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Why I Will Never Watch Game of Thrones

Not all propaganda is intentional.

In fact I would wager that, of the massive amounts of television and movies that contain a propaganda-like function, only a small fraction of them were created with the intent to sway people’s thinking and understanding. For the most part it is just much easier to let the public recycle the themes and tropes introduced by earlier propagandists.

So when I say that I will never watch Game of Thrones because it is propaganda, I am not suggesting that George R. R. Martin or the people at HBO hooked up with oligarchs at Bilderberg and planned the whole thing out. This is not a conspiracy theory, and I am perfectly aware that the only intention behind the story was to create a work of mediocre fantasy to add to that genre’s never-ending onslaught of uninspired fiction, because for some reason people want that sort of thing.

Where the propaganda comes in can be deduced right from the title, where the theme of romanticizing the ruling class is displayed explicitly. And though I refuse to watch it, I have read enough to understand that the show does indeed focus on the upper class of it’s universes society. Though I have seen it argued that it often portrays those people in a less than flattering way, the entire premise of the show requires that you find the shenanigans of the powerful to be interesting. You do not have to view something as flawless to romanticize it.

From what I have gathered, there is all of the trademark bravery and heroism by agents of the state that you would expect in any work of propaganda. There is also loads of Judeo-Christian ideology, such as the Hobbesian suggestion of humanity’s inevitable evil. Which leads to the most pervasive propaganda trope of all, which is that morals do not apply to the good guys. If you are on the right side, you can kill people, and it is honorable to do so.

Movies and television shows which glorify soldiers and cops and political figures are a bit more obvious in suggesting the manifest goodness of authority, but I will not watch those films either. In fact as a background actor, I will not take any of those roles, because despite the sparsity of the work I will not compromise my ethics to contribute to that.

However it is not always the most obvious propaganda which is most effective. In fact sliding that sort of ruling class romanticism into something that seems so detached from our world is probably far more efficient at strengthening the tropes our oppressors use to manufacture our consent.

The Game of Thrones is not a game to the majority of people in the world. It is a harsh infrastructure of embedded power that leads to inequality, oppression and suffering. I refuse to be amused by exalted presentations of these malignant machinations.

You can do whatever you want, but try to keep in mind the words of Terrence McKenna, “Culture is not your friend.”

“I agree that nonsense makes perfect sense and that I am the Dungherder. I can put my foot right in the pile and get my slice-o-the pie.”

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