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View Diary: Book review: Anat Shenker-Osorio's 'Don't Buy It' (136 comments)

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  •  Well, that's for sure: (5+ / 0-)
    Progressive advocates’ love affair with the passive voice—not naming a person in the subject position of our sentences—has hindered our ability to portray why things are the way they are.
    And:
    it obscures the truth and lets guilty parties off the hook.
    Shenker-Osorio offers many really excellent reality-based  insights, including:
    While progressives tread lightly and seek not to offend, conservatives turn the volume full blast on even the most outlandish of their opinions.

    They do not meet people where they are.

    They plant a flag where they’d like people to go and start a march there....

    But, if this is true:
    Shenker-Osorio has been fighting in the trenches of the word wars for years as a communications consultant to the ACLU, the MS. Foundation, America's Voice and dozens of other progressive groups.
    I have a question.

    Why has there been no improvement, whatsoever, in the piss poor messaging coming out of the Democratic party -- from issues surrounding health care to the dismal phony wars we use to destroy our treasure or ship it offshore?

    Are liberals unable to learn how to express themselves effectively?

    Or is there a larger agenda that we are simply not seeing that's actually at work here?


    A child of five would understand this. Send someone to fetch a child of five. -- Groucho Marx

    by Pluto on Sun Aug 26, 2012 at 05:02:29 PM PDT

    •  Great question! (8+ / 0-)

      Part of the answer (if it's not a breach of etiquette for me to comment on an article about my book) is in some small place there HAS been improvement. On the projects I'm proud to have played a part in seeing from diagnosis of what's not working through new messaging, we have come up with new language that accurately reflects what we actually mean to convey and works. And we've seen shifts in small places (e.g. certain immigration rules, marriage equality, comprehensive sex ed, some local tax measures.) I want to acknowledge being vague here -- this is in deference to the many amazing organizers and activists testing this language out on the ground. For strategy reasons (as well as being fair and supportive of my partners) I can't get more specific.
      Nevertheless, the larger answer -- from my vantage point on the economy in particular, nope not much improvement. And boy has it been frustrating!

      •  I feel your frustration: (0+ / 0-)
        Nevertheless, the larger answer -- from my vantage point on the economy in particular, nope not much improvement. And boy has it been frustrating!
        ...as far as the big picture goes.

        But if you look at that fact dispassionately -- against the backdrop of the facile success of messages that either work against the progressive vision or distract from it with apathy -- I think you have to accept the fact that what is going on is directed by enormous economic forces that are entirely post-political.

        Our strangely retrograde reality is certainly not on you.


        A child of five would understand this. Send someone to fetch a child of five. -- Groucho Marx

        by Pluto on Sun Aug 26, 2012 at 09:34:45 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Liberals expressing themselves effectively (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Pluto, mythatsme

      do so in moral and emotional terms. In anything economically-related, that means socialist terms. For example, it's not just about how everyone should have access to health care, but why they should, in a way that directly attacks corporate power.

      How many Democratic politicians are ever going to do that?

      Government and laws are the agreement we all make to secure everyone's freedom.

      by Simplify on Sun Aug 26, 2012 at 09:27:26 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  That is key. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Simplify, Calamity Jean

        And I want to point out that what is seen by Americans (self-destructively) as "socialist" -- is embraced by the entire world, modeled after the UN Declaration of Human Rights. Almost all UN member nations have signed on to the Declaration and have rewritten their constitutions to incorporate it.

        The US constitution does not confer human rights onto the people. It was written, with great compromise, to benefit slave owners. Thus, our situation in the 21st century is burdened by a structural flaw from the 18th century. Americans seem unable to deal with the reality of their situation and continue to believe that there is a political solution to a structural problem.


        A child of five would understand this. Send someone to fetch a child of five. -- Groucho Marx

        by Pluto on Sun Aug 26, 2012 at 09:45:27 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

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