The Story Wars of Hot Political Issues


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The art of persuasion?  This video was shown to the media scrum before President Trump took questions, apparently.  The White House logo is ... prominent. Who is "Destiny Pictures"?

[Added:  MSK has already posted the video, embedded in a Tweet, which I missed. Sometimes my turbo browser (Slimjet) fails to load tweet-embeds properly.

-- I am left wondering if the Korean-language version of the trailer will be available to North Korean news consumers. ]

 

Edited by william.scherk
Added link-back to MSK's original posting of the Destiny Pictures trailer ...
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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

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43 minutes ago, william.scherk said:

Who is "Destiny Pictures"?

William,

I imagine this: Destiny Pictures.

The Founder is this guy: Mark Castaldo.

From his mini-bio on IMDb:

Quote

Born and raised in New York, Mr. Castaldo began a professional career in the casino business working 10 years in Atlantic City and Las Vegas as a croupier. Mr. Castaldo then relocated to Los Angeles where he resides to pursue his passion of telling stories.

Mr. Castaldo is a multi- award winning independent producer well versed in all areas; development, talent, pre-pro, production, post, festivals and sales/distribution with his company Destiny Pictures.

I wonder who could have been in the casino business in Atlantic City at the time Mr. Castaldo was a croupier, I wonder, I wonder? :)

Since this is about persuasion and story wars, let's hear from Scott Adams on the filme:

And a comment from him about those who don't grok what's going on:

And what do I think of the anti-Trumpers sourpussing even this? They'll get there someday. I'm rootin' for 'em. But I have to admit, their constant negativity on anything and everything Trump sure makes for some fun mockery.

:)

Michael

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1 hour ago, Michael Stuart Kelly said:

William,

I imagine this: Destiny Pictures.

The Founder is this guy: Mark Castaldo.

From his mini-bio on IMDb:

I wonder who could have been in the casino business in Atlantic City at the time Mr. Castaldo was a croupier, I wonder, I wonder? :)

Since this is about persuasion and story wars, let's hear from Scott Adams on the filme:

And a comment from him about those who don't grok what's going on:

And what do I think of the anti-Trumpers sourpussing even this? They'll get there someday. I'm rootin' for 'em. But I have to admit, their constant negativity on anything and everything Trump sure makes for some fun mockery.

:)

Michael

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

J

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23 hours ago, william.scherk said:

The art of persuasion?

The enemies of America took the intriguing video and used it to make fun of Big Daddy's dealmaking.  

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15 minutes ago, william.scherk said:

The enemies of America took the intriguing video and used it to make fun of Big Daddy's dealmaking.  

Attempted humor, in order to succeed, needs to be truthful. The above isn't. It isn't making fun of Trump, but of the really bad straw man caricature narrative that the left has tried, and failed, to construct of Trump. 

It is kind of cool to be learning just how much the left has forgotten how to appeal to people, and is now making fun of hope and inspiration. They've forgotten how Billy Clinton and Barry Obama got elected. They seem to think that their anger and cynicism, and their being vocally opposed to the pretend straw man Trump that they've invented is going to get them somewhere? Cool. Keep it up!

J

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3 hours ago, Jonathan said:

Attempted humor, in order to succeed, needs to be truthful.

Jonathan,

And it needs to be funny. When you make a joke, then follow it with other jokes, you have to mix in new forms or, at least, let the forms you are using grow and morph. Otherwise, you get when psychologists call habituation.

The way the anti-Trumpers do repetition in humor is, basically, to tell the same joke over and over and over. Loot at that video. The joke is that Trump is trying to dazzle a bloody dictator with cheesy stock video to disarm his nukes. (All right, all right... the joke in the video is actually much lamer. All they're really joking about is mocking President Trump's intelligence and taste. But I'm trying to give them a helping hand here and throw in a little contrast, you know, to do them a solid, poor things. :) )

It goes like this: Here's an example of an image of stock video doing something unrelated to nukes. Yuk yuk yuk. Here's another example. See? Stock video. Yuk yuk yuk. Here's another example. See? Stock video. Yuk yuk yuk. Here's another example. See? Stock video. Yuk yuk yuk. Here's another example. See? Stock video. Yuk yuk yuk. Here's another example. See? Stock video. Yuk yuk yuk. 

It's just not funny anymore after the first couple or three times. 

There's another point, too. The initial joke isn't all that funny in itself because the point of the mockery is self-congratulatory. It's not about It's all about the video maker "nailing it" and feeling superior. And that gets tiresome pretty fast. Here's an Australian article from last year that discusses this very point:

The left can’t meme
From the article:

Quote

Generally speaking to be considered funny one can’t take themselves too serious. They need the ability to laugh at themselves and see irony in situations. In the past it was the conservative right that struggled with this; today it’s the left that has a puritanical streak. It’s hard to get humour when you’ve built an entire identity and social structure around being offended by everything.

. . .

... the left’s main trick is to state a ‘“fact” unsupported by evidence or using shock-value “evidence” and then tell themselves how they ‘nailed it’. Then they all laugh.

Rand had this problem, which is why comedy in O-Land is scarce. Rand thought laughing at oneself to be a moral crime. Sometimes it is, but not all the time. Sometimes taking yourself less seriously is just a way to let off steam and refocus your mind. And maybe share some good vibe. (There's neuroscience to back this up.)

Look at leftwing late-night comedy, This, too, has become tiresome because it's the same joke over and over. You can even Google this and get article after article trying to figure out what's gone wrong.

The fact is, there's no surprise, anymore. There's no letting the audience stare perplexed for a second, then start howling in hilarity as they suddenly figure out the comic connection.

There's only bashing Trump and habituation.

The big joke of the night is to bash Trump with an incongruent image. Audience applauds with self-righteous whoops and laughs a little. Then bash Trump again with another incongruent image. Audience applauds with self-righteous whoops and laughs a little. Bash Trump again with another incongruent image. Audience applauds with self-righteous whoops and laughs a little. Bash Trump again with another incongruent image. Audience applauds with self-righteous whoops and laughs a little. Bash Trump again with another incongruent image. Audience applauds with self-righteous whoops and laughs a little. Bash Trump again with another incongruent image. Audience applauds with self-righteous whoops and laughs a little. Bash Trump again with another incongruent image. Audience applauds with self-righteous whoops and laughs a little.

And on and on and on. This format never changes.

What's going on here is not comedy. It's ritual and probably something to do with self-affirmation by Nouveau Puritanical insecure soy eaters.

See? I can do it, too. But I stop after one, even if that one wasn't up to my great wonderful genius talent.

:) 

Michael

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20 hours ago, Michael Stuart Kelly said:

It's ritual and probably something to do with self-affirmation by Nouveau Puritanical insecure soy eaters.

See? I can do it, too. But I stop after one, even if that one wasn't up to my great wonderful genius talent.

 

At least "Nouveau Puritanical insecure soy eaters" has some truth to it, where the Narrative™ that has been made up about Trump and his supporters has none.

J

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14 minutes ago, Jonathan said:

At least "Nouveau Puritanical insecure soy eaters" has some truth to it, where the Narrative™ that has been made up about Trump and his supporters has none.

J

Soy? There is a commercial on TV where a woman talks about the difficulty in making lunch for "her little vegan."

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On 6/13/2018 at 1:56 PM, Michael Stuart Kelly said:

The way the anti-Trumpers do repetition in humor is, basically, to tell the same joke over and over and over.

Then there is Never-Trumper Rick Wilson, whose grip on the English language may give delight (to those awful people who don't want a proto-Emperor in the White House).  

A sample from his latest, "Donald Trump, the Insecure Pledge in the Dictatorship Fraternity."

Quote

[...] Why is today’s statement so much more outrageous, so much more egregious than any of a host of other Trumpian excesses, deviations from American values, shit-talking lunacy, and post-truth verbal dysentery? Because this week, Trump’s love of authoritarians, dictatorships and his actions and words came together. Donald Trump first went to the G-7 to wreck the proceedings with a combination of insult-comic schtick, diplomatic demolition derby, Putin cheerleading, and giant-toddler petulance.

He followed that with the Singapore Shitshow. It was a monstrous reality TV event, as was intended. But it left our putative allies wondering at the new Axis of Assholes Trump has joined—the CRANK: China, Russia, America and North Korea. By the end, it didn’t feel like he was after denuclearization but management tips from the portly little thug Kim.

For the American president to normalize, excuse, and ally himself with the worst of the world's bad actors while insulting, degrading, and destroying our allies and alliances would be appalling in any circumstance. The fact that Trump acts like a bumbling, eager fraternity pledge, desperate to join Phi Sigma Dictator makes it all the worse.

Donald Trump’s authoritarian impulses have never exactly been a state secret. The entire Trump leadership oeuvre is a grotesque, bubbling slurry of reality TV star egomania and crap-tier nationalist nostrums that sound like Pat Buchanan and Lyndon LaRouche had a love child. Barely contained racial animus and a will to power is what resembles the real heroes of Trump's blisteringly awful mental and moral landscape.
 
[...]
 

Trump's style from the beginning was authoritarian-chic; bossy, needy, insufferable, and centered on the bright, hot star in the center of the stage. Trump was never a man running as a servant of the people; he was an avatar for their darkest, most vengeful, most petty grievances and imagined slights from a catalog of monsters from the Fox News scare closet. He wasn’t a leader; he was an avenger. He played an old tune from the authoritarian songbook: pose as the one man who will the avenge the Dolchstoßlegendecommitted against MAGAmerica by the perfidious Others, whether they be Mexicans, Chinese, Jews, Muslims, RINOs, the Establishment, or the literate.

In office, he adopted more than even the usual trappings of the Imperial Presidency, right down to the Royal Family serving in positions of influence. His staff engaged in behavior toward Trump that treated him not as a President, but as a king. It started before the White House, with his dictator-chic interior design sensibility striking every wrong chord, a trainwreck of Saddam and Liberace set loose with too much gold leaf, a glue gun, and a half-pound of cocaine. [...]

Rick Wilson is on Twitter.

Edited by william.scherk
Added paragraphs from Never-Trumper Wilson's article; if we are going to use inflated language, might as well go whole hog. It's slightly better than "blah blah blah" ... IMHO
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2 hours ago, Michael Stuart Kelly said:

... was used to tell the same joke over and over.

He cusses about Trump.

yawn...

It's just not funny. He telegraphs all the punchlines ("Trump bad").

Michael

Oddly enough, I looked at the news just now to see this:

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette fires editorial cartoonist Rob Rogers

Rogers is a an anti-Trump cartoonist. And, of course, the left is going apeship about his firing, howling freedom of the press, victim of right wing oppression, and so on.

But, to my point, I don't think Rogers was fired over the anti-Trump content of his cartoons. That might have been part of it because of the volume, but it's nowhere near the major part. A newspaper is a business and if its customers dislike something, it will have to accomodate them or take a hit in the marketplace.

When customers see a political cartoon, the least they expect to get is a chuckle. When humor is nowhere to be found, the bias is against their own, and all they see is ugliness and propaganda-like demonization, they think, "Ugh. What crap." After enough times, they stop buying the paper.

As an indication, amidst all the yelling and self-righteous posturing in the article about poor mistreated Rogers,, there's this (my bold):

Quote

In recent weeks, a number of his cartoons, including some on President Donald Trump, were killed by the paper’s editorial director, Keith Burris.

. . .

He said he did not “suppress” Mr. Rogers’ cartoons but that Mr. Rogers was unwilling to “collaborate” with him about his work and ideas.

“We never said he should do no more Trump cartoons or do pro-Trump cartoons,” said Mr. Burris. “For an in-house staff cartoonist, editing is part of it. Rob’s view was, ‘Take it or leave it.’”

. . .

... the two exchanged frequent emails about Mr. Rogers’ cartoons in which Mr. Burris said he was trying to address “the tone and frequency” of his drawings about Mr. Trump.

“I asked for broader topics and could they be funnier?” Mr. Burris said.

On some occasions, he spiked Mr. Rogers’ cartoons and ran others from different artists on the same topics “with a little more humor,” Mr. Burris said.

Notice that the cartoons killed were not only ones dealing with President Trump. But I looked at the cartoons and, as I expected, there is so much hatred for Trump in them, they actually are not funny.

But try to tell that to a zealot stewing in hatred. Try to tell him that bigoted-level propaganda mockery is not funny to the average person.

Here's a typical recent cartoon to show what I mean.

06.16.2018-14.47.png

Never mind that a large chunk of Pittsburgh Post-Gazette customers have painful memories of family members killed in action and who think President Trump represents precisely the values of Truth, Honor, and Rule of Law, this cartoon just isn't funny.

It's the equivalent of the cartoonist sticking his tongue out at Trump and calling him a "fuckface." Being in front of a gravestone just adds to the bad vibes. Actually, that level of humor is funny to kindergartners and, maybe, virulent Trump haters, but to everybody else, it makes them feel embarrassed for the cartoonist--much the same way they feel embarrassed for a comedian who tells a string of unfunny jokes at a club that nobody laughs at, but thinks he's hot shit because some girl in the corner giggles a little every third joke or so.

I don't expect this cartoonist to understand that, though. And he should because there are a couple of chuckle-worthy cartoons of his I saw--even against Trump. So he knows better. He just doesn't want to do better. Here's an example that is more humorous:

06.16.2018-14.44.png

What make the second funny and the first not? The direct incongruity in the first is the equivalent of a haranguing lecture and gross demonization during a memorial of loved ones. It implies those who agree with Trump also kill Truth, Honor, and Rule of Law.

In the second, the main problem is space for text on the book cover and the message glides in under that. Even as propaganda, the second is far more effective than the first.

So not only is the left starting to lose the comedy side of the story wars, they are now starting to lose their jobs. Political bias is one thing and it can go far, but being funny is fundamental for a comedian. If he can't be funny, he's soon out of work. That's not too hard to understand. Duh...

:) 

Michael

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It's rare to see the left doing it this well these days.

Here is where they are having effect:

Rachel Maddow Cries On Air Reading AP Report On Immigrant Babies Taken From Migrant Parents

That's the left jab for misdirection.

Here's the right uppercut.

Actor Peter Fonda says Barron Trump, 12, should be 'ripped from his mother's arms and put in a cage with pedophiles' in foul-mouthed Twitter tirade

Notice that neither of these thrusts have facts as their principal focus. If they did, the following would have elicited similar outbursts from them at the respective time. But it didn't.

Here Are The Photos Of Obama’s Illegal Immigrant Detention Facilities The Media Won’t Show You

This last is fact-based, but it won't have the media impact of the first two. Nor do I expect it to buffer against that impact.

That's because the first two are wedded to a story the leftwing media are all telling at the same time about big bad bully Trump trampling over anyone and everyone for white supremacy reasons--a phony story, but still a story. They were engineered as emotional hooks for that story and, thus, spread quickly throughout all the other media vehicles.

The second is merely an argument. A correct one, a verifiable one, but still only an argument.

In the culture wars, a well-told deceptive story will beat true facts and arguments every time, even when the facts come with pictures.

So what to expect from the leftie storytellers? Wait until President Trump starts eating babies...

:) 

Michael

 

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I saw something right after I made my post above.

Look here.

27 minutes ago, Michael Stuart Kelly said:

Here Are The Photos Of Obama’s Illegal Immigrant Detention Facilities The Media Won’t Show You

This last is fact-based, but it won't have the media impact of the first two. Nor do I expect it to buffer against that impact.

This might do the trick, though. It links to the same article.

06.20.2018-11.37.png

Matt Drudge knows how to tell this kind of storywars story--in few words at that.

Michael

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President Trump just killed this persuasion coup dead in one fell swoop.

He signed an executive order granting an exception to the law. In parallel, he ramped up pressure to change the law.

The persuasion coup was dead before it was out of the womb.

Now there's only the mess to clean up, like Peter Fonda's upcoming chat with the Secret Service.

How in hell is he going to spin that with no outrage fire burning in the culture?

He's going to look like a kook even to a lot of people who oppose President Trump.

Anyway, I have never seen anybody fight the storywars better than President Trump...

Michael

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  • 4 weeks later...

A story war set off by an indictment and arrest.  Russian national 'spy' infiltrated or sought to influence the NRA and the GOP, using sex and spycraft.  The name of the young women in court today is Maria Butina ...

How Maria Butina, accused Russian spy, worked her way into top US circles
Criminal charges open new front in bid to counter Russian disruption and suggest American associates of Butina, 29, may be under threat

Court documents provide new details about alleged Russian spy Maria Butina
They claim she’s tied to a Russian spy service, was funded by a Russian oligarch, and used sex.

butina.png

#Metoo

Edited by william.scherk
Bosed URL in clickable image; *.png files not recognized
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William,

How does the propaganda work through story in that case?

In other words, what is the story? And what is the covert message embedded inside the story?

If you haven't thought of this Butina case through that lens, that's OK. But that lens is the specific reason I started this particular thread.

It's not to discuss the message as a standalone issue. We do that all over the place. It's to discuss how the message (whatever it is) gets conveyed into the culture as an ideology through story. That was my intent.

I think it's a good idea to have a place where readers can come and look at all the different techniques and know that's what they're looking at without too many tangents junking up the flow. :) 

Michael

 

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No sex, no lies, and no video tapes ...

 

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21 minutes ago, william.scherk said:

No sex, no lies, and no video tapes ...

William,

I still don't understand the story or the meaning it is intended to convey.

All I get so far is a lady accused of being a Russian spy with some salaciousness that may or may not have happened.

That's not propaganda. That's not a story war.

What is the ideological message people are supposed to absorb from this?

That spying is bad? :) 

Michael

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Persuasion in action.

2 hours ago, Michael Stuart Kelly said:
2 hours ago, william.scherk said:

Russian national 'spy' infiltrated or sought to influence the NRA and the GOP, using sex and spycraft. 

What is the ideological message people are supposed to absorb from this?

That spying is bad?

Could work out badly for her, ideology aside. Future hypothesized pardons and spy-swaps notwithstanding.

I've consulted the OT and agree your suggestions here; the first questions above are answerable and quite likely fun to explore on this little story, and I'll get to it later, he said in an Ellen Stuttle tone as if "oh, my poor head. Such work it is." 

Explain or try to explain how 'the' propaganda works its 'war' through story,  how the persuasion is designed --in the linked stories in this case of arrest.  

Or what is the war story? -- what is the propaganda goal embedded? -- which of a panoply of different techniques are used?  Is there a larger narrative war within which Maria Butina's personal drama need be embedded to extend our understanding ... ?

Ultimately, soberly analyze the linked stories as if they were propaganda-laden narrative (implied in these good questions is "what is the counter-Narrative as deployed?"). Use, eg, examples. 

As Carol suggested, I will meditate upon this ...

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William,

That's good.

Just to be clear, let me elaborate a bit on something.

My purpose in the posts preceding this exchange looked like they were about Trump at root, which is probably why you thought this was another current political affairs thread, but I actually wanted to use a few of these current affairs to highlight two things.

In the first case, if you want to use humor as a story war tool, you fizzle when you tell the same joke over and over. People already know the punchline from acclimation so there effectively is no punchline qua punchline any longer. This happened in the case of the hapless cartooner. I'm not so sure he lost his gig over politics as over the fact that the public was getting sick of the same joke. There was probably an element of both, but I would bet the second weighed far heavier in the paper's decision to nix him. Insisting on the same joke is a story wars fail on an elementary level.

I probably should refine that. The same joke can work when it's appearance is unexpected. But when it is presented in a pattern of regularity, it gets old real fast. That doesn't work for comedians and it doesn't work for propagandists.

In the second case, I wanted to emphasize that stories about abusing babies and children, if you can pull off a credible first impression for the general public, are so visceral, they work at injecting an agenda into the culture even when facts later prove them to be wrong. So it didn't matter that the propagandists used pictures from the Obama years. President Trump got stuck with the image (for many people) of separating children from mothers and throwing them in cages. Rachel Maddow even cried... :) 

This works because human beings are hardwired by evolution to care more about the young in a protective manner than about adults. This is built into the lower brain and such stories release a ton of oxytocin and other relevant neurochemicals. A good propagandist knows this works--and it works every time the public gets a first impression that such a story is credible. It doesn't matter whether the story is actually true or what the facts are. It merely needs to appear to be true at first contact. If there is a public perception of credibility that can last just for a day or two, and if the propaganda message is at least competently embedded in the story (no great art required), some of the agenda will inevitably get into the heads of casual readers and viewers.

This is a great story wars theme effectiveness-wise.

(On a side issue, now I know that this is one of the reasons my starving baby in the woods scenario years ago released such a shit-storm in O-Land. I didn't know about the neuroscience and psychology of the issue back then. That's why the charge of thinking only with my emotions never took with me. I knew it was wrong within the context of Rand's view of emotions, that is "programmed responses to chosen values," but I couldn't put my finger on why. In fact, I just realized this connection and it is giving me a clue about how to get a short story I planned way back then--now with the title of "Melody's Edge"--right. Maybe now I can finish the damn thing. I mean, it's only been ten years or so. :) )

Michael

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1 hour ago, Michael Stuart Kelly said:

William,

That's good.

Just to be clear, let me elaborate a bit on something.

My purpose in the posts preceding this exchange looked like they were about Trump at root, which is probably why you thought this was another current political affairs thread, but I actually wanted to use a few of these current affairs to highlight two things.

In the first case, if you want to use humor as a story war tool, you fizzle when you tell the same joke over and over. People already know the punchline from acclimation so there effectively is no punchline qua punchline any longer. This happened in the case of the hapless cartooner. I'm not so sure he lost his gig over politics as over the fact that the public was getting sick of the same joke. There was probably an element of both, but I would bet the second weighed far heavier in the paper's decision to nix him. Insisting on the same joke is a story wars fail on an elementary level.

I probably should refine that. The same joke can work when it's appearance is unexpected. But when it is presented in a pattern of regularity, it gets old real fast. That doesn't work for comedians and it doesn't work for propagandists.

In the second case, I wanted to emphasize that stories about abusing babies and children, if you can pull off a credible first impression for the general public, are so visceral, they work at injecting an agenda into the culture even when facts later prove them to be wrong. So it didn't matter that the propagandists used pictures from the Obama years. President Trump got stuck with the image (for many people) of separating children from mothers and throwing them in cages. Rachel Maddow even cried... :) 

This works because human beings are hardwired by evolution to care more about the young in a protective manner than about adults. This is built into the lower brain and such stories release a ton of oxytocin and other relevant neurochemicals. A good propagandist knows this works--and it works every time the public gets a first impression that such a story is credible. It doesn't matter whether the story is actually true or what the facts are. It merely needs to appear to be true at first contact. If there is aMichael, not having followed this thread I should probably public perception of credibility that can last just for a day or two, and if the propaganda message is at least competently embedded in the story (no great art required), some of the agenda will inevitably get into the heads of casual readers and viewers.

This is a great story wars theme effectiveness-wise.

(On a side issue, now I know that this is one of the reasons my starving baby in the woods scenario years ago released such a shit-storm in O-Land. I didn't know about the neuroscience and psychology of the issue back then. That's why the charge of thinking only with my emotions never took with me. I knew it was wrong within the context of Rand's view of emotions, that is "programmed responses to chosen values," but I couldn't put my finger on why. In fact, I just realized this connection and it is giving me a clue about how to get a short story I planned way back then--now with the title of "Melody's Edge"--right. Maybe now I can finish the damn thing. I mean, it's only been ten years or so. :) )

Michael

Michael, not having followed this thread I should probably not comment on just part of your post where I don't know the context of the discussion in progress, but being interested in both humour and propaganda I can't help butting in.

Why do you feel the need to emphasize the value of appealing to parental feelings in propaganda? This is so overwhelmingly known , and for so long in human history, that even those who don't understand the biological mechanics of that particular appeal to emotion, have always used ity. Right from the time of the  unknown biographers of Abraham and Isaac, up to now. I don't suppose the executives of Hill and Knowlton who devised the fiction of Iraqis murdering Kuwait infants in their incubators, were all neuroscientists.

When people get well and truly emotionally manipulated, they are totally invested in what they have been propagandized into, and being told in scientific terms why they believe what they do, will not change them one bit. Most will double down I would think. But there are always exceptions.

Maybe that was kind of your point, after all.

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2 hours ago, caroljane said:

Maybe that was kind of your point, after all.

Carol,

It wasn't.

This is a thread about the mechanics of how and why propaganda works, especially through storytelling ("story wars").

What is being propagated is beside the point except as example in a study of this kind.

You mentioned me needing to do something with parental feelings? The way that's even phrased, it is about the agenda. My inquiry goes much deeper.

Here's a lighter surface study of what I am looking at. And it isn't even propaganda. It's about a rat.

(Actually a mouse... :) )

A Biological Homage to Mickey Mouse by Stephen Jay Gould.

Read it. And after you do, think of this. Knowing what you just learned, it's easy to use this information as a "shell" for the real intended message, whether toxic or healthy, in the "media virus" method of Douglas Rushkoff. That (and similar) is what I was thinking about with the kids in cages appeal for propaganda.

Incidentally, in seeking a link for you so you could understand this concept, I came across a very interesting recent essay where Rushkoff is one of the co-authors: THE BIOLOGY OF DISINFORMATION: memes, media viruses, and cultural inoculation. I was going to lead you to Rushkoff's material from the 90's, but this covers the fundamentals in an easily readable way and it includes some comments about the recent election as well. (The only thing is, it slants left and can be irritating for a libertarian, someone from O-Land, or person on the right to read because of the political presuppositions presented in it about "facts," "correct information," and so on. But I don't think you will have this problem for some reason. :) )

I only skimmed it just now so I could make this post (I am already familiar with the ideas), but I'm going to read it in depth. I detest Rushkoff's politics, but anything he writes is worth reading. He always gives away the keys to the persuasion kingdom. I think he even started studying it because he wanted to devise propaganda methods--which he would neeeeeever call propaganda when used by his side, of course. :) 

Speaking of that, part of what I saw so far is funny because Rushkoff, who as you can imagine by now is a progressive, was one of the inventors of how to construct a media virus. Now he's appalled that someone like President Trump and his followers were able to use his process to great effectiveness in the culture. He even mentioned Breitbart. A kind of subtext running throughout the article is that media viruses and memes were wonderful when used by progressives to get the common people to accept social ideas and agendas they didn't want to accept, but then Trump came along, used them and spoiled it all. :) 

And, of course, the progressive side would NEVER spread disinformation. Oh nooooooooo... nevvvveeeerrrrr... :) 

Basically, though, my inquiry in this thread is into the human universals of how people get sold political agendas, not which political agendas should be adopted. That last is for other threads. 

Michael

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15 hours ago, william.scherk said:

Or what is the war story? -- what is the propaganda goal embedded?

William,

I got a little more familiar with the Butina story and the story war theme popped out at me. It's a huge misfire that is going to cost the Democrats dearly.

First, let me say that I read a fantastic book on Joseph McCarthy called Blacklisted by History: The Untold Story of Senator Joe McCarthy and His Fight Against America's Enemies by M. Stanton Evans. Essentially, by consulting congressional records (when they had not mysteriously disappeared), documents of the time, etc., he vindicated McCarthy. But it is now way too late to undo the damage short term. McCarthy lost the story war and it's going to take decades for the truth to filter down into the culture. I mean, McCarthyism is even a cultural meme.

The way McCarthy lost the story war was to allow the propagandists to characterize his efforts as vicious bullying of innocents, persecuting these innocents as Russian agents. And then they labeled it "red baiting." Once that term got embedded into the culture with that meaning, there was a total rewrite of history--until M. Stanton Evans came along. But even then, the damage is now deeply embedded into the American mainstream.

Now look at the Butina story from this lens. The shoddiness of the charges and evidence make it a perfect case of red baiting. The radical left is already calling the entire Democrat's "muh Russians" campaign red baiting. Soon this label will become a tongue-in-cheek way of characterizing it by everyone, even by anti-communists. Why do I believe that?

Because now the FBI is going into overdrive to find a Putin spy in every corner (variation on "commie under every bed"--see the similarity?). With this "red baiting" label will come an enormous amount of emotional baggage left over from the McCarthy era that stinks. The left-wing propagandists of the time did their jobs superbly and the stink still endures. But, I predict, in just a little while longer, this stink will end up sticking to the Democrats in the mainstream and it will last for a long time. Just to be clear, the stink is the image of bullying and persecuting political innocents with false or exaggerated charges of covert ties to Russia.

These anti-Trump left-wing knuckleheads are telling the wrong goddam story for their health. They know what it did to McCarthy and now they are doing things to let it be used on them.

(I can't say I am displeased :) , but that is not the point of this comment. The red-baiting storyline is.)

Michael

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6 hours ago, Michael Stuart Kelly said:

Now look at the Butina story from this lens.

And how about looking at it from another obvious story war lens?

The entire Butina storyline being presented in the media looks like it is drawn from The Americans (2013 TV series).

Hell, knowing the knuckleheads involved, it might be.

:) 

Why would a propagandist do that, if that TV show was indeed the source of inspiration for this particular "muh Russians" story? Obviously, the intent would be that the US low information audience would get warmed up to the storyline through the TV show, thus accept it more easily when presented as reality. I'm not saying The Americans was made or conceived with this in mind. But I am saying one storyline for the "muh Russians" propaganda was most likely drawn from it. There are probably others out there waiting to get their 15 minutes in the media, too.

Tying TV shows to propaganda is not new. There were several TV series that tried to get Americans accustomed to a female president (Hillary Clinton) and, maybe, covertly get independent voters to vote for Clinton. I'm not making this up. People involved in the series projects openly admitted it. (I don't have links or time to look right now, though. I read about this stuff in news stories at the time where they interviewed the creators and producers, which is how I know about it.)

The most obvious example was Madam Secretary. The thing is, that's a good series, at least I liked the episodes I saw. It's still running and I haven't seen anything from the later seasons, but I bet this initial propaganda intent has been abandoned.

As an aside, I think they shot themselves in the foot with House of Cards, though. The Underwoods were too eerily like the dirty side of the Clintons. Kevin Spacey going down in flames as a sexual predator came too late to neutralize this awareness in the target audience.

(Here in O-Land, think of the covert anti-authoritarian message in the movie version of We The Living during WWII and how it got banned in fascist Italy. I believe the same principle is involved, but I admit it is only speculation.)

Anyway, if the term "red baiting" for the Butina case takes in the mainstream, it will undo all that effort in the "muh Russians" story war, which is already floundering. This storyline is still quite strong in the fake news media, but it has not moved people in the heartland to accept it as a blemish on President Trump. They will accept "red baiting," though, as a blemish on Democrats if presented in the right manner.

So many covert signals... Butina is even a redhead.

:) 

Michael

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