Thursday, August 17, 2006

Thoughts on Propaganda and Brainwashing

According to Jás Elsner, in Imperial Rome and Christian Triumph (1998), "Power is a far more complex and mysterious quality than any apparently simple manifestation of it would appear. It is as much a matter of impression, of theatre, of persuading those over whom authority is wielded to collude in their subjugation".

Just a bit of reflection on Doc Larry's post today on the use of hate speech by Pres. Bush in a recent campaign stop in PA. Every word of this hate speech is carefully crafted by the RRR (Radical Religious Right) linguistic experts to have the desired effect on Republican voters, with the added bonus of infuriating those of us who disagree with the current administration.

d r i f t g l a s s, one of my favorite bloggers, pens long poetic rants like his recent Plan Asinine which perfectly outlines my frustration. But at the end of it I'm usually a bit depressed, and feeling like I need some version of a Democrat's Take Back The Night rally to get me headed back in the right direction.

I've been reading the Frank Luntz Republican Playbook which outlines strategy for the 2006 campaign. The tone and language of Talent's ads suggest that his managers have studied this handy little booklet like the Bible. Luntz sells his services to corporations, as well as politicians, staying mostly within the conservative arena, which appears to mirror his own belief system. Luntz clones (wink!) are replicating his clever lines in RRR speak everywhere. We liberals are internalizing it, often without conscious realization that we are using Luntz terminology.

George Lakoff talks about the concept of framing for the progressive viewpoint in Don't Think of an Elephant, 1994. His language suggestions should be considered by every progressive candidate running for office in '06, and also by those of us who want to wash Frank Luntz out of our brains.

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