Umberto Eco on mass media, “discordant interpretations” and TV advertising

“The mass communication universe is full of these discordant interpretations; I would say that variability of interpretation is the constant law of mass communications. The messages set out from the Source and arrive in distinct sociological situations, where different codes operate. For a Milanese bank clerk a TV ad for a refrigerator represents a stimulus to buy, but for an unemployed peasant in Calabria the same image means the confirmation of a world of prosperity that doesn’t belong to him and that he must conquer. This is why I believe TV advertising in depressed countries functions as a revolutionary message.”

Bonus: Sukarno shores up the point

“The motion picture industry has provided a window on the world, and the colonized nations have looked through that window and have seen the things of which they have been deprived. It is perhaps not generally realized that a refrigerator can be a revolutionary symbol—to a people who have no refrigerators. A motor car owned by a worker in one country can be a symbol of revolt to a people deprived of even the necessities of life . . . [Hollywood] helped to build up the sense of deprivation of man’s birthright, and that sense of deprivation has played a large part in the national revolutions of postwar Asia.”

Quotes about revolution

“It is a know fact that almost all revolutions have been the work, not of the common people, but of the aristocracy, and especially of the decayed part of the aristocracy.” -Pareto

“Revolutions are the locomotives of history.” -Marx

“The bourgeois revolutions of the past required from the universities merely lawyers as the best raw material for politicians; the emancipation of the working class needs, besides, physicians, chemists, agronomists and other specialists; for it is a question not only of leading in the political machinery but also of taking the entire production of society in hand; and here, in place of high-sounding phrases, solid knowledge is needed.” -Engels

“I only know of one France. That of the Revolution. That of Toussaint L’Ouverture. Too bad for the Gothic cathedral.” -Césaire

“Every collective revolution rides in on a Trojan horse of ‘Emergency.’ It was the tactic of Lenin, Hitler, and Mussolini. This technique of creating emergency is the greatest achievement that demagoguery attains.” -Hoover

“My principles are only those that, before the French Revolution, every well-born person considered sane and normal.” -Evola

“A revolution is not a dinner party.” -Mao

“A revolutionary career does not lead to banquets and honorary titles, interesting research and professorial wages. It leads to misery, disgrace, ingratitude, prison and a voyage into the unknown, illuminated by only an almost superhuman belief.” -Horkheimer

“There is a Satanic element in the French Revolution which distinguishes it from any other revolution known or perhaps that will be known.” -de Maistre