Mammals Suck, or The Education of Fast Eddie Bernays

What was the one thing in Hawkstown that tied all the warm-blooded creatures together? The thing each had to do in the beginning to survive? They had to suck! Oh yes!

And, lo, there appeared a man in Hawkstown who reasoned, “We all understand that mammals are united by their suckage, but how can this knowledge be used to financial advantage?” Of course he knew that items are also excreted by these mammals, but he shrewdly saw this as an aftereffect. So he said, “Why not let future generations worry about that?” The man’s name was Edward Bernays, known in the biz as “Fast Eddie.” His uncle Siggy was the father of psychiatry, so a vast knowledge of human wants and fears was obviously packed right there in Eddie’s DNA.

His major contribution to the furtherance of Hawkstown prosperity began with two opinions about the upright walking biped mammal (the sentient one.) First, it was the easiest mammal to train, and second, it seemed to be happiest when nestled safely in the protection of a herd (although it became defensive when this was brought to its attention.) Eddie’s challenge then became: to give disparate individual mammals a focus, so they would form a herd that they did not realize they were in. Once this had been accomplished, the herd could easily be directed toward some object it had been taught was essential to consume.

Eddie reckoned that there was potential for great rewards here, since control of the intake would mean control of the economy. But how to control the intake? He decided that quantity issues were not problematic, since the more the mammal sucked, the better it was for the providers of suckable materials. Quality, its control and its effect on the bottom line, on the other hand, presented an formidable hurdle. So he took to the bathtub, just as Uncle Siggy had taught him, and soon a question floated up and popped into Fast Eddie’s mind, “Who really knows what’s good, anyway? These things must also be taught.”

And at this moment Eddie’s Science of Persuasion was born. He set out to convince the sellers, who would convince the buyers, that the manufactured image of a thing is more important than the thing itself. The catch phrase he introduced was “Teach the natives to suck,” but, after a copyright infringement lawsuit filed by a billionaire political hopeful from the state of Usedtobemexico, he modified this to “Teach the natives to want.” (sic)

His Science of Persuasion quickly attained the status approaching that of a major religion in Hawkstown. Soon afterwards, herds of upright walking (sentient) biped mammals began to find themselves on mountaintops all over the land, jockeying for access to vending machines.

It was during this time that a man of the people, a man of principle and great courage named Tom Joad rose from obscurity to challenge Hawkstown’s mass mammal displacement. (But more about that later.)

Copyright © 2014 Richard Haxton