Audio Attitude Exploring situational influence on attitude and behavior.

October 7, 2008

Facts vs Superheroes: This is America

I adore Andy Sullivan – from a distance. His luminescent idealism glows with just the right tint of irritable and it catches my eye every day when I peruse the days blogs. We need more people like Andrew who never accept “as is” if “might become” is only a “just do this” away.

Almost daily Andy asks the GOP Vice-presidential nominee to submit to the press. When the McCain campaign bans the press Andy wonders if this is happening in America .

This is America, Andrew, where we do not let facts obscure our vision.

Idealism of the Sullivan variety is like most idealism. It sometimes forgets where it is when it chases “ought.” Mr. Sullivan looks down on Sarah Palin like a helicopter pilot spotting a pack of wolves from the air who hollers at the armed guys in the passenger seats to shoot while they can, and he is flummoxed when they only stare.

Idealism amuses us Americans. Sure, we are an exceptional lot. Yet, just because we Americans know what we “ought” to do does not mean we are inclined to do it. For that sort of dish we need to be hungry. But hungry we rarely are, because we constantly stuff ourselves with snacks and almost always spoil our dinner.

We snack on simple characterizations, slogans, and tasty fear. A real meal? We do not have the patience and will to prepare lasting nourishment for ourselves, nor do we have the determination to hunt down and kill the beast that might starve our freedom. Here, have another snack, instead.

We avoid the dirty work of reality, which may be why we leave it to others to do. Or, we give it to those who say they will and turn them into superheroes, like Sarah Palin.

There is something superhero-like in Sarah’s schtick. Never mind that she would gleefully shoot your dog if, in crossing her path to progress, the animal might delay her journey. Because superheros know what they are doing we accept the destruction their actions create, all the while hoping Bowser and the rest of what makes life good survives.

Americans value superheros because superheros do what needs to be done. So, why question them? They do our work so we can eat more snacks.

So when Mr. Sullivan idealistically demands Ms. Palin cast herself at the feet of the infotainment pool of what is left of American journalism so they might accurately take measure, he misses the fact that we Americans just do not scrutinize our superheroes. No. We just believe in them while we can. And, who wants to change America?

September 15, 2008

Does Integrity Matter?

Filed under: General — Tags: , , , , — Brian @ 7:45 pm

If so, this latest political ad was made for you.

Hillary Clinton and Sarah Palin (SNL Season Opener)

Filed under: General — Tags: , , — Brian @ 7:41 pm

I enjoyed this.

by Hishighness

August 26, 2008

Gluttons of Nonsense in a Land of Plenty Under a Falling Sky

Filed under: america,attitude,campaign — Tags: , , , , , — Brian @ 7:57 pm

The media acts like the Denver sky is falling because some polls show Obama behind McCain. Look at this from the evening front page over at Real Clear Politics.

Glimpse of Hysteria

Giving attention to what people say before Thursday is generally a waste of cognitive resources. Pre-Thursday hype is little more than an orgy of over-acting by a cast of politicians. Nonetheless, I do love the show. But what a stupid time to poll the public.

Remember a convention is not a pre-arranged wedding. Hillary people are there to support Hillary. Why is this so difficult to understand? Obama people support Obama. Everybody goes to Denver to rant and rave for a few days about their candidate and their pet issues. Two days later the party wizards perform magic and the Dems are mesmerized into inviting Obama home for some luvin’. The luvin’ will happen. But, not before Bill yells “last call” Wednesday night. Everyone knows the Clintons are masters who will ignite the enthusiasm of most Hillary supporters who will start to feel the Obama luv by Wednesday close of business. The Hillary people not on board by Thursday are Democrat frauds and should go start their own party or go over and kick the GOP while it is down.

Thursday is when true Democrats will come together in a giant mutual Obamagasm. Four years ago it was Kerryasm. Four before it was Goreasm. This year, the “asm” just goes better with the name Obama.

The weekend will show Obama’s expected brief bump in the polls. It won’t last, however.

Be sure to tune in for all the pundit hand-wringing next week when McCain’s poll numbers get goofy sometime around Wednesday. Those numbers will stabilize and be very close to Obama’s by the following weekend until the election. Why?

Because the media has mostly forgotten there is a huge difference between fair and balanced (thanks Rupert Murdock and FOX). If media see dirt about a candidate media scamper to find equal dirt on the other candidate. If media only report hard news they are labeled a bully by the newsworthy candidate. The media fall for it every time.

Brilliant. Not brilliant because media fall for it, but brilliant because the corporations that own the media know a tight dirty race makes good television and it sells newspapers and pays the talking heads and gives dividends to retired shareholders.

With so many microphones and cameras these days there is no shortage of material. Plenty of lies, distortions, and pot-stirring to go around. The result? Equal poll numbers until the election.

CNN’s “Keepin’ ’em honest” slogan is not actually what they and their colleagues do best. In fact all big media should be honest and adopt the slogan about their reporting on political candidates “Big Media – keeping ’em even.”

Media trash, doubt-monger, or swift-boat any candidate moving too far ahead in the polls.

See the problem here? We ignore issues because media irrationally embrace an erroneous definition of “fairness” as meaning “balanced.”

Much of this reductionism to labels, slogans, and truth is a norm of Western culture where we are compelled to find ONE CAUSE for each phenomenon we encounter. We regard with suspicion ambiguous or complex information as less-than-truthy because it doesn’t feel or sound truthy to our stimulus-craving hyper-aroused and attention-disabled FOX News “fair AND balance” conditioned brains.

To reach a Western “truth”:

Step 1: Instantly form a belief about something or someone. (Really, we do it all the time)
Step 2: Scavenge for evidence in support of the belief. (Pay no attention to non-supporting evidence.)
Step 3: Enjoy the resulting “know-it-all” nirvana.
Step 4: Roll eyes when someone doesn’t “get” the truth.
Step 5: Hang out with other people who “get” your truth.

Media talking heads don’t get famous and rich saying “I don’t know.” That boring uncertainty we assign to scientists paid on a scale commensurate to their charm. We smug gluttons of truthy-sounding nonsense giddily wallow our vast land of all-knowing plenty while secretly hoping the sky waits a little longer to fall.

p.s. I drink Obama Kool-aid. What do you drink?

July 31, 2008

Attitude of Bill

Filed under: attitude,clinton,politics — Tags: , , , , , , , — Brian @ 6:48 pm

In my mailbox today. The Clintons have taken an interest in me ever since I made a small donation to Mrs. Clinton’s campaign – something I did mostly to help quiet my intermittent cognitive dissonance after more generously supporting her opponent. Something felt odd about this email from Bill. What is your impression?

Personal Email from Bill Somebody

March 6, 2008

Voting for Ex’s in Texas

Filed under: General — Tags: , , — Brian @ 8:47 am

The big “win” the media have dubbed Sen. Clinton’s score from this week’s Democratic primary election in Rhode Island, Vermont, Ohio, and Texas is hardly that. Of the 100,000 votes separating the difference between HRC and BHO, it turns out half that number went to candidates whose names were on the ballot but who are out of the race, including 29,000 votes for Sen. Edwards. Who knows why people would vote for the ex candidates in such a close race? Confusion? A little nostalgia for the ex’s? Why?

As for the twelve million registered voters in Texas the difference between their preference for Sen. Clinton versus Sen. Obama is down to 4 out of 1000 persons. That is hardly a resounding endorsement for either candidate.

Yet, caucus results favor Obama. Why? Maybe only highly educated young people can find their way to such an event to state their support for their candidate. Think about this. Obama says his approach to government is to leverage the passion and desire of the American people to pressure change that will strengthen the citizens instead of patronize the extreme wealthy and excuse corporate selfishness. Let’s say he means this. I believe he does because that is why I support his candidacy. But another reason I support his candidacy is because I see evidence of impassioned people bothering to attend caucuses to state their case and be counted. These people will set policy on health care, national security, and ensuring the constitution is protected against further erosion. I won’t count on the ex’s in Texas to help.

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