I recently received this sad “humor” forwarded by a very old friend from our high school and young-adult days. (In spite of it, she’s actually a very nice lady – a retired nurse – normally caring, gentle, compassionate. But she lives in Florida, and I can’t help but think she’s just fallen-in with a bad [...]
Category Archive for 'Propaganda'
I have some reservations about the notion that everything must be monetized for profit. I am confident that both Benjamin Franklin and Adam Smith would have soundly rejected this monotonic focus on “profit”. My limited experience in working with in development at the bottom of the pyramid is that for profit efforts create a situation [...]
Bob Herbert of the New York Times has it right: …we are still left with a disaster of a war in Afghanistan that cannot be won and that the country as a whole will not support. Winning in Afghanistan & Pakistan will require that Saudia Arabia stop using our oil dollars to fund the Taliban, [...]
In the Depression era, a question was posed: Are you for the Money or the People? Today, we need to reflect on the lack of meaningful change and the seemingly unchangeable ancien regime of 20th century America. The Boston Globe ran a front page story on how Corporations invested $100 million per month for ten [...]
If we cannot provide public educational excellence to our own citizens, nor universal healthcare, nor rebuild cities such as Detroit, nor sustain a robust Main Street, nor provide meaningful, well paying jobs to all who want them, how can we be expected to provide any of these basics foundations of a civil society to anyone [...]
Could a President Obama set us free? What is the “The Trap“? It is a three part film by Adam Curtis, broadcast by the BBC in March 2007. Curtis’s narration concludes with the observation that the game theory/free market model is now undergoing interrogation by economists who suspect a more irrational model of behaviour is [...]
Errol Morris’ new film is: Standard Operating Procedure Is it possible for a photograph to change the world? Photographs taken by soldiers in Abu Ghraib prison changed the war in Iraq and changed America’s image of itself. Yet, a central mystery remains. Did the notorious Abu Ghraib photographs constitute evidence of systematic abuse by the [...]
Thanks to Peter Coyote: A must read on our current economics “It is through the newspapers and TV channels that the socially destructive notions of a small group of extremists have come to look like common sense.” The Guardian UK By George Monbiot Tuesday 28 August 2007 A cabal of intellectuals and elitists hijacked the [...]
Don’t be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. (Rom 12:2)
I’ve been thinking a lot about this ever since the shooting at the Amish schoolhouse several weeks ago. Of all the groups of people that epitomize the idea of not being conformed to this world, the Amish are near the top. I’ve also been thinking about it a bit after some of my recent encounters of some of the negative aspects of group-think online.
A year or so ago, I was at a meeting of grassroots activist leaders in Burlington, VT. We had had a great day talking about ideas and strategies of how to change our country for the better. At the end of the day, we took a boat ride out on Lake Champlain. It was a beautiful day and at one point we gathered near the bow of the boat. One person was bewailing the inside the beltway consultocracy. I posed the question of if we are successful, how we will avoid falling into the same trap that they did and becoming the new insiders. This gave the leader of the group a moment of pause, and I hope that it still causes people to pause.
Early on in the Lamont campaign, when I was the person responding to emails at the ‘info’ account, one person spoke about how Sen. Lieberman had changed. He had lost touch with his constituents and become part of the beltway problem. The writer asked how I knew that Ned wouldn’t do the same thing. I admitted that I didn’t know that. I went on to say that based on my knowledge of Ned, I doubted that would happen, but I also said that if it did, then perhaps in 18 years, I would be working for some new young challenger.
As we launch into the 2008 presidential contest, are blogs going to be part of a new netroots based consultocracy, or will we be able to continue to renew our minds and transform ourselves? I am hoping for the later, but at times, I have my doubts.
Dang! I thought I was cutting edge encouraging people to move beyond blogs to online video. Last week, Zephyr Teachout and Tim Wu had this Op-Ed in the Washington Post: YouTube? It’s So Yesterday. It is great food for thought, and I thought I’d share some of my thoughts with you.
Back in October, I wrote about The Political Palimpsest. I had been to the Action Coalition for Media Education Summit in Burlington, VT and had seen the movie The Ad and the Ego. This movie has really influenced my thinking about political messaging and I think applies very nicely to Zephyr and Tim’s Op-Ed.
One point from the movie is that despite claims by many people that they don’t pay attention to advertisements, and that the advertisements don’t affect them, the ads really do have an important effect. That effect is less about the overt message, “Buy this car”, and more about the underlying message, “you aren’t good enough if you don’t consume, if you don’t look like the people in the ads.”
So, what is the underlying message of all the political advertisements that you’ve seen over the past couple weeks? Behind all the negative ads and false information, it seems as if the key message of political ads over this past cycle is “We think you’re stupid”.
Zephyr and Tim write, “With fewer viewers watching campaign ads on TV — thanks to Tivo, iTunes and Netflix — politicians will soon have no choice but to place themselves and their messages directly into popular shows, movies and video games.” I think they are right about political placement and ‘Second Life’ politics. That needs to happen, but those annoying ads on TV aren’t going away.
So yes, let’s ad new media into the mix, but let’s look at the underlying message that is being sent. I think the Lamont campaign provides a good example of the direction I hope to see things going. I admit, I’m biased. I was the technology coordinator for the Lamont campaign. But, I wasn’t part of the team doing the ads, and if I were, I would have pressed the idea of the underlying message even further.
What was underlying the Lamont ads? Perhaps the most important underlying message was one of community involvement. From the first ad where Markos Moulitsas Zúniga burst in with a group of supporters even before the ad was finished to offer their help, to the recurring “And so do we” tag to all the ads, the message was that Lamont supporters are people that believe that by working together in community, we can make our country better.
To me, that has always been the underlying message of American democracy, and a message that I wish we saw more of in all the political messaging. I wish the Lamont campaign had taken this message further, and I had thoughts on how they could have done it. I hope that we’ll see more of this sort of messaging in 2008.
Perhaps it will come through in the new media that Zephyr and Tim talk about. Perhaps it will also come about in service politics that people like Howard Dean, John Edwards and Matt Dunne have spoken about.
It is time that we move away from a message of “we think you’re stupid” to a message of “working together in community to make our country better”. John McCain may be leading the pack in political placements with his cameo in “Wedding Crashers” but people like Howard Dean, John Edwards, Matt Dunne and Ned Lamont are leading in presenting a more important underlying message.