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Above: Lake Geneva, Switzerland. At Montreux.

Fodderize v.t. 1. To break down individual components; to make fungible; to disregard difference; to render one easily substituted for another 2. To impose sub-quality goods or services upon, with little recourse 3. To cap role choices, hinder access to resources regardless of merit, and so avoid competition 4. To manage perception by propaganda-spin techniques, while concealing dispositive facts 5. To manipulate, lure, exploit, deceive

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Sunday, January 13, 2008

FCC's Flock Auction - Sheep Sinking - Media Neutrality Memoriam.

Privatization and Media Neutrality
A Sale Near You

Red sheep, blue sheep
In the pen sheep
Lost the bid for
Thinking free sheep.
Safely where the
Feed's pre-set sheep.

FCC* sells
All of us sheep.
Heads and brains for
Sale to Big Veeps.
Minds for sale cheap,
Look at stakes - weep.

See, now, all our
Tellies programmed.
Seeping 'round the
House now, thought-jammed.

Words like weapons -
Bloviate, hams.

All the money
Shove us deeper
Sinking us,
The Buyer-Sleeper.
Other losses,
Other eras,
Folks survived,
Looked into mirrors.

Kitchens sank, pots
Folks and dishes
Here at Dunluce**
Dead with fishes.

FCC says
Deaths not matter.

Look at profits
On the platter.

$omeone $till can market ticket$.
................................................................

* For FCC Chairman Kevin Martin at ://www.fcc.gov/commissioners/martin/.

See prior posts for this media ownership topic cluster at Hello, Fodder, Media Shape-Shifting; and Hello, Fodder, Sheep-Skinning; Fodder; and an update August 2008 at Sam Zell, Privatization.

** Dunluce Castle, County Antrim, near Portrush, Northern Ireland. Storm in 1639. Foundations had been undermined, so with weather event, entire kitchens, equipment, people in there at the time, all fell into the sea. See ://www.geographia.com/northern-ireland/ukiantpt.htm

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Faust in the House - Words in Meter and Rhythm. Sell.

More word twists. Persuasion by the sound of it. The drumbeat. The repetitions.

People coaxed, lulled into lured choices, Dances even unto Death,* or on other paths against better judgment. Why the vulnerability. How do words gain access. Shape us.

If we how techniques sell, even more than the content of the words, if we knew who was selling, would we get sold? Maybe so, as with Faust, if the method of approach is good enough.

Thinking now of Johann Wolfgang Goethe's play, "Faust" - Goethe, the 18th Century German writer and philosopher, see ://www.kirjasto.sci.fi/goethe.htm. A cultural archetype.

Dr. Faust, the man who sold his soul to Mephistopheles** in exchange for wealth and other items on his list, and to have it now. How does the life of Faust echo in our own cultural societal sub-groups and choices -- see posts here on us as fodder, extractors, lifestylers, visionaries, leaders, fiduciaries, the rest that we are and are around us.

How did Faust despair. How did Mephistopheles lure him to give up his Soul in a bad swap. How did Faust rejoice at his good fortune, and how did he describe his fall. By what language tools.

Figures of speech and elements of rhetoric; techniques of propaganda. These all go a long way to persuade. See other posts here, and figures of speech, propaganda, similes and metaphors, at Joy of Equivocating.

Now: Meter and Rhythm. Even more important in persuasion and recollection, however, can be the ways into the ear - rhythm, the meter of the words spoken. People get caught up in the very sound. Babies and adults lull or rev up by tone, not just language. Add music in the background, at the supermarket or the infomercial, or institutional services, and the impact increases more through the ear. For Hitler combining all, see the documentary, "Triumph of the Will," film by Leni Riefenstahl (1935) - buy it, download it, rent it. The cadence of Hitler's voice is only one element here - amid the pageantry and martial music, but hear it. See the stadium at the December 12, 2006 post at Germany Road Ways- Nuremberg.

We are used to some oratorical structural tools, like the verse and response, the call and the echo from the crowd -- Gimme a C (C!) Gimme an O (O!); or the psalms, verses divided into thought and reworded follow-thought. Here is a refresher on some others:

Syllables. Look at the syllables of words as you speak, those parts of words that come clearer as divisions of sound when you put your finger on your chin and say something - as your chin goes up and down, those are often "syllables."

Stresses. And then, hear which syllables are stressed and which are not. These can be put into patterns, repeated rhythms, or meter. Stresses add to the impact of lines of prose and poetry - in traditions before written words, and now, the pattern of stresses were/ are an aid to remembering.

You can even write out the stresses by using a slash / for a stressed syllable. Some add an x for an unstressed. Or, just use bold.

The Cor/ mo Rant/ is up/too late/ at night/

"Iambic" pattern. This is the familiar "two syllable feet" of Iambic - "da-dum/ da-dum/ da-dum/" (not dumb!)

Go here to see it, and many other patterns of rhythm and meter, at://www.writing.upenn.edu/~afilreis/88/meter.html. If there are ten syllables, as there are in The Cormorant is Up Too Late at Night, then it becomes heavy-duty "Iambic Pentameter."

APPLY TO FAUST. Go to the play itself, in verse (translation here by George Madison Priest) at http://www.levity.com/alchemy/faustidx.html. Jump to "Faust's Study," the second one.
A topic is angst, see ://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Angst, and the lure of worldly pleazhah.

Fair use quote here, to get you started on how rhythm and meter add to the persuasion and suspense, and how Faust was convinced and even convinced himself to enter into his bargain for money and fame now.

To be read aloud while standing in front of your very own mirror, with feeling: We are in Faust's Study, desk, books, a despairing man, and Mephistopheles speaks.

Remember to stress the second syllable - here in bold - see how it flows, how reassuringly soothing.... no wonder Faust is caught up. Read slowly. Focus.

Thank you, Mr. George Madison Priest, translator:

FROM FAUST, THE PLAY:

"I'm not one of the Great;
Still, if through life you'll go with me,
In that case I'll agree
With pleas-ure to ac-com-mo-date
You, on the spot be-long to you.
I'll be your comrade true
And if to your liking I behave,
I'll be your servant, be your slave!

Faust. And what in turn am I to do for you?

Mephistopheles. That is a long way off! Pray don't insist.

Faust. No, no! The Devil is an egoist
And not "for God's sake!" only will he do
What will another's needs assist.
Tell me your terms both plain and clear!
Such servants in the house bring danger near.

Mephistopheles. Here to your service I will bind me;
Beck when you will, I will not pause or rest;
But in return when yonder you will find me,
Then likewise shall you be at my behest.

Faust. The yonder is to me a trifling matter.
Should you this world to ruins shatter,
The other then may rise, its place to fill.
'Tis from this earth my pleasure springs,
And this sun shines upon my sufferings;
When once I separate me from these things,
Let happen then what can and will."

Yes! Where is the checkbook! I'll sign! I'll sign.

Yes, Gentle Reader, Mephistopheles may fetch it all for Faust now; but just wait, says the tale.

What words get us into.

More fodder. Grist. Regrets.

So: those choices, these consequences, how we get where we are. The role of tone and language in persuasion. The Human Condition - self-sabotage. Greece. Rome. Medieval. Renaissance. Etc. The classics. Older Wisdom. Eras blend with recurrent comedy, tragedy, aspiration, the seven deadlies, the blahs, self-made holes in the ground.

.................................................................
Faust in music - see "The Faust Legend in Music" at ://www.carolinaclassical.com/faust/index.html

The use of language to persuade also applies to how we obfuscate, so find more about the play, Faust, at the site focused more on the uses of language, at Joy of Equivocating, Persuasion Arsenal and Faust.
...............................................................
* Bojnice Castle, Slovakia, annual festival-reenactment of tales from life of a past resident, a star-crossed noble.... and the death of hope.

**Read about Mephistopheles, the evil spirit and the origins of the name back in the mists, in this 1911 encyclopedia, and his role in the Faust legend: at www.1911encyclopedia.org/Mephistopheles.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Uses of Euphemism - Force and Figures of Speech

Semantics to persuade. Twists of words that convince even when the merits may be hidden.

Euphemism is a sales tactic, a verbal sleight of hand - about an action, or a quality, or occupation. A substitution of word to compel a response different, and more accepting, than the reality. See ://www.uky.edu/AS/Classics/rhetoric.html#19. Euphemism is a figure of speech, one of many ways of describing, communicating; and all well-studied - see them at ://www.hull.ac.uk/php/cetag/3dfigus.htm.

Some uses of euphemism are simple. Disguise the distasteful with the taste of honey, and so persuade of its merit instead. See Euphemism also at post dated December 11, 2007, and "Euphemism as a Sales Tactic," here. Semantics can steer responses away from reality.

Torture. Does that word describe what happened here.* Is this a memorial to one who died by firing squad, or can we reasonably imagine events before: what he did; or what others did to him. What words justify, in whose eyes.

Torture is defined by the UN** (see ://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2005/12/09/ntort209.xml) .

We can and do dance around it when it is not part of our immediate experience. That allows communicators to avoid use of the word "torture" because that carries meanings, mind-pictures, recoil, out of law, against several thou-shalt-nots in combination, and people do not want to look anyway.

Call it "enhanced interrogation" and then the people must furrow their brows to figure it out, it removes it from the UN language, and that leaves time for the middle communicator to shape the response to the receptive, the positive perhaps. To get the vote for it. Enhanced is good. Interrogation is mere questioning.

Martyr. From the Greek originally meaning witness - http://www.wordinfo.info/words/index.php?v=info&a=view_results&s=martus. And Biblically, a similar root - ://lists.ibiblio.org/pipermail/b-greek/1998-July/000615.html. Noun.

Now, meaning expanded to encompass suffering for a cause, or principle, or to arouse sympathy, and also as a verb - to inflict the suffering. See http://www.wordinfo.info/words/index.php?v=info&a=view_results&s=martyr. In individual relationships, person and person, there is a trivializing of the concept in the West's counseling world: to be a "martyr" is contrasted with being a "victim," in the uneven relationship. See ://www.coping.org/relations/martyr.htm.

When stakes are high, that is when people need most to talk plainly - if decisions are to be made collectively.

But people cannot even talk together of the same concept when they are schooled to use different words. One torture. Another, the mere interrogation but more intense. But the vote, once cast, has no care for the meaning each held. Mutual mistake of fact? No meeting of the minds? Too late. Should have done the due diligence ahead of time. Die cast, in many ways.

Execution. The euphemisms flow like the waters: First meaning cluster, the sense of accomplishment, performance. Doing something. - That must be good. We like finishing what is begun.

Then the second meaning cluster: "Putting" to death. How mild. Like golf.

A simple "lethal injection" - such soft sounds there. Like a conductor wafting the wand. Leee-thalll in-jeeeeeec---tionnnnnnnn. Ah, asleep.

"Capital" - what a splendid idea - capital, really! As on Masterpiece Theater. Capital "punishment" (nothing terminal there) - a splendid hand rap.

The death "sentence." Or the death interrogatory? The death phrase? A quietly spoken communication. Then, at the end of the Thesaurus, comes truth: killing, slaying. But by then, the reader is gently asleep. See ://encarta.msn.com/thesaurus_561572932/execution.html.

Force. Force is addictive. We like it so much. Experience it and believe, say the gamers, and our children mesmerized at the controls. Numb the mind. See the Milgram Experiment at Yale - overview at ://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Milgram_experiment. Nice people rather easily became pain inflicters. We watch monsters at the movies and on several levels learn the skills. Repetitive muscle memory, focused brains, exclude all distractions: the centuries-old kind of schooling that leads to indelible and conforming conclusions. But not critical thinking, probably.

Secrecy as the most effective force - Some people are forcers from behind the scenes.

Backstage. You don't even see them at work because it is inside you before you even knew. Who me? Don't even need to euphemize it as "strategy" or trivialize it as "dirty tricks" - eminently deniable. All you see are the results.

Lessons for Fodder. Fodder are people fed into behavior role molds and belief systems, without having taken the time, or having the opportunity, to choose or figure it out for themselves. Often stay there as a result of the Stockholm Syndrome.

Stockholm Syndrome: what people do when forced, as when there is a kidnapping or other captivity, including abusive relationships. Identify with the forcer, especially when the forcer does some nice things, interspersed with the hell. See ://web2.airmail.net/ktrig246/out_of_cave/sss.html. What if the government is abusive?

Rendition: lots of mild meanings, then "surrender." See ://www.thefreedictionary.com/rendition.

"Extraordinary" Rendition: Euphemism heaven. More than a mere surrendering of something. A euphemism for "outsourced torture" *. See also article at //www.law.gonzaga.edu/Academic-Program/GonzagaJIL/Volumes/Volume10/ExtraordinaryRenditionandDisappearancesintheWaronTerror.asp
Some people would read that phrase somewhere and pass it right by. Eight or nine syllables? Must be great.

.........................................................
* The statue. Who might this person at the memorial be. We cannot translate - this from Cetinje, Montenegro. Assistance requested. Inscription in Serbian? The setting lays out a martyrdom, an execution. To the compatriots of the martyr, a life to be remembered, honored. To the other side, the actors here, something different.

** Article 1.1 Geneva Convention on Torture: "For the purposes of this Convention, torture means any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person for such purposes as obtaining from him or a third person information or a confession, punishing him for an act he or a third person has committed or is suspected of having committed, or intimidating or coercing him or a third person, or for any reason based on discrimination of any kind, when such pain or suffering is inflicted by or at the instigation of or with the consent or acquiescence of a public official or other person acting in an official capacity. It does not include pain or suffering arising only from, inherent in or incidental to lawful sanctions." Emphasis added. See ://www.hrweb.org/legal/cat.html. And it leaves room for the state's killings.

Who is the inflictor? That is important to the Convention - ship the folks out and let other country's folks do it. See "extraordinary renditions" at ://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2005/02/18/opinion/courtwatch/main674973.shtml, and others at a search for the topic.