Legendary musician and music producer T Bone Burnett came to SXSW 2019 to slay digital demons. I highly recommend that you make some time to watch his keynote and/or read the text of his speech. It may shake you awake.
There is so much to digest in Burnett’s speech that no recap is going to suffice. I will pull a few gems forward for your consideration, however. Here’s one…have you heard the name Edward Bernays before? He was Sigmund Freud’s nephew and the “father of public relations.” Bernays wrote a book called Propaganda in 1928. It starts like this:
THEconscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country.
We are governed, our minds are molded, our tastes formed, our ideas suggested, largely by men we have never heard of. This is a logical result of the way in which our democratic society is organized. Vast numbers of human beings must cooperate in this manner if they are to live together as a smoothly functioning society.
Burnett portrays Bernays as the start of something foul, which has now spread like the plague care of unregulated and unconscious digital platforms.
Germany has been leading the world on the extreme dangers of
and Google monopolies, because Germany in the 1920s, was the first country to fall into the Facebook created mass hypnosis. The Germans have felt it. a propaganda
Historian Robert Ensor wrote at the time that “Hitler puts no limit on what can be done by propaganda; people will believe anything, provided they are told it often enough and emphatically enough, and that contradicters are either silenced or smothered in calumny.”
Art Changes Everything
Burnett is a believer in things pure and beautiful.
Burnett is also a total bad ass. Check out these musical pyrotechnics:
The Truth Hurts (When You Can Hear It)
Kudos to SXSW for bringing Burnett and his message to the stage. The conference is well known for promoting technology with zeal. The Facebook and Google execs in the audience during Burnett’s keynote last week must have been squirming in their seats. How do you hear about your own role in surveillance capitalism and not feel some
Burnett doesn’t like dweebs or power trippers, and it’s refreshing to hear someone say so.
While Zuck buys up all the houses around his house to protect his privacy, neither he nor any of the other one dimensional Randian intellectual lightweights in Silicon Valley
getsto declare that the age of privacy is over. It is time for him and them to get out of our lives, out of our private lives, out of our common life.
It takes an artist to fight this fiercely. Calling the richest group of business executives in the world today, “Randian intellectual lightweights” takes guts and the power of your convictions. It also takes an artist’s inate