It took the Press only a few days
to transform some ridiculously trivial matter
into an issue of national importance,
while vital problems were completely ignored
or filched and hidden away from public attention.
When these cuttlefishes gathered together
in large shoals at meetings and congresses
they would give out a lot of slimy talk
about the special honor which they called
the professional honor of the journalist
then the assembled species would bow to one another.
The Press is the chief means employed
in the process of “political enlightenment.”
It represents a kind of school for adults.
This educational activist, however,
is not in the hands of the state
but in the clutches of the powers
which are partly of a very inferior character.
The Press succeeded
in the magical art
of producing names from nowhere
within the course of a few weeks.
By far the most effective branch
of political education,
which in this connection is best expressed
by the word, “propaganda,”
is carried on by the Press.
They would poke their noses
into the most intimate family affairs
and would not rest until they had sniffed out
some petty item which could be used to destroy
the reputation of their victim.
The scoundrel who defamed his contemporaries in this villainous way
would crown himself with a halo of heroic probity
fashioned of unctuous phraseology and twaddle
about his duties as a journalist.
These are the are the kind of beings who fabricate
more than two-thirds of what is called
public opinion …
For the first time Nationalists and
Patriots were turned
… the new Empire could choose only an Emperor
who was of heroic mold and was therefore
worthy to wear the “Crown of the Rhine.”
Language is taken from an English translation of the the first four chapters of Mein Kampf and used in the order in which the words and phrases appear. Ellipses mark the places where content has been skipped over.
Michele Madigan Somerville is the author of Black Irish, WISEGAL and Glamourous Life (forthcoming this year). She studies religion at Harvard Divinity School.
Photograph by Joyce N. Boghosian.