My daughter is a big fan of Derren Brown and she was telling me about his new show Apocalypse. We were saying how his explanations of 'how he does it' are always fake, and the real trick is something else going on while your attention is caught up in his elaborate psychological explanation. And also how he makes use of the narratives which already exist in our society to control his subjects. One of my daughter's closest friends was brought up on stage at a Derren Brown show, and analysing her experience afterwards made it clear how he uses the narrative of 'being on stage with Derren Brown' for example (and other common cultural narratives). By the way this is absolutely not a criticism or a debunking, I think it's brilliant stuff. There are layers within layers, and the first revelation is always a fake one. Not a problem, and I think he's a lovely man, who deserves his success.
A friend said she thought government was like that - there is one bit of business going on in the public view, which corresponds to culturally accepted narrative of 'what government does' and then another thing going on which is government actually being effective and producing results while our attention is on the showmanship. She thought the current government were only doing the 'government narrative', like a magician who does the hand-waving and distraction, but who isn't actually working meanwhile to make the trick happen.
And then I was comparing what happened to the Lib Dems in 2010 - and we saw a lot of this on livejournal - to a kind of hypnosis. They were swept up by a powerful narrative, and it ate them and destroyed them. But I don't feel they are blameless, because they were psychologically ready to be tricked. They were kind of asking for it.