Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Open Discourse: How To Combat The Noise

Gonna open this up to my cohorts, and to anyone else out there who wants to throw their two cents in.

"I just got a call from a Californian that Oregon is in danger of swinging over to McCain/Pailin ticket (a scary thought)," writes one friend. "There is a point where people are just rationalizing what they want to believe. In those cases the facts rarely matter to them," explains another. B.E. Earl comments, "[u]nfortunately, [their] crap works..."

How things got to this point is pretty obvious; the Right has spent the last 20 years training their legion of pitbulls very well.

What do we do to combat it?

Personally, I subscribe to the "rattle the cage" stratagem. I am fond of replying to articles with articles, and occasionally being as specious as they are when making their arguments.

This is not discourse. Nor is it a winning formula for winning minds over. It simply brings me a small measure of satisfaction that in my own way, I've fought against the nonsense.

The thing is, this can't be applied to everybody. Let's face it, we live in a society that likes to avoid conflict, and either tunes out or ignores any sort of serious talk and talkers. What is done with the pent up aggravation? It is generally bottled and ignored, an action that lends itself to feelings of helplessness, doom and gloom, and not fighting back the nonsense.

So, okay, I'll open it up there for Deni and JJ and the rest of you: What do you do? What's your advice to others? What are your ideas?


I think overall Obama's response to the BS "lipstick on a pig" controversy was right one. Call it the silly game it is and say "enough!" And I think you always have to follow that with, "What I'm going to talk about instead is my policy on..."

When it is one-on-one, I tend to undercut and debunk, try not to let negative emotions in, and smirk just enough while doing it to rile them up. First on to ad hominim attacks loses, and I call them on that, too.

Oddly, I find Republican men are especially sensitive to being called "women."

- JJ

I'm not sure I know how to answer the question, or at least have a good answer. I do what I can to spread the truth about the BS that is being said, using links to sites like, Media Matters, Snopes, etc.

But most of the people in my world are going to be like-minded anyway and those that aren't, I call them family, are so set in their ideology that even when you prove something to them they still refuse to believe it.

My right-wing born-again brother is a perfect example. I'm sure he's a serious Palin-head, even though I haven't talked to him about it, because she is for things like pipelines, no taxes, creationism, guns and is anti-choice.

No matter how much you point out her lies and corruption, people like him won't believe it. People who can actually say with a straight face that the bible is the literal word of god are generally that way.

I'm willing to bet he has had no problem believing that Obama is a Muslim who attended a madrasa, though.

We really have to hope that there are less sheep out there than I think there are.

- Deni

You can't convert the sheep, neither from the stump nor in personal interaction. That's why I suggest having fun with them by baffling them with reason and then laughing and pointing at them when they get emotional and irrational.

But, you can energize your own sheep, and the Right is damn good at that. Helps that they take a simplistic moralistic rhetorical stance and actually discourage getting too deep in the issue - turns out their platform is very sheep-friendly.

That's why Obama has to deflect the nonsense and talk policy and vision to those who will actually waver. Kinda like baseball - the best teams lose 60 games, and the worst win 60, leaving 62 games to actually decide a season.

- JJ

"the worst win 60..." Not the M's this year.

Watched Letterman last night because Obama was on. The pundits and media are gonna talk about the softball questions and saying that O wasn't loose enough (I'll bet you $5), what I saw was Dave trying his best to sound serious, keeping things on point and Obama running, yes, but also shooting the shit.

Afterwards, I watched the first half hour of Ferguson, who'd decided to get his frustrations with the state of politics, the coverage and the voters off of his chest. Some great stuff.

He played it carefully, not going into full on rant mode, hitting targets on both sides of the race; but speaking honestly and trying to connect with people. The second segment he plugged registering to vote by filling out his form (Ferguson is a recently naturalized citizen).

I went to bed thinking that we've gotten so wound up in proving the other wrong, that we've allowed others to get discourse to that point, we've forgotten that the best way to circumvent it is to connect with others who aren't crazy, whether we agree on the issues or not.


1 comment:

JJisafool said...
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