Review by Dr Pravin Thevathasan
He argues that the commercial culture has found ways of exploiting the natural needs of young people, thus stifling their creativity. One of the problems with the sexual revolution was that far from leading to freedom, it led to servitude. When we examine the "pop" culture, we see that the "whole field is one of immense and ruthless commercial manipulation in which there are fringes of corruption..."
Holbrook describes how the industry took control of the fans of The Beatles, leading them to regress into infancy. Holbrook is also critical of Television,which" seems to be an ideal instrument for inducing these states, partly no doubt because of the slightly hypnotic effect of the shivery small screen." He also writes that Television has a capacity to persuade its audience to believe that the image is being offered to them personally. The "pop" industry combined with Television wields enormous power and control. Because of this mass conditioning, the musicians can get away with anything. Holbrook quotes Paul McCartney as saying " You can't pretend to me that an Oxfam ad can reach into the depths of your soul and actually make you feel for these people (the starving) more than you feel, for instance, than you feel about getting a new car." John Lennon is quoted as saying "We know we are conning them, because we know people want to be conned."
Thanks to this cynical manipulation, human values and standards of behaviour have been systematically undermined. But the musicians can also be manipulated by the industry, says Holbrook. For example, the manager of the Rolling Stones took everything implicit in what they stood for and blew it up "one hundred times..he turned them into everything that parents would most hate, be most frightened by."When Yehudi Menuhin went to see them he asked what was it "that made thousands come, and hundreds of thousands want to come, to surrender their individual identities, their critical faculties, to the ceaseless battery of sound."
Holbrook writes perceptively: " I believe that in our time there has been a massive usurpation
of parental role by the pseudo-figures of pop, so that adolescents have been forced into such a too-early spurious