“One Small Step For Propaganda”

Neil Armstrong, the first man to walk on the moon, died the other day and everyone is hailing him a hero. I agree but I can never think of him without thinking of government quotation manipulation.

As he stepped to the lunar surface, Armstrong was supposed to say “This is one small step for A man (meaning him), one giant leap for mankind.” What he actually said was “This is one small step for . . . man, one giant leap for mankind”.  This makes the quote almost meaningless because without the  modifier “A”, the words ‘man’ and ‘mankind’ mean pretty much the same thing.

OK – no big deal – except when the NASA public relations department started lying about it. “Of course he said “A man”, they shrieked, “listen to the tape!”  People listened – and there wasn’t an ‘A’ to be heard for 240,000 miles of space.

The mainstream media and respected historical sources, often propaganda arms of the government, printed the quote with the ‘A’ intact! Examples: Time Magazine, the Encyclopedia Britannica, and Bartlett’s Familiar Quotations.

Again, no big deal. The problem comes when the American people believe without question other government quotes like “We have to invade Iraq because . . . blah, blah, blah”.

2 Responses to ““One Small Step For Propaganda””

  1. Bill says:

    There is increasing evidence human beings are genetically programmed to defer to authority. Given the length of childhood, it makes sense. If little Frankie doesn’t obey big Frank without question he is apt to end up in the stomach of a saber tooth tiger. So human beings defer to their parents, teachers, coaches, clergy, and gvt partly because they are programmed to do so and partly because life is so much less stressful if you just relax and let someone else do your thinking for you.

    People sometimes speculate about a gene for religion, but I believe it’s our predeliction for obedience whereby we reflexively adopt the faith of our parents. This also explains why historically it’s been so easy for dictators to take over nations and why Americans eat shit while being humiliated at the airport.

  2. Joseph Belle-Isle says:


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