Mind control in days of yore

Charles Butler hannibal at thegates.fsbusiness.co.uk
Mon May 19 13:21:31 EDT 2003

> And I'm curious if there's another shift in the twentieth century as
> mob control by mass-media demagoguery took place: could we imagine
> Tolkien's orcs and uruk-hai without Hitler et al.

Interesting. I'd say that the literature of cults and indoctrination does
(or can) relate to the sort of thing I'm talking about, and I'd guess -
without knowing much about them- that the assassins at least would fit that.
I've never even heard of the hashishim, though they sound more fun!

Not so sure about Hitler and the Uruk-hai. Going back to Robyn's point,
there was already an extensive literature in the Renaissance about mobs and
their ways, which illustrated very clearly how incendiary leaders (such as
Shakespeare's Jack Cade, to take one instance - or Mark Antony in _Julius
Caesar_) can sway people without the need to engage their auditors' brains
at all. But there it's cast as a debate about order and hierarchy, and how
the undirected masses act simply as a 'many-headed monster', rather than
about group psychology. And of course rhetoric - which was a huge subject
then and in classical times.

But now I'm feeling guilty that I've got so far OT. By way of penance, I'm
trying to think of DWJ titles that include mind-control in some form.
There's Black Maria, Tale of Time City, F&H, MC (if I dare say so) and -
hmm, come to think of it, it might be quicker to list the ones where it
doesn't crop up!


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