Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Culture of Fear

Once in a while something makes you stop and think. We seem to live in a constant state of fear nowadays.  ISIS, Ebola, Iran, North Korea and the government are  just a few of the things that can make us  pull the covers over our head and cower. What is it that is making us so afraid?
The event that made me start contemplating this idea was a video I saw yesterday.  It is going around the Internet.  In the video a fundamental Christian woman explains why the energy drink Monster is a product of Satan.  She states that the stylize M on the can is actually the Hebrew character for the number 6 repeated three times, or "666" (Satan's personal license plate number see illustration).  Since my lucky number is 7,  I always thought it looked like three sevens.  
As an artist it looks like the scratch marks that Monster claws would make.  But the idea that the logo might be the mark made by a monster fits nicely into her interpretation.  My advertising professor at the University of North Texas would call it perfect "artistic symbolism that reinforces the name of the product." (Baskin Robins has an incredible logo which also does that very well.  The BR actually becomes a 31 for the number of flavors of ice cream they serve).
Back to the Satanic energy drink. The Christian lady points out there is a cross in the middle of the O in the name. But although the cross is a sacred symbol to Christians that is not the intent of this logo. It is there because when you turn it upside down to drink out of the can you are inverting the cross. The inverted cross is one of Satan's favorite emoticons.  
Although the Christian Lady sees a cross, I see a circle with a line through it.  In Algebra that symbol means "there is no solution"  a "null equation".  In other words, to me it means  "absolutely nothing" literally and mathematically.  
Some time ago fanatic Christians thought that there were "back masked" lyrics in rock and roll music.  That's the idea that when played backwards certain songs suggest satanic worship. There were lots of religious zealots who were playing songs backwards to hear the Satanic message.  Marylin Manson spoke up during this outrage to say, "If we could write songs that had a backwards hidden meaning we wouldn't disguise Satanic messages. We would hide the message 'buy more of my records.' " 
With all due respect to the differing opinion of the Monster drink Church Lady, she is not  promoting the Love and understanding  of her religion ... she is promoting a culture of fear.  In this case we need to fear going to hell for consuming a Demonically inspired energy drink.
If there is a personified devil the power would not be in the enigmatic symbolism of an energy drink, or rock and roll lyrics backwards, the power and control would be in the Fear.  It is said that "the devil is in the details".  Not true the devil is in the fear.  Franklin Roosevelt said, "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself".  
The roots of fear are found in oppression,  ignorance, isolation and intolerance.  Fear is always used to control and suppress the masses.  Alexander the Great hired mercenaries to occasionally raid the outlying villages of his empire.  He kept the people in fear of attack from an unnamed enemy so they would not break away from his rule. 
So.. Church Lady I have never consumed a Monster Energy drink nor have I even held a can in my hands.  I guess I am near the "front of the line to heaven". I would certainly be in front of those unknowing sinners who participated in the Satanic ritual of inverting the cross when they were just trying to stay awake in class. However, I think my personal salvation is not a matter of canned drinks.  Someone named Jesus once said, "Fear not... neither be afraid".  Instead of trying to teach us to fear advertising graphics, why not teach us how to  do that?
As you were,

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