Right on the money:
“The manager of a fruit and vegetable shop places in his window, among the onions and carrots, the slogan: ‘Workers of the world, unite!’ Why does he do it? What is he trying to communicate to the world? Is he genuinely enthusiastic about the idea of unity among the workers of the world? Is his enthusiasm so great that he feels an irrepressible impulse to acquaint the public with his ideals? Has he really given more than a moment’s thought to how such a unification might occur and what it would mean?
That poster was delivered to our greengrocer from the enterprise headquarters along with the onions and carrots. He put them all into the window simply because it has been done that way for years, because everyone does it, and because that is the way it has to be. If he were to refuse, there could be trouble. He could be reproached for not having the proper ‘decoration’ in his window; someone might even accuse him of disloyalty. He does it because these things must be done if one is to get along in life. It is one of the thousands of details that guarantee him a relatively tranquil life ‘in harmony with society’, as they say.
Let us take note: if the greengrocer had been instructed to display the slogan, ‘I am afraid and therefore unquestioningly obedient’, he would not be nearly as indifferent to its semantics, even though the statement would reflect the truth.”
Watching the pictures of North Koreans crying over the death of Kim Il-Sung on the BBC here in the UK where I'm back for my Christmas holiday, I, and everyone in the room with me, could not prevent ourselves from laughing at the obvious fakeness of it all. It is impossible to believe that any of those crying are doing so genuinely, instead the tears communicate a distinct message: ‘I am afraid and therefore unquestioningly obedient’.
[Picture: Vaclav Havel (5th October 1936 - 18th December 2011), photo by Henryk Prykiel, via Wikicommons]