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EUROPE.IS.SO.DOOMED. Narrative Edition

by kcurie Mon May 12th, 2008 at 05:32:47 AM EST

My dear fellas. Europe is so Doomed

It has been a long time (like, a day, or even more) since anybody wrote a Europe.Is.Doomed diary, and an even longer time has passed without me introducing newcomers to the "NARRATIVE".

It is about time that we recall again all our conventional wisdom about reality, enlightenment and anthropology 101 with the excuse of a wonderful wonderful, really wonderful (or the "wond") tale about mortgages and the European economic world.

Today, we will visit a textbook example of how narratives interact with each other to create semi-structural myths which in turn can get close to losing internal coherence.

Yes.. the "Europe.Is.So.Doomed" narrative strikes again in a mindblowing attack leading to this MY HUMBLE POSITION PAPER.

Read it and go shout it from the hilltops! - Promoted by Migeru


Let's start with anthropology 101... you may think that reality is important, not only important, but universal. You might think that there are such things as facts, and explanations, and rational discourse... and you might find them self-evident and universal.

Well.. I am sorry to disappoint you: science, precisely, demonstrated some decades ago that all these things you hold dear are not at all universal, even less self-evident, and all depend on a structural mythology (mythology in the sense of absolute truth which is not questioned - as the "Greek" or the "Roman or "the Western" mythology - because it can not be questioned, not in the sense of "something false") that one learns as a child. For a long period of time and in other large cultural areas other wonderful mythologies and other ways to look at the world existed.. some of them, I must say, much more interesting and probably "truer" than our humble "enlightenment mythology structure". Yes my fella, this is the name it is given to the set of narratives, concepts and structures that describe our vision of the world in this part of the blogosphere. The existence of facts, its relation with something called "reality", its relation with rational and logical discourse... and so on. We also have other mythologies, but let's not talk about sex, gender, politics, religion, love, feelings, family or spatial attributes now (although on spatial attribute you must know that right is right, left is wrong, and up is good, and down -as defeat- is bad).

After the enlightenment mythology spread like the plague some centuries ago (oh, the good times), the magic world, unfortunately, was pushed outside of the world center completely. Science was on one side- religion and magic were on the other side. This awful mistake produced centuries later a disaster that noone could foresee (Well, actually Marx could foresee it... pity he did not know what to do about it): the elites rebelled, they wanted more money, more power and to have more people at their service. Of course, that produces a few economic problems... plus some people might be pissed off at being semi-slave again... plus, well it is not easy to do a rebellion.

And what did those nice elite guys decide to do? Well, study science... and hard. They realised that enlightenment was really a problem. If enlightenment is too robust, people would immediately kill them all. It is/was absolutely necessary to change the main narratives of enlightenment. Facts, tentative explanations, theorems, theories, experiment, conclusions, hypotheses, guesses were concepts that one should play with/distort. More importantly, complete false structures (sets of narratives with common base) in any particular field should be created, at any cost. More precisely, at the cost of buying academic positions in history and economics. It was a smart move... creating false narratives in physics or chemistry after the A-Bomb and nuclear power would have been crazy. Economists not so much. Nobody took them seriously in the other areas of scientific knowledge.

False debates were pushed and money was injected. It was extremely important to create parallel worlds with these guys and this money. "Other/new" facts and "other/new" laws should appear. But "our" laws and "our facts". And these laws and facts had to be something "like the enlightenment ones"... but, you know, not really.

And in what was really a master stroke, they joined this wonderful parallel universe with religious narratives and connotations. They both allied and soon we had the wonderful Milton Friedman creating a parallel economic universe based on moral religious/protestant white foundations (together with some insight on monetary policy... which is not really that important, ask Japan for details). Soon we had a moral scale where the rich could do no wrong. Soon we had a caste system where those related with God where the ones anointed. Soon we had that the rich in 21st century were like the rich in the 3rd century, namely, those related with empire control and with God.

And what did the enlightenment forces do? Nothing.. of course.. because we are so smart and so intelligent that we all knew that facts are self-evident...Self-evident, my ass!!!

The problem is that we are all fancy academic types, and researchers and cofuckers. We, mostly, have not a fuck*** idea about science.. we have became so narrow-minded in our scientific interests that we can no longer tell a nice tale explaining our general field of research, even less create an encompassing narrative about the world. Even worse, we could hardly utter a coherent philosophical view... or a coherent scientific world-view. In summary, we could not create a magic-myth defining ourselves, because you know "story-telling" and "grasping/enjoying your own imagination" is so "guru-hippie" that "good" scientists never do it (DarkSyde, we love you). Idiots.

People trying to scream out loud that enlightenment is not self-evident were trying to create NARRATIVES to create strong magic-science supporters, and of course they were ridiculed. If you tried to say that science is not self-evident you could forget your money. For a while we had Carl Sagan... and Isaac Asimov... even the nerds had respect for them.. after all they probably became scientists because of them (do you get it now stupid academic nerd?) for a while we had some heroes fighting alone... but then they disappeared...

And guess what we have now...We lost. A small set of structures and people (as Mead would say) is trying to fight the invasion of conventional crap wisdom, nerdy narrative punditocracy and the like... Even worse, some academic people still did not wake up... they still believe that the other side is playing a little bit with the numbers, but at the end of the day they are enlightenment guys like us... And if you doubt it.. ask P. Krugman what to think about some of their economists fellas at Krugman's NYT blog!


And now, let's move from theory to example. A basic look at the numbers which a basic decent economist would do, will tell you that the US is in a big mess right now. Krugman and Atrios and Berkeley's Brad have wonderful blogs where they explain in detail how the lack of regulation, the asymmetric capture of wealth and the lack of infrastructure in the US can (already has) become a nightmare. They have predicted the bust before the "very serious people".. and they were punished. They are now pushing for reforms, for Keynesian policies, to discuss options, including political options... But, dear fellas, enlightenment is not strong nowadays. So it really does not matter. Good discussion does not matter. Facts are transformed into hypotheses. And opinions into facts. The important thing is to sell the US model at all costs... even when it could collapse at any other minute if they do not start Rooseveltian-scale reforms.

So, what is the media (yes one day we have to talk at length about the media as an echo-chamber of right-wing narratives, how the Right became a master of propaganda by studying symbolic anthropology and structural analysis very hard, but another day) controlled by the twist-and-shout boys doing? Pushing and pushing and pushing narrative after narrative to reinforce the already neo-capitalist American myth where the market is basically a god in direct talks with THE WHITE MALE GOD we all love to kill homosexuals with.

And one of their narratives now is that not the US, but Europe, is the one which is doomed... "Europe.is.so.doomed" is the official brilliant name that Jerome (the master of deconstruction) gave to it, kudos. [EDIOR'S NOTE - DoDo: it was originated by ThatBritGuy.]

But narratives have soft spots. They can be attacked if they have no internal coherence. Think of the economic crap coming from the US media as a film (it is really exactly the same thing). In a film, there is no problem if a nice big-tit blonde says to her lover "what a wonderful sunny day" while outside it is dark and night. Yes, it is really not a problem. You can interpret the film as if she is talking symbolically, or that she is insane, or that it is a metaphor (think about singing in the rain and you get the idea). So reality has nothing to do with narrative. Any reality can be perfectly adapted to any narrative. So, do not doubt that if a US crash were to happen, they could explain it out and say that US "libruls" did, or that nasty pink Europeans did it or forced us. You may think it is a long shot but I think I just have to say "torture" to make you think about how everything can be explained out and distorted. Torture used to be an awful thing, a common position in our culture. Now it is debatable. Soon, only "left-wing wackos" would defend that torture should be illegal.

So what was the soft spot of a narrative again? Internal coherence. The narrative must have internal coherence. The same blonde girl CAN NOT say "what a lovely sunny day, it is so dark outside".... this would be a mistake, the same girl can not think or say the same and the opposite thing at the same instant. Luckily Anthropology 101 shows this is universal (or almost). You can say completely contradictory things at different times, but not at the same time. This is the only way we have to generate converts to the enlightenment movement.

In other words, only when a statement or discourse is in direct contradiction with itself and immediate reality can we reach the guys at the other side of our enlightenment narrative/mythology. But we have to reach them, otherwise, they will forget.

And Oh-my-God they were close to reaching that point the other day, so let's use it to expand our base of enligthenites...here is the story:


Spain is a member of the Europe is doomed club (we reelected center-sane economic policymakers, this is clearly a sin) and the fact is that Spain has really a lot of serious, serious problems... basically the economy has been based on construction for too long. A housing boom was generated, enriching the few and sending housing prices through the roof. Luckily, it stopped, and our growth has been diminished since then to a mere 2% (only four times bigger than the US'). Luckily, and you cannot imagine how luckily, the Spanish banking practices in the mortgage sector are superb. The control mechanism from the Spanish Central Bank (a branch of the ECB) is strong. The number of defaults is minimal. So, despite the housing crisis, Spanish banks are in better shape than any other banking system, any American banking institution included. So now, Spain "only" has to worry about relocating the jobs outside house construction and hope that oil-inflation does not get out of control. But, hey, we do not have a financial meltdown.

And this can not be. This is a fact which must be eliminated/explained away. Problem is, how do they fight it? Tricky, Spanish bankers are powerful people, you can not go around mocking them without expecting a counter-attack. So the best way was to forget that there are countries which did not DO THE CRAZY STUFF the oligarchs do in the US.

In the US getting millions of dollars as a reward for bankrupting your own company is a MUST. Promoting neo-capitalism and then begging for socialist measures to save your own ass is a MUST. And then mocking the poor black guy which is poor because "he/she" does not have personal responsibility is a MUST. Full display of disgusting HYPOCRISY is a MUST. Gold rich criminals sitting in CEO administration cracking jobs at the middle class is a MUST.

But then, the Europe.is.doomed narrative came to the rescue. Spain must be doomed... but how can they can be doomed if they have the best mortgage practices in town.. mmmhhhh.. IMF nerd to the rescue: a so-called "economist" called Simon Johnson (no name-calling please, I know it is tempting) in the IMF had this to say about Spain:

Público.es

"At this moment, the lack of a sophisticated mortgage market in Spain will soften the impact of the crisis... the effects of the economic slow-down in the housing sector will be lower than in the US, given that Spain does not have the "advanced" mortgage instruments that exist in the financial heart of the world"

ARE YOU FREAKING KIDDING ME? No, this is standard procedure. They were the best, they are still the best. This is a very basic story-telling called "once in a while the stupid gets lucky" because he is stupid. So, poor Spain.. and lucky Spain, Spain is full of completely retarded people who can not create an advanced mortgage system threatening the whole economy. They are really so retarded. Pity them!!!! Lucky now, but do not come pretending you are anything but retarded people.

But, of course, that was not all. A right-wing-nut narrative can not have that name if the art of jiu-jitsu is not introduced. So, here it comes, the great Roberto Cardarelli, an "expert in the IMF about the topic" or a craptocrat as I call them:

"The Spanish mortgage house market walks towards the US model, but Spain should not stop this development. It will be a huge mistake, because financial innovation is something good. It will be like closing the flight industry because the first planes crashed"

oh, man they are good at metaphors,... like closing the flight industry.. he is so good, so full of himself... So, what should the flight proto-industry have done when all the planes crashed... I know!!! Start building planes like cars hoping that once in a while one will not crash? What the hell are you talking about? He is extremely close to internal incoherence. Innovation is both like planes crashing, and like a wonderful good industry? But if everything is so wizard of Oz wonderful, why do the planes crash? I have an idea about a very innovative plane!!! Why not a plane without WINGS!! I bet we can save a lot of money in the production process!!

Besides the lack of any personal ethics or the delusional nature of the so-called "experts", I personally think that if we add these two pieces of crap together, we can convert some people to our cause. It is quite clear that they lack internal coherence. You can confidently claim that they live in a parallel universe where up is down and down is up, where good mortgage practices are considered old and bad just because they are not awful practices. Where you just say "new" and "innovative" to cover for "crazy" and "moronic". One can not defend one thing and the opposite at the same time without risking losing followers of your cause.

I hope I convinced someone. If you are all convinced... reproduce at will to convince at will. Remember, they are not crazy, they know the fight and they will use everything at their disposal... even if they have to sound insane for a while.

Display:
Wonderful read ;-)

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Sat May 10th, 2008 at 10:31:55 AM EST
It was supposed to be a Spanish is doom.. and it turn out a personal postion paper :)

A pleasure

I therefore claim to show, not how men think in myths, but how myths operate in men's minds without their being aware of the fact. Levi-Strauss, Claude

by kcurie on Sat May 10th, 2008 at 10:44:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And you are right. When in desperation, the Craptocrats contradict themselves, this should be seen as an exposed jugular vein. Jérôme had a great one the other day about how 'we need to have wage flexibility (ie downwards) in order to achieve better wages. Or something to that effect.

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Sat May 10th, 2008 at 11:35:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Absolutely. this is their jugular. And Jerome was brilliant. i could not agree more. Perfect metaphor.

You can convince people in the fence adn very close to the fence. Internal coherence (lack of it) is the achilles heel. I hope people on the reality-based community use it.

A pleasure

I therefore claim to show, not how men think in myths, but how myths operate in men's minds without their being aware of the fact. Levi-Strauss, Claude

by kcurie on Sat May 10th, 2008 at 11:42:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Great diary! By their self-contradictions they shall fall, indeed!

Editor's note: I corrected lazy linking, some typos, and inserted a note to correctly credit ThatBritGuy with "Europe. Is. Doomed.".

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Sat May 10th, 2008 at 01:35:25 PM EST
thanks for the proper credit.. My huge mistake!!!!!

Thanks for the typos too, Dodo!!!

And the links..well I like seeing the full address..most of the times you see the inherent title int he name of the webpage... but I have no problem with the short version.

A pleasure

I therefore claim to show, not how men think in myths, but how myths operate in men's minds without their being aware of the fact. Levi-Strauss, Claude

by kcurie on Sat May 10th, 2008 at 01:39:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
How big is your screen?

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sat May 10th, 2008 at 02:19:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Quite big.... Now I know.

A pleasure

I therefore claim to show, not how men think in myths, but how myths operate in men's minds without their being aware of the fact. Levi-Strauss, Claude

by kcurie on Sat May 10th, 2008 at 03:30:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I here apologize to ThatBritguy.. I really missed the origin of the "Europe is doom" name. Thanks to Dodo for pointing it out, and again my humble apologies Brit :)

A pleasure

I therefore claim to show, not how men think in myths, but how myths operate in men's minds without their being aware of the fact. Levi-Strauss, Claude

by kcurie on Sat May 10th, 2008 at 01:41:30 PM EST
From Craptocrats to Platypi.

A "Platypus,"is Pirsig's term (in "Lila") for what Kuhn called an anomaly, an aberration that current descriptions cannot explain adequately.

The more anomalies, or platypi, that build up, the more need there is for new descriptions and theories.

I'm in the Platypus business.

We've got mammals (Public) and reptiles (Private) and that's how it is, right? And when we say "Private" we actually mean owned by a dinosaur variant of reptile...(aka a Corporation).

Well, I'm pointing out the existence of a Platypus which is not only not going away but laying its eggs every bloody where.....

The Public sector can only borrow to invest, right?

Well actually, no, and here's a couple of community investment Platypi to prove it

You have to have banks to create credit, right?

Well, 'er actually here's a mutual credit "guarantee society" Platypus and and a production sharing "capital partnership" investment Platypus.

As Joni Mitchell sang

"you don't know what you've gone". The platypus demonstrates that you don't know what you haven't got 'til you see it.....

Let's just point out the Platypi.

PS...and if anyone can lift the image off the article and park it somewhere accessible I'll be their friend for life....

"The future is already here -- it's just not very evenly distributed" William Gibson

by ChrisCook (cojockathotmaildotcom) on Sat May 10th, 2008 at 01:49:21 PM EST
Well actually she sang "you don't know what you've got 'til it's gone", but whatever....

"The future is already here -- it's just not very evenly distributed" William Gibson
by ChrisCook (cojockathotmaildotcom) on Sat May 10th, 2008 at 01:52:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"Don't it always seem to go..."

The blurker formerly known as ignorant bystander.
by b--- (budr at hughes net) on Mon May 12th, 2008 at 11:54:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Arrrgh.  Now that song is looping around my head.  Good thing I like the song.

Don't it always seem to go,
That you don't know what you've got til it's gone.
Pave Paradise, put up a parking lot.


The blurker formerly known as ignorant bystander.

by b--- (budr at hughes net) on Mon May 12th, 2008 at 02:02:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Frankly Chris. Quite brilliant.

Platypus probably change structures, script incoherence generates converts.

but I am not sure if you can have one without the other...after all who is going to detect them and propose new narratives if noone is going to listen (besides your side)... And , on the other hand, how youc an convert anybody if there are not common insitutional descriptions.

MMhhhh.. I think I will need some time to digest your comment:)

A pleasure

I therefore claim to show, not how men think in myths, but how myths operate in men's minds without their being aware of the fact. Levi-Strauss, Claude

by kcurie on Sat May 10th, 2008 at 01:57:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Ah, but do you not realise that these Platypi are Killers?

The reason is that they feed off dinosaur eggs.

What I mean is that they are emerging because they work and actually crowd out (dis-intermediate/ "Napsterise") and out compete the dinosaurs.

Those who do not Platypise will be at a disadvantage to those who do....which is why they are "emerging".

Ethical is Optimal.

"The future is already here -- it's just not very evenly distributed" William Gibson

by ChrisCook (cojockathotmaildotcom) on Sat May 10th, 2008 at 02:08:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
On the ball once again Mr Viking ;-)

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Sat May 10th, 2008 at 02:32:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Emerging structures and insitutions.. oh yeah...

Buy media and create new structures/institutions which outcompete!!

both media and new property/work/ structures...

You have convinced me.. both are equally important.

Buy media as the scream of the narrative (symbolic anthropologists guy)... create insitutions/strucutres from the strucutral antrhopologist guy.

We need them.. indeed.

Spot on...

A pleasure

I therefore claim to show, not how men think in myths, but how myths operate in men's minds without their being aware of the fact. Levi-Strauss, Claude

by kcurie on Sat May 10th, 2008 at 03:36:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Actually male platypi have venomous spurs on their rear legs. A dose from one of these can kill you or make you think you are going to die. The genome has recently been sequenced.  See:

www.nytimes.com/2008/05/08/science/08platypus.html

Along the lines of your metaphor, one of my favorite platypi from the "City of the Fallen Angles" was former Mayor Richard Riordan's "public-private partnerships," which appeared mostly to be a means of putting public money into private pockets.  In this case the the venom is injected into the property tax ratepayers, the school district and families using LAUSD.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Tue May 13th, 2008 at 12:53:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Excellent kcurie.

It starts and ends with the Narrative.

"The future is already here -- it's just not very evenly distributed" William Gibson

by ChrisCook (cojockathotmaildotcom) on Sat May 10th, 2008 at 02:35:46 PM EST
Excelent diary, thanks. We had a discussion about narratives in Ephemera's diary Framing the UK Abortion Debate. This EID diary is certainly complementary to read with that in mind.

It's interesting in how the left are much less successful at creating the narratives on their terms than the right.  If we constructed similarly contradictory narratives, the right would pick it all apart immediately, taking their audience with them.  yet when the left try to remind of the lies and false statements/hypocritical actions of the right, somehow we are not so successful in opening eyes to that.

Is that because we are contradicting a deeply ingrained and widely accepted narrative that isn't questioned by people?  We are challenging a 'truth' therefore we must be lying and the right can smack us down for it because they still hold the dominant discourse and quickly bury our objections and statements. And the audience remembers how the left contradicted the comfortable and reasonable sounding mainstream story, but they never remember the left pointing out continued lies of the right.

by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Sat May 10th, 2008 at 02:54:59 PM EST
It's media, media , media that we lack (money, money, money) .. and the structures behind it.  Plus, once youg et a certain mythology some sort of "tradition" sets in... and then it is tough.

As Bit would say... Bbuy media!.. and as Chris would say... create new structure!!!

A pleasure

I therefore claim to show, not how men think in myths, but how myths operate in men's minds without their being aware of the fact. Levi-Strauss, Claude

by kcurie on Sat May 10th, 2008 at 03:32:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It's interesting in how the left are much less successful at creating the narratives on their terms than the right.  If we constructed similarly contradictory narratives, the right would pick it all apart immediately, taking their audience with them.  yet when the left try to remind of the lies and false statements/hypocritical actions of the right, somehow we are not so successful in opening eyes to that.

That's because "the left" actually believes in the enlightenment narrative of facts and consistency.

First of all, there's this idea that the facts are the narrative. Then the idea that creating narrative is lying, and then an expectation that the narratives will be true, which makes the allegiance of the base vulnerable to "consistency" and "honesty" attack from the right.

"The right", on the other hand (see Altemeyer's "The Authoritarians" for evidence at least within the Western™ cultural matrix - kcurie is not convinced it is a cross-cultural universal) doesn't have a problem holding contradictory ideas in their head (at different times, that is), doesn't have qualms about building narratives, and the base doesn't expect consistency or intellectual honesty from their leadership (they have other values) so their allegiance is not vulnerable to consistency attacks.

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat May 10th, 2008 at 03:44:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Absolutely dead on.... plus media.

A pleasure

I therefore claim to show, not how men think in myths, but how myths operate in men's minds without their being aware of the fact. Levi-Strauss, Claude

by kcurie on Sat May 10th, 2008 at 04:25:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
About media... The sad thing about Publico.es is that it is supposed to be on the left side in the media fight for the soul of the Spanish left (more pro-PSOE than the increasingly economic-liberal ElPais.es) and yet they reported the IMF thing about the mortgage market as if it were a serious opinion as opposed to evidence that even the IMF is not to be taken seriously any longer. And the director of Publico.es is Escolar of Escolar.net! Why bother starting a new newspaper of the left if they don't have their eyes on the ball?


When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat May 10th, 2008 at 04:29:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I still hope that there was some kind of "we know this is bull" in the subtext.

A pleasure

I therefore claim to show, not how men think in myths, but how myths operate in men's minds without their being aware of the fact. Levi-Strauss, Claude

by kcurie on Sat May 10th, 2008 at 05:29:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
No such luck. The byline is "agencies". It's not even a signed article.

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat May 10th, 2008 at 06:27:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
OOooopss..

then feel free to forward anything to Escolar... although a tranalated version is time consuming for sure.

A pleasure

I therefore claim to show, not how men think in myths, but how myths operate in men's minds without their being aware of the fact. Levi-Strauss, Claude

by kcurie on Sat May 10th, 2008 at 06:31:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I was thinking of polishing the English a bit for the Front Page (it's going there on Monday morning!) but I'll consult you over e-mail because I don't want to "correct" any intentionally peculiar turns of phrase.

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat May 10th, 2008 at 06:43:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
just keep the doomed instead of the doom.. and it is fine..:) Others turns.. feel free.. I actually make the phrases with a clear spanish background... hoping that the turn is the same in spanish.. or at least that it can be interpreted.

A pleasure

I therefore claim to show, not how men think in myths, but how myths operate in men's minds without their being aware of the fact. Levi-Strauss, Claude

by kcurie on Sat May 10th, 2008 at 06:54:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
On the other hand there are 17 reader comments to the story and they are universally cynical and mostly well-informed about the nature of the subprime "financial innovation".

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat May 10th, 2008 at 06:37:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Can you get an article/LTE published in it? (Theoretically - I know it's too late for this one.)

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sat May 10th, 2008 at 05:52:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
When one reads the article you quite do not know if there is  subtext of "look how stupid the IMF is" or not. It is really tricky.... sometimes  it seems they think it is serious, other times not...a dn always in very subtle things.

A pleasure

I therefore claim to show, not how men think in myths, but how myths operate in men's minds without their being aware of the fact. Levi-Strauss, Claude

by kcurie on Sat May 10th, 2008 at 05:54:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
But even if so, making it explicit with some infusion of collected ET wisdom[TM] would be great.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sat May 10th, 2008 at 06:03:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Absolutely... but you were trigth before.. thsi was like some weeks ago? I do not recall..so it would sound weird...

but a translation can be given to escolar, that's for sure. Migeru knows the mail... so he can feel free to pass it...

A pleasure

I therefore claim to show, not how men think in myths, but how myths operate in men's minds without their being aware of the fact. Levi-Strauss, Claude

by kcurie on Sat May 10th, 2008 at 06:07:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I wonder whether Escolar will allow it as an op-ed...

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat May 10th, 2008 at 06:15:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Migeru:
First of all, there's this idea that the facts are the narrative.

Well, the idea that all you have to do is explain facts to people and they'll work out the narrative for themselves.

Narratives are always moral, in the sense of promoting certain kinds of behaviour and discouraging others. But where the Left attacks very specific behaviours, the Right works by promoting feelings first and then adding a narrative wrapper around them.

It's literally Pavlovian conditioning. Make people scared about their jobs and tell them immigrants are coming to take them from them, and in no time you'll have people who hate immigrants.

It's like I said yesterday about 'show don't tell.' It's not just the bedrock of fiction, it's the bedrock of all story-telling, which makes it the bedrock of all politics and economics too.

The mistake the Left makes is putting the feelings last. That's why most campaigns are so ineffective - campaigners feel the outrage, but it's rarely communicated in a way that people who aren't already persuaded can get personally excited about.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Sat May 10th, 2008 at 04:30:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
... learned since the enlightenment.

Well, the idea that all you have to do is explain facts to people and they'll work out the narrative for themselves.

There are no such things as free-standing facts with relevance independent of systems of cause and effect.

A certain number of people will be able to build those kinds of systems for themselves that are sufficiently close to coherent that the facts they already "knew" suddenly snap into a new focus.

But that is not enough to bring enough people along quickly enough to build a change coalition. Its not enough to make the raw materials available to people for them to build those systems on a do it yourself basis ... we've also got to provide modular kits and pre-assembled models.


I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Mon May 12th, 2008 at 11:57:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]

That's because "the left" actually believes in the enlightenment narrative of facts and consistency.

The enlightenment project was always an affair of the  middle class. It was most influential at those times when this class composed the majority of the electorate. As the franchise was extended to those lower down the ladder the enlightenment narrative became less compelling. In the USA Freemasons served to convey many of these values to emerging members of the middle class.  However the majority of the population retained allegiance to "that old time religion." One of the reasons emerging members of the middle class found enlightenment values so attractive was that gave them a perspective on religion that enabled them to develop a relatively integrated, rational faculty, which is useful in business and public affairs--until the adherents of "that old time religion" figure it out and react.

It was elites who proclaimed in the famous 1960s issue of Time Magazine that "God Is Dead."  The right seized on this and rode the backlash into dominance in the 1980s.  What left there remains in the USA has been swimming against this "dark ages" undertow every since.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Tue May 13th, 2008 at 01:23:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
As I never get tired of pointing out to clients, what you have to say is less important than what your audience needs and is ready to accept. The age of the Monologue is long over. Even Dialogue is ineffective where either party has their hands over their ears.

The most natural state is mutual feedback. An understanding of how this works is essential to modern politics, IMO. The aim would be to build a totally organic, dynamic system. It is not so fanciful as you might imagine. What we are doing at ET is examining the rules for such a future system.

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Sat May 10th, 2008 at 03:55:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It's interesting in how the left are much less successful at creating the narratives on their terms than the right.

It's always worth to point out that this has not always been that way. Currently, the Right is rolling back progress - progress earlier Leftists managed to achieve not without resistance from the then Right.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Sat May 10th, 2008 at 04:09:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Did the left at some point just declare victory left, or something?

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat May 10th, 2008 at 04:14:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I mean declared victory and left...

Preview is your friend.

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat May 10th, 2008 at 04:30:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I think everyone assumed that the post-WWII consensus was a given, and was never going to change.

Mission accomplished.

I don't think anyone on the Left was expecting the ferocity of the counter-attack. It's taken a couple of decades just to come to terms with the fact that it happened at all, never mind what to do about it.

I partly blame the academics and the intellectuals we've had for the last couple of decades. Instead of making Thatcherism and Reaganism look juvenile and ridiculous they've mostly been more interested in playing intellectual games like deconstruction, apparently with the delusional belief that this is somehow profoundly influential, rather than spectacularly irrelevant.

Which is why the Left has lost the universities. There's a bit of token claptrap Culture Theory on many media courses in the UK, but in terms of political influence - forgedaboutit.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Sat May 10th, 2008 at 04:39:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Can you elaborate on they way in which "the left has lost the universities"? In what sense did it have them before?

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat May 10th, 2008 at 04:55:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Maybe it was more of an Anglo thing, but from the 70s onwards you very nearly couldn't do any of the humanities without being exposed to left-wing critiques and positions.

Right wing faculty positions weren't common, except possibly in science and engineering, and there they were never talked about in class.

The London School of Economics used to be a bastion of the far left. That was partly because of radical student action towards the end of the sixties, but partly because the culture was already pre-existing from the 30s onwards, and being an intellectual meant you were almost certainly a communist or communist sympathiser.

From the start of the 90s MBA culture started to erode that, and now it's becoming formulaic and marginalised, and is being replaced with a much more small-minded and pinched entrepreneurial spirit.

This has done so much damage to universities that the current meme is - why bother? You'll get a better paid job more quickly with vocational experience.

Which is quite true. But there's no longer much sense of going to university to learn, or question, or challenge - it's strictly about finding yourself a shelf on the job market in the hope that someone rich and important notices you.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Sat May 10th, 2008 at 05:09:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I was really pleased to realise with the Open University that they deliver their social policy course with a strong left wing narrative.  On the student's feedback page I noticed a number of complaints that the teaching was too biased and militant and refused to allow 'modern thinking' from students on the course!
by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Sun May 11th, 2008 at 04:55:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It was specially awful in the 70's...indeed.. it was like deserting the battlefield...they completely forgot what they should have known about narratives,a bout narrrative feelings, and about media, and about..well about attacking the other narrative.

As you said, they thought fact contained the narrative...most accademics at that time would have failed to explain any story-telling coherently...

A pleasure

I therefore claim to show, not how men think in myths, but how myths operate in men's minds without their being aware of the fact. Levi-Strauss, Claude

by kcurie on Sat May 10th, 2008 at 05:32:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I remember a documentary on politics and music a decade ago, which saw the change (in the US at least) at a very specific point: the success of the more private-personal songs of The Carpenters, from May 1970, just after the Kent State shootings. (The argument was more detailed than that, mentioning a lot of parallel processes, but this stuck in me.) This giving-up however was not in victory, but defeat: failure to stop the Vietnam War, and the winding down of the spirit of 1968.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sat May 10th, 2008 at 06:00:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
they've mostly been more interested in playing intellectual games like deconstruction, apparently with the delusional belief that this is somehow profoundly influential, rather than spectacularly irrelevant.

and the right is going to seize advances in neuroscience for its narratives (We are greedy killing machines, therefore, we must legislate this and codify it culturally) while the left ignores what is happening by clinging to its obsolete century old theories.

you are the media you consume.

by MillMan (millguy at gmail) on Sun May 11th, 2008 at 12:09:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Social interpretations of neuroscience.. or the fact that we look for has right-wing narative is quite dangerous.

the number of false theories about how the brain works is astonishing... the number of DNA nonsense you can read in the major newspapers is amazing...

And there is noone out there fighting back..why brain plasticity suddenly dissappeared from major media? why the fact that DNA cannt code anything relevant int he brain because it doe snot ahve aenoug information never expained?  because most of the scientists either beleive the interpretation crap or just do not know what it is hitting them.

A pleasure

I therefore claim to show, not how men think in myths, but how myths operate in men's minds without their being aware of the fact. Levi-Strauss, Claude

by kcurie on Sun May 11th, 2008 at 05:08:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
If I understand you -- there may have been a point in the early seventies that was a zenith, when a rising large generation in the wealthier parts of the world was feeling sure it had flung the old order arse over tit and joined forces with a workers' movement that was far from past its sell-by date.

Too cool, too easy, too short-lived.

A good friend in those days never stopped telling me that the backlash was going to be terrible.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat May 10th, 2008 at 04:58:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Your friend was a genius..a t least comapred with most people.

A pleasure

I therefore claim to show, not how men think in myths, but how myths operate in men's minds without their being aware of the fact. Levi-Strauss, Claude

by kcurie on Sat May 10th, 2008 at 05:33:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
He was. Of the "it ain't paranoia if they're out to get you" kind.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat May 10th, 2008 at 05:46:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
What is your friend up to these days?

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat May 10th, 2008 at 06:14:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
If I knew I'd have him on ET.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun May 11th, 2008 at 05:08:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes.. we moved the future.. ans now when we are gettign to benefits of years pushing world poverty, hunger and war as ethic world issues,and the generation with this mindset got into midle-levels of power we see that the poverty rates, infatility rates, adn wars are at an all time low... Just imagine what the rigth will get in ten years if we do not fight back.

The left declared victory and left...because things were self-evident.

A pleasure

I therefore claim to show, not how men think in myths, but how myths operate in men's minds without their being aware of the fact. Levi-Strauss, Claude

by kcurie on Sat May 10th, 2008 at 04:28:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't think so.  I think the relative success of the right in propagating their narratives has had more to do with owning most of the megaphones for the past half century or so, at least since the invention of television.  And it doesn't hurt that their structure is inherently top-down and authoritarian.

But I think the worm is turning with the rise of the internet and particularly with the rise of forums such as this one.  The Republican party which strutted and talked confidently of an enduring majority just a few short years ago is now in full panic mode.  Even their loudest cheerleaders see only dark clouds on the horizon.  They no longer control the narrative to the extent they did even five years ago.  Looks a little like the internet platypi are eating their corporate media dinosaur eggs and they don't know what to do about it.

The blurker formerly known as ignorant bystander.

by b--- (budr at hughes net) on Mon May 12th, 2008 at 12:36:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
</speechless>Collons, Jaume, t'as passat.

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat May 10th, 2008 at 03:38:19 PM EST
Molt bo.
by PerCLupi on Sat May 10th, 2008 at 04:18:16 PM EST
Gracies. (thanks indeed)

A pleasure

I therefore claim to show, not how men think in myths, but how myths operate in men's minds without their being aware of the fact. Levi-Strauss, Claude

by kcurie on Sat May 10th, 2008 at 04:28:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Excellent!

Don't fight forces, use them R. Buckminster Fuller.
by rg (leopold dot lepster at google mail dot com) on Sat May 10th, 2008 at 04:43:04 PM EST
You put another layer on, another coat of paint ;) And it's more vivid and coherent now! (It takes time to grow the energy, doesn't it?)

The "facts become debatable become hypotheses while opinions are facts" was tested out, imo, in Holocaust denial, a frontal assault on what seemed to be the most self-evident fact of history-that-mattered. History is, in my view, the centre of the attack, even more than economics: or, if you like, a certain sense of history has to be destroyed in order to make acceptable a contrived economic narrative.

It's not indifferent that Sarko and his advisors play incessantly with the myths of modern French history, appealing at one and the same time to the fibre of the Resistance, and to the bureaucratic racism of Vichy; vicously attacking May '68 while posing as rebels and populist reformers. It's a vital part of "shifting the lines" as they call it.

Yes, they are aware of what they're doing. Yes, there are propagandists who invent their ideology and its pathways to the mass mind.

Yes, we're a bunch of people in the corner looking out for their incoherences and hoping to let slip from some mousehole the story that will marry the truth of the planet with a warm new desire for humanity.

Keep going, kc.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat May 10th, 2008 at 05:32:20 PM EST
Indeed, a certain type of hystory.. the history that declared "history is written by winners" is a history they wanted to get rid of.

Spot on.

And I think we can keep this diary as a personal position paper... I only hope more people would know neurobiology 101 and antrhopology 101 at the same time to propagate these ideas: Institutional strucutres and lack of internal coherence are the only way to penetrate and change people who have internalized a particualr mythology, in our case a neocapitalsit look at the world,... but there are a lot of people at the fence... media and science-magic-feeling narratives are the only thing we need to convince them.

But I think you keep going more than me :)

A pleasure

I therefore claim to show, not how men think in myths, but how myths operate in men's minds without their being aware of the fact. Levi-Strauss, Claude

by kcurie on Sat May 10th, 2008 at 05:41:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You're modest.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat May 10th, 2008 at 05:49:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
If we could choose a god, it should be kcurie.

I've recently been discussing with a colleague who argued that it's nonsense that I, as a European, would still be "preaching" enlightenment values. One argument was that enlightenment was "on the streets" and in the books in Europe - how I'd wish...

What I wanted to write in the meta-diary was my hope that one of the goals ET should be to focus on the Anglo Diseases counter-strike now the economy of the USA is heading for the drain. Because I'm sure there will be a counter-strike, and the Europe.is.Doomed definitely reeks as one - so I guess ET is already mapping out the possible retaliatory narratives, and I'm glad. It's a matter of whether people are catching on fast enough to realise they're being lied to, again...

by Nomad on Sat May 10th, 2008 at 07:47:48 PM EST
Coming from you.. I am red.... :)

We are ane xcellent source of anrratives and tales... we jsut need structure and media to push thm...

but we are few....

A pleasure

I therefore claim to show, not how men think in myths, but how myths operate in men's minds without their being aware of the fact. Levi-Strauss, Claude

by kcurie on Sun May 11th, 2008 at 05:18:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Hmm, maybe we need to consciously work at producing narratives, then.

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun May 11th, 2008 at 08:18:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
we are  doing it.. and quite cosnciously...we just do not have the media projection....

A pleasure

I therefore claim to show, not how men think in myths, but how myths operate in men's minds without their being aware of the fact. Levi-Strauss, Claude

by kcurie on Sun May 11th, 2008 at 09:38:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
great diary kc, with masterful use of spellcheck!

i think that lefties feel that the truths we subscribe to are self-evident, and shouldn't need to be spun as narrative.

sometimes when we try to come up with a statement of shared values here at ET, it somehow ends up a bit wishy-washy, and i think it's for similar reasons...

we can pontificate: equality is good, social justice is good, unions are good, transparency in government is good, but these don't need to be mythologised or spun into fancy narratives, they are self-evident, and indeed have a habit of seeming trite and pious, gilding the lily, so to speak.

sometimes we fall into a trap of becoming cliche lefties, whinging utopistically and ineffectively while the right take the people to the bank (to better defraud them), because they own media, as many have pointed out.

sigh...i conclude that narratives containing the truth come across as naive nostalgia for ham handed social engineering (cf communism as practiced in USSR and PRC), that according to the right's narrative were universally evil, because they produced breadlines and trabants, while 'we' produced cornucopias and sexy porsche cayennes.

so we on the left are so ready to scream 'propaganda' at the right's 'twistory' (twisted historyTM) that we neglect to take on board what this diary points so well to, that in a 'truman show' media world, people believe the program that appeals most to their own laziness or cynicism, especially when it is drummed into them 24/7.

it's convenient to latch on to 9/11 as an attempt to bring down our noble house of cards by scheming evil terrorists so therefore we need to bomb afghanistan into the stone age, and since we're in the 'hood, go get saddam (dead men tell no tales) and squat the biggest embassy in the world nice and close to all the yummy oil, just waiting for our wise, paternalistic republican drills and supply lines....and yes ignore the crumbling bridges, rotten economy, souplines, katrina etc, because we're gonna 'smoke 'em out of their caves' and give 'freedomTM' to the silly brown people who obviously will chill out when we have ripped off their oil and they can chew into a nice big mac, and see 800 porn stations in their tents and refugee camps.

we can't intone about what to believe, because it sounds too corny.

so what i believe iswe have to deconstruct the claptrap, remove the negatives, one by one, and eventually what will remain will be common sense, and won't need any more bernays sauce poured over it to 'sell'....

thanks kc, you rock!

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Sun May 11th, 2008 at 02:05:27 AM EST
Genius, melo, but too good to be original....

eg

Twistory Twitter Mashup (wtf?)

or

Twistory Freeware History Browser

"The future is already here -- it's just not very evenly distributed" William Gibson

by ChrisCook (cojockathotmaildotcom) on Sun May 11th, 2008 at 03:24:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
i never assume any thought to be original these days, chris...

the great god google was always there first!

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Sun May 11th, 2008 at 11:56:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I saw a book today, but alas I didn't have time to look at it closer. Still the author seems to have some interesting things to say.

http://www.donaldkalff.eu/

by Metatone (metatone [a|t] gmail (dot) com) on Sun May 11th, 2008 at 10:15:39 AM EST
.. FP... well thanks... really...:)

And talking about pushing our own narratives..well Krugman is the best in the economic world... do not miss todays piece about (lack of) oil bubble

oil


After all, a realistic view of what’s happened over the past few years suggests that we’re heading into an era of increasingly scarce, costly oil.

The consequences of that scarcity probably won’t be apocalyptic: France consumes only half as much oil per capita as America, yet the last time I looked, Paris wasn’t a howling wasteland. But the odds are that we’re looking at a future in which energy conservation becomes increasingly important, in which many people may even — gasp — take public transit to work.

I don’t find that vision particularly abhorrent, but a lot of people, especially on the right, do. And so they want to believe that if only Goldman Sachs would stop having such a negative attitude, we’d quickly return to the good old days of abundant oil.

he is a freaking genius.

A pleasure


I therefore claim to show, not how men think in myths, but how myths operate in men's minds without their being aware of the fact. Levi-Strauss, Claude

by kcurie on Mon May 12th, 2008 at 09:16:03 AM EST
You made me laugh, kcurie. Thanks:-)

Hey, Grandma Moses started late!
by LEP on Mon May 12th, 2008 at 11:33:57 AM EST
It was supposed to make you laugh and cry LEP.. :)

A pleasure

I therefore claim to show, not how men think in myths, but how myths operate in men's minds without their being aware of the fact. Levi-Strauss, Claude

by kcurie on Mon May 12th, 2008 at 01:51:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
One can cry from disappointment. Maybe at my age it's hard to be disappointed.

Hey, Grandma Moses started late!
by LEP on Mon May 12th, 2008 at 02:46:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
right...
absolutely right.

A pleasure

I therefore claim to show, not how men think in myths, but how myths operate in men's minds without their being aware of the fact. Levi-Strauss, Claude

by kcurie on Mon May 12th, 2008 at 03:21:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Something I personally don't do enough of is trying and turning insight into action. Here is the key insight in this diary:
In other words, only when a statement or discourse is in direct contradiction with itself and immediate reality can we reach the guys at the other side of our enlightenment narrative/mythology. But we have to reach them, otherwise, they will forget.
and it occurred to me today that this has an immediate application to LTE writing.

Often, LTEs are simple statements of disagreement with a published piece, followed by a statement of the LTE writer's pet theory. That is ineffective. The best LTEs are the ones that concisely expose a contradiction in the narrative of the article they respond to. If that can be used as a cue to present an alternative narrative, so much the better, but it is the exposed contradiction that makes the alternative narrative more convincing.

So our LTE writing should be focused on exposing internal contradictions in the prevailing narrative.

Now, should we be targeting the opposition's media, or our own side's? In other words, is it best to sow uncertainty and doubt among the consumers of right-wing media, so as to weaken their allegiance to the cause, or else to protecting a friendly audience from what we think are dangerous narratives?

In the case at hand, the readers at publico.es, at least the ones that commented on the news item that kcurie is quoting, either caught on to the inherent contradiction or at least saw that the narrative didn't match their experience. Therefore an LTE to publico.es might not have been very effective in terms of changing readers' opinions. Maybe it would have been more effective to track down the same piece in Expansion or Cinco Dias (Spain's financial newspapers) or the right-wing press (ABC, El Mundo), or even El Pais (the largest newspaper in the country and increasingly finance-friendly despite its left credentials).

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon May 12th, 2008 at 02:05:19 PM EST
Short LTE should point out contradictions.. I still recall Helen letter abut the British gas market.. who doesn't?

Op-Ed , on the other hand should be a anrrative from the start.. taking shots at contradictions of teh opposite narrative.

Now, we need a media outreach.. :)

And El Pais would eb the target newspaper.. or El Mundo... Razon .. I doubt it...

A pleasure

I therefore claim to show, not how men think in myths, but how myths operate in men's minds without their being aware of the fact. Levi-Strauss, Claude

by kcurie on Mon May 12th, 2008 at 02:21:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Right, Helen's letter is one of the best we've had.

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon May 12th, 2008 at 02:25:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, and I think it was mostly because of that one killer sentence.

For most audiences you have to be able to make your point in a single sentence. Everything else in the op-ed is the carrier, but the maximum impact comes from that one sound-bite sized sentence of payload.

Kos is actually good at this - most of his front page comments look like throw-aways, but in fact they're very distilled one-two punches nailing a point or two.

One one I'm working on at the moment includes some talky fluff with comments from Greenspan and others, and a 'So why is it that economists are so very bad at managing money?'

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Mon May 12th, 2008 at 05:52:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Maybe I need to start reading El Pais again... ugh.

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon May 12th, 2008 at 02:27:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Theya re the group of people more open to our arguments which can fall into other narratives...

El Mundo would be less receptive but still they like to think themselves as centrists and rationalists...

A pleasure

I therefore claim to show, not how men think in myths, but how myths operate in men's minds without their being aware of the fact. Levi-Strauss, Claude

by kcurie on Mon May 12th, 2008 at 02:38:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]


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