Total Propaganda: From Mass Culture to Popular Culture

By Alex S. Edelstein | Go to book overview

5
CYBERPROP The Path to Totalprop

It was August 24, 1995, and a bewitchingly cloudy day in Redmond, Washington, the "campus" of Microsoft, the world's leading computer software designer and maker. It was the kickoff of Windows 95, the latest and greatest operating system in the Microsoft line. Inside a great tent sat 2,600 journalists, dignitaries, and high-tech executives. Outside were 1,500 young employees whose stock options would make many of them millionaires and who had taken a rare few hours off to celebrate the event.

I sat with Tom Corddry of Microsoft, a one-time multimedia publishing group leader, and gazed at a gigantic screen whose skyscape, filmed the day before, was indistinguishable from the scene about us. Warm, blue skies were broken only by rhapsodically formed clouds. All were imbued with enthusiasm: Bill Gates and the project team had done it!

They were 20-and 30-somethings and their dress was casual; formality meant tucking in your T-shirt. However, all were top graduates of the top schools, far more gifted than the "nerds" that once typified computer geniuses. They admired "Bill" and they shared his enthusiasm for putting personal computers in every home that would operate faster, more reliably, and advance the pace and flow of communication in a popular culture. "At least 50% of what we do is communication," Bill said. The workforce cheered because they knew they would increase that ratio and move toward the ultimate in newprop.

The theme song was "Start Me Up," a Rolling Stones melody that had "turned on" an earlier Boomer generation. Because the "start" button was so

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