Orwell warned us of a negative
utopia with his prophetic novel, 1984. In that book, the
official language of the authoritarian state was newspeak,
a truncated language designed to diminish the range of thought.
One word from newspeak was prolefeed... meaning, the spurious
news and rubbishy entertainment handed out to the masses by the
party elite. This column will work to expose current examples
of prolefeed now being distributed by modern corporate
Los Angeles 2001. Westwood
Boulevard in L.A. is one of the most heavily trafficked
intersections in the western United States. A twelve-story
printed mural now overlooks the street and has become
the subject of considerable controversy. The mural depicts
a female U.S. army soldier, (complete with heavy make-up
and pouty lips), shouldering an M-16 automatic rifle and
dressed in combat fatigues. Behind the pinup model a screaming
eagle dives from the sky... and in the distance the World
Trade Center can be seen. The mural bares the slogan
"Liberty and Justice, 9-11."
mural can only be seen as a typical male fantasy. Traditionally,
images of women have always been used in war propaganda...
from the helpless female about to be ravaged by an enemy
soldier to the heroic Rosie the Riveter. But
mural creator Mike McNeilly has given the genre
a new twist, the Playboy Bunny as avenging Rambo!
at the mural, you're not sure if the cheese cake commando has
a military operation on her mind, or mindless sex. Her parted
lipstick lips certainly seem to promise something other than
justice. The mural brings to mind the lyrics of the 1980's English
Punk band, Crass: "Like a glamour billboard on a
battlefield, you're the pornographic reassurance he's a man."
The mural's blatant linking of sex with violence, and wrapping
the message in the American flag, makes for an extremely volatile
piece of war propaganda.
Angeles City Building and Safety officials have stated the
mural violates several local ordinances and must be taken
down, but McNeilly refuses, saying he has permission from
the building's owner to
display the mural. The artist is taking his case to court
where he hopes to prove that his rights to free expression
are being abused. In the meantime, he has become a media celebrity
for his "patriotic work of art."