself) is not to deny the allure of revenge.  But do we really need to glorify it in such fake and limiting terms, denying the bloodshed, maiming and ensuing psychological damage?

All this is to say that the ignorant so-called “majority” is due for a rude awakening. The modification will nonetheless be conducted with a fruitful object in mind so the amendment will ultimately be as painless as it is imperceptible. A relieving feature of this change is that the variance between the many and the few will soon be diminished. Eventually we may all come to realize that we’re each born with identical appetites and only minor variance of what is needed to satisfy that native requirement.  Further – as I have always maintained – what’s good for one is good for us all in the end.  And – please – don’t further corrupt that simple creed with another perversion of meaning.