The feminine voice stood out against the normal chatter of the room, causing me to lift my head up from my reading. A blonde, ponytailed girl in a plaid skirt and white blazer ran up to the my seat in the brightly-lit room.
Actually, she was pretty much the only one who even liked them.
"...yes?" I asked the charging girl, raising an eyebrow and motioning with my right hand to signal the incoming girl to stop before she collided with the desk. Admittedly, I laughed a little, because the foreigner's bubbly attitude was nothing short of contagious.
Okay, maybe not foreigner, but she was new. She'd just moved from some odd, unknown place in the country, sporting a supreme lack of knowledge about city life, an interesting (and outdated) collection of jokes, and a fairly rare name in these parts: Meredith.
Said schoolgirl skidded to a halt right in front of my hand and grinned, bright cerulean eyes dancing with delight. She looked as if she was about to explode with happiness.
"Okay, so, Kira. This is an awesome one. What's black and white and -read- all over?"
Oh dear. I mean, Meredith was new to this whole current events thing, but I didn't know that she was this bad.
"It's a newspaper, Meredith."
Meredith jumped, surprised. Then, her grin growing impossibly large, she started bouncing and giggling like a madman.
"Heh, yeah! How'd you know?"
"They use that joke all the time, Meredith. I mean, usually people change it nowadays, like having the answer as a penguin covered in red paint, but the newspaper's always the classic answer. You know, because it's printed black and white and such."
I smiled gently, putting a hand on her hyperactive shoulder to get her to be relatively still. When she finally calmed down, I noticed that there was a contemplative look on her face.
"...oh. Oh, hey, that's a good joke, actually! Because a newspaper is printed black and white..."
"Um, Meredith, you're the one that told me the joke..."
This was new. Why would she tell me a joke and not know what it meant? That made no sense.
"Hmm? Well, yeah, I guess, but it wasn't really a joke. I mean, I didn't mean for it to be a joke, it was more of a, oh, I don't know. It was more, um, like, something I accidentally figured out? From the movie we watched, you know, the one about Anne Frank? Like, one of those political cartoons, that is kind of a joke, but, um, kinda protests against the way things work, oh, how do you explain it?! Oh, like satire! But yeah! It's a great joke!"
A thing about Anne Frank? Satire? All there was to it was that a newspaper was black and white and people read it.
"Like, how? It's a joke." I asked.
Meredith frowned, deep in thought. Then she smiled again
, and started explaining.
"Oh, well, see, a newspaper is-"
The bell rang then- it always had such great timing. School had officially ended. Us students started rushing towards the door (creating a logjam), and I rushed towards the door as well. For a moment, I lost sight of Meredith, then saw her again.
"Sorry, Meredith. Gotta go to practice! I'll see you tomorrow, okay?" I called back, finally rushing past the space of the door and appearing in the hallway.
"Oh- yeah, alright!" Meredith called back- but I was already gone.
Almost time to go to sleep. If, by almost, you mean three hours and ten minutes.
...That was sarcasm, in case you didn't notice.
My homework was pretty much finished, so I guess there wasn't really anything I could do for the moment.
Oh wait- language arts. Still needed to do research for the Halocaust and all that. Blah, blah, ugh. I mean, those guys were just sad. I mean, seriously, Hitler was one person, why the heck couldn't people just revolt or something? I mean, he didn't control what the whole country knew, right? Brainwashing is futuristic, not ancient. And the drama that came from people in hiding, that was just ridiculous. I don't know what Meredith found in that movie we watched. It wasn't as if a massive genocide would happen again, right?
All in all, the assignment was the exact opposite of interesting, but homework's homework.
I went on the computer and plopped myself down on the black leather chair, turning the computer on. I had to wait a long time for it to get itself running- but what can I say? It's old.
When it was on, I double-checked the assignment and typed in the keywords Halocaust Propaganda (what the research was about), and let Wikipedia do the searching.
What? It wasn't as if it was going to be my main source, I just needed to get an idea of what I was looking for.
I waited for the white screen to load, and-
Propaganda, the coordinated attempt to influence public opinion through the use of media, was skillfully used by the NSDAP in the years leading up to and during Adolf Hitler's leadership of Germany (1933–1945).
I had heard in class that we use propaganda for TV commercials nowadays, but the Halocaust? What, did 4 out of 5 dentists recommend using German toothpaste or something?
Mein Kampf contains the blueprint of later Nazi propaganda efforts... in chapter VI:
Propaganda must not investigate the truth objectively... it must present only that aspect of the truth which is favourable to its own side.
I continued reading.
Posters, films, cartoons, and fliers were seen throughout Germany which attacked the Jewish community...
Oh, so he used media to say that he was great and that the Jews weren't- never mind about the toothpaste, then. Wait- did he actually control the press? Wouldn't that be illegal in America? Well, it was Germany, but the citizens couldn't possibly so thick-headed as to believe the stuff they said... right?
Hitler put these ideas into practice with the reestablishment of the Völkischer Beobachter, a daily newspaper published by the Nazi Party...
Newspapers? Wait a second...
I exhaled sharply and leaned far too back in the chair, making it creak dangerously.
No. No. That couldn't be. That couldn't mean that...
No freaking way.
Meredith was right.
I bit my lip, tasting a hint of blood but barely noticing, with all the shock I was having.
Meredith was right.
It wasn't a joke. I guess it could be, like she said- but it wasn't a joke- If you thought about it- And newspapers were always like- All propaganda, all of it- It was like an ultimate source of information- and people, even nowadays- they believe everything it says- And if Hitler, if everyone nowadays- if they all believe- like blind- they'll follow it- like everything else isn't true- like brainwashing- and even today- we're all still-
I shook my head, forcibly removing myself from the revelations that had raced through my head, coming and going almost too quickly for me to notice, one forming the other, like a chain reaction reacting at the speed of light.
Slow down, Kira.
After a long moment, I slowly scrolled back up the webpage, one click from the wheel of the mouse at a time, back to that certain part I skimmed over. Double checking the information.
One step at a time, retracing my train of thought.
Why did some people, especially the youth, follow Hitler like a god? Why was he considered a truthful man, even though what he said was obviously flawed?
It was propaganda.
Things that everyone read.
What's black and white and read all over?
There are newspapers...
...the official truth of Nazi Germany thanks to its reception by Hitler...
That are black and white...
[Talking about the masses] ...is not highly differentiated, but has only the negative and positive notions of love and hatred, right and wrong, truth and falsehood...
Black and white...
...a daily newspaper published by the Nazi Party(NSDAP) from February 1925 on, whose circulation reached 26,175 in 1929.