Marie Antoinette: First Class All The Way

marieantoinette1No industry or government should be built by coning its citizens. And yet, we let banks, industry and government squelch our ineffable spirit; succumb to their marketing and entertainment; buy whatever they’re selling to feel good about ourselves…thinking we have choices.

It’s not a matter of turning a blind eye to truth; but our trying to do differently is like climbing Mount Everest! We don’t just put off our dreams, we don’t recognize them. And, Industry and financial institutions wants to keep it that way!

Who Deserves a Bail Out?

Industry and financial institutions expects government to continually bail them out. Why? Does it have anything to do with their poor choices? What about the workers trying to pay for their home, feed and send their kids to school. The injustice is all around! The CEO’s want to go ‘First Class All The Way‘; like checking into a $14,000-a-night hotel; the Marie Antoinette for instance. Well, hey, why not?

CBS News

On Sunday, October 12, 2008, in the last five minutes of a CBS News, Face the Nation broadcast, Bob Schieffer talked about Edward Bernays. I was shocked to see the story aired on prime time television.The coincidence amazed me; as I was writing about the same story for this post.

Womens’ Emancipation

It was March 1929. Women had just won the right to vote: Governors who died in office were succeeded by their wives in such states as Texas and Wyoming. More women were attending college and entering the workforce; women were making great head way in certain areas of society. However, socially women were not treated equally. For instance, it was taboo for women to smoke in public, if they smoked socially, they were considered to be harlots and loose. Women were permitted to smoke in their homes behind closed doors, but if caught in public, they were arrested. Legislation did not permit women to have this same freedom as their male counterpart.Puff the Magic Dragon

Cigarette tobacco in the mid-1920s was popular, the tobacco industry was thriving. However, the American Tobacco company realized a huge part of what could be their market was not being tapped. Women. They hired a infamous propaganda and public relations man by the name of Edward L. Bernays. The American Tobacco industry wanted Bernays to create a campaign that would entice more women to smoke and make it acceptable to the general population.

“It is impossible to fundamentally grasp the social, political, economic and cultural developments of the past 100 years without some understanding of Bernays and his professional heirs in the public relations industry. PR is a 20th century phenomenon, and Bernays–widely eulogized as the “father of public relations” at the time of his death in 1995–played a major role in defining the industry’s philosophy and methods.”

-Center for Media and Democracy, PR Watch.Org

Brill Sheds Light

Bernays consulted with Abraham Arden Brill, an American psychiatrist, with regard to women smoking. Brill advised that cigarettes should be thought of as ‘torches of freedom’, a theme which Bernays exploited.

Bernays went over the campaign plan with his secretary, Bertha Hunt. Miss Hunt released statements to the media stating that a group of women would be marching in New York City’s Easter Parade and lighting ‘torches of freedom’ to celebrate the emancipation of women.

New York City Easter Parade

So, on March 31, 1929, at New York City’s Easter Parade; the press, having been forewarned, were there in full force to capture the event…and when Bertha Hunt and her friends stepped into the parade, on Fifth Avenue, and lighted their ‘torches of freedom’, they created a sensation! The event caused a national stir and stories appeared in newspapers throughout the country. What the press did not know was that the American Tobacco Company had paid a hefty sum to Edward Bernays to accomplish this, and that Miss Hunt was his secretary! Though not entirely doing away with the taboo, Bernays’s efforts had a lasting effect on women smoking.

“What a Con it Was”!

“Today one fifth of all American women still smoke and have come full circle as in most places they can only smoke outdoors and the young of both sexes crowd the sidewalks of our big cities; the heartening thing of course is that smoking is not nearly as popular as it once was and most of us have figured it out. Smoking is the single most preventable cause of death, that the third of all cancer deaths are caused by smoking. But what a con it was, and what saps we were to buy it for so long.”

– Bob Schieffer, CBS News, Face the Nation

Keep on trekking. Travel some trails you haven’t trekked before…see where they take you.

Happy Trails!

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