Commentary

Billboard Wars Against Rational Thinking

It is now banned for any party (that is not Fidesz) to run billboard campaigns in Hungary, so let us commemorate all the “public service announcements Fidesz our government had already used billboards for.

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“Do not let Soros have the last laugh!” July 2017 (Someone will be fired here…) Photo: hvg.hu

The vice-president and moral spirit animal of Fidesz, László Kövér has expressed his concern that “mass riots” and “civil war psychosis” might grip the country.

Members of government threaten with a brutal, war-like campaign this autumn.

Spreading your little thoughts is an immensely satisfying experience. Seeing your message printed on billboards across the country, covering every available surface must be orgasmic. Especially if you can spend money taken from your hapless taxpayers. Which is the case with “the government’s” “public service announcements” these days.

The Fidesz government pushed through a law that bans parties’ access to billboards, effectively ensuring that they alone can advertise from now on. Not as Fidesz but as “the government of Hungary”. The law was shamefully hidden in a city-image regulation, because the opposition didn’t let it through.*

And they use billboards to constantly envelope the country in political messages. So much politics year in, year out would be unhealthy even before we look at the content.

To commemorate the new law, let us go through all the all-important “public service announcements” by our “government” in the last years:

1. Fear and hate the migrants!

Pardon, the posters just said that migrants rape and disobey our laws. I just have this silly habit of drawing conclusions from it.

And apparently, so do my fellow citizens.

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The real story about the migrant-hysteria campaign is, however, its counter-campaign by the satirical joke party.

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We also “sent a message to Brussels so even they will understand it“. We do that now. On billboards in Hungarian villages, you know.

2. “Did you know” that you should fear migrants?

Fun facts about the nasties – in case you weren’t petrified already.

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“Did you know that…?” Brussels wants to deport a fully city’s worth of migrants into Hungary? That 1.5 million of them came to Europe last year and they commit all the rapes? That there are still millions our these worms out there?

Let’s face it! We need a strongman to handle them for us. We can’t be too fearful. And there’s no way fearmongering itself can deteriorate the quality of decision making. **

3. Stop Brussels!

This one was (also) accompanied by a direct marketing letter into every household – not just in Hungary, but on the planet.

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The “Stop Brussels!” slogan was followed by more detailed messages accusing the EU of trying to take away the government-induced cartel prices of energy and utility bills, that were way above European energy prices. But the electorate was told, it would skyrocket without the price controls.

4. Hungary is a strong and proud European country

“Public service announcements” via billboards and direct marketing have been in effect Fidesz party propaganda spreading debilitating, but misplaced fear of migrants (instead of Fidesz), inane scapegoating of the EU, and now Soros-bashing as if he was the only thing standing between Fidesz and stealing more public money in the name of national capital accumulation.

After some smacking around in Brussels, Orbán et.al. released a batch of baffling billboards stating that “Hungary is a strong and proud European country”.

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“Hungary is a strong and proud European country” Photo: index.hu

Strong and proud clearly being the emphasis here, so the underlying message probably reads that we are “delusional about our own importance. Also, headstrong and stubborn”.

5. “Don’t let Soros have the last laugh!”

Definitely not anti-semitism. Nope.

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“Don’t let Soros have the last laugh!” The country is canvassed in these posters and billboards now…

It is only some members of the public that mistakenly believe that the poster needs a more explicit messaging. They complement the posters with DIY messages such as “Stinking Jew!”.

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Basically every billboard that can be reached will be adorned with the added anti-semitic message, which just goes to show that the audience does read the subtext.

The question is, what happens to a country when its own government is spreading hate speech, fearmongering and scapegoating?

You don’t have to be a fan of mass migration to understand that this degree of politicizing public life and neverending fearmongering cannot possibly be mentally healthy to the hapless public who see nothing but this. All over billboards, posters, government-occupied media and state television.

The vice-president and moral spirit animal of Fidesz, László Kövér has expressed his concern that mass riots and civil war psychosis might grip the country.

Members of government keep repeating that they “anticipate” a brutal, war-like campaign this autumn.

Wonder why?

Fidesz’ move to ban other parties’ billboards was no doubt triggered by the campaign financed by Orbán’s ex-BFF and former oligarch-in-chief, Lajos Simicska, who supports Jobbik now since he fell out with Orbán. Their billboards carried the simple message “You work. They steal.” next to the faces of Orbán and his top cronies.

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“You work. They steal. That’s why wages are low.” Billboard by Jobbik, gearing up to the 2018 elections.

Orbán, who cannot take criticism, must have been genuinely offended. After all, people’s ability to absolve themselves is infinite – even more so for out-of-touch autocrats.

It probably also didn’t help that the satirical joke party had launched a number of crowd-funded billboard campaigns for years, always countering the propaganda of the day.

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The satirical joke party crowdfunded a few billboards to respond to the massive propaganda. These cost a fraction of the government ones…

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Orbán fell prey to his own efforts to make as many things into 2/3 laws as possible – then losing his 2/3 majority by the death of an MP.

** Also known as “terrorism”

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