Seeking Truth in a Country of Lies: Critical & Lyrical Essays

Seeking Truth in a Country of Lies: Critical & Lyrical Essays

by Edward Curtin


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Seeking Truth in A Country of Lies is a collection of lyrical and critical essays offering keen insight into a very wide range of topics: from probing analyses related to work, the digital revolution, propaganda, the attacks of September 11, 2001, the CIA, government assassinations and wars, to spellbinding reflections on poetry, nature, time, and even silence.

Following in the path of such earlier celebrated essayists as Thoreau and John Berger, Curtin's critique is at once political, social, cultural, and deeply personal. Constructed over a broad swath of time, these essays address some of the most significant events in recent history, shining shafts of brilliant light into the shadows.

Reading Curtin is akin to taking a walk in the woods with a good friend who gradually unrolls a stunning life-changing revelation, where, having started out with a particular destination in mind, one is then lured ever onwards into diverging paths another after another, until, as the compass finally turns one gently back toward home, that sanctuary no longer looks the same. A restless wonderment has been aroused, dots are connected, and a comprehensive picture emerges.

Here's but a taste:

“The morning star welcomed me. The sun rose majesti­cally. And across my window three early flies jitterbug in the first light. The whole earth is conspiring to explode with life and seeking our assent.”

“Most suicides die of natural causes, slowly and in silence.”

"Rub Lucifer, the Prince of Darkness, the right way and the CIA emerges into the light."

"A few slices from the bread of truth is essential to conceal the lies.."

and his acerbic twist updating Robert Frost to contemporary context:

“Two roads diverged in a yellow wood, and I took the one to the mall.”

The power of Curtin's essays lies in their capacity to evoke in the reader the exhilaration and passion for truth that the writer felt when writing them, that the writer hoped would be carried into the world as rebellion against propaganda, war, and injustice.  They contain multitudes of trajectories, not least a celebration of the beauty of life and the hope that a better world is possible.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781949762266
Publisher: Clarity Press, Incorporated
Publication date: 11/01/2020
Pages: 348
Sales rank: 91,416
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Educated in the classics, philosophy, literature, theology, and sociology, Edward Curtin is a former professor of sociology at Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts. His career has been deeply informed by playing basketball where, as a point-guard, he learned to see the whole court. A former newspaper columnist, his writing on a wide range of topics and in multifarious styles has appeared widely in magazines, newspapers, scholarly journals, and online over many years. Born in the Bronx, he now lives in the hills of western Massachusetts where he likes to get lost while walking.

Read an Excerpt

As Bernays has said in his book, Propaganda, “The American motion picture is the greatest unconscious carrier of propaganda in the world today.”
He was a propagandist to the end. I suspect most viewers of the film are taken in by these softly spoken words of an old man sipping a glass of wine at a dinner table with a woman who is asking him questions. I have shown this film to hundreds of students and none has noticed his legerdemain. It is an example of the sort of hocus-pocus I will be getting to shortly, the sly insertion into seemingly liberal or matter-of-fact commentary of statements that imply a different story: the placement of convincing or confusing disingenuous ingredients into a truth sandwich—for Bernays knew that a few slices from the bread of truth is essential to conceal the lies.
In the following years, Bernays, Lippman, and their ilk were joined by social “scientists,” psychologists, and sundry others intent on making a sham out of the idea of democracy by developing strategies and techniques for the engineering of social consensus consonant with the wishes of the ruling classes. Their techniques of propaganda developed exponentially with the development of technology, the creation of the CIA, its infiltration of all the major media, and that agency's courting of what CIA official Cord Meyer called in the 1950s “the compatible left,” having already had the right in its pocket. Today most people are, as is said, “wired,” and they get their information from the electronic media that is mostly controlled by giant corporations in cahoots with government propagandists. Ask yourself: Has the power of the oligarchic, permanent warfare state with its propaganda and spy networks increased or decreased over your lifetime. The answer is obvious: the average people that Lippman and Bernays trashed are losing and the ruling elites are winning.
This is not just because powerful propagandists are good at controlling so-called “average” people's thinking, but perhaps more importantly, because they are also adept—probably more so—at confusing or directing the thinking of those who consider themselves above average, those who still might read a book or two or have the concentration to read multiple articles that offer different perspectives on a topic. This is what some call the professional and intellectual classes, perhaps 10-15% of the population, most of whom are not among the ruling elites but are directly or indirectly their employees ...

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments vi

Introduction 1

Inside America's Doll House: A Vast Tapestry of Lies 6

What Are We Working for "At Eternity's Gate"? 23

Walking with Fr. Daniel Berrigan, S.J., a Criminal for Peace 30

The Disappearance of Silence 39

The Message from Dallas: JFK and the Unspeakable 44

Why I Don't Speak of 9/11 Anymore 54

The Sexual Passion of Winston Smith 61

Gina Haspel and Pinocchio from Rome 69

Without Poetry We are Dead: With It We Die Living 73

American Values: Lessons I Learned from My Family 82

Will NPR Now Officially Change Its Name to National Propaganda Radio? 90

The Art of Doublespeak: Bellingpat and Mind Control 94

Lost in the Theatre of Data, Dada, and Emotional Manipulation 103

Albert Camus and Our Haunted World 110

Denying the Obvious: Leftists and Crimestop 118

A Do-Nothing Anti-Labor Day: A Modest Proposal 124

Looking Through the Screen at the World's Suffering 128

The Lies of 9/11 Miracle Workers 133

A Genuine Actor: Francesco Serpico 143

The Satanic Nature of the Atomic Bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki 153

The Spirit of Existential Rebellion 158

Hovering in Cyberspace 162

Snow, Death, and the Bewildered Herd 168

Playing on The Devil's Chessboard: Allen Dulles and the CIA 177

Love is Lovelier the Third Time Around, Isn't It? 187

Ghostly Voices Dancing in the Rain 194

The Silent Cries of Hiding Children: Half a Century after MLK's Riverside Church Speech 198

The Cell Phone and the Virgin: A Montreal Odyssey 204

Slow Suicide and the Abandonment of the World 219

When Warriors Become Saints 227

Bob Dylan: A Masked Man in Search of Redemption? 232

Sometimes A Pair of Pants Can Give You Vertigo 243

Kevin Love: Making a Hole in Denial 246

Hillary Clinton: The Heartless Queen 252

Answering the Mysterious Call of An Artist's Spiritual Vocation 255

A Conspiracy Theorist Confesses to his Petty Crimes 263

Painting a True Christ 267

The Government that Killed Him Honors MLK Jr. with a National Holiday 273

Between Heaven and Earth on a Spring Morning 277

Try Learning How Not to Ride A Bicycle So We Can Save the World 284

Speeding into the Void of Cyberspace as Designed 292

The CIA Then and Now: Old Wine in New Bottles 298

The Canaries That Sang "Things Suck" 308

The Assassination of RFK: A Lie Too Big to Fail 314

Happenings in the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave 323

When Time Stands Still 330

Epilogue: The Messenger 336

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