Love. Hate. Evil.

Relax. Take it easy. Let what I have to say flow over you like warm water. Switch off those busy thinking bits of your brain and let the inner you bathe in the soft, gentle purity of my lovely, lovely words. Iain Duncan-Smith is Satan.

Okay, he isn’t Satan. But wouldn’t it be much more easy to hate him if he was? We wouldn’t have to consider him as a person with hopes and feelings and tears and a car. We would just condemn him to the hell where he is happiest, perhaps laugh at his children and pour petrol over his priceless works of art. By invoking irrational terms we can justify our own acts of irrationality, of venal, dirty, troublesome emotional violence.

And when the US Secretary of State lobbies the United Nations and the American Cartographers Association to request that the traditional geographical terms we use to differentiate the two countries on the Korean peninsula be changed to ‘Good Korea’ and ‘Evil Korea’, or makes food aid to Somalia dependant on the condition that they change their name to ‘Black Wrath’, we can see the same twisted logic at work.

Maybe they are just isolated incidents, anecdotal quirks of the diplomatic process. After all haven’t geographers always adapted, confused, and often misrepresented the names of foreign countries? Perhaps, though, they point to a more widespread practice in our society of consciously acting to control conscious thought by consciously linking products, people, and countries to unconscious ideas we have in our unconscious. And that can’t be a good thing.

It’s not just politicians. Advertising is also deeply involved. Any casual perusal of the adverts we find wedged between our programmes on television, or papering our walls on posters, will reveal similar attempts to manipulate our minds through tapping into our primal desires.

A recent advert for a well known brand of lager-beer featured thirty seconds of uninterrupted gambolling by three Alsatian puppies followed by the slogan "PUPPIES=BEER". And ITN were famously given a stern telling off by the Advertising Standards Association for subliminally inweaving slogans advertising office space into their coverage of the September 11th terrorist attacks.

The latest thinking in office management also seems to worry less about the actual status of managers than the way employees will unconsciously perceive them. So in ‘Being the Ball- Good Winning and Nice Niceness for Vibrant Managers’, a recent book on the subject by Brent Really, we can find passages such as-

"Make sure you notice the colors of the ties worn by the people in your office. Half the ‘Authority Encounter’ is already lost if you allow your subordinates to dominate the visual mindspace with chromatically powerful ties. If his tie is red, yours must be electric pink."

This must be having an effect on us. What use have concepts like Democracy and Freedom of Choice when we make decisions not through rational thought but by facile, irrational association? Last week The Guardian reported that the latest history textbook used by Secondary Schools is to be titled ‘Lovely British History’ and instead of a Sex Education class most schools will in the future have an hour set aside each week to practice different ways to say "No." Nike was recently attacked for spending $13 million dollars advertising a new trainer which was later revealed not to exist.

What can we do about this? This is a difficult question to answer as it is almost impossible to counter rationally when opposing an attempt to displace discourse into irrationality. We risk being branded humourless, forever tarnished with the brush of joy-killing martyrdom. But we must stand firm against this evil twisting of our words and ideas. We know the difference between right and wrong- and if anyone asks us we should be happy to tell them what it is.

What do you think, did we get it right? Comment here...