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View Diary: Bush speech drinking game. How many "mistakes"? (374 comments)

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  •  another thing I expect (19+ / 0-)

    which is related to the problem of distracting America from the question of who's responsible for the mess, is a mini-history lesson from Bush.

    Well, not really history. More fantasy purporting to be a history of how and why things reached this point--a grossly misleading summary of the strategies and tactics employed so far in Iraq. You can stitch a lot of "mistakes were made" into the middle of a narrative, implying (without stating) that the people mentioned earlier in the narrative were responsible for whatever comes next.

    You could term this a "narrative of excluded possibilities". One of my areas of research is ancient rhetoric and historical narrative, and I'd say this is one of the most powerful features of using stories in a political context. By choosing what to include and exclude in a narrative, and by putting your material into a framework that has the forward momentum of a story-arc, you can guide an audience past a lot of material that you'd prefer they ignore.

    I think Americans are onto Bush by now, and few will fall for whatever rhetorical or narratological tricks he might pull. But if I were a hack working for this man, that is what I would place at the core of his speech...a big honking story.

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