Tuesday, July 15, 2008

The Truth, the whole truth & nothing but...

Ritual was borrowed from Latin ritualis, a derivative of ritus which means ‘religious or other ceremony or practice’.

Unless you are one of the very few, you are a member of the largest religion in the world.

In the Muslim religion you are required to pray five times a day, in your religion, you pay homage perhaps twice as much, if not more.

Your priests are well dressed, well spoken & dedicated & for your ultimate convenience, your religion comes to you, allowing worship at home, work or even in your car.

Your religion is the true religion, because unlike all those who worship ‘false gods’ – yours can be proved, your religion is based on, nay IS in fact, ‘Truth’.

It encompasses the entire globe, costs only pennies & it’s gospels are constantly monitored to ensure no falsehoods could ever pass the lips of it’s immaculate preachers. It’s missionaries are willing to go anywhere, even risk their lives to update these gospels for you, You, dear believer are truly a valued commodity, sorry disciple, in your religion.

And your reward will be great indeed, when the day of enlightenment comes, when all the worries of the world & the need to think will be wiped away & you will know that you need never question anything ever again, for there will be only the Truth, the whole Truth & nothing but the Truth so help you TVNZ, CNN, BBC, CBS…

Quite some time ago I came upon book which talked me through the elements of ritual & I was stunned to find staring back at me, albeit unintended, the very ingredients of our daily TV & to a lesser extent radio, News.

As I believe it’s only fair that you understand the mechanics of your religion, here is my interpretation of the ingredients that constitute the Church of Truth.

Firstly, it must have a dynamic start & finish.
In order to capture the consciousness of the victim, shit sorry I meant viewer, strong, insistent music & vivid images are required. A strong ending recaptures any wandering attention, reaffirms the power of the message as well as signaling the imminent return of one's consciousness to mundane life.

The ritual must have strong & continuous sensory input throughout.
Graphic visuals, music & strong intoning voices with occasionally witty dialogue for slight relief.

It must be seen as outside the realms of daily life.
Have a look & feel that is different to your day to day activity – it must be seen to be special.

It must also be familiar or predictable.
No matter where you go, even from country to country, you must be able to locate & worship your religion with ease.

A consecrated site is required.
Just as ‘false’ religions have pulpits, the religion of ‘Truth’ has a studio. A sacred site must have boundaries to proclaim it holy, for you these are the edges of your TV screen – graphically separating the holy of holies of the TV studio from your unsanctified living room. It helps also to anchor into your consciousness the divinity of those gods & goddesses who appear thereafter for your nightly viewing pleasure.

Special clothes & objects are required.
Your priests dress in tailored robes of understated design. They have special screens for showing you the gospels of daily horrors or charts & graphs if these are not available.

Your ritual would not be a ritual without special gestures & movements.
Following on from the cavalry like charge of the opening music, comes the ‘oh there you are look’, of the preacher, followed by synchronized nod & clerical “Good Evening. Your preacher will only be visible from the waist up, will maintain eye contact with you throughout no matter what twists & turns the camera my take. They may hold or shuffle some sheets of paper as if to suggest even more knowledge, which they may or may not make known. They will turn their head towards their fellow preachers when it is time for you to transfer your attention to someone else – just as a masseuse never breaks contact with her clients body, so to will your preacher never leave your attention undirected.

Special vocals are essential to the ritual.
You will be intimately familiar with the intonations of your local ‘truth’ preacher. They are specific to this religion & are unmistakable even across vast distances of space or time. You’re religion has trained you all your life to pay very special attention to the rhythms & inflexions of it’s high priests & priestesses. Even should you wish to, you will be unable to ignore this hypnotic clergy unless you leave the room or God forbid, switch off the holy of holies.

Your religion has the ahem ...truth SEWN (NEWS) up.
Like any follower you do not question, for yours is the one true faith, you have it on the very best authority, their own.

I cannot help but equate the modern News service with the ancient Greek oracles. We have wrapped (sewn) up this so called ‘modern’ age in a cloak of science & fact. This cloak has the very latest bright & trendy design, so we do not see that underneath it, lurks the age old methods of control - hypnotic ritual & religious ceremony.

Why do we call them News 'Anchors' - because they anchor hypnotic suggestions. They even chuck in predictions called ‘weather forecasts & still we say it’s OK it's News, it’s science. Isn’t it marvelous.

And that’s it from me & the Delphic Oracle.
Good night.