This blog is for everyone who uses words.

The ordinary-sized words are for everyone, but the big ones are especially for children.

Wednesday, 5 March 2014

Nuts and Bolts: propaganda.

How do you know what you know?

Did you discover it all for yourself, or did someone tell you about most of it?

Now, here's another question.

How trustworthy were the people who told you practically  everything you know?

You can see the flaw in the system, can't you.

Propaganda is the telling of a careful selection of facts in order to make people interpret a situation in a particular way. (It's true that the propagandist may actually be telling people no facts - basically, making the whole lot up - but usually there's a bit of truth in there somewhere.)

Propaganda started out as quite a respectable word in English: it meant, pretty much, public information. In some places, such as the southern parts of South America, even today it usually just means advertising.

In English, nowadays, propaganda usually means misinformation  given out to justify a political position.

And how do we tell if what we're told is propaganda or the truth?

Well, do you know something?

I really wish I knew the answer to that one.

Word To Think About Today: propaganda. This word is Latin and means things that must be disseminated.  The word comes from the Catholic Congregatio de Propaganda Fide (Congregation for Propagating the Faith) of 1622, which aimed to propagate the Catholic faith.


  1. If you ever figure out the answer to the propaganda or truth question, please do pass it along.
    I gave up trying to work out it out eons ago!

    1. 'What is truth?' said jesting Pilate, and would not stay for an answer.
      Bummer, eh?

  2. I know the answer!

    "You 'ave to 'ave a look; you 'ave to 'ave a proper gander ..."

    My favourite Asian Dub Foundation lyric (although I suspect it's a line that's been used before).

    1. My husband's family comes from Peckham in South East London, and they often had proper ganders (looks) at things.
      The trouble is that propaganda isn't a proper gander, is it. I only wish it were!