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If you just wrote this manifesto down, I'm amazed. It's huge, kc. Yesterday on a thread I said we were inching towards the moment when we could create a new narrative, and here you've offered us a leap forward, thanks so much.

There are a great many points there that matter, and nothing I disagree with. Just to say that people fixing (or not quite fixing for some) the symbolic structure that will determine their political and social attitudes is not a process that occurs in a void. Children, teenagers, young adults, don't snatch myths out of thin air. The surrounding culture, the zeitgeist, have their effect, and the mass media play a more or less "activist" role. There are reinforcing feedback loops: to take the Hitler example, Hitler did manipulate German opinion, but he only reached a position to do so because he articulated with bizarre precision what Germans wanted to hear (mostly a result of a particular historical situation). The difference with today is that conventional wisdom about the power of economics and globalisation seems to me to have been more deliberately fabricated from the mid-seventies on. In other words, think tanks and media, with big money to back them, have trumped what used to be the zeitgeist. And now, those who are forming their symbolic universe are learning from... you guess. In other words, there's a lot to fight against...

Hmm. That's confused stuff... Perhaps something clearer later...

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Apr 13th, 2006 at 10:28:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Actually, it could not be clearer than that.

Absolutely right on the reinforcement effect of mass media. But the close local experiencesare is much more important than TV. Actully, what comes from HOllywood is much more importnat thtn what you find in the news.

So, the first reinforcer is friends and surrounding. Second are movies, TV series, myths in the  strict sense (and we have fair movies right now...all those hateful HOllywood liberal..you know why they attack them so much) and third the elite-news stablishment that you mention. that was precisely my point. Why they are importatn. You just eleaborated the point  hundred of times better than I could.

So Hitler at the beginning was only a puppet. Only later he could create the feedback..and still it was a feedback. Dead 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 Thu Apr 13th, 2006 at 10:44:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Hitler at the beginning was like a ventiloquist's dummy -- with a mind of his own. He was speaking the words that were coming to him, while he had his own intent. Which sharpened in focus and grew darker with the feedback of power he experienced. By which he then sharpened and darkened the desires of the people.

what comes from HOllywood is much more importnat thtn what you find in the news.

And how. (And I was thinking also of pop music and how it's created and what out of). OTOH, the TV news is also part of the story-telling world and the entertainment world. Just doesn't tell the same stories, that's all. Have you noticed how a TV news sequence in a movie is rarely convincing, because they just show them doing what they're supposed to do ie cover events, when the truth of the newscaster's profession is it's all about telling stories? (Exception no doubt for Wag The Dog, terrible librul movie... ;))

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Apr 13th, 2006 at 12:28:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The surrounding culture, the zeitgeist, have their effect, and the mass media play a more or less "activist" role. There are reinforcing feedback loops: to take the Hitler example, Hitler did manipulate German opinion, but he only reached a position to do so because he articulated with bizarre precision what Germans wanted to hear (mostly a result of a particular historical situation)

This really resonates for me as it describes the process I've seen time and time again. Suddenly an idea or meme, encapsulated in a simple phrase, will suddenly appear almost everywhere as the commonly accepted wisdom. to run counter to it would seem to go against what everyone "knows" is common sense.

During the Thatcher era, everybody knew "the economy was doing very well". Karl Rove is a master of enchantment at conjouring new climates of concensus as enablers for policy. He is the myth maker extraordinaire.

So, what are the constituents of an effective myth ?
Maybe an aspirational feelgood factor. People want to feel the choices they've made have been validated. It's why they prefer to vote for an obviously winning side.

Maybe there is an element of team-work, we are all in it together.

I dunno, I don't want to reach too far and lose the idea. Any others ?

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Thu Apr 13th, 2006 at 12:29:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Let me use my language to describe what you perceive.

What K. Rove uses are not mtyhs: the myths are already there. What he does is to develop a particular sharp narrative with a strong concept behind that perfectly fits the myhtology or the large narrative.

I define general myth as something like: "reforming the economy is improtant because"..... the ideas of market  and reform are mythical ideas. Narrative is what comes afterward: If companies do not sell they can not sustain the workers, so we need our comapnies to be more competitive, otherwise they close and the economy becomes stagnant. SO here comes the narrative with a concept: competition.

A local narrative is something more restrict: when the media says that democrats do not stand for anything and repeat it.

SO Rove takes the general myth , knows it. He knows the general narratives surroudnign the basic myths out there and then develops a local narrative that fits perfectly, expands the general narrative and prevents other narratives from happening. Redoing this process hundredds of time reinforces the his narrative and makes the underlying myths almost unreachable.

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 Thu Apr 13th, 2006 at 12:50:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
A local narrative is something more restrict: when the media says that democrats do not stand for anything and repeat it.

It does help that it happens to be true. Sadly. I've given up wondering what it will take for them to stand up and cry "Enough !!" Feingold is trying but it is only the spinelessness of the rest that makes his rational resistance seem remarkable.

I half accept your point, but his weaving of themes also creates the mythology, concesual straw by concensual straw. He works with the grain of the American people, but he melds it into his own creature.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Thu Apr 13th, 2006 at 01:06:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Half accept? What you said is exactly my point: Little by little he melds into its own creature. He works from what exists and fits something. This is what think tanks (you know all those right-wing G. Norquist gatherings?) on the right-wing do. Adapt the local narratives to react to paricualr events but also to change little by little the general narratives and the myths. The events require a hugely local arrative and little by little through aggregation of local events they can also change the general picture. You just said it better 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 Thu Apr 13th, 2006 at 01:27:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Germans in 1938 had the same confusion. This is not rocket science.

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Thu Apr 13th, 2006 at 04:26:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]

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