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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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Friday, August 29, 2008

Cindy, What Do You Think? On Your Own.

We began with an interest in Cindy McCain -
But all we have seen is the party line.
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And never looking very happy.
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We'd better go on to other topics.
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John. Do you ever send her flowers any more?
Send flowers.
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We have mooted out the rest of the post.

What must it be like to be on show all the time





Do you know anything we do not know yet?

Yes, we understand. The doorbell just rang.

Antique Hatpin 8" rod, for the big hats.

As we leave, we would like you to have this little blue Phrygian cap, like the one on this wonderful Edwardian hatpin, see Phrygian cap. This has been a symbol of liberty for centuries. You can't see the long pin end, the rod, but it is there. Handy.

We wish you well. And happiness.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Presenting: Sam Zell and the Shareholders! Disappearing Newspapers. Reader as Fodder

Reader as Fodder. 
Zell and The Disappearing Public Service Newspapers.

What does it take to restore Neutral,
Reasonably Complete News
To the daily papers.


I. Who is Sam Zell?
See postscript here for status now.  



[update:  Sam Zell's purchase ot the Tribune Papers went badly, see http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/06/business/media/06tribune.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0/]

Meet Sam Zell. He is a real estate developer, business-conglomerate-buyer, took over the Tribune newspapers, a private takeover out of the public offering. The papers are losing money. Can he turn them around, make the shareholders sing? And at what cost to the public interest. Does a public interest in neutral, complete news even count?

Watch the evolution of a great idea from information, democracy, knowledgeable citizenry; to entertainment, propaganda. Says Sam, There will be no criticism of business in this paper, I so decree.

Already we have reprints of the WSJ where our news used to be.

Journalism moves to sheer profitmaking






Find out his background - impressive in the All-American money-making way.
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Go to YouTube. Plug in "Sam Zell," and see him, Samuel B. Zell, owner of many media including newspapers. Click on the videos of Mr. Zell speaking to the journalists at various major newspapers about changes coming with his purchase of them, and already here. See, for example, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yxZRq2hiS-w&NR=1. FN 1.

Sam Zell and The Shareholders!












II. What is His Philosophy? 
News Denigration

The analysis goes like this:  People will pay for entertainment, not news. Look how they are not paying for their news now - they go on the internet anyway.  So let's entertain them with the papers, and revenues will go back up.
Says Sam, When revenues go up, so do dividends, and shareholders are happy and the readers probably don't know the difference because they are having such a good time.

III. What is the Flaw, If You Have a Vision for the Country, 
not just a vision for your own Pocketbook

The flaw in the thinking is that many people still don't have computers

Unaddressed is the basic premise that everybody goes online anyway. How are voters without computer literacy (like Mr. McCain and many in his age bracket); or without computer access; supposed to compare news reports to find out what is true and complete.

How can they participate knowledgeably in this "democracy." Or is that the point? They can't. Is that a problem? For whom?  After all, the FCC thinks that is fine, see FCC and Fodderizing. Let one source own all the media news outlets in an area - free speech and free buying. FCC against you and me. Journalism is now a business, no public interest component,  profit the interest.

IV. If You Like Puppies, You will Love Zell
News Replacement with Puppies
Blocking of Archives

Do a search for "Zell Puppies" and see a nutshell of the philosophy that concerns us: not just news manipulation, but news replacement. With the banal. Cute, yes, but hardly worth a "news" paper subscription.  Choice of filler is manipulation of news reporting.

Martin Luther King Jr. warned against the "Giant Triplets" of militarism, materialism and racism. See  Martin Luther's Stove, Martin Luther King, Jr.  Find that speech from the archives of the Hartford Courant at http://www.hartford-hwp.com/archives/45a/058.html.

And note that, under Zell, the Hartford Courant no longer prints texts of speeches not in business' interests. We see ads and junk and scanty summaries or references, not text.

V.  What Manipulations We Already See

Reduces coverage and columns of news, and blocks out actual texts of positions of candidates, summarizing badly and inaccurately what is left. See Joy of Equivocating, Death by Ellipsis

How to taint the news that is left? Follow these dots.

a) Give half of the story; compare reports from online versions, and the daily paper is clearly paltry;
b) Fire trusted reporters, columnists that areas of the state had come to enjoy and rely upon;
c) Intersperse the news that is given, with tilt - with personal opinion by use of slanted words, omissions, in order to give the corporate-preferred view; and
d) Own other area media and make the message uniform
e) Ensure no independent coverage, no investigative journalism, because reporters cost money and diluting and slanting wire services is cheap and only profits count

Is this worth saving?

Will Zell just sell off all the assets, so nobody even can have the machinery even to put out papers on a large scale any more? 

.........................................................................

FN 1   Is that happening here, now, with the Hartford Courant?

For more on Sam Zell, here is further discussion - of particular interest to us because he now owns our morning non-news here in Hartford, the only local paper with delivery service -

Meet Sam Zell. 
1.  Company:  Equity International, http://www.equityinternational.com/team_zell.html.
2.  Biography at http://www.woopidoo.com/biography/sam-zell/index.htm.
3.  Chronology as to Hartford Courant. Samuel B. Zell is a supreme business success story: he turns around companies in particular with big real estate holdings, other assets. He is a real estate developer. He financed the purchase of the Tribune papers (of which  the Hartford Courant is one), see details at http://www.domain-b.com/industry/Media/20071222_tribune_goes.html, taking it hyper "private" in December 2007. He is the chairman and chief executive officer.
4.  Goals in Tribune takeover. The purpose of the takeover is profit to the private shareholders, off the public exchanges. That has an effect on the public interest service of the prior company, in providing "news" and not just entertainment and ads. As a private company, noone has standing to complain.

News subscriber, Hartford Courant, left without the news








5.  Changes. Watch the videos of Mr. Zell.

Focus on business values, interests, profit at all costs, not broad spectrum of objective information severable from opinion. Fire staff, reporters, turn instead to entertainment, news services, little if any local investigation.
Watch YouTube. Mr. Zell will tell you that the "name" of the Los Angeles Times paper, for example, is so great that he can't wait to use it his way. Controlled news, all the time.

Philosophy is a fortune teller. See more of the videos of Mr. Zell speaking: the philosophy or essence of the business being acquired is not a consideration: its business value is. 
6.  Attitudinal disconnect. Shock with the rude. This also becomes predictable and boring, and alienating.

7.  Profit over accountability to public interest. Out with the news, in with the cute, the entertainment, the slant serving advertisers and funders, parrot one or two news sources from somewhere else. Fire columnists, reporters. Leverage and get the money. Shareholders want more profit, sell the paper's assets off. Frickity frack everybody.
See http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yxZRq2hiS-w&NR=1 and all the videos there.


Another video: Entertain. Anybody who wants investigative journalism? Frickity frack. See http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LDy7vn7-LX4. And more. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jpkBeijRICI&NR=1. Minimize this story, maximize that, depending on where the business interests lie.

8.  Agenda. Frame the chosen news angles and lace with Fear, Uncertainty, Doubt. Zell knows that you don't need to spend money analyzing the merits of a position or a candidate when you can spread the FUD. Is saving "money" a smokescreen to the larger goal: to prevent people from becoming informed.

9. Effect of Personally Controlled Journalism in major media:  Moves out revered public service entities, who of course needed profit as well, out of the mainstream and leaves out the vital client - the people. People as mere tools for profit, as in the sale of any croquet set. Vital news is measured commercially.  What will sell, not what is reasonably relevant to intelligent voting, living. Lack of access to facts, areas not wired, computers not available to the poor; and the same business interest controls content, and the amount of information on the TV and paper, all the easier for business interests to take over the country, frickity frack. The propaganda opportunities are enormous.
Keep info out of the info stream, we can do that! "Tough guy, mean business" - see http://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/07/business/media/07zell.html.  Inverse, retrograde evolution.

So long, says SZ.

.......................................................

ZELL TRIBUNE PAPERS POSTSCRIPT
Update:  Sam Zell's reign is a footnote, see http://www.courant.com/about/thc-history,0,4107859.htmlstory.   The Tribune papers are in process of spinning each other off, see http://www.latimes.com/business/money/la-fi-mo-tribune-newspaper-spinoff-20130710,0,4677254.story. 
"The company's stock used to trade on the New York Stock Exchange. But those shares were extinguished in 2007 as part of a transaction in which real estate mogul Sam Zell took the company private in a leveraged buyout. Tribune filed for bankruptcy a year later under the weight of some $13 billion in debt."  See http://www.chicagobusiness.com/article/20130720/NEWS06/130719746/tribune-has-a-new-stock-and-its-price-is-soaring

Monday, August 18, 2008

What "Enforcement" Do People Really Need - Personal Conscience Rules . Why Restrict Others

Asking here: 

How much herding around do sheep need;
and how much "herding" is for the profit of the shepherd.


Reinhold Niebuhr, President Bush, Rick Warren, You - A Sheep of your own Flock


1.  The life of a herded sheep; the life of an autonomous sheep


Sheep, Ring of Kerry, Ireland

Some individuals from a flock do fine on their own. No herd around.  No shepherd.
 .
The shepherd's job description in this natural setting:

  • Collect them up when you have to, as for fleecing (budget Sunday?).  You then mark them with the ink dot to show whose flockster is whose (no sheep-stealing). Otherwise, they pick what they do. 
  • Add a bellwether for guidance (a fixed ram with the tinkling bell, and many will naturally follow where the bellwether goes), and the shepherd can go home, sometimes for weeks, months on end. 
  • Check the sheep out once in a while. See Ireland Road Ways. Lots of room for free will.  But hover, prepared to act for the sheep's own good when they truly are not able to do so - get shelter from bad weather, steer to more food.
  • Assert economic interest in a flock-sustaining way -- some to slaughter, some for shearing.Some risks there, but sheep have sense and can handle it.  Are sheep more intelligent than people so that we need other people to tell us what to do?
So: What if the shepherd's job is to step aside from and not to box the sheep in all the time. 
 .
What if a good shepherd lets them go unless he wants to make a profit off them - then he herds them to market. Big fish eats little fish.
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But that has nothing to do with the sheep's need to be herded.  Economically driven herding is to the shepherd's benefit, not the sheep's. Uncle Remus had the idea:  See Uncle Remus: the fattenin' hog ain't in luck. See Uncle Remus Tales and Proverbs.
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So, for the sheep, there are some risks to autonomy, independence, but they can handle a great deal of it on their own. Their main risk is being used by the shepherd.
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Those sheep learn to think, because they are allowed to. We saw no sheep hit at these roadside settings. We were careful, of course, and this is not I-95 (it is Ring of Kerry, Ireland), but the principle is there: sheep can cope, and only in narrow circumstances have to be herded on a day to day basis. It was surprising for many of us to find sheep all over the place, smarts, and not getting hit, doing fine, out on their own even in rocky terrain, months on end.
. What if the herded sheep become convinced over time and with habit that they are not capable of making moral decisions. That they need an approved Mentor to tell them what to do, observe, measure, enforce, discipline. And so they follow that kind of bellwether, the one who leads where the shepherd wants. 
 
2.  People in Herds Like Sheep
 
People have the advantage of being able to frame questions about the shepherd.  Some highly intelligent and deeply contemplative people ask: 
 .
What if the deity did not mean what the Mentor in the pulpit, that self-proclaimed shepherd in the great tradition, is doing now at all? 
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Rick Warren of that big Saddleback church promotes a Herd U - a men's "university" that herds them.  Somewhere I read that there is a rectitude scale.  By that scale, an activity that takes place at point 6.234 is moral, but that which takes place at point 6.235 is not. Where was that site?  Looking.
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Looking over the concept of Herd U, and any scale for "rectitude", is there a pretense that there are actual demarcations that are absolute when it comes to measuring right and wrong. That herds are better than individuals striving.

Look at the demarcation issue.

Do we need other people as bellwethers, or as shepherds, to tell us what is right and what is wrong. 

Can people like you and me be trusted to determine our own demarcations, given our individual wits and understandings.  Sheep do it when allowed.  Why not us?

Or is there some divine power of attorney that some people claim is awarded to them by some deity.  Are those with that divine power of attorney empowered so that they - and not the individual - speak for a) a deity, b) the moral, c) the virtuous.  Does their application of their conscience supersede yours. 

Specifically, can they limit what you do because of their conscience. Then why are they involved anyway?
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Real theologians are worth listening to:  not heads of organizations making money, seeking or using power or serving ego.  What is the balance - since anything needing doing takes some form of power to do it.


3.  Theologians Have Good Ideas, Not So Much The Local Herders

Religious founders and some theologians make you think. Look at the invitation, the voluntariness involved in founders.  Persuasion but letting you go if you walk away. Acknowledging the conundrum.


Reinhold Niebuhr:

"Goodness, armed with power, is corrupted;
and pure love without power is destroyed."
Emphases added.  That is from the great theologian, Reinhold Niebuhr 1892-1971. Do a search for the biography of Reinhold Niebuhr, a theologian and deep philosopher about the human condition, at ://people.bu.edu/wwildman/WeirdWildWeb/courses/mwt/dictionary/mwt_themes_770_niebuhrreinhold.htm/
 
Read about him: "Forgetting Reinhold Niebuhr," by Arthur Schlesinger, Jr. 1975, an essay, at ://www.nytimes.com/2005/09/18/books/review/18schlesinger.html/. Read the quotes aloud. Many you already know, at ://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/r/reinhold_niebuhr.html/.
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4.  Look back at Founders.
Then See Saddleback

Suppose that, over centuries, the once loosely-bound, invitation and persuasion through empathy group of original believers, morphs into its anathema, its "evil twin" of absolute definitions of what is or is not to be allowed. 

That is the stuff of movies. Chuckie in Church? Say not so. That, of course, is meant as a joke, as Candidate Humorless McCain likes jokes. Just funnin'. JUST FUNNIN'. Have to tell him each time.
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Nonetheless, the candidates' debate with the shepherd at Saddleback, the faith forum on evangelicalism recently was an eye-opener.
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There were, on the screen, camera shots panning about.  We saw what once was a broad variety of sheep, who could have and once maybe were, out doing their own thing on the hillsides, invited to follow.  Some did, some didn't but no-one pursued them, doing fine, following or not.

What happened so that those sheep now sit and all look alike and in these rows. Rows of theater seats!
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Rows. Upon rows.
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Here they are. All contained. Nice sheep. Nice. Go here. Go there. Nobody has to squeeze over to make room for somebody else.  You got your own armrests.
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This is a dare. 
 /
Go back to actual words of the Founder of whatever your religion is.  Do your own research on what is reasonably known, and what is not.  What do you find.  What is non-literalist,  what is Parable. What is Story.  Not absolute in its intention of telling you what to do.
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Go back to your religious founder, millennia ago.  Do you see Ambiguous sayings. Find those. Can you live with that?
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If not, you need Rick Warren and President Bush.
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Truth is Pointings to meaning beyond graphic measurement. See those.
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How did we get to this prescription and proscription Point B from the invitational Point A we began with?
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We now have, not only absolute measures, but an elevation of ideas not even there before. Watch the process of derivative interpretation, and suddenly we have derivative issues taking precedence over feeding the poor etc. etc., that were not even named - homosexuality, FN 1, and abortion, FN 2.
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Shepherd becomes predator.

There is a point where the shepherd, by over-zeal, becomes the predator: narrowing the field in which the sheep are allowed to graze; and the sheep, conditioned, become shaped by the herding into a group that rewards and needs the herding.
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So be a good herdee.

Being a good herdee becomes a way of life, however, for a nice sheep. Suspend thought, follow the dog. Or else. The purpose of the herd is profit. For someone. Or power. For someone. Empires of all kinds. Built on our need for community, but the community becomes rigid.
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Our bias, true disclosure here, is for a return to the invitation idea in religions. The quiet opening of a door. No pursuit if someone elects to decline. Your risk with your own deity.
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So, sheep, there is a time for a shepherd, and a time to roam on your own. Exercise your rights to roam. Who knows when the shepherd becomes a predator, because power does that. FN 1
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5.  Perspective Exercise: 
 /
This is not only for recent faith forum watchers. Perhaps other faiths will hold their own, to see who agrees with their dogma, if that is central to their need. They can do it, too.
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  • List all the things we are supposed to do, from the Bible.
  • List all the things we are not supposed to do, from the Bible. The rich do this (define your coin): the poor do that. We all do the other thing.
  • Prioritize.  Do the four strokes and the diagonal tick method of counting how many times we are told something, as a way to determine priority of the deity as to that issue.
  • Count them up and see which you are supposed to focus on, and which can be set aside for another day, if at all.
You are not allowed to add:

  • No defining terms on your own. 
  • No derivative definitions. 
Just what is said. Skip the simplistic deviation, and go back to what was said: go to one word, all ye counters. Or anyone else with a historical and theological interest. 
 
6.  Sheep and Abortion
Then, the big Reveal.  See what Saddleback ignores in the big issues of our day - take abortion, for example.  Look at the Biblical key - one word - right there, shoved aside because it is against the culture, inconvenient to the powers. See it at Martin Luther's Stove, Abortion, Life, Rights to, Ol' Harry. Breathe. Take it from there.
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Translation: use the earliest and most reliable Hebrew transliteration you can find. Is the result of your own research what you understood to be the case?  Go back to your favorite verses, then go to www//scripture4all.org/   What did it really say?
Life through conformity? It used to be Life through Relationship.  What is our progress in religious thought.  Zilch.
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7.  Authority as Shepherd as Predator: 

Dangerous ground here, because many leaders do not fit this mold. Some do.  And because some do, here is the evolution of a well-meaning follower of a founder, into a predator of the flock.  Use force.  It is a side issue, but James Joyce has input here, see www.online-literature.com/james_joyce/
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Once we have a predator on the payroll, to make people do things by force, we need to hire more predators to control the predators. 
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Force blooms, like algae.

Once we assume people cannot make their own choices, we are in for it. Then we have to make all the choices for them. Example: Homeland Security, hearings at ://www.usatoday.com/news/washington/2004-12-27-homeland-usat_x.htm; ://homeland.house.gov/hearings/index.asp?ID=98, set up to find those who would be our predators, and instead becoming predators of us - the job isn't getting done for all the egos and siphoning taking place. Does it matter if the dog is nice or not. Sure. An occasionally nice dog gets obedience better. See Stockholm Syndrome at //sniggle.net/stock.php.
.....................................................................................
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FN 1 Homosexuality - The Power of Derivative Interpretation
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For the sheep and the shepherds: Take homosexuality and really look at the issue. It was not coined as a term until the 19th Century. See http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/homosexuality/ although the acts and circumstances go back as far as who knows when. Applying negatives or neutrals or positives are possible in any number of ways - it takes cherry-picking to arrive at the degree of approbation, and so we do.
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The point is - that power is corrupt when an issue is within a range of unacceptability and acceptability, depending on a number of factors; and yet it decides on an absolute basis, by selecting what to consider, what is more important than something else: then seeks to impose it on others who may well, by their cherry-picking, see other things as more important than that.
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FN 2 Abortion - More Power of Derivative Interpretation
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Ditto the above. A range in any common sense, of circumstances. Any absolute is selectively derived and an abuse of power. Now that makes sense. The forum: example. A referendum on dogma. Instead of a single "question," the "question" became at least four - contained four areas of dogma assumed or terms undefined.
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Do we mean the human right to vote? to continue cell divisions in situ, or is transfer to a petri ok. When do stem cells that can become anything, suddenly become "baby," and what is the role of Genesis in connecting breath and life? On and on. And each area a matter of range of interpretation, but the "right" answer was two words?
.
No. Wrong on all counts. Simplistic, unreal, and abusive. Apologize to Obama. Now. Or go to your room.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Affiliations. The Demographic Party Poll - Cultural Roles

Demographics
The Party Poll

(Ringtone ringtone)
(fumble fumble) (snap)

Pollster:
Good evening, is this the Voter? Yes, I work for the Proteus Polling Company. We have some questions for you about demographics. Yes, you can look up demographics at that Wikipedia site (spells out ://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demographics).

Yes, I understand how busy you are. Your business is struggling? I understand. Thank you for sharing.

You earlier gave us permission to send you some materials for a new poll.Did you receive that packet in the mail? (papers rattle as pollee turns to Cultural Roles Index)

Good. Have you had time to review it?
Now: I will name a role that a person could take in our society. You will reply with what party you think that a person who assumes that role supports. You will decide on a scale of 1-10, with the ten being the most likely party for someone in that role -
  • a Green Party member,
  • a Republican or
  • a Democrat; or
  • an Independent; or
  • not registered to vote.
Then, I will ask how sure you are: On a scale of one to ten. Ready? Yes, each role can be in each party, equally likely. Then you would give it something like in the 4-6, range

Pollster Polls:

1. The Visionary - the expressive -

2. The Extractor - takes what that person wants;

3. The Follower - looks for a leader to support, imitate;

4. The Leader - takes charge of getting something done

5. The Governor, a subset of "Leader" - seeks to rule private lives of other people,

6. The Fiduciary - seeks a common good, even if at the expense of personal lifestyle

7. The Fodder - seek a lifestyle: to meet ongoing basic needs with a little something left for human creativity. Wardrobe includes cap.

8. The Buyer - wears a do-not-disturb-my lifestyle sign

9. The Partisan - dedicated to imposing own views, no review despite changing circumstances, knowledge. Often seen on way to bank.

10. The Thief - The misrepresenter; the deceiver; the concealer.

11. The Profiteer- Manufactures and sells the do-not-disturb-my-lifestyle signs, using any persuasion technique. May or or may not be a corporation.

Pollster continues:

Now, just to clarify. I notice that you have put a 5 for most of these, and that would make people in those roles about equal in the parties. But you did score very differently on some: "visionary," "fiduciary," "extractor" and "governor."Is that your intention? So you see those roles as being more in one party than another.
Fine.

Thank you so much for participating in the Cultural Roles Demographic Party Poll. Yes, I hope you are open next week, too. Maybe I can stop by for some coffee. Out of coffee? Can't afford coffee? Well, tea is fine. Well, we'll see what you do have, then.

Thank you.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Hate Crimes - Arkansas Investigation?

Hate Crimes.

New triggers. Would the Arkansas assassination of the white chairman of the Democratic National Committee, where the party has favored a non-white over a white for national nomination, qualify as a victim of a hate crime. What if the gunman's loss was not just his job, but of his ability to "look down" at least on a given racial group, and now he is supposed to put up with a promotion of the candidacy of that group?

Old concept. The issue of addressing hate crimes was first addressed here at Hello Fodder, Deciders and From Where, Hate Crimes. A legislative update includes pending legislation discussion in Senate, companion bill to HR 1592, Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act. Track it at ://www.govtrack.us/congress/bill.xpd?bill=h110-1592.

Colt, Hartford. Make them and they will shoot.

Present concerns:

If the gunman was unbalanced, were there persons who set him in motion in that direction, why. who. On its face, job loss may lead to targeting persons related to that loss, but hardly a political party chairman. On its face. See ://www.fbi.gov/ucr/cius_04/offenses_reported/hate_crime/index.html. A criminal offense motivated by bias against race or other.

Where is an investigation. We know the police killed the gunman. Why? Was that necessary, really? What were the circumstances - why no information as to a "shoot-out" - we hear he was killed after being stopped, while in his truck. Why kill? Where is any reference to the always-there video from police cars in making arrests, documenting who did what and when. Other "news" reports notes in the home of the gunman, alleged motivations for loss of job. We need more.

US, set this issue to rest. You know what to do. This is a nation of cover-ups and trump-ups. There are witnesses. There is probably a video. A will and graffiti and lost job do not add up to that particular assassination, based on information out to date. We're grownups. We can handle it.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Big Fish Little Fish. Colonization - Colonialism. Russia and US - In Place; and From a Distance

The Law of Big Fish, Little Fish

Colonialism: In Place, From a Distance, Still With Us

Abraham Lincoln.  Concerned.

Topic: Russia's invasion of Georgia, not only the areas of South Georgia and Abhkazia that have linguistic and cultural ties with similar groups over the border in Russia (other side of the Caucasus), see Joy of Equivocating, Georgia, War Zone; but further.

There are many forms of colonization and colonialism, not just invasion and occupation. Methods mutate, but the impact remains the same. The issue for the US is whether to or how can we respond, when we do the same kinds of activities. Our record shows our own predilections for profit and influence lead to economic and other subjugations of others, at home and abroad. Is that right?

Honest Abe asks: How does a country, that supposedly was founded on principles of "We The People," respond this time, where a sphere of influence, after Georgia is brought back into the fold, is logically next extended elsewhere: Ukraine, even Poland.

Have we become so like "them" that there will be no response, except to (in effect) do nothing and so foster ongoing colonialism.

We were one, once, a colony. We did not like it. So now, like our abusers, do what was done to us. For a pop view of the cycle of abuse, see ://www.heart-2-heart.ca/women/page5.html. We expand the concept to governments.

And, what was the role of our own people in setting the stage for it: See "Who Got Georgia Into This: Actions by Bush and McCain Misled the Country Into Thinking US Would Come To Its Aid," ://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/sunday/la-oe-brooks14-2008aug14,0,4988958.column.

Colonialism: This is a matter of domestic policy and foreign policy. Not just borders, and flags raised over foreign turf. It includes what used to be a benign idea, now sinister: Spheres of Influence, force used within a country on its citizens, force used on others. Force and consequence for getting out of line. The Fear Factor, domestically and abroad, to further entrenched interests.

Foreign nations. Suppose Russia eventually moves its troops and tanks, out of all of Georgia. The issue does not end. Colonialism and takeovers do not require turf, boundary changes any more.

Colonialism At A Distance. This is the new "Sphere of Influence" Colonialism. Global finance fosters distance controls. Financial and physical controls are asserted by threat, once the target nation has been shown that the threat is real and actions will be carried out. Invade one country, see others fall in line. "Distance Colonialism" is power from one area controlling another. The controlling power asserts such fear of intervention that the target state acts as a puppet, letting strings be pulled, rather than risk annihilation. Just like an abused spouse.

Colonialism In Place. Colonialism can be "in place" - as where a country's own financial and other economic interests "take over" and determine government policy, without citizen control or oversight.

Colonialism In Place is Colonialism By Internal Control. It does not take much to cage people. Caging need not be physical. Caging can be in restricted choices, how they are "allowed" to live their lives. Colonization by control. Colonialism by control is abuse by another, more dignified name, but just as destructive.

The Cage of Disgrace, Levoca, Slovakia

This was for women who got out of line.

Colonialism by control punishes or excludes those who get out of line in the economic or political arenas, counter to those in power. See hirings and firings for political reasons. Wars to benefit certain industries. Is it true that the last eight years here have fostered the interests of the "colonizers by control."

This kind of colonialism, use of people, is all the more devastating because it may be under the table - words may say one thing, the actions another, and all deniable. It is a political dare: we dare you to prove what we are doing, in economics, wealth extractions, uses of people.

We have other domestic concerns as well. See FN 1.
We are concerned with strings being pulled, people gently led to act out. Encouraged. The point is that we are concerned - and we should not have to be. Not in America.

Russian invasion of Georgia: How can there be any meaningful intervention from here as to Georgia. What have we left ourselves to do, except get a country's hopes up, then fail them, as Mr. McCain and Mr. Bush have done, see ://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/sunday/la-oe-brooks14-2008aug14,0,4988958.column. Cited above.

More foreign relations messed up, lobbyists running things. How much of Russia's strong action here relates to our blunders about understanding Kosovo, and interventions there. See Joy of Equivocating, Why Arm a Tinderbox, Kosovo>

And why would our own special interest groups, the big Macs here, that we foster in their tax-free activities abroad, want to criticize Russia for being big Macs there. We have no moral authority left. Another part of the eight-year legacy that divides. Impotence. Viagra for some. There is no such "fix" for governments that put themselves in that position, like us. No doubt, some are looking, but at our expense. What is well-intentioned, for the common good, and what is exploitation, self-interest.

See PoseJuxta, Recommendations Quality Act: No Empty Posturing. Don't expect force against Russia for doing what we do in another way. Our foreign policy is theirs, in many ways. No answers here, just putting words to the concept of colonization in place, and colonization at a distance, so perhaps remedies in the global common good can result. Sometime.

...............................................
FN 1 Arkansas. Murder/assassination of Democratic Party Chairman Bill Gwatney. Other incidents - need more information, but already our pathways to it are blocked. In an era of sensitivity to how we are managed, no holds barred, is there any end to what we find. The danger is that we even think these things. In this country.

We want facts on the murder of a political party chairman, where we also learn that pursuing police shot and killed the alleged gunman while he was in his truck, and after he was stopped. Was that another murder, or is that ordinary procedure. Was the gunman not surrendering, was he shooting back, and/or - had he been told to surrender his weapon and refused, or what.

The Fear Factor. We need to know that our police are disciplined. And, we are aware of consequences in many political areas for crossing someone, crossing some interest. How then to find out what, if anything, or anyone, was behind the act, an inciter. Don't blame us for asking. Even if all is simple police procedure to kill, it is relevant what was the gunman doing when he was killed. There must be a video. They killed the best source of information we had, just in case there was more to the story than a lost job - the circumstances will be a concern.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Persuasion. TV Constituencies. Streaming News Hooks. Propaganda Opportunity

Propaganda Opportunity
Message-Serving Streaming on the TV Screen.
The Engineering of Consent


And not necessarily saying what is on the news program


A. Reach the voters with the sound off the TV. 

Streaming narrative is a gold mine for golden-agers, and background types. The vision-field-only TV is the set that is on all day. Or, make it low sound, background; or no sound, or ignored, but there, sound.

Media offers many opportunities for focused, subliminal persuasion. Be aware. Beware. There may be a Fox in the henhouse.  Flip the channels for color (white is best) and fun graphics. Occasionally glance over and zap, the slant is in you.
  • There are constituencies, voters, who are not listening as the TV is on who are vulnerable nonetheless to persuasion from the screen. Vision, body language, all are persuaders. See Sassafras Tree, Three Ways to Persuasion - Technique, Spin, Persistence A visual image, with carefully spun words streaming like cheery banners underneath, no sound, absolute control? Edward Bernays would be proud.
  • These could include the TV viewer who is hard of hearing, distracted, in the pub, ironing, with the baby crying, the shop saw on, at a communal TV set (think nursing home), or who has the TV on just for the company of it. The TV offers colorful pictures, and motion. These may be parts of certain demographics, target groups in a toss-up state who customarily watch but do not listen, or read books, or newspapers; that a candidate needs to woo in order to win.
So: for those candidates, get out the narrative message-serving streaming. Reach the folks when they are not alerted that you are coming, when the mental door is wide open, say the admen.

TV views in the background, absorbed by the unwary











Even without listening to anything in particular, background noise, these viewers get a message - a gist of a view - from the text streaming while talking heads talk. That repeated spin in the written text moving over and over in a loop is enough to persuade.

What works best?

Mere key words, or headlines as a static phrase streaming, or full sentences that can even make up a story line. The story line wins.

See the uptick on narrative streaming in this election year; and how viewpoints can be manipulated. Watch, for example, how the phrasing of a question suggests other facts that are not even being questioned:

"Does X still eat little babies for supper?" asks the streaming narrative. Seed planted.

B. Does an image need sound to create propaganda?

No.  An image, even flashed fast, reaches the viewed. Example: Here we offer two images - a goat and a horse.

Image propaganda.  The un-horned goat.  Poor fellow.

Add the name of a candidate in streaming narrative, or sound, and propaganda is made.















Compare the hapless goat, unhorned, with the hefty Horse.  One is clearly ready to race, do the job; the other ungoated.

Image propaganda.  The hale and hearty horse,.



















2. Do slants in written matter make the same impact?

Books are wonderful, but do not reach those for whom in-depth reading is not a regular activity.

C. Why this matters.
.
Knowing the techniques matters because the medium of TV can fix the message: in terms of making it tightly attach; or in the sense of altering it altogether, or even - use #3, neutralizing it.

Streaming narrative. Define the clown your way.  Who is your news clown?.











Winning TV stations are not there necessarily there in persuasion categories because of the merit of their arguments. It can be their technique of holding attention, entertainment, only. To rely on sound on TV is to lose your autonomy as a voter, as a person capable of independent, sound judgment based on facts..


Visuals in salesmanship. It counts. 

How to compete with the brew in a visual?  Words alone will not do it. Propaganda TV works by streaming narrative under slanted pictures.  Watch for it..

....................................................................






..............................................................

FN 1 Images of candidates:

Old Goats. Opportunities, pitfalls.

Nothing elite about an old goat. And he is comfy, and alert.

Now, show him, a narrative pointing out that he is harmless with no horns left, and pan the camera around his main platform - with more narrative describing his office with 25 years, repeat 25 years, of paper clutter and everyman's granddad's piles of paper all around, see ://www.baltimoresun.com/news/nationworld/politics/wire/sns-ap-office-politics,0,7777512.story, bobbleheads, files bulging with paper, no computerizing for him, paper is good so stay with it.

Candidate like the Comcast Slowskis - see ://www.theslowskys.com/home/. Slow is good.

Then do visuals on torture, show it, let people see what he went through, close-ups. Surely seeing torture with a narrative beneath streaming, will lead voters to vote for torture; and for the man who stayed with paper while computers whiz by like magic carpets. Show where he has come since then - his lifestyle, his homes. In sentences, streaming. Makes you just want to climb on his lap for a story.

Now, your turn, candidate supporters. Get out your pencils and paper and do some good ones on goats, and bad ones on horses. Your turn.
....................................................................
FN 2
.
Horses. Opportunities, Pitfalls.
.
People like them, probably - but they mean various things, depending on background.
.
For Barack Obama, the image of a horse to convey his message could be contrived if he tries to use it to appeal to horsey types, to show himself riding. He, to our knowledge, does not ride and has no horsey people in his background. This image may better fit John Kerry, on his windsurfer, to all those people watching. But there is a downside to appearing elite.

If Obama used it, however, he could use it to appeal in another way, not as a lifestyle rider.


Move the result away from that pejorative. Put up the horse and then Obama, but do a streaming narrative video to shape the view, and find - suddenly - the elite image turned into a race horse that comes from behind, or from the unknown and wins - and that is a horse of a different color.
.
Be careful of too much complexity, but you can hint at it.

With Obama and the horse, could the parallel conjure conjure Benjamin Disraeli, the distinguished Victorian Prime Minister of England who wrote a novel published in 1831 that contained reference to a racehorse that came from out of nowhere, it seemed, and won. The phrase used by Disraeli was 'dark horse' for the one coming from nowhere and winning.
.
Interesting:
.
Disraeli himself was a dark horse. He was from a disfavored background, Jewish by birth, but was baptized into the Anglican Church as a child - born 1831, died 1881. A Conservative once in office, by the definitions of the time, but ran for office as a radical. He was also an author. An unusual background for Britain, but it worked. He breached schisms, and was flexible. See everyperson's overview at ://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Benjamin_Disraeli; and ://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corn_Laws at n.17.
.
Note that party names in Victorian Britain do not necessarily have the same connotation as similar words in US today, and Conservatives of that day did not seem to care about lifestyle tendencies.

He married a titled lady, so became Titled himself - nobility by marriage. A complex issue, Disraeli - even the terms "Conservative" (Disraeli was a Victorian one) and "Liberal" differ from ours today. See a biography and overview of life issues at Bogomilia, Benjamin Disraeli.
.
Disraeli is fascinating, but involved. More for a TV special than a passing story.
.....................................................
FN 3

How else to use streaming narrative on a silent screen?

Push policy positions. No sounds at all here. Even if the people turn up the volume. None. Do visuals on torture, show it, let people see what he went through, close-ups. Surely seeing torture with a narrative beneath streaming, will lead voters to vote for torture; and for the man who stayed with paper while computers whiz by like magic carpets. Show where he has come since then - his lifestyle, his homes. In sentences, streaming. Makes you just want to climb on his lap for a story.

Monday, August 11, 2008

From the Heights - Leaders, Nations, Myths, Napoleon et al.


Leaders and Height

1. Napoleon.
He was not short. He was 5'6 1/2" tall, using "English" feet measure (ours today).

Austerlitz, Napoleon Battlefield, CZ

When he died in 1821, the measurement (in "French feet") was less, but that was not converted to English feet. In English feet, he was 5'6 1/2" tall. That was a little above average for males in France at the time. See ://ask.yahoo.com/20030724.html. Find him at ://www.pbs.org/empires/napoleon/flash/n_myth/self/page_1.html

2. Josef Stalin. He was shorter than Napoleon. Stalin measured in at 5'5". See ://www.shortsupport.org/cgi-bin/whowho_list.cgi

3. Jane Austen and Norms. The novelist commented on her characters' heights, finding the taller persons more positive in other attributes overall. See ://www.jasna.org/persuasions/on-line/vol20no1/graham.html.

This is echoed, and decried, in an overall cultural preference for height (articles on "shortism" and "heightism" and general pop. See e.g., ://www.dankohn.com/archives/281); and Time Magazine for article on height discrimination information at ://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,905442,00.html.

Lange Wapper, Castle Steen, Antwerp

See Belgium Road Ways, Lange Wapper.

4. Height Sweeps.
Americans are losing it. Europeans are gaining it. See ://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/3625031.stm. The Dutch, for example, now are about 3" taller. In 1800's, says the site, they were about 3" shorter.

5. Successes like anyone else. This selection of people to us shows that there is wide variation in the occupational choices, and many are/were influential, of people under 5'5" . That site starts the "short" there - not we.

Go to the site ://www.shortsupport.org/cgi-bin/whowho_list.cgi?orderby=&direction=and , and calculate the difference in overall heights from the 1800's (the date used for the Dutch comparison), 1900, 1920 and so on, and now.

6. Genetics, disease, nutrition and height - correlations, see ://www.kuro5hin.org/story/2005/3/17/1381/92218. Fathers and baby length and weight: taller dads, longer, heavier babies. See ://www.vhi.ie/news/n211106a.jsp. For people from countries at war when they were children, and scarcity over years, was there a nutritional difference that affected height. What is happening to the children in Iraq? Look at your next graduation - how many tall kids have very short grandparents. Immigration: will our gross national height (we made that up) change when populations have access to plentiful, nutritious food. When can we all get nutrition in our food?

7. A range of optimum. Generally, in Britain, mental and physical health improves with height to a degree - for those at 5'4" or under, their health would improve if they were 3" taller. See the study at http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/3625031.stm (2004).

A Schwartzenegger height may be a health problem - see ://www.pubmedcentral.nih.gov/articlerender.fcgi?artid=1071721.

8. Angle on Schwartzenegger Approach - Cutting back on access to fast food. May have financial benefits. Immigration, Income Divides, Lack of Mobility Issues also present nutritional issues. So, for those concerned with increasing health care costs for the country, one of the best things we can do is see that everybody gets good, balanced, nutritional food. He is not cited here for his height.

9. Who Is. Measurements from "Short Persons Support" Website, at ://www.shortsupport.org/cgi-bin/whowho_list.cgi above, a patchwork quilt:

5'5"
Josef Stalin (Stalin wore elevator shoes, see Google book, "Khrushchev: The Man and His Era," by William Taubman 2003 at p. 106), Nicholas Sarkozy, Vaslay Nijinsky, Charlie Chaplin

5'4 1/2"
Eddie Fisher

5'4"
Igor Stravinsky, Neil Sedaka, Auguste Rodin. Pablo Picasso, Alan Ladd, Harry Houdini, Ludwig von Beethoven, Truman Capote, Mario Andretti

5'3 1/2"
Dmitri Anatolyevich Medvedyev (Putin's height is 5'7", see ://www.celebheights.com/s/Vladimir-Putin-1051.html)

Nikita Khrushchev, Back Left; Howard Scharfe, Back Right; Pittsburgh 1959

Was Khrushchev standing on something? Howard Scharfe, back right, was 5'10" - 5'11".

5'3"

Voltaire, Mickey Rooney, Nikita Khrushchev (back row, left), Kim Jong Il, Marquis de Sade, Sammy Davis, Jr., Charles Aznavour

5'2 1/2"
Dudley Moore

5'2"
Prince, Charles Manson, Yasser Arafat, Honore de Balzac, Buckminster Fuller

5'1"
John Keats, Edvard Grieg

5'
Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, Deng Xiaoping, Lorenz Hart, Andrew Carnegie, Helen Hayes, Margaret Mead, Dolly Parton, Annie Oakley, Mother Teresa, Harriet Tubman, Mae West, Natalie Wood

4'11 1/2"
Judy Garland, Gloria Swanson

4'11"
Olga Korbut, Harriet Beecher Stowe

4'10"
Charlotte Bronte, Margaret Mitchell

Grave, Edith Piaf, Pere LaChaise Cemetery, Paris

4'8"

Gary Coleman, Edith Piaf (see France Road Ways, Edith Piaf, Heloise and Abelard, and Napoleon

4'7"
Ruth Wertheimer

4'6"
Alexander Pope

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Addendum: Celebrity Heights

Barack Obama is not, repeat, not, listed as a celebrity at the "Celebrity Heights" website, ://www.celebheights.com/s/O.html, He is 6/2". ://wiki.answers.com/Q/How_tall_is_Barack_Obama. Neither is John McCain listed there as a celebrity. He is 5/7". See http://wiki.answers.com/Q/How_tall_is_John_McCain
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Saturday, August 9, 2008

Birds With Same Feather? John Edwards, Narcissus, Others. The Mythological View

Narcissism - The Condition Du Jour

Roots in Our Culture; Not in the Myth


Cultural Reductionism; Misdiagnoses; Refusal to Diagnose


Overview: BASIC CONCEPTS - CULTURAL USES OF NARCISSISM IDEA

I. Introductions:

Cultural Reductionism -
Attributing qualities simplistically, and in self-serving ways; making decisions based on reducing complexities to artificially simple ones. Our cultural abhorrence of ambiguity, of accepting other ways of seeing the world. So we fake certainty, change stories. Where next.

To Case in Point, Narcissism. A changed story. Narcissus did not think he was looking at himself. In the earliest Bulfinch's, he was in love with what he thought was another youth: a water spirit. See ://ancienthistory.about.com/library/bl/bl_text_bullfinch_13.htm. See FN 1. A homosexual attraction, someone like himself, although in that culture it did not carry the guillotine consequence of ours.

And it was a series of curses, not just his disinterest in the female nymph(s); and the fact that some curses backfired on the also-cursed lady Echo, that even got the thing going. Our culturally reduced concept, compared to the complexity of myth, leaves a shell. Suggest: Add back the complexity of all myth if we want to get at lasting truths.

A History of Narcissism in Decision-Making. People, Nations, on the rocks


A. Narcissism, the Professional View - sterile

B. Narcissism, the Pop View - too simple

C. Narcissism, the Mythological View - marvelously complex, like life

II. The Impact of Cultural Reductionism
.........................................................................

I. Cultural Reductionism.

Diagnose down to the simplest. What is the cause, what should be done. Reduce the range of factors too soon in assessing a cause; close off the mind before it has really opened to all the possibilities; and the action chosen will probably be too narrowly construed. Misdiagnosed facts lead to misdiagnosed actions. Narcissism in the Decider.


Action chosen on the basis of misdiagnosed facts puts us all on the rocks. Any one who Decides on the basis of ruling out facts before full analysis and weighing of all available known interests and possibilities is a narcissist: I assert the godlike power to Decide here and watch me do it!

Narcissism: the pop culture idea of the arrogance of so loving oneself and one's own actions that surely there will never be accountability. Entitlement to the fruits all around.
Wrong, in terms of the original, complex myth. If useful to us now in this truncated version, fine, but we should be aware that we are contructing our own myth, and also denigrating the splendid, many-faceted original.

A. Narcissism - the Professional View. Sterile. Try to read this, without falling asleep.

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual IV, clinical description, is at://www.mental-health-today.com/narcissistic/dsm.htm. Conclusion: Not just undue love of self, but a complex of traits, attitudes, and actions against others stemming from those traits and attitudes.

Other views of narcissism: see ://www.narcissism.operationdoubles.com/. Cerebral or somatic; classic or compensatory or inverted, at this site (not DSM)://www.healthyplace.com/communities/personality_disorders/narcissism/narcissism_defined.html.e story of Narcissus, we see, has been reduced in concept, to this one: the young man who loved only himself.

Derailer or derailleur - the gear change when a train goes off the track, also see bicycles, at ://www.sheldonbrown.com/derailer.html

B. Narcissism: A Pop Culture View.
Mere Self-Centeredness. Yawn.

1. John Edwards:
Misdiagnoses himself too simplistically. Describes himself as having become "narcissistic" - leading to his affair and dissembling. Many in power and out have put themselves on the rocks like this. It is worth a closer look. What were the choices, seeds, and the stage. His situation requires a balancing, a look by the electorate at the circus our elections have become. He went astray, but the path was paved. See FN 2 for followup.

2. George. Ditto. But also narcissism by refusal to diagnose. Apparently doesn't even think of diagnosing how he got us where we are because he can't be wrong, and if he is, well, leave that to history in 40 years. No sense in worrying about it now. Our misdiagnosis eight years ago.

Even an ordinary bike can think it's meant for anything.

Narcissistic. George? Yes. Not in the public record form of acting out as John did, but in the self-conceit, a recklessness in risk-taking, the sense of all-power; who would challenge The Decider. A very ordinary person, convinced he is made for greater things, and thus shall be unaccountable.

But with Bush, and the position in which we put him and left him, look at the consequences of his grand indulgences -- he is the greater derailer. Not just a family traumatized, but a national train derailed. John, why not go have a cuppa with W. He needs some insight.

3. The AARP on Healthcare. Useful application here, because it describes a process that, to us, reflects narcissism.

Professional narcissism - actually, broader than the article. The concepts apply whether the diagnostician of an issue is doctor, lawyer, chief, legislator. More misdiagnoses.

Look at the AARP Magazine September 2007-2008 at pp.41-42. Find the article addressing this issue of reductionism in decision-making about causes of illness and treatments. Patients, clients, voters, citizens, learn to ask the questions that may revise the diagnosis.

The article: We often get cognitive errors by the doctor (any professional, we believe). A doctor may arrange the medical information into a pattern of symptoms and reports, then superimpose this pattern "onto a template of the typical case that exists in his or her mind." Pattern recognition - but not always accurate. Missing information (!), but proceeding anyway; not accounting for or noticing subtleties.There is a tendency to "anchor," to latch onto a conclusion early on; or that most closely matches something else recently dealt with like it; and "attribution"comes in - attribute symptoms to the conclusion that may not really be there at all.

Misdiagnoses. Sounds like politicians, statesman. Bungling diagnoses of foreign policy issues. Yes, doctors are overworked, and some even underpaid if they serve the poor or retired. The issue of reductionism remains.

Find The Narcissist. That is difficult when they are not in flight

4. Message controllers. Propagandists.

Narcissism under the table. In disguise. The derailer. Self over all. I have the right to misrepresent and distort because there is no law against it and if people don't look after themselves, I sure don't have to help. This is the "something missing" department, like George. A failure to diagnose at all, see one's role in the greater whole, except as it adds to the self.

Is any derailer a narcissist? Who in what campaigns, behind scenes or out front, and who in power is derailing. Anyone who relies on derailing another in order to promote self is a narcissist. Sounds ok here. Ditto all the -isms that pit one group against another, promote rank. Narcissists do not emerge from a vacuum. Narcissists need, and give rise to, enablers. An audience. A following. Pullers of strings.

We give up.

C. Narcissus - The Mythological Roots View. Complex, ambiguous, lives and forces interacting, like Life.

We think, most of us probably, that the story is only that there was a young man, Narcissus, who so loved his reflection that he stared at himself in the reflection of the brook, while the young woman who loved him, Echo, pined away, ignored. Nuts, mythologically.

Complex interactions.

The full mythological background presents a far more complex picture of Narcissus - the young man for whom the condition is named, and Echo, the young lady in the picture.

Myths are not straightforward. They do not lend themselves to sound bites. There are also many versions, as stories migrated from Greece to Rome, and to and from elsewhere, and there are seldom fixed causes of anything: other persons, and gods and goddesses pull the strings, set the stage, all interacting, making cause and effect muddy, and that is life.

Topics: Look at the issues of
  • free will here, or
  • deity intervention, or
  • curses, or
  • what dear Narcissus thought he was looking at after all, was it really himself, who made him do it,
  • what is the result when we get what we ask for, in terms of a vengeance against another, and
  • does lifestyle matter - read version 1.

The Truths of the Ancients. Life is complex, and no two tellings are alike, and each carries its own truths.

Version 1. "Mythography" at ://www.loggia.com/myth/echo.html. From Bulfinch's Mythology, it says.

Narcissus as Pawn. First, the young woman is no ordinary young woman. And in this version, Narcissus is not even staring at himself at the outset. He just is gorgeous. And, he is used, as the fates of others interweave around, but then falls into the pattern where that led. Circumstances pave his road.

Echo, the young woman, was a chatterbox nymph, who delayed the goddess Hera who was looking for her god husband, who had been romping with the nymphs. The nymphs got away. Hera was furious that she had been cheated, of finding him in pari delicto, and cursed Echo so that she - who loved to talk - could only thereafter speak when spoken to, and then only to repeat the last words spoken to her.

Example: Hello, Echo! How are you? Her response: Are you? So she fell for Narcissus, but their communications went awry, and Narcissus was alarmed and frustrated at the inappropriateness of her discourse. He bugged out, and she was the one who pined away in a cave until she was bones, her bones were turned into rocks, and all she could do was reply to those who called out, but at least having the last word.

Was he cruel in leaving, finally? Who wouldn't, under those circumstances. What to stay for? But the story says he went on to shun all the nymphs (again, why not be cautious, here, given his past experience - sounds ok so far).

Then a maiden, smitten, prayed that Narcissus, who did not respond to her at all, may feel the pain of rejection. A goddess heard, and said, why not. So she fixed it so. Then, when Narcissus came to a splendid brook, and bent down to drink, he saw his reflection and was of himself enamored - but he thought it was another lovely youth. He bent further for a kiss and an embrace (lifestyle no issue, thank you), but as he touched the water, the reflection disappeared, only to return to taunt his desires all the more. Oh, stay! Let me at least look on you, even if I cannot touch! And he began to pine away.

Meanwhile, Echo stayed close, replying to his "Alas!" with her own "Alas!" Then he died, and his spirit, going over the River Styx to Hades, saw the reflection there as well. Everybody mourned, the nymphs tried to find his body but all that there was in the woods was this pretty little flower with the purple center, the Narcissus.

Problem: Where is the free will? His only flaw was in not falling in love with the nymphs. He only became captivated with the brook reflection because a goddess made that happen, and even then he thought he was seeing another young man. Not himself at all. He was made narcissistic by the deity - and as a punishment for not wanting Echo. He still shunned the nymphs - but is that self-love or just looking for a young man somewhere? Echo herself was being punished, and look back - she is the one who asked that Narcissus be so cursed in the first place, so it all gets very complicated in terms of what moral to be drawn. Everybody is used, abused.

Version 2. Latin I Mythology at ://www.dl.ket.org/latin1/mythology/3fables/love/echo.htm

Narcissus as
arrogant and self-centered from the outset.

In this version, not Bulfinch's, - wait a sec. We just read through this particular so-called Bulfinch's Mythology source at another website that collects texts that cultures found/find significant, at ://www.sacred-texts.com/cla/bulf/, and we do not find Narcissus at all.

Why is this story left out? Because of the Bulfinch telling that the reflection is a youth, not a maid? Is this a doctrinal site, with dogma in mind? To be researched.

Here it is: the Bulfinch. Narcissus does fall in love with a male image - see http://www.bartleby.com/181/132.html. The sacred-texts must be dogma oriented, not trustworthy for original sources without the overlay. So, were nymphs both male and female? Next to be researched. Maybe so. Ok - nymphs were female. See ://www.theoi.com/Encyc_N.html; and very interesting, see://www.paleothea.com/Nymphs.html.

Anyway, in this version, which is different from #1 that says it is from Bulfinch, Narcissus asks for it, asks for trouble because he wants a nymph (he gets the gender attraction right for this version) but only if she is more beautiful than he is. Ambiguous, still.

This is far more moralistic and punitive - hardly sounds Greek at all. A Christian overlay of moralism? Pagans did not moralize as we do, as far as we know. They just laid the stories out. Sink or swim, that's the way it went down. This version clearly changed from Bulfinch's.

  • Narcissus wanted only a maiden as beautiful as he was handsome, says this version. But this does not unfold, it is a given, forced on us as a conclusion from the get-go.
  • Even lovely Echo, and her merry chatter, did not captivate him.
  • The husband of the goddess, Hera, is identified as Zeus, king of the gods.
  • The goddess who heard Echo's prayer is Nemesis,"the goddess of righteous anger."
  • When Narcissus saw the reflection in the brook, he thought it was a nymph (the other version had him seeing another youth, a male). So already we have changes for cultural reasons?
  • The flower, the narcissus, bends to the water, not to the sun, thus the name.
So, some new parts added, some changes, but not half as interesting. Trumped up to fit.

The changes even weaken the impact. Look at the inconsistency: self-love from the start; ok. Narcissism, by our pop culture idea. But he only looks in the brook and is captivated by the reflection after a goddess made that happen. No free will. No choice. And why call that stage of the story "self-love" when he thought he was seeing a lovely nymph? He thought he was seeing a nymph, not himself. No Narcissism there - so we are left with that lame beginning. Phooey. Leave stories alone.

II. The Impact of Cultural Reductionism. Why not let John Edwards fade away. And George.

Two Ducks Walking

Wrong. There are consequences to us:
As in the myth, many others were and are responsible for setting the stage. That does not detract from choices made, or responsibility; but it adds more of us to the pot.

Is this true: there is a reciprocity here. We turn politics into a play - entertain us! Then detach and watch them on the stage where we put them. Our own colisseum.

Back to John Edwards:

On the rocks

We will bear the consequences so we had better pay attention. There we are, also, see us on the right? That's us.


John may have disrupted an entire campaign, altered the results of early primaries just by running, distracted important time from candidates and real issues. Someday we may look back and see that the time and media attention that he deflected to his great self, when he was no longer legitimately in the spotlight, changed history even. Why go to that hotel, at that time with media swarming for other reasons, unless you wanted to be caught. Amateur analysis, we all.

Watch it unfold. he will denigrate the relationship, that may have had its soaring moments; she will feel humiliated and angry and want to get back, so she will humiliate back, and on it goes. People being people. Narcissism in high places has a huge toll on everyone else.

There may be an Opportunity.

John Edwards' use of the term "narcissism" may yet spark a national interest in how individuals in power or close to it can derail the rest of us. If so, thank you, John. We may look at (probably not) how our own addiction to entertainment and glitz leads us to set these stages so we can watch others fall, or abuse us. If so, progress. If we go further and see ourselves in John and even learn something, all the better.

And if that discussion leads to how nations with power or close to it can derail the rest of the world, or to religions that assert certainty and dominance and power can derail everything in sight - on and on, you get the idea. Anyone can be a narcissist. Here, at least, noone died. Nobody went broke. Maybe a difficult campaign can continue over a blip, not find itself blocked by narcissists of other kinds.

Hwaet. Selah.

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FN 1. Narcissus, at://ancienthistory.about.com/library/bl/bl_text_bullfinch_13.htm . "He stood gazing with admiration at those bright eyes, those locks curled like the locks of Bacchus or Apollo, the rounded cheeks, the ivory neck, the parted lips, and the glow of health and exercise over all."

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FN 2. FN! Flash! John Edwards, having possibly violated the spirit if the Pre-Emptive Laundry Disclosure Plank Proposal, see PoseJuxta, Planks for People, Pre-Emptive Laundry Disclosure has been subpoenaed to appear before the Democratic National Committee ad hoc subcommittee for fact-finding, and if applicable, imposition of verbal tongue-lashings to be determined by them. Senator Clinton, last heard muttering about Iowa, shall chair.