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  •  I guess what I'm saying is that (1+ / 0-)
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    narratives around here don't just emerge from people's personal psychological needs and views. That does happen, certainly. But mixed in with that is a great deal of what might be called "opinion management," or what Ray more traditionally calls propaganda. It's all over the place. It infests the internet like cudzu. One person getting paid to manipulate two dozen sockpuppet personalities is the most advanced form of this, but there's dozens of other forms.

    One of the things that makes me crazy--and makes me more or less immune to people pushing the partisan loyalty button--is that I've been trained, both in my scholarly life and in my activist life, to recognize political narratives. The horrible irony here is that the Democratic party itself, along with allied groups, trained me to recognize political talking points and take them apart, so I could help prevent Republicans from getting elected and promote Democrats into office. And there's no switch I can flip to make myself stop seeing it, just because it's now Democrats using the same methods and often advancing the same views.

    For me, the deployment of a political narrative with an agenda might as well be a battalion of tanks coming across the landscape at me, or, to use a less volatile image, a gigantic freight train coming across the Midwestern plains. And yet we're all supposed to pretend that what we're seeing is simple individual opinions and feelings, arising spontaneously in response to issues and events on more or less an ad hoc basis. Which is more or less like saying that I need to believe that the gigantic freight train is actually one guy out taking a walk because he felt like stretching his legs, instead of a huge machine deployed on rails to go to a specific place.

    I love Putnam's book, but I don't think his thesis applies to what I'm talking about, except inasmuch as a life spent alone makes a person more vulnerable, not less, to the kind of propaganda and manipulations I'm talking about.

    I tried to go online to find a similar bear head...but when I searched “Big Bear Head” it gave me a San Diego craigslist ad entitled “Big Bear needs some quick head now” and then I just decided to never go on the internet again.--Jenny Lawson

    by SouthernLiberalinMD on Tue Dec 10, 2013 at 11:27:07 AM PST

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