Communicator (communicator) wrote,

Myths and truths

Slacktivist had a really good post early this week about the Procter and Gamble myth. The myth - actually a lie - is that the Chairman of the massive American soap company Procter and Gamble went on telly and announced that he was a Satanist and that the profits of the company were dedicated to the work of Satan. Snopes fills in details here. It's been doing the rounds since the 1980s at least.

Slacktivist wonders in this post what people are thinking when they continue to pass this rumour on. Can they be so stupid as to think it is true? If they don't think it's true, why are they passing it on? When they boycott the soap, based on an obvious lie, what are their motives?

Lot of opinions in the comments, but the one which seems most convincing to me is that stories like this express strong shared feelings. In this case perhaps feelings of fear and helplessness, that big business is malevolent, and that 'out there' is a threatening place. The stories reify and externalise these inchoate feelings, and when people act on them (boycott a product) that brings emotional relief, like a ritual.

This post links in my mind to this article in today's Guardian about the strange truthy/fakey stories that are circulating about Obama. The stories about the Large Hadron Collider seem similar too.

If Obama is not elected on the basis of this mad emotional storytelling it will be dreadful.

  • Phew what a scorcher

    I see Gove has backed down on climate change and it's back in the curriculum again.

  • GCSE Computer Science

    My book is now for sale

  • LJ Settings

    At the moment I have set up this journal so that only friends can comment. I hate doing this, but I was just getting too much Russian spam.

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