The Story Wars of Hot Political Issues

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Carol, I prefer to discuss the why and how of what is being done rather than try to play the game of besmirch Glenn, defend Glenn. For the record though, Glenn is not horrified that this is being done

Look Michael, I like and respect you and you know that. Hell, I love you like a brother which as a Stuart you surely are. It is when you appear to not respect my critical thinking, or even critical t

It's a hoot watching people who are all style and zero substance criticizing this masterful use of aesthetics. J

Posted Images

The first photo shown is that of a guy named Michael Hauser with two young girls. One of the names to which the twitter was sent is "@KiraAynDavis" - link.



Dayaamm you've got an eagle eye.

I'm following this one up. It leads to a Tea Party activist in Florida.

Let's see what happens.


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This is all over the news, even front and center on Drudge, so here are just a couple of stories from TheBlaze for reference:




My God!!!! Male human beings marrying female human beings and having children!!!!!!! How much longer will this go on!

Come Jesus!

Ba'al Chatzaf

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Is my current question to answer your question with an answer to your question you answered my question with which answered my question I answered your question with which answered your question you answered my question with?



I think you lost your train of thought.


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I'll be interested to know anything you might find out about the "KiraAynDavis" Michael Hauser twittered to.

Regarding the "eagle eye," however, it's a shadow of its former self. I can still notice things like that catch, but things like misspellings, on the other hand, I often have trouble catching these days, since I have trouble seeing them.


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I'll be interested to know anything you might find out about the "KiraAynDavis" Michael Hauser twittered to.

Regarding the "eagle eye," however, it's a shadow of its former self. I can still notice things like that catch, but things like misspellings, on the other hand, I often have trouble catching these days, since I have trouble seeing them.


Deleted, because it read wrong to me.


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  • 2 months later...

I have been quiet on this thread for a while, but I always remember it.

I want to add things that are different, but insightful. I generally see different examples of the same things and I don't want to keep making the same point over and over.

But I have one such new thing with Glenn Beck.

Before getting to his story, let's look at the progression of storytelling for political issues. From the 10,000 foot view, it looks like this to most people who talk about politics in public:

Political narrative ---> Political outcomes.

Whoever controls the political narrative wins in this view. Both Bush and Obama are guilty of this kind of thinking, which they take (and took) to the point of saying any old thing so long as (1) it is a good story (hero and villain fight, victims suffer, and there is strong emotion), and (2) their agenda is embedded.

Notice anything missing in that plan? How about truth?

This approach works up to a point, but the inevitable discrediting comes--and it always comes--because both presidents have lied to "control the narrative." I'm saying "both presidents," but it's not just them and their staffs. The political wisdom of today is all about narrative and short on truth. It's not that political people lie to deceive anyone directly. In a weird way, that would be more honest. They lie to "control the narrative." To make a better story. Let's call it propaganda by storytelling and their core purpose in lying is to produce effective propaganda.

And that's creepy...

People know it and feel it, too. Just look at any current poll about trusting politicians, trusting mainstream news and so on.

Now let's go up to 40,000 feet. Here we see storytelling work like this:

General culture ---> Political narrative ---> Political outcomes.

This is where Glenn Beck is moving into. To use the same frame as above, whoever controls the general culture controls the political narrative and wins.

Glenn has already established a news organization where he prioritizes the truth. For example, if he is not convinced the facts are right, he waits to break a story the mainstream is going ape over. And he's not afraid to backtrack if the facts change. But now he wants to go deeper causality-wise and do storytelling in the culture.

The video in the link below does not embed so you have to go there to see it. But do it. That video is well worth seeing.

This will be an ominous sign to some people, an eye-opener to others, a heart-warmer to those like me, and to the precious highbrows who have said Glenn Beck is "now dead, gone and vanished" for years with each new change in his career, they will say this is nothing but bluster. I don't know whether they actually believe that or are trying to "control the narrative," but, bless their hearts, they just keep saying this stuff in public as if what they said countless times yesterday--where they were wrong--did not exist.

Glenn Beck: ‘People Will Be Absolutely Shocked’ by How Much Hollywood Wants to Join Major Plans for His Texas Movie Studio
by Erica Ritz
April 25, 2014

From the article:

Beck said he’s not abandoning politics, but in order to make a true impact you cannot neglect a country’s culture. Trying to make an impact when an issue hits the political arena is like trying to repair a dam once the water hits Main Street, he said — the issue needs to be tackled sooner.

. . .

... Beck said that while they’re still in the initial phases, incredible talent is already asking if they can get on board.

“On Monday, we will have one of the biggest names in Hollywood coming here, who’s been begging us, begging us, ‘I want to do this so badly!’” Beck said. “People will be shocked, absolutely shocked. They will scratch their head and say, ‘That doesn't even compute.’ Yes it does.”

“They are coming to us now, and he’s not the only one,” Beck added. “There are a couple [people] that nobody knows that have come to us for over a year, and have been saying, ‘Please, I just want to partner.’”

For the purposes of this thread, it doesn't matter who that Hollywood talent is. They will be known before too long. The important point is that many, many people in Hollywood don't give a crap about the politics. All they want to do is make successful films and make money.

One of the reasons is that he has the ears and eyes of middle America, which includes religion, but he has very little patience for namby-pamby religious movies. His thing is to tell a great story. One of the Hollywood people told him they want to partner with him because he is one of the best storytellers around and whatever he does, which is always against the grain, becomes successful.

Glenn made a point that too many mainstream movies today are all about CGI effects. The story is put in second place as long stretches of film unroll in explosions, chases with eye-catching things happening all around, new monster effects, and so on. After a while, it gets boring. Effect qua effect.

His ambition is to take Walt Disney's place. From his storytelling mission (which he states in the video), he is probably off to a great start. Simplicity. He said he wants to tell stories of love and courage where the good guys win.

How's that for controlling the narrative?


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The narrative is controlled by big media via The New York Times, The Washington Post, the old time big broadcaster tv networks, and the left-wing college liberal arts turning out contemporary "liberal" journalists, 98% of whom have not, and will acquire not, any particularly good knowledge or expertise outside their profession, but presume to be part of the ruling elite qualified to superiority to anyone actually superior to them, ultimately through sheer state power if need be.


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That sure is the way it used to be.

None of that explains the enormous success of Glenn Beck's ventures--including his projected growth. Nor the rise of political people like Rand Paul and Ted Cruz. And so on. Except to say that people are getting real sick and tired of what you listed.

Changing the culture is not like an on-off switch. It takes time. But it is getting a hell of a lot faster.

Just technically speaking, the Internet is one of the greatest equalizers out there. Call it the gatekeeper buster. And boy does that piss off the gatekeepers.

Eric Schmidt and Jared Cohen of Google have said that Glenn is THE case study right now. He took the Internet and cable TV and welded them into a success that is generating millions of dollars and viewers. Schmidt told Glenn to his face that nobody has managed to do that. Glenn is the first and only so far. That's on video if you need to see it.

How did he do it?

Storytelling. His way.

Not "controlling the narrative" to promote a political agenda. Oh... he promotes libertarian ideas, but he doesn't lie to do it.

Progressive academics and journalists don't know how to talk to middle America. Never have and never will. The story they tell is of their own vanity and how those smaller people in front of them (us) should marvel at their wisdom and ultimately obey them. Middle America sees them as busybodies gossiping, not Wise Ones thrilling folks with legends of profound enlightenment (i.e., their view of themselves). Hollywood tries to sell a better story for them, but it can only do so much to cover over that crap.


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Here is a way NOT to wage the story wars of political issues.
Make a musical called "The Great Immensity" about climate change and get it funded by the government to the tune of 700k smackaroonies.
Who the hell is going to be influenced by that?
This is so boneheaded, so breathtaking in level of lame, I'll just let the links and embedded video speak for themselves.
Jesus Keeeeeeeeerriiiiist!
National Science Foundation funded climate change musical to tune of $700,000
By Perry Chiaramonte
March 31, 2014
Fox News
From the article:

The National Science Foundation has spent nearly $700,000 on a climate change-themed theatrical production, leaving some in Congress questioning if the organization's grant funds could be put to better use.
Rep. Lamar Smith, R-Texas, questioned White House science czar John Holdren in a hearing last Thursday about the way the NSF is using taxpayer money -- including on the grants for the play, a New York production called "The Great Immensity."
. . .
The play is being produced by New York-based activist theater group The Civilians with a grant award from 2010. According to a plot description on the theater company’s website, "The Great Immensity" focuses on a woman named Phyllis as she tries to track down a friend who disappeared while filming an assignment for a nature show on a tropical island. During her search, she also uncovers a devious plot surrounding an international climate summit in Auckland, New Zealand.
The description says the play is “a thrilling and timely production” that is “a highly theatrical look into one of the most vital questions of our time: how can we change ourselves and our society in time to solve the enormous environmental challenges that confront us?”

Here is the musical's page: New York Premiere - Public Lab THE GREAT IMMENSITY at The Public Theater

Changing hearts and minds one government dollar after another...

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  • 2 weeks later...

Here is a danger of over-using outrage in the storyline against the "other side" while being lame on a similar story.


Jon Stewart nails it, but he doesn't seem to realize that this cuts both ways and one of those ways is against what he represents.


Each side has made their own story trivial on important issues, thus the public is tuning out both.


They're not even trying to vary their storylines and jazz them up...





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  • 5 months later...

Here's an aspect of Story Wars I had not thought about: cool.

The coolness factor.

And there it has been right under my nose all this time. Thank goodness for the Internet and people who like to spell out the obvious (from Buzzfeed):

Ten Super Disturbing Ways Communism Is Being Made Cool Again

That's quite a list.

I'm not sure how to fight it. I know debunking and bashing don't work.

As a brainstorm, I can think of two possibilities:

1. Tell stories that discredit the coolness of the people promoting the Communist coolness. For instance, get pictures of Danny Glover or Beyoncé walking around Cuba in all their coolness in nice cool backgrounds, then put them side-by-side with stories of average people who are crushed by the regime, with horrible images, of course. Make sure the coolness and the discrediting stories happen at the same time just to emphasize that when the cool happened, it wasn't so cool for the victims.

2. Present opposing coolness and contrast it, i.e., people (especially celebrities) who do pro-individualism, pro-capitalism, etc. Set them side-by-side with the Communist coolness and spin a yarn favoring the libertarian-like coolness. Be careful not to negate the Communist coolness. Let the reader or viewer do that. This is story, not argument.


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All I see is too much chance for a backfire from stupid people who don't know what they are looking at lubed up by spin doctors.


no time for "cool"--it gets between my brain and my trigger finger

de-cooling "cool" sanctions "cool" as such in the first place and it's all just a distraction because "cool" is empty, which is why I keep using those quotation marks

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"Cool" for high schools students in the late 1950s, early 1960s was a pack of cigarettes carried in your t-shirt sleeve and greased up, slicked back hair and cliques. After that I don't know what happened for I had graduated, but they did make a musical out of that shit which I never watched through, only bits and pieces on tv.


and nobody "cool" was into politics

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  • 1 month later...

I just made a post in another thread that shows the power of the story wars.

. . .

Media people like Sabrina Rubin Erdely, the Rolling Stone journalist who first did the UVA story, are not concerned with facts, but with reporting the kinds of images and narratives that can go viral.

Your Rape: Is It Clickbait? Does It Pop?
by Chris Bray
Dec. 4, 2014
The Daily Caller

There is so much that is good in this article, it is hard to choose what to quote. Here are some cherry picks:

... remarkable paragraphs from a story in the Washington Post:

Magazine writer Sabrina Rubin Erdely knew she wanted to write about sexual assaults at an elite university. What she didn’t know was which university.

So, for six weeks starting in June, Erdely interviewed students from across the country. She talked to people at Harvard, Yale, Princeton and her alma mater, the University of Pennsylvania. None of those schools felt quite right. But one did: the University of Virginia, a public school, Southern and genteel, brimming with what Erdely calls “super-smart kids” and steeped in the legacy of its founder, Thomas Jefferson.

. . .

She was rape shopping: going from campus to campus auditioning rape victims, contacting advocacy groups and asking for introductions. But the rapes she found at Harvard, Yale, Princeton and Penn didn’t have the right narrative feel. They were just rapes, and she needed a cover-worthy rape. So she kept shopping until she found someone who would tell her a version of the story she had already decided to tell. She needed a big rape — something splashy, something with wild details and a frat house. She needed a rape that would go viral. You can’t do that with just some regular boring rape.

. . .

... real problems go unreported, because boooooring. Look again at how casual the discard pile is: “She talked to people at Harvard, Yale, Princeton and her alma mater, the University of Pennsylvania. None of those schools felt quite right.”

Get better rapes, Harvard, Yale, Princeton and Penn. Let’s face it: For magazine journalism, yours just aren't colorful enough.

Here's a principle for you.

Facts don't result in lynch mobs. Manipulative stories do.

Facts result in justice. And that's what I am concerned with.

I wish I had time to go into a longer explanation, but I will discuss it in a later post on this thread.

The entire clickbait topic and how a progressive site named Upworthy, under the guidance of social media and propaganda genius Eli Pariser (from, changed the way news works on the Internet, is fascinating.

His progeny are people like Sabrina Rubin Erdely who abuse the viral media power they now know how to harness, which points to the truth of Lord Acton's observation: "Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely."

More coming on this...


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  • 4 weeks later...

The following clip, which appeared on Real Clear Politics video, is probably the freshest take on story wars I have seen recently.

The idea is that engineers of power purposely encourage the current chaos in major political decisions and policies, and by extension, the public storyline. Why? Because when people can't make sense of something, they become complacent. And that's good for people who like to get and keep power.
This is an excellent point. And it is raised by Adam Curtis, one of Britain's most fascinating and perceptive documentary makers.


The clip mentions the main author of Putin's power is a guy named Vladislav Surkov. And what was his main inspiration?
Modern art.




That's right. Modern art.

Make things unintelligible.


See for yourself.

The Hidden Author of Putinism
How Vladislav Surkov invented the new Russia
by Peter Pomerantsev
Nov. 7, 2014
The Atlantic
From the article:

“I am the author, or one of the authors, of the new Russian system,” Vladislav Surkov told us by way of introduction. On this spring day in 2013, he was wearing a white shirt and a leather jacket that was part Joy Division and part 1930s commissar. “My portfolio at the Kremlin and in government has included ideology, media, political parties, religion, modernization, innovation, foreign relations, and ...”—here he pauses and smiles—“modern art.”


This is the first time I have seen a chaos storytelling strategy in politics. I have seen actual chaos and a political strategy of "keep them guessing," but not an intentional mainstream chaos storyline template as a tool (or weapon) for political control.


Talk about sophisticated propaganda!




I'm going to look deeper into this. Adam Curtis is making an entire documentary about it, Bitter Lake (see the write up and trailer here and here).


Since this just caught me by surprise, I might not understand it correctly. But from reading the Bitter Lake material, I think the plunge into chaos storytelling comes from an oversimplified Western storytelling of good and evil about the world that crashed into a bitter outcome in Afghanistan, where the mainstream storyline and reality did not align. In fact, Curtis's thesis is that the oversimplified storyline blinded foreigners so much, they couldn't see reality correctly.


And, I presume, this same good and evil storyline frame is now used by engineers of storytelling chaos to keep people off balance.


I honestly don't know what to think yet. My gut tells me Curtis has raised some important ideas to examine. I look forward to his documentary and I will see it when it comes out. 


For now, I intend to watch his clip several more times and do some serious digging.


And Rand. Where does Ayn Rand fit? Damned if I know until I know more.


Man, is this interesting all of a sudden...



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For those who want to see Adam Curtis's clip in context:

Charlie Brooker's 2014 Wipe

Even though that show is a bit Brit-heavy, it is an excellent piece of storytelling magic in resetting a lot of mainstream news exaggerations. True, the show is not even, there are a few bumps, but in my opinion, this is satire at its finest.

Maybe it's the distance, but based on that one show alone (I haven't seen Charlie Brooker before), I think I like him better than Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert combined. I say that despite Brooker poking great fun at the excesses of Glenn Beck for his overreaction to the Ebola scare and a few political opinions I don't agree with that snuck in as side-comments.

Also, I want to indulge myself a bit. Brooker posted a clip of a Brazilian news personality I used to watch all the time, Datena. This guy is more of a crime reporter than anything else (and sports), but he does have some classic moments. In the clip below, he is stomping on a CD by Justin Bieber (which is the part Brooker used). It's in Portuguese, so you probably will not understand it.

Datena is pissed because young Bieber fans didn't like Datena's coverage of something or other and threatened him and his family with violence. Bieber has cut up some in Brazil, filmed with a prostitute and so on, and got arrested here in the USA on a DUI charge, so maybe that's what the kerfuffle was about. That is stuff Datena would talk about.

So in the video below, he calls Bieber the equivalent of a douchebag on TV ("babaca"), really loud, too, tells kids he's not going to fight with them, but for them to get a better idol, and stomps on the CD.

Anyway, indulgence over. That just brought back some memories.

The important thing is the story war theme of this thread.


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  • 2 weeks later...

Anybody up for some wickedness?

I caught a discussion in a copywriting group I belong to (run by Colin Theriot). It's about how to use freaks--specifically freaks who spew hatred--as villains in propaganda and other persuasion. But for my reckoning, this technique always leads back to propaganda.

Don't forget, a villain is a story element--and these are story wars.

Westboro Baptist Church turned on its head

The article that prompted this discussion:

How the Westboro Baptist Church Might Unwittingly Help the Pro-Marijuana Movement
by Josiah M. Hesse
January 9, 2015

Before arriving in town, the WBC had announced its plan to also protest outside of Marisol Therapeutics and Pueblo West Organics, warning us all that "God Hates Your Sorceries (Drug Trade!)." So there they were: Six lonely WBC sign-wavers at Marisol, the first demonstration site, guarded by a team of cops who stood 30 yards away. There were also 25 to 35 marijuana supporters who held their signs, pretended to puff on novelty-sized fake joints, and shouted obscenities. The counter-demonstrations were a hysterical circus of costumes, props, jokes, and laughter. The general sentiment among the pro-weed people was that if Westboro has become anti-pot, then full legalization must be around the corner.

"They're making disapproval of cannabis look silly, just like they did with being anti-gay," said Kayvan Khalatbari, owner of Denver Relief Dispensary and Consulting, who was dressed as a chicken at the Marisol dispensary.

. . .

That such a despised group became the public face of homophobia arguably helped the cause of marriage eqaulity.

. . .

Ironically, the WBC presence in Pueblo also caused even more people to buy and consume weed. At the second protest site, Pueblo West Organics owner Randy Russell offered all of the counter-protestors a 30 percent discount for the day, giving the event the communal air of a holiday. Russell said that while he wanted nothing to do with a hate group like the WBC, he had to admit that their anticipated arrival was publicity. "The fact that they're protesting here is bringing customers into our store."

Like it or not, a hate-spewing freak, the Westboro Baptist Church, has managed to aid in legalizing gay marriage and now marijuana. The article didn't say, but I have no doubt persuasion experts helped this along in the media by using WBC as a freak-villain.

The Freak-Villain argument

If you want to use this in your propaganda/persuasion storytelling, or just recognize it when it is used, there's a formula.

1. Choose your target audience, which in propaganda/persuasion is a group of people who disagree with you.

2. If they support an idea you disagree with, find a famous hate-spewing freak in the culture who also supports that idea and keep blasting the freak in story after story while talking about the freak's support for the idea.

This works because, deep in our brains, we scan for status among peers. This is hardwired and happens unconsciously. There's a reason we blush when we are embarrassed. If you are part of normal society, you will not want to be associated with a hate-spewing freak, not even by supporting the same idea as the freak.

So, suppose you are my target and I use this technique. If you believe in a false idea, if I have a public voice and start associating your idea with a hate-spewing freak, and if I keep the pressure on by telling story after story, this will get you to doubt yourself. Especially as others start chiming in against the hate-monger (and adding peer pressure to the mix).

If you believe in something true, it works the same.

The technique works just was well for true and false.

The end result , the goal of using this technique, is not to get you to believe in a different idea. Instead, it is to get you to doubt what you believe. To dislodge you from your morals.

(There are other techniques and methods to persuade you of a different idea, including rational arguments. But those are outside the scope of the freak-villain technique.)

Notice that the hate-spewing freak can be right or wrong. That's not the part that matters for a story wars tool. The only concern here is the effectiveness of the tool for instilling doubt in the mind of the target.

A couple of examples are in order.

Hitler Example

One of mankind's biggest hate-spewing freaks is Hitler. People naturally gravitate toward him to use this technique when they get frustrated in a polemical discussion. Or if they want to intimidate someone they disagree with.

This happens so often a guy named Mike Godwin came up with his famous Godwin's Law: "As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches 1."

There's a lesson here. If people (over time) associate an argument with a hate-monger naturally, that means the technique is embedded in normal human nature. We all do it.

If you yell, "Unfair! Godwin's Law!" you can diffuse the sting of the Hitler comparison. So that has become useless for propaganda. But a real wicked bite happens when you skillfully and covertly use the technique with unexpected freaks.

Closer to home

In our own subcommunity, there is a great example. The hate-spewing freak is Lindsay Perigo. Maybe this technique will not work as well today as before because his influence in O-Land has diminished to near-irrelevance.

But, literary-wise, he's a good freak to use when people know about him: he's colorful, cunning, irrational, bigoted, a bully, spiteful, outright nasty, and most people who know of him in O-Land think he's wacko.

Now suppose you were against Ayn Rand's ideas and you were arguing with someone who agrees with her. During the argument, you merely pepper in something like, "You mean xxxxxxxxxx like Objectivist guru Lindsay Perigo says?" Then you point to something relevant, but outrageously irrational, he did or said (there are oodles of examples to choose from).

Notice that the idea is not to convince the person that Rand's ideas are wrong. It's to plant doubt. The person thinks if Objectivism produces a wacko like Perigo, there must be a mental trap or something sinister in it that the person has not yet perceived.

This can work to the contrary, too. I think I--and several others--inadvertently used the freak-villain argument for the good. This means we did not know it was a formal rhetorical weapon, not that we would not use it again. Hell, in my case, I most certain would for a good cause and it would work even better now that I know how to refine it. :smile:

(My promise to you on OL, though: If I use it here, I will say I am using it at the time I am using it. I refuse to covertly manipulate you and all the other OL members and audience. Besides, I found that when one stands in the truth and one uses these techniques while openly admitting to doing so, this only reinforces one's position.)

A case--one among several--was when good people in O-Land were scared because of 9/11 and loud voices were getting them to entertain--as a serious proposition--immediate nuclear bombing of entire cities--all in the name of reason and Objectivism. I remember making references back then to Perigo and his constant hatred and depraved indifference to innocent casualties in his rhetoric, while saying he was all for blasting entire countries back to the stone age. Not only did I use that freak-villain argument, a lot of people did. There were lots of variations, too. Post after post after post. Story after story.

Gradually, the military appetite for deploying nukes on a dime subsided in our subcommunity.

The subtext during the yelling was: If you support destroying entire cities in a flash, you are like the hate-spewing freak Perigo.

And nobody wanted to be like that. :smile:

Note, this was not a rational argument, but it did calm down powerful emotions long enough so people could think rationally and come to reasoned conclusions.

Now use it

So this technique can be used for good.

Well... there it is.

Now you have a powerful story war weapon.

Use it righteously and choose your hate-spewing freak villains wisely.

Like Google says: Don't do evil.


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  • 2 weeks later...

This is probably going to be the most important post in this thread, yet I believe most readers will not want to be bothered.

What would happen if science became involved at the neuroscience level in persuading through story? Could technocrats (government and corporate) make Big Brother a noncontested reality? Could they make the sheeple happy with their lot as said technocrats got filthy stinking rich on crony deals and lived off the fat of the land?

The answer is...


They could.

And that is exactly what they are going to try to do. Scratch that. That is what they are now trying to do, but that is what they are going to do. They will.

There is a man who is researching this for them and doing a hell of a great job. His name is Kendall Haven. Last July he gave a lecture at The World Bank in Washington DC where he simply laid it all out. He told them what they have to do with an easy check-list for their messages. And he is backed up by gobs of research.

His interest? What goes on in the brain during a story and how to enhance this for the greatest persuasive effect.

Let me stress that. He is not presenting some opinion about story. He is not presenting some boring stats and a hairbrained theory or ideology. He is presenting data-based neuroscientific procedures on how to make things happen in the brains of other people through stories. And he is doing it in plain English, not geek-speak.

Imagine this capacity in the hands of the powerful government and corporate elite and informed by big data.

Does that scare you?

It scares the hell out of me.

The only way to fight it is to learn it. Fortunately, The World Bank has been quite accommodating in providing this to the public. And Haven publishes his books. I doubt these were aimed at people like me. But I'm here and I'm soaking it up.

You will find a video at the link below (sorry, it doesn't embed). It is about an hour and a half. Haven is dorky as a presenter, but he's animated and his excesses make his style interesting. By that I mean you will not fall to sleep like you might when someone drones on in a monotone. But you also might find some of his hambone delivery a little much. I suspended judgment and got used to it without much trouble.

Story Smart: Using the Science of Story to Persuade, Inspire, Influence and Teach

(Lecture at The World Bank in Washington DC on July 1, 2014.)

In the Q&A, Haven said he was specifically working on how to craft stories about climate change.

So why don't we craft stories about the contrary? We can, you know. And they will be just as effective. No, let's do it better. Let's craft stories about telling the truth in all matters, especially science.

If you have ever wondered why Obama will lie to people in their faces, then when caught and his policy is not accepted to his satisfaction, he says he did not explain it well enough, storytelling based on science is exactly what he is talking about. The rightwing folks blame it on his conceit, that he imagines he knows better than everyone else. I don't think that's the problem at all. I believe his true motive is power. I know he studies persuasion as do his advisers. It doesn't matter what the truth is when he tells it. The thing for them is what the public will swallow--to "control the narrative" in addition to other acts of covert persuasion.

btw - The progressive right is just as bad.

When will small-government people learn to use this information? The techniques are easy to learn. I am convinced small government is more attractive to the majority of Americans, so the cognitive part of this message is not that hard to sell. It's the emotional part.

Kendall Haven can teach anyone how to sell it just like he is teaching the big government folks. He's damn good at what he does.

Here's the Amazon link to his last book (released Octover 2014) where he goes into the persuasion part of storytelling. I just ordered a copy for myself and it hurt because it's not cheap. But this is one I cannot do without.

Story Smart: Using the Science of Story to Persuade, Influence, Inspire, and Teach

(Amazon link.)

If you are at all interested in storytelling, even fiction writing, you need this. I cannot recommend it highly enough. We need to know what happens in the brains of our audience.

So get it.


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Are you using the power of story here yet, Michael?



Not manipulatively.

I refuse to do that on OL.

If it ain't true or I don't believe it's true, I don't present it. Banter and stuff like that excepted.

I can't help but use story, though. We think in story. We can't not think in story.

Our entire lives are story.

Of the people we have loved who are no longer with us--all we have left of them are stories.


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But not with this degree of neuroscientific sophistication.

Look what Hitler and the Communists managed to do with entirely fabricated stories (ideologies) without the neuroscience.

Imagine a modern charismatic dictator like that one day getting a foothold somewhere while being supported by a bank of behavioral technocrats well versed in neuroscience and this modern story research, i.e., how stories result in release of oxytocin, dopamine, etc., and which story elements under what conditions leave the mind the most vulnerable for covert suggestions, etc.

They will lay down propaganda so smooth the different voices on the Internet will not be able to neutralize it--unless opposing people fight it with a clear understanding of the tools they use, and possibly use those same tools.

Here in O-Land, people tend to have a poor understanding of the power of the unconscious mind, even to the point of dismissing it if they believe they are above being manipulated by covert means.

Nobody is.


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Michael, I do not denigrate the value of story telling and its methodologies but have two cautions. The first is the story has to be important to the story teller, not contrived; that won't work. This is partially explained in Rand's not so good but not to be improved short story, "The Simplest Thing In the World." The second is the entrenched power of the Federal bureaucracy which is the most powerful branch of the four branches of our national government, the other three being the official ones. The power of the whole edifice is maintained by bribery. The recipients of the bribes want confirmation of the righteousness of it all as a moral comfort, but by and large will keep taking the bribes regardless, even if hit with all kinds of effective story-telling opprobrium. We need effective techniques of communication to tell one and all what's best to do after the shit hits the fan, but the shit has to hit the fan first. The world-wide stupid economic policies of central banks, for instance, are part of the massive disbursements of bribes to hoi polloi by members of the ruling class who cannot inflict short term pain without being thrown out of office. Long term comes the massive price and it's going to be massive pain. Then we'll need effective stories to explain it all and to help find a way out of the smoldering ruins. The bureaucracy itself will be immune to any story-telling except the stories which confirm its importance and necessity.


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