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Several months ago many of you were kind enough to complete a survey on political beliefs and narrative form I conducted as part of doctoral program at Texas Tech (go Battleground Texas!). Sorry it has taken me so long to give you the results, but attached please find the paper I wrote on the topic. It's in that special indecipherable language academics use to convince each other we know what we're talking about, and like all journal-style articles it spends a lot of time discussing theory before getting to the key topic in question.

In any case, the Results section is pretty accessible and the survey results are in graphic form starting on page 6 if you want to see them.

The basic question was whether Kos readers tended to see politics through a tragic lens (involving good heroes and evil villains) or a comic lens (involving wise heroes and foolish or mistaken villains). I expected more of the second. What the results seemed to indicate, though, was that the political opposition on the right was more often seen as tragic (evil or wicked, and deliberately so), while the political left was more often seen as comic (wise, or at least wiser, but not necessarily "good").

The full paper can be found in .pdf format via a link on my blog.

Thanks again to all everyone who helped with the survey, and keep up the activism!

I've included the last couple paragraphs of the Conclusions section below the jump.

Continue Reading

This is a request for the second half of my study--a new survey.

Hello fellow Kossacks. As my username indicates, I am a doctoral student in the Technical Communication and Rhetoric program at Texas Tech University, doing research into the the role of narrative frames—primarily as defined by Kenneth Burke’s Attitudes Toward History—in the construction of political identity. And I need your help!

Many of you (over 80!) have taken my last survey, and you have my thanks! This is a related but new survey. It is important that I do both surveys as the different methodologies help the validity of the whole study. You are absolutely welcome to take both surveys, or just this one.

So please take a few minutes—probably about 15 minutes—to complete the following anonymous survey about your political views. In this survey I’ll ask you complete some basic demographic information, and then will ask you to briefly, and in your own words, express your thoughts on 10 public figures or political situations

CLICK TO TAKE SURVEY

The survey is absolutely anonymous, runs through the trusted and encrypted site SurveyMonkey, and does not ask for any personal identifying information. Plus, it’s quick!

If you’d like read to one of my previous works on the media rhetoric of the bank bailout, you can find it in the Journal of Technical Writing and Communication, Volume 42, Issue 3 (2012). Unfortunately it’s paywalled, but you can see the abstract here, or you can access the full article through EbscoHost or a similar academic database.

If you would like more information, please contact me, the co-investigator at steve.morrison@ttu.edu. Alternately, you can contact the Dr. Kelli Cargile Cooke, the principal investigator, at kelli.cargile-cook@ttu.edu. I will also respond to comments on this diary.

Please click here to take the survey, or copy and paste the link into your browser:

https://www.surveymonkey.com/...

Thank You!

-Steve Morrison

Discuss

Fri Mar 15, 2013 at 07:27 PM PDT

Help My Research, Please!

by Student of Rhetoric

Hello fellow Kossacks. As my username indicates, I am a doctoral student in the Technical Communication and Rhetoric program at Texas Tech University, doing research into the the role of narrative frames—primarily as defined by Kenneth Burke’s Attitudes Toward History—in the construction of political identity. And I need your help!

Please take a few minutes—probably about 15 minutes—to complete the following anonymous survey about your political views. In this survey I’ll ask you complete some basic demographic information, and then will either ask you to agree or disagree with 20 statements, or to briefly express your thoughts on 10 public figures or political situations (there will be two different surveys over the next week or so).

CLICK TO TAKE SURVEY

The survey is absolutely anonymous, runs through the trusted and encrypted site SurveyMonkey, and does not ask for any personal identifying information. Plus, it’s quick!

If you’d like read to one of my previous works on the media rhetoric of the bank bailout, you can find it in the Journal of Technical Writing and Communication, Volume 42, Issue 3 (2012). Unfortunately it’s paywalled, but you can see the abstract here, or you can access the full article through EbscoHost or a similar academic database.

If you would like more information, please contact me, the co-investigator at steve.morrison@ttu.edu. Alternately, you can contact the Dr. Kelli Cargile Cooke, the principal investigator, at kelli.cargile-cook@ttu.edu.

Please click here to take the survey, or copy and paste the link into your browser:

https://www.surveymonkey.com/...

Thank You!

-Steve Morrison

Discuss

The standard argument against gun control that we hear from the pro-gun lobby is a version of the foolish but memorable cliché, “if guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns.” Setting aside my rhetoric instructor-based objections to the phrase (if rutabagas were outlawed, then only outlaws would have rutabagas—by definition), the argument is clearly suggesting that criminals will get any gun they want, regardless of gun laws.

So let’s examine the best test case we have: fully automatic weapons, a.k.a. machine guns.

Newly manufactured machine guns have been illegal for civilians to own since 1986, and the grandfathered weapons are subject to an array of regulations such as a complete FBI background check for any prospective owner, and a $200 tax every time a weapon changes hands (http://www.guncite.com/...).

According to gun-nut logic, though, this should do nothing to keep them out of the hands of criminals. Remember, if machine guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have machine guns.

So how many crimes have been committed with such weapons? I’ll let the site above offer the answer:

Again in Targeting Guns, Kleck writes, four police officers were killed in the line of duty by machine guns from 1983 to 1992. (713 law enforcement officers were killed during that period, 651 with guns.)
In 1980, when Miami's homicide rate was at an all-time high, less than 1% of all homicides involved machine guns. (Miami was supposedly a "machine gun Mecca" and drug trafficking capital of the U.S.) Although there are no national figures to compare to, machine gun deaths were probably lower elsewhere. Kleck cites several examples:
•    Of 2,200 guns recovered by Minneapolis police (1987-1989), not one was fully automatic.
•    A total of 420 weapons, including 375 guns, were seized during drug warrant executions and arrests by the Metropolitan Area Narcotics Squad (Will and Grundie counties in the Chicago metropolitan area, 1980-1989). None of the guns was a machine gun.
•    16 of 2,359 (0.7%) of the guns seized in the Detroit area (1991-1992) in connection with "the investigation of narcotics trafficking operations" were machine guns.
I would note that the guncite.com website I use is actually a pro-gun site, and sees these statistics as proof that gun laws are wicked or foolish or something (you can try to untangle the backward twisted logic that leads to this conclusion if you like; it’s at the end of the article). In any case, it seems clear even the pro-gun folks have to accept that gun control has a fantastically effective record when it’s taken seriously.
Discuss
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