Propaganda, or, “There Are No Orcs in Real Life”

13 Apr

So . . . I was watching the Lord of the Rings (a childhood favorite), and I suddenly had a thought. Something that might help explain an important concept.

What do I mean by that? Well, look at the orcs. They’re the bad guys, and they’re UGLY. Just look at him!

Of more consequence than their appearance, however: They aren’t people. They don’t have personalities or morality. They don’t have wives and husbands and children. As we watch the Lord of the Rings, we never once see a weary 40-something orc coming home after a long day, putting his coat on the hook, and sitting in front of a warm fire with his family. “How was your day, honey?” “Oh. Not so great. I just don’t know if we’re doing the right thing.” “What? Enslaving the world of men?” “Yeah. I’m just not as sure as I used to be.”

No. Orcs are pure evil. Negotiations with them are pointless, because their goal is to kill and destroy. They’re not people like you and me.

Interestingly enough, similar methods have been used throughout history to depict one’s enemy as the “other.” Propaganda makes for an interesting learning experience.

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What questions do these images spur?



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