When I saw this title, the first thought that occurred to myself was,
“Bet the BBC is using this to promote Cameron’s ‘Big Society’ ‘Help each other with your pockets whilst we help ourselves to yours’.” [bbc]
Well, surprise, surprise, ed was right. The final words attempted to compare smurf-land with that toff Cameron’s, ‘Big Society’ - which is a local application of Legalist-Confucian philosophy by the way.
The BBC were very clever about it. Prior to the above, the BBC first talked about how the Smurfs don’t do politics, aren’t into religion, and were multicultural (the multicultural bit is of course untrue. The smurfs had gone beyond culture. But that’s another topic.)
"They are unique creations. They don't do politics or religion, they are multi-cultural, everybody around the world can recognise themselves in a Smurf," says Peyo's daughter, Veronique Culliford, who started International Merchandising, Promotion and Services in 1984 to look after the Smurf merchandising."
Then they moved on to talking about how some debate that the Smurfs are socialists. (which of course is true) But then they dispelled this notion by stating that the Smurfs could be interpreted along any ideological line.
"There has even been debate about whether the artist intended the Smurfs to be a metaphor for socialism, but there is room for anyone with a political ideology that emphasises co-operation and community to interpret them through their own prism."
Of course, here, the BBC is talking with its head so far up its ass that it might be tickling the ole tonsils. I’d like to see them try associating Smurf-life with capitalist society.
So after rendering the Smurfs ideology-free, they move on to giving the final statement to some so-called Sociology ‘Professor’ of Staffordshire university who says that Smurf-land is similar to Cameron’s ‘Big Society’,
"Cameron [is asking people to get] organised with their local community, have organic collectivity and work for each other, like we used to before industrialisation came along and fragmented society."
They are attempting to free the Smurfs of its socialist ideology so that their self-reliance and self-help can be applied within capitalist society for the purpose of creating a society where people help each other to allay the consequences of top-down exploitation whilst taking the latter as natural.
Ellis, and the BBC, is very obviously attempting to free the Smurfs of its socialist ideology so that their self-reliance and self-help can be applied within capitalist society for the purpose of creating a society where people help each other to allay the consequences of top-down exploitation whilst taking the latter as natural. They want society to love each other despite being kicked in the shins and bollocks by the elite. They are seeking to depoliticise the Smurfs so that people would not question top-down exploitation as part of the process of becoming a caring and loving society.
The key question we have to ask is, ‘how much information has been discounted so that Smurf-land can be likened to Cameron’s ‘Big Society’. That is where ed steps in to revoke Ellis’ title of ‘professor’, and BBC’s claim to impartiality. Amongst the points ignored is that Smurf-land is a classless society, there is no top-down exploitation, and no Smurf takes away the bulk of the produce of other Smurfs to enrich her/himself.
The point that is ignored by the BBC and this ‘sociology’ ‘professor’ is that the self-help and mutual-love mechanism works as well as it does in Smurf society because there is no top-down exploitation, not despite it. Top-down exploitation and mutual-competition necessarily leads to mutual alienation. The best that can be hoped for is gang/family/community/racial loyalty to weather the consequences of living in a society of mutually competitive and antagonistic people, i.e. for example, triad-ridden and loyalty/subservience/conformity-based Chinese societies where top-down exploitation is taken as the norm is a good case in point. Ellis, however, deposits the cause of the fragmentation of today’s society in ‘industrialisation’, whereas it can logically be put down to the exploitative class system and the international division of humanity.
In conversation with some Jehovah’s witnesses some months ago, I remarked, “some people talked about the ‘Satanic Verses’ in the Quran a couple of decades ago. Well, the Bible has its own ‘Satanic Verses’. Jesus goes around telling people to ‘love your neighbour as you love yourself’, but, on the other hand, he exhorts people to ‘give unto Caesar what belongs to him’ and ‘there will always be poor around’. (the reason why these verses are in the Bible is, I would think, purposed to get the elite’s support for Christianity so that they would not be inclined to feed its practitioners to the lions.
Ideology has to be disassociated with the idea of a caring society in order to bring about 'Big Societies' all of the world for the purpose of absolving the elite of its exploitative nature.
We can liken this to what the BBC and the ‘professor’ are doing. They are exhorting us to be the best that we can be without questioning after how the ceiling put on our progress by the top-down exploitative evil we are supposed to take as natural compromises the former. It’s a twist to an old tale. The Christians had to get the elite to take Christianity as the norm so that they could practice their faith with impunity. Now, these capitalist zealots are attempting to get the people to take this class-based society as the norm so that they would not take issue with the greed and exploitative nature of the elite. To achieve this, they are trying to get the people to be charitable enough with each other so that the elite can exploit us and others as much as they will. For this, amongst others, they are taking examples from cartoons to history to illustrate an ideal society whilst taking it out of the (socialist) ideological context. Ideology has to be disassociated with the idea of a caring society in order to bring about 'Big Societies' all of the world for the purpose of absolving the elite of its exploitative nature.
Right now there is an imbalance between the amount of top-down exploitation and charity amongst the people. With enough charity, political apathy can be brought about. But if we can manage to be the best that the system allows us to be, after taking the system as natural, we are going to be assuming that this is the best that humanity can be, and we would at the same time have underdeveloped our personalities sufficiently to not deem anything amiss. It’s a very strange logic this. It’s like women taking the shape and size of their feet as the best that it can be after taking foot-binding (as practiced in Ancient China) as natural. Same logic.
All of the above said, the point of this article is not purposed for the defence of the Smurfs. I’d use them to teach socialism to children, not present them as a case in point worthy of consideration by adults. We have the Communist Manifesto written by Marx and Engels, the Bible, Thomas More’s ‘Utopia’, and the teachings of Guru Nanak to the Buddha to supply the requisite reading for adults moving on from the pre-pubescent level, Avatar or Smurfs.