November 21 – Elsa Dorfman‘s photo and Allen Ginsberg’s signature – now another November 21 rolls by.
Today, we thought we’d take time off to address another of those pesky memes. You know, “famous quotes of Allen Ginsberg”? – but when and where, and, did he actually say these things? We’ve already tried to address the “Follow your inner moonlight…” (did he say that? – well, he sort of did, the nature of the meme is that it’s going to proliferate anyway!) So how about “Whoever controls the media controls the mind” or “Whoever controls the media, the images, controls the culture” (both variously attributed to Allen, or, if not to him, to another iconicized ‘Sixties legend, Jim Morrison
Well, it looks like we’ve got the culprit.
The book continues to remain popular and in print. Here’s the 1997 edition (with a refurbished cover and a “new introduction by the author”
Page 86, Allen quoted (significantly, at the height of the Vietnam War) :
“…anybody can write the script the way he wants. The warfare’s psychic now. Whoever controls the language, the images, controls the race. Power all boils down to whether McNamara gets up on the right side of the bed. And who’s McNamara anyway?”
Note the subtle differences, (mis-remembered differences?) between the original and its propogating meme version – “race” (race for power? race for dominance? global arms race?) – and “the media” (which is indeed both “language” and “images”, but now (and particularly in this internet age/new communications age) something even more than that.