At the onset of World War II, the United States Department of War recruited several Hollywood producers to help them with an issue they perceived would be a major problem upon entering the looming global war. The idea of isolationism permeated a large percentage of the population at the time, and the United States risked sending a demoralized, reluctant force into the European theater if the threat to American interests escalated, which it did. Director Frank Capra, after reviewing a private screening of Nazi propaganda film "Triumph of the Will," wrote: “I could see where kids of Germany would go any place, die for this guy. How do we counter that?”
Yet counter it he did. In a series of American military-financed propaganda films called “Why We Fight,” Capra, using footage from Germany’s propaganda films to illustrate ideological differences between the Axis and American values, helped sway the opinion of Americans to support the war effort.
Flash forward seventy years, and we find the Hollywood propaganda machine still churning out thought-changing narratives. Somewhere along the way, however, the message has changed drastically. Long gone are the pro-American messages of “rugged individualism, capitalism, mom, apple pie, and Chevrolets.” These messages have transformed into the Marxist rhetoric of socialism, communism, and strange apocalyptic warnings of an environment that will surely turn on us soon if the ‘little people’ keep refusing to live even smaller.
Propaganda is biased or misleading information used to promote or publicize a particular political cause or point of view. Merriam-Webster defines it as “The spreading of ideas, information, or rumor for the purpose of helping or injuring an institution, a cause, or a person.” In essence, it is a form of marketing, which is promoting and selling of a good or service… and in this age, a person. Governments sometimes use propaganda to encourage positive change, alter public perception on a health benefit, or simply to try to get people to stop throwing trash on the streets. However, people throughout the ages have routinely been susceptible to accepting the most egregious doctrines presented to them by cunning leaders using propaganda mixed with fear tactics.
Enter the Hollywood elites and the mainstream media.
It is nearly impossible to go into a theater, watch a television show, or catch the evening news without exposing oneself to blatant, spoon-fed propaganda painting American values as antiquated, racist, sexist, ignorant, and destructive. Social media, internet news sources, and even our education system are all rife with Marxist dogma and overblown isolated examples that would make Upton Sinclair proud. The formula the hard left is using right now is as old as communism itself: ‘Propaganda for the susceptible masses, violence and force to quell the free thinking.’ The leftists who run Hollywood are the purveyors of propaganda. Antifa, if left unchecked, will be the violent force to mop up the stubborn freedom lovers.
The recent influx of YouTube ‘commercials’ starring washed-up Hollywood activists are almost comical in nature, yet they serve to feed the intellectually indolent their daily dose of confirmation that the Orange Man is Bad, and the world will end soon unless he is replaced. Likewise, a pinhead actress-turned-pinhead activist is seen crying ‘pretty tears’ on social media, trying to convince Mr. and Mrs. America to fling open the borders and disregard laws ‘for the sake of the children.’ Her message only serves to prick the hearts of the unaware, who fail to realize the end game of mass undocumented migration into this nation is to displace the current population and usher in a form of government with a historically dismal failure rate.
This writer’s daughter, when asked why she chose a career in marketing, summed it up best: “Because I don’t have to like people, I just have to manipulate them.'' A cynical outlook for sure, but one that makes sense when observing the current climate of Hollywood, the media, and socialists who have gained a foothold in Washington D.C. These people are not friends or allies. They are the tools used by power mongers to usher in a political system that will enslave everyone except the politically elite and their lap dogs. The fight is up to the freedom-loving individual to expose propaganda wherever found, especially in social media, entertainment, education, and media sources. Knowledge truly is power when fighting the battle of ideas.
From his beginnings as a jazz pianist to his rise as a singer, Nat King Cole was an unmatched talent. Everyone knows that voice. Smooth, silky, and cool, it dominated American music. He was a groundbreaker. Born in Alabama in 1919 and raised in Chicago from the age of four, he dropped out of high school at 15 to pursue his music. He was making jazz records with the King Cole Trio throughout the 30s and 40s. His first big hit, 1943’s "Straighten Up and Fly Right," fused jazz and popular music and in turn appealed to both black and white audiences. He began to shift more to popular music in 1946 with "(I Love You) For Sentimental Reasons." Cole found great success. The revenues from his albums helped finance the construction of the Capitol Records building in 1956, which became known as "the house that Nat built." Cole was a famous man, but not immune to racism and discrimination. Throughout his career he was squeezed on all sides, with cries among jazz circles that he was a sellout while grappling with those in the entertainment industry and the public that would not completely accept him as a black man.
When Cole and his wife bought a house in the wealthy white Hancock neighborhood of LA, they faced harassment from their new neighbors. When the press got wind of the story, he made a public statement : “I am an American citizen and I feel that I am entitled to the same rights as any other citizen." When it was explained to him the residents didn't want any undesirables in the neighborhood, he responded , "Neither do I, and if I see any undesirables coming in here, I’ll be the first to complain."
He appeared on TV and in films. In 1956, he was the first African-American to have a network television show, "The Nat King Cole Show." It was canceled after a year when it could not gain a major sponsor. That same year he was attacked on stage by white supremacists at a show in Birmingham, Alabama.
Meanwhile, civil rights activists demanded more. He did not march with them, but he did donate financially, and was still called an "Uncle Tom" by activists for performing before segregated audiences and not playing a larger public role. Even following the attack, he was publicly shamed and chastened by the media and the NAACP. In response, he boycotted segregated audiences and became more vocal in the civil rights movement. He was politically unattached, performing at the RNC in 1956 and the DNC in 1960. He consulted with politicians on race, but he was quiet about it. In some ways like his music: Tough, cool, graceful. He saw his role as leading by example, achieving that which no other black man had achieved.
In 1964, Nat King Cole was recording his last album, "L-O-V-E." It was a collaboration with arranger Ralph Carmichael, who had been Cole's regular arranger since 1960. The title track was recorded in June. Cole was working on films and other projects through the summer. In September, he was losing weight rapidly. "I thought you fixed these pants" he would say to his assistant, because they were always too loose. He experienced crippling, burning pain and nearly collapsed at a show. Cole smoked three packs of menthol cigarettes a day. He believed they were good for his voice. An X-ray showed a malignant tumor on his lung.
So in December of 1964, rock and roll was taking over and the golden age of crooners was coming to a close. The civil rights movement was marching on, and against the advice of his doctors, Nat King Cole was recording his last songs. Dying of lung cancer, he dressed up in a suit, walked into a studio in San Francisco, and got to work.
Carmichael described the last recording sessions as such: "It was so sad. Nat was so full of life and joy. I remember after Nat had been diagnosed with cancer, he came to a session in San Francisco in a suit, like he was getting ready to meet the president. Usually he dressed casually for the studio. But on this date, he was dressed up because he was relishing his life."
"L-O-V-E" was released that month. Billboard called it, "A Cole classic." They were right. It reached #4 on the charts.
He had surgery to remove his left lung, but died on February 15, 1965. In his complicated era, Cole was an artist who was both everything and never enough. His legacy paved the path for all the black artists who would follow up to the modern day. He was called a traitor to his roots, segregated by those who exploited his talents, unwelcome in his own neighborhood, and decried by the civil rights movement as ineffectual. But despite all that, he left a legacy much greater than his voice.
Just a gaggle of people from all over who have similar interests and loud opinions mixed with a dose of humor. We met on Twitter.