Sunday, March 08, 2009

What Are They Saying?

My Second Guest Blogger (Paul) is also a friend from the time that I spent in East Africa. I didn’t know him that well when I was stationed a Kagnew Station; we probably shared cocktails together 3 or 4 times. I was a new guy and he was a short timer, getting ready to ship out. I liked him because of his comical exploits, his intelligence and his razor sharp wit.

So without further ado, here is Paul’s Blog:

Whenever I hear a politician speak, I always flash back to my much, much younger days. While attending Phoenix College back in the very early '60s,I had the good fortune to sign up for a class taught by a wonderful instructor whose name I can't even begin to dredge from my memory.

While I cannot remember his name, I remember some of the things he taught me, such as how to analyze a speech and how to recognize and utilize the various elements of propaganda.

These are important things to learn, use, and pass on to our offspring as they are most likely not taught in this decade's schools. Since I still have my little notebook wherein I have written and saved treasured tidbits of information, poetry, paragraphs from loved books, and my own thoughts and ideas, I would like to share these elements of propaganda with you. My teacher gave great credit to Miller & Minsky, Copy 1937, for these gems. Perhaps we can cover the salient points to remember and practice in analyzing a speech at a later time.
1. Name Calling is used to condemn a person, a company, a religion, a country, or a race, etc. Have we ever seen this in the news?
2. Glittering Generalities are used to build up a person, a political party, or any other entity. This is sort of the opposite of Name Calling.
3. Devices of Transfer use the name of something good, honored or revered to build up something that is less than savory. It is also called Symbolism.
4. Testimonial Devices are selected phrases to build up or tear down the status or reputation of someone or something. Examples are what the right wing pundits are using on President Obama right now by their stressing the word "socialism" as it applies to his efforts to rein in corporate greed and abuse. Link the negative term to someone long enough and often enough and many of the easily led will begin to believe it to be the truth.
5. Plain Folk Devices involve changing the language and bringing the usage of words down to the level of the intended audience. In other words, using simpler and smaller words to an audience of a lower educational level or using regional jargon in those areas of the country where it is a part of normal discourse.
6. Band Wagon is the practice of misrepresenting the truth in an effort to achieve a particular political or business goal. We hear this daily on the news and in the newspapers where an individual only tells one side of an issue as if it were a fact. This was most apparent in the recent presidential campaign.

All of these items have been in my mind throughout the recent election and its aftermath. Just because I use these things to help me make decisions on issues and candidates doesn't make me any more intelligent than anyone else. It does help me to cast what I hope is a well thought out vote in an election and it does help me to decide which news programs or news people I will no longer watch or read.

I have decided to continue to read The Beach Bum Report.

Posted by Loopy (Paul) Guest Blogger #2

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6 Comments:

Blogger alfredo_tomato said...

Do politicians use Plain Folk Devices? You Betcha!

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