link type="application/rss+xml" rel="alternate" title="The Psychopath Epidemic Podcast" href=""/>
Select Page
The Crying Indian

The Crying Indian

I’m not an American, so I never saw the Keep American Beautiful ads in the 1970s. But according to this article in the Chicago Tribune, they launched in 1971, asked Americans to clean up the environment, and featured a crying Native American man.

Except – he wasn’t a Native American. He was Italian-American.

The other fact people didn’t know about at the time was that:

Keep America Beautiful was founded in 1953 by the American Can Co. and the Owens-Illinois Glass Co., who were later joined by the likes of Coca-Cola and the Dixie Cup Co.

The entire campaign was a secret tactic by big corporations to focus the responsibility on cleaning up the environment away from them – and on to the consumer.

Keep America Beautiful practiced a sly form of propaganda. Since the corporations behind the campaign never publicized their involvement, audiences assumed that the group was a disinterested party.

It appears that, at that time in America, consumer goods manufacturers had been promoting “throw-away” containers and these were adding to the litter problem. Several environmental groups were trying to get legislation passed to force manufacturers to instead make their containers reusable – the so-called “bottle bills”. But that would eat into profits. So the “Crying Indian” campaign was hatched in secret to convince the public that litter was their problem, not something the manufacturers should have to worry about.

And the manufacturers pulled out one of their favourite lines:

The Keep America Beautiful leadership lined up against the bottle bills, going so far, in one case, as to label supporters of such legislation as “communists.”

What does this have to do with psychopaths?

It comes down to ethics and values. Many people, if they were running a billion-dollar consumer goods organisation, would feel a sense of civic responsbility to do the right thing. Psychopaths, on the other hand, will go out of their way to manipulate the situation in order to maintain their wealth and power.