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Review: “The Muppets” by Ingrid Carlberg

Review: “The Muppets” by Ingrid Carlberg

review. Kindness and taste in all their glory, but at least for a certain kind of writer, there is no quality more defining than patience. That journalist and writer Ingrid Carlberg She gave this virtue a face, as she has recently demonstrated with her remarkable work on Alfred Nobel from 2019, a feat in the time-consuming field of archival research which plausibly contributed to her being awarded a chair at the Swedish Academy a few years later.

picture: Norstedt Publishing House

That literary researcher Johan Lundberg Last year, an academy member was charged Horace Engdahl Because the entry into the postmodern relativism of truth may have occurred, but at present this is not the case with this ancient institution. Especially since the philosopher signed Asa Wakeforce This year, the Academy’s official position on the question of truth can perhaps be said to be that it rains or it doesn’t rain, end of debate.

It was also in this spirit of championing objectivity that Carlberg now applied his industrious mind to interesting and complex new material, centered on the oracles of Bolshevik propaganda Willy Munzenberg During the nearly fifty years of his life, Münzenberg not only managed to witness a communist revolution and two world wars, but also exerted his influence on all of them to the highest degree. The reason Carlberg chose to direct his attention specifically to Münzenberg is that perhaps more than any other individual, he arguably embodies the covert political influence strategies that today characterize the activities of both governments and security agencies as well as commercial actors. .

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The film “The Muppets” is inspired by the fate of the German communist Willy Münzenberg (1889-1940).

picture: Wikicommons

The essence, as summed up by Carlberg: The important thing is not how it actually is, but how it looks. Like a puppeteer, the real sender steps in the background to use invisible strings to control how the message is delivered, whether through purchased journalism, manipulated popular movements or meticulously planned “spontaneous” street demonstrations. At regular intervals, Carlberg also leaves his account of how early twentieth-century communist regimes led by men like Münzenberg pumped their propaganda through previously untried channels to demonstrate similar methods today, in everything from Russian influence campaigns to demonstrations of support for Donald Trump – In this regard, Sweden’s vote on the FRA.

In other words, successful advertising efforts are ones in which no one feels controlled or influenced at all.

The method that Münzenberg helped develop is often not about sowing pure lies, but about spreading data that is correct in principle. As one of Münzenberg’s contemporaries put it: Anyone who is concerned about nuance is a bad propagandist. It is not about trying to create new lines of conflict in society, but rather about inflaming and exploiting tensions that already exist in the body of society. In other words, successful advertising efforts are ones in which no one feels controlled or influenced at all. Münzenberg himself stressed the importance of clients believing that they achieve their political results entirely on their own: “This belief must be maintained at all costs.”

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As a historical cartography, The Muppets is both impressive and fascinating, not least by highlighting Sweden’s central role in communist Russia’s economic activities, as well as detailed descriptions of two influential Swedes in the context, the banker. Olof Aschberg And the lawyer George Branting, the son of the Prime Minister who bears the same title. However, as an analysis of the meaning of truth in a political context, it goes no further than simply “it rained or it didn’t rain.”

Is it possible, even in the face of the countless tricks and lies of politics, to keep in mind the deviance and falsehood in most of us?

It is accepted that the possibility of obtaining a pure knowledge of the facts is the foundation of all true democracy, and is a self-evident truth, but there is still something to be said about the ambiguous landscape between the real and the distorted, the authentic and the fabricated, which has been transformed by the politicians of today and yesterday. The puppet master lets his strings play. That’s with the author Arthur Koestler Imagine the battle being fought between the “pure, intellectually limited, unimaginative mind” of the champions of truth on the one hand, and the “perversion and falsehood” of their opponents on the other—doesn’t that also make it a little too simple for anyone?

Is it possible, even in the face of the countless tricks and lies of politics, to keep in mind the traits of deviance and falsehood that exist in most of us, as well as how our perceptions of good and evil shape our vision, as well as how they shape our vision of good and evil? The fact that neither language nor human collective action can be described completely unambiguously? This is probably the most patient – ​​but also the most important – thing of all.

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prose

Ingrid Carlberg

Muppets

Norstedt, 421 p.


Helena Gränström is an author and columnist for Expressen’s culture page.


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