Lumen Terroristi

People depend for their living on bosses and politicians and jobs and neighbors who make them speak and mean as they do; they are compelled, by societal necessity, to identify the “thing” (including their own person, mind, feeling) with its functions. How do we know? Because we watch television, listen to the radio, read the newspapers and magazines, talk to people.Under these circumstances, the spoken phrase is an expression of the individual who speaks it, and of those who make rum speak as he does, and of whatever tension or contradiction may interrelate them. In speaking their own language, people also speak the language of their masters, benefactors, advertisers. Thus they do not only express them- selves, their own knowledge, feelings, and aspirations, hut also something other than themselves. Describing “by them- selves” the political situation, either in their home town or in the international scene, they (and “they” includes us, the intellectuals who know it and criticize it) describe what “their” media of mass communication tell them-and this merges with what they really think and see and feel.

That’s Herbert Marcuse, and I must confess that I have no idea what ‘rum speak’ is. But the passage explains pretty well why Geoffrey Dear, former chief constable of West Midlands Police and HM inspector of constabulary, might refer to Marcuse himself as a terrorist luminary.

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