I think I was about 10 years old when I decided I wanted to visit Colorado. I had read about a city called Boulder, where you could spend a warm and sunny morning in town and then drive an hour or so and be on a snow-covered mountain. I had never experienced an actual mountain, and that sounded like a good way to do it. In the mean time, I’ve had 15 years of South Park to mould my perceptions of Colorado.
We like to think that we are immune to propaganda. Yes, other feeble-minded individuals may allow their attitudes to be shaped by the media and their surroundings, but we’re sure that we are far too smart for that.
In 1975, John Cleese savagely satirized British attitudes to Germany, in the classic Fawlty Towers episode The Germans. After a blow to the head, hotel proprietor Basil Fawlty loses his ability to self-censor. While taking a dinner order from some German guests, he proceeds to blurt out the names of Nazis; eventually he descends into xenophobic ranting.
The sad thing is that after 30 more years, nothing much has changed.
The two young women walked down Unter den Linden, past a poster advertising a retrospective of DDR propoganda posters in one of the museums. The poster depicted the Berlin Wall, or “anti-fascist protection shield” as the government of the DDR had called it. Beyond the wall, two capitalists were leaning over, trying to grasp at the buildings of Berlin (East). One wore a Nazi helmet and had an evil grin; the other had swastika symbols instead of eyes.