Saturday, December 29, 2007

FUD - The Three Swords of the Manipulator - Mythology? Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt

Mythology. Great creatures. Monsters representing primordial forces, killing people, freezing, paralyzing, killing potential. Deep roots, borrowed deity relationships. The fear of fearful things. Here is St. George, at Zagreb, Croatia - killing the dragon. Name the monster and we shall slay him, say the heroes. But first we have to know the monster is real, or we wear ourselves out for nothing. Equivocation, the false alarm, breeds blahs.

For serious monsters with proven track records, dragons top the list, see ://; and :// See other monsters -- Medusa, at :// (this is a very bland, minimalist site - search for Medusa yourself for more cultural-psychologically colorful ones); and Grendel and Grendel's Mother of Beowulf fame, see ://; and Cyclops, see :// Other entities are not necessarily monsters, but symbols, anti-deity, ante-deity, co-deity, personifying qualities to be rid of, like Azazel, see

And so the monsters freeze those who look upon it, paralyze the actors, cause mayhem. See :// Or a more detailed definition - loss of limb included, to hinder the fighting back, at ://!/strategy-exact.

Only slaying the monster brings relief, a stop to the deaths, the inability to act.
In modern days, what is our equivalent.

Try this: The Monster FUD of our day. Here is its lair.

The FUD! A three-armed, three-sworded paralysis-dealer, slashing out and spreading Reason for Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt. throughout the land.

See FUD at ://

But the story continues beyond the mere identifying of the monster. Watch it unfold itself.

The Minders - officials, talk show teeth, promoters - cried, "FUD!" the first time, as though there were a reason for it, and the people ran and hid and would not be counted. Then they came out. And the Minders cried, "FUD!" again, and again the people ran and hid and would not be counted. This went on for so long that finally the people said, "So?" And went about their paltry business anyway.

The Minders hissed again - "Fear! Uncertainty! Doubt!" And this time, the people slept.

But the next time, the Real FUD came out and upon them - real Reason for Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt, and it slipped through the little barriers, so nondescriptly erected, and the Minders cried out again, "FUD!" and -- fill in the ending.

Story time. Wolf Wolf. See Aesop's Fables at :// Where is accountability. Who loses? The Minders take their marbles and leave for offshore. Leaving us like sheep? Moral, among several, for The Minders of the airwaves, the government: Crying FUD about the other guy is no substitute for lack of substance in the Minder.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Selling Sasquatch - A Fiduciary Approach to Sales, Politics,

Swiftboating eggs. In year one, they are life, they sustain life. In year two, eggs kill. Identify one component, cholesterol, and ban the beast.

Ads. How to balance. Surrounding us: Selling stuff not needed, useful, even good for you, but the ads are great. Bullying people along while flawed decisions are being made, serving the seller, of cholesterol medication: are eggs really connected to your dying? Does lowering it prolong life? It may reduce heart attack, but the people die anyway? So?

The marketplace. Commercial, political.

What is so holy about Buyer Beware.

Why should we? How about Seller Beware. How does mutuality of knowledge make a difference. Who owes what obligation to whom, for stability of transaction, economic feasibility, and the common good?

How to avoid the seller of Sasquatch. How to figure out what really is what we need and want.

1. Narrow the problem. Here, the back yard. Everything down. A little domestic 9-11.

2. Reconstruct the Scene.

Follow the round paddy things to and from the woods.

Is any of this within your ken? See:// If something falls within your general experience, you might be ok in making the next decisions. But check it out.

3. Get some allies. Ask around. Look around. Get your own knowledge base. A trusted knowledge base. A sale of a solution only has a chance to be fair - or accurate - if knowledge and power are moving toward equal. See Fiduciary America, issues.

4. Find a note: "You are bothering me in my woods," the Perp says in a writing left by the far feeder in the snow, "So I am doing this so you will know we mean it when we say to get out and go home."

A message like that. Sounds straightforward enough. We get out of theirs, they get out of ours.

5. Jab your cellphone! Tell the expert what's up, or down, and you think you know who!

Enter expert.

"No. You don't know anything. I'm the Decider and Sasquatch was here! Look at those round paddy things! I'm getting my people to bring in X, Yand Z and starting again with the Whole Alphabet and we'll build huge forts in the woods and show them! Trust me. No, no access to information in my store, just trust me. It costs, but we have no choice! Pay!"

6. And you just walk away. After all, this is the expert. He said so. If he says Sasquatch did this, must be so - no way to get information about your other choices because he just says no, that's his to know and you not to find out.

So you shrug and edge away, meekly.

7. For next time: Let me sell you this Anti-Sasquatch remedy; the Ultimate Malignant Salesman Deterrent. Just go to PoseJuxta: Plank - Public Consumer Education.

Falling for Marketing for All the Wrong Reasons: Obstacle Removal

Are you boxed in by too many words? Are your feet stuck in the brambles? Can you not even see your way to any solutions at all? Don't just sit there.

1. Self-educate.

A civic-minded group in 1937 warned us against propaganda -- see Edward Filene and the Institute for Propaganda Analysis, // If those techniques are now being used on us, learn up. Stay reading. Make a Fodder Plan.

2. Self-enthuse.

Mantra. You have a right to decide, not only to be "told." Look into marketing reasons, financing, motivations - is the public good served, or someone's profit and power. Which do you want to see succeed? As fodder, you may want the common good. As an elected official, you may want to perpetuate yourself, or not. Depends. You pick, but do it consciously and with full information.

3. Read; verify; or question and discard.

Try books about marketing for the wrong reasons.
Marketing is interested in more marketing, not you. It persuades, but is there a connect to an underlying truth at all.

New book, in the Hartford Courant under the article heading, "How Marketing, Religion Depend on Each Other." 10/16/07.
The book is "Shopping for God; How Christianity Went From In Your Heart to In Your Face," by a James B. Twitchell, Simon&Shuster 2007. Marketing religion. The field is not the point. The point is marketing taking over what a historical holy figure may or may not have said, and the later accretions, and why they attached. Who was served.

4. Find people who make sense and offer foundations for what they say, not just conclusions.

Avoid "advocacy journalists", see, unless you are also holding them accountable for what they rely on and present, and look into the interests behind them. They are not independent, probably. You can be.

With that caution, try reading opinion pieces about sales for the wrong reasons. They give a good overview of the topic in a media age.

This article is from the Hartford Courant. "A Lean Left, A Lurch Right," by David Segal, page A5. Candidate Romney in the spotlight there, but the point is not so much the individual candidate as it is the fact that salesmanship in political success is the topic. //,0,2987361.story. A candidate for our Presidency is described in terms of his hyper-sales abilities - that his success and talent in persuasion in politics and business have led him to adopt and sell any position, regardless of prior positions taken, as long as it gets him where he wants to be - bought by enough people to win an election. Right or wrong as to the candidate, that, I believe is the gist of the article.

More opinion pieces about s
ales that work against our national interest, not for it.

See the Hartford Courant 10/16/07. Washington columnist, David Ignatius, writes an article in the opinion section called, "U.S. Neglects Dignity." He says in summary that the US drive to sell its version of democracy and impose it has been counterproductive because it ignores a basic human need -- for recognition, validation and dignity. People resent intervention by outsiders that denigrates their prior choices, and "will fight to protect their honor even - and perhaps especially- when they have nothing else left."

You can read it at //; and at // (The Russia News Service, for "global professionals."

5. Talk, discuss, avoid taking positions, stay open. See if the circle can be widened to include people's ideas rather than fortressing them out. Then each of you may, just may, change.

This from a recent jury duty: Avoid making anyone articulate anything at the outset. Just start a thinking process. A position becomes a part of a person, a matter of saving face. Then formal options are few. Like on jury duty, if people insist on polling first, seeing who is where on an agreement spectrum before discussing ideas, thoughts, you lock into win-lose. The group splinters and it takes time to get back into discussion mode. Time waster.

Identify what communications are in issue - commerce, politics, what's for dinner.

See the legal side of the issues in commercial and political speech, see a little slide show at Or a court critique at //

It is hard for anyone to change, - fodder, officials, consumers, citizens. See definition thoughts at Studying World War at point 4, kinds of people in the dance of governments and people; and Petr Ginz, Lens and Legacy, propaganda post. Read about the history of sales manipulation, and handbooks for manipulation. Hard to get out of the mold

But, since we are all in the same global wagon, a human approach is worth trying. Go back to the David Ignatius article - the indirect approach, the human dignity approach. No mind is changed by force. Few minds change at all. But some can and do. Reread Ignatius.

Now, how to get the self-educating effort going. Everybody's out shopping instead.

6. Stay current on First Amendment rights

So far, it seems that if you're not under oath, you can lie at will -- for opinion, political, other speech. If people want tests for credibility and merit, go to court. . See the Social Science Research Network, at - False Campaign Speech and the First Amendment.

See Freedom of Press and Speech at :// You don't need to be a lawyer to read. Try the First Amendment Center at :// Consider a fiduciary approach to all dealings, difficult, but there are legal standards governing fiduciary duty. It is one way to avoid the piecemeal enforcement-regulation morass we are in now in commerce, any kind of sales, investment relationships, pharma, etc. See Hello Fodder, Fiduciary America.

So: Fact-check, or join the piggies going to market who lose. Be realistically aware that false and ambiguous is fine if you get away with it, stall, or buy enough airwaves, cable, and newspapers, and people, to say what you want them to say until ideas are imprinted in their heads.

The countinghouse overflows.

Then again, equivocation is not all bad.

It's a dark woods overall, but see the bright spots.
Take a break from malignant communication, and go back to the benign - where the speaker uses double meanings or open-endedness to keep you coming back for more - an interest stimulator. Like Uncle Remus, see Joy of Equivocating, Uncle Remus overview and Tar Baby story; or even "Scherezade, and the 1oo1 Nights." See // See how to keep a story going in //

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Uncle Remus and Ambiguity in Theology

Our main Uncle Remus site is located at Uncle Remus Tales and Translations This topic, however fits as well in a discussion of the uses of ambiguity.

Read the Uncle Remus tale, "The Story of the Deluge and How It Came About." An informal translation is here: Uncle Remus Tales and Translations, Story of the Deluge.

Look at it now for theology. Focus on the double asterisk at the part where the little boy asks where the ark is in that story.

Remus allows how it isn't up to him to add to his own story, that there might have been two deluges, and again there mightn't, and he lets his story be - little boy, don't bring this up to Aunt Sally unless she does it, and time to run along to bed.

Aunt Sally - she stomps on ambivalence. Must have one rule. Some people just can't abide open-endedness. But the underdog knows better. Ambivalence lets one keep his or her own ideas intact, without inviting blows.
Do read the comment below. In response - We also note that Uncle Remus' story has the greater-sized creatures themselves, and their behavior in ignoring the little guys, as the cause of the deluge.

Does this suggest the truth that there will be no social stability without paying attention to everyone's needs, even the small. And there is no deity involved at all in Remus' story. Whether a deity was watching, judging, or concerned, or involved, Uncle Remus saieth not.

Monday, December 3, 2007

"Beowulf" and Distortion of Myth, for New Purposes - Marketing Dross

Beowulf! Thou art here! Or....?

Hwaet a minute. What is happening here. Hwaet.

Hwaet. The first word of Beowulf. It means Listen. Hush! Attention! Or Hear. Whatever you are doing, pay attention, it says. See // Here, pay attention to distortion of cultural treasures to fit a marketing agenda, without educating us about what is changed, and why. A call for transparency. Calling dross, see ://, dross.

The issue is interpreting myth, adding to it, making it "fit" current entertainment needs. As in the film, "Beowulf," altered beyond recognition on the screen, but without even a trailer to let the audience know they are seeing ersatz. See ://

If we must do it, a simple disclaimer at the end would have helped - what did the myth say, and what does the movie do to it. Do it at the end - instead of outtakes. As it is, the film entertains - but deceives. An action flick, but destructive.

Why bother? Because this could have been a fine educational moment - tuck it into entertainment. So, teach yourself. See the poem online, and even in Cliffsnotes. See Go back to Beowulf in its mythical antagonistic, full-warrior panorama, with the mother of Grendel's role remaining as formidable monster - truly a worthy opponent. Read Beowulf at; or ://; or // Or, start with a summary - for example, at; or

We get nothing of that in the film, Beowulf. See an apt review at ://

Please, Angelina Jolie, reject roles that distort epics. Just hwaet for the right role.

Ye great Nordic gods and goddesses, see :// . The film says this is all about sex. It isn't.

Spagettization of literature. This is the earliest epic poem in the English language. Spaghettization. N. The process of reducing whole wheat and substituting proportions of non-nutritious white flour, adding salt and water, and squeezing into long strands of tangles for the purpose of fill-up, and disseminating same as though it were not dross." WidDic.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Requiring certainty in science - The "craving for authority" - Sigmund Freud

Must one kiss every frog, in order to conclude that none is likely to be a prince? Requiring certainty in anything stops anything in its little tracks.

Fair use quotation of Sigmund Freud, from article on Sigmund Freud by Dr. C. George Boeree at
// re science cannot and should not be a fixed "catechism" substitute - Emphases and asterisk added -

"It is a mistake to believe that a science consists in nothing but conclusively proved propositions, and it is unjust to demand that it should. It is a demand only made by those who feel a craving for authority in some form and a need to replace the religious catechism by something else, even if it be a scientific one. Science in its catechism has but few apodictic * precepts; it consists mainly of statements which it has developed to varying degrees of probability. The capacity to be content with these approximations to certainty and the ability to carry on constructive work despite the lack of final confirmation are actually a mark of the scientific habit of mind. -- Freud"

Am looking up the actual source for the quote. It is repeated in this Hindu-information site on the connectivity of religion and science, at // Repeated often, but can't find yet the first source.

Found this one: "Neurosis is the inability to tolerate ambiguity." Sigmund Freud, at Rand's Quotations, see
* Apodictic - means "uncontrovertible" - see

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Anyone can be Brutal. Sales, Pain-Infliction, the Milgram Study. Studies in Inflicting Pain. You can be sold on it.

The Milgram Studies
Part I, and Part II

Intentional infliction of pain. Even when not personally affronted. The joy of it.

Brutality can be sold, and most people will buy. Read about the Milgram Study. The first time it was conducted, the testers did not say what they were studying. And they found that people will be brutal when they can use the excuse that they are being directed to do it. That was seen as ethically bad - putting people in that position - so decades later, they corrected the problem and came up with the same results.

Equivocation for science. Did not affect the ending.

The "Milgram Psychology Studies" examined angles of brutality: who did it, who didn't. The studies are written up by PublicEye, at //

PublicEye is a 501(3) charitable organization on the left looking largely at the right, but that may be the filter for the article's inclusion, and does not necessarily reflect on the accuracy of the reporting of the studies. See writeup on PublicEye at this guide to charitable giving, laying out group's purposes, at ://

The result: some people can and to resist the temptation or order to be brutal, others (most) do not and cannot. Most get sold on the idea and carry on on their own. Acting out us versus them is easier and more satisfying than trying to grapple with underlying causation issues.

Read how the study was constructed and its results at :// Title: "The Milgram Experiments: A lesson in depravity, peer pressure and the power of authority." This next site calls it "Milgram's Study of Obedience," and includes illustrations, at

Note that the PublicEye article tempers the result there with the somewhat hopeful news that some people do resist being brutal - but most can get sold on it. Watch the seller, be careful of propensities including trust, reliance on authority, fear.

Rudeness sells brutality. Loudness and repetition work. Talk shows can sell brutality, starting with numbing people's own sense of fairness and decency. Titillation can sell brutality. Lay out a long-legged, big-maned loud talker and some would like very much to be liked by that person. No big deal, ordinary sales, but unless we are aware of how we are sold, we won't resist well because we won't even see it as sales.

The issue is again in the news - update December 2008 - see Update 12/2008 - the Milgram Study in the news again - see ://

Sunday, October 28, 2007

The race card. Media photo, Obama, Hartford Courant

Obama Photo: At a time when candidates were in New Hampshire.

Large size photo, the full width of the page, but in silhouette, a very dark silhouette as silhouettes are; and the newspaper picture did not even show a dark blue shirt - it was all blackblack. And there this darkly silhouetted figure is, in his race (of all the words to use) to the White House.

And the words say, "getting down to business," echoing the lyrics of Bon Jovi at :// --
Thumbnail quote from the Bon Jovi site there - "when everybody's getting down, we're getting down to business Insane, freak train, you don't want to miss this"

Read all the lyrics there to get the full impact of what the phrase elicits for many who listen to music. There is even a reference to getting an amen for wanting to get the brothers and sisters together. Go ahead. Look it up.

How very, very, very black this photo is, no face, no audience, just Senator Obama and his satellite dish if that is what it is., no reactions, no surrounding happy people in a diner or other normal place.

UPSHOT - Every school child and every adult should be taught to spot techniques of selling something (such as raising the issue of race) where the seller dances around it and can deny it, but it is there when you alert up a bit. See the Institute for Propaganda Analysis at // Start with 1) "plain folks" and 2) "card-stacking." Read about the techniques developed by Edward Bernays in the 1920's, now a handbook for persuasion. An overview of the evolution of PR at :// Still at the ape stage, are we?

Time for a second cuppa. No violation of copyright here because is fair use, new use, different purpose. Does anyone understand copyright?

The race card. Political reporting. A pending media study on that. Cannot be played as an issue directly, easily. Best to play it indirectly, in a deniable way. Persuade without the persuadee even knowing.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Transparency delayed is justice denied. Vatican, Heresy, Templars, Chinon Parchment: Historical Wrongful Death

The Templars. Slaughtered for heresy, 14th Century Pope Clement V, letting King Philip IV conduct the tortuous clean-up. No, for other reasons, we learn now in the Chinon Parchment. History changes with what is revealed by whoever has the secrets.

Chinon, Loire Valley, France. A castle with much history. Joan of Arc got her army from the Dauphin there.

And it is the namesake for the Chinon Parchment just released by the Vatican, that document that finally fills in significant historical information about power, greed and avarice in the old days. The great human motivator.

The Chinon Parchment fills in the circumstances of the slaughter of the Knights Templar in the 14th Century by the French King Philip IV, under the guise of waffled charges of heresy. First Pope Clement V found no heresy. Templars are innocent of that charge. Then King Philip applied pressure because he wanted the Templars out of the way (he also owed them huge sums of money). And, the Pope - surprise - said that, yes indeed, the Templars are heretics. In those days, a death sentence. And King Philip tortuously applied it.

Since then, the Chinon Parchment has been hidden away, lest a party line about heretical Templars (therefore killable) be fogged by its contents. Hiding facts may work for 700 years, but eventually someone may well find original sources and the secrets come out. The inconvenient truths. Victors write the histories. We knew that, but it is always interesting to see what ultimately does come out. Church and state. And ordinary people.

In the alternative, this episode shows the old joy of equivocating in saying one thing now, and another when that first thing becomes inconvenient. That is why mouths have two sides.

So, French Templars were captured, imprisoned, tortured and killed - and that happened on a Friday the Thirteenth, thereafter unlucky for that among other explanations. See // and //

The Vatican has just now released the Chinon Parchment. See //

This large and influential group, the Templars, had been/is a secret society of Knights who had aided pilgrims during the Crusades, and profited greatly - they had established highly lucrative trading and banking practices. See // If you know any Masons, they will tell you that the Grand Master, Jacques DeMolay was killed among them. Their wealth was never found after all, so the the royalty did away with its debt along with the Templars, but did not get its royal hands on the treasure. The King and the Pope did, however, with that one sweep to the death, removed a powerful force. Killing as competition removal.

Like today - classify information, destroy emails, refuse refuse, lest someone look at original sources and tell inconvenient truths. What would history look like if all the pieces of the puzzles were allowed in.

Look for the lost Templar treasure here: // Or anywhere else. Here is one of the castles in their area, in Croatia. They owned land, towns. They had huge land holdings all the way to the Holy Land.

The Chinon Parchment is supposed to be beautifully executed. There is an irony. It also is getting worldwide attention - see //,25197,22603310-2703,00.html. Power's Mantra: Must have certainty. No loose ends. All must be wrapped up. Even if ends are made up. Even if those innocent of heresy charges are slaughtered because a decider was pressured, or weak. Our forebears. Or, like in Uncle Remus' stories, someone may (and usually does?) prevail not out of goodness and right, but simply out of cunning. See Uncle Remus Tales and Stories.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Violating Uncle Remus. Toxic additives. Disney.

Focus here:

Let Brer B'ar be Brer B'ar.

He has an identity in the Tales, with dignity and position in the community. Yet, Disney diminishes him by making him huge and dumb and putting in stories where he does not belong, all for a good laugh - with racist undertones.

Look at the Disney changes and adds to two separate and wonderful Uncle Remus stories, known as "The Wonderful Tar-Baby," and "How Mr. Rabbit was Too Sharp for Mr. Fox."

I. THE BRIAR PATCH. First additive - combining two stories into one, and losing the wonderful suspense that the separation in the original telling had provided.

The famous briar patch portion of the Tar-Baby story is located not in that main story, but after the intervening story, "Why Mr. Possum Loves Peace." Find the briar patch at the next tale, "How Mr. Rabbit Was Too Sharp for Mr. Fox." The original ambiguous, equivocal ending of Tar-Baby is finally resolved - later. Keeps us coming back.

We are looking at the "Uncle Remus His Songs and His Sayings," in editions by Joel Chandler Harris, Grosset & Dunlap, beginning in 1880, then 1895, 1908, and last in 1921 (the one we have).

You can read that briar patch section as part of the Tar-Baby in a translation at // There it is - a version with Brer Rabbit all tarred up, Brer Fox a-fixin' to eat him, and Brer Rabbit finally outfoxing him so he gets tossed in the briar patch, where he had been born and bred - escape.

That site also claims that the original is in Gullah dialect - that may not be so. See Uncle Remus Tales - Translations, Dialect post.

The Walt Disney 1946 film, "Song of the South," removes the suspense and puts the briar patch resolution as part of the Tar-Baby tale itself. Look up the film clips online - there are many of them. Or the DVD's. Leaving a story ending open shows respect for the reader, and invites active participation. Leave them separate.

II. BRER B'AR. Second additive. Putting a third character in the story; and then distorting who that character really is.
Meet Brer B'ar. He is in the Remus stories, but not in the Tar-Baby or Rabbit-Fox stories.

Whar's the B'ar? See

There is no Brer B'ar at the Tar-Baby scene at all. Just Brer Rabbit and Brer Fox. The first time we met Brer B'ar, is in the first story, "Uncle Remus Initiates the Little Boy," see Uncle Remus Tales- Translations, Uncle Remus Initiates..... And there he is presented as a regular member of the community, and showing concern for a rift between Brer Rabbit and Brer Fox.

Yes, Brer B'ar is big, and black. But Disney failed us in then diminishing him in the caricature of an oaf, intellectually disabled, as he did.

Brer B'ar may be rural, uneducated and dialect-speaking, but he was no more mentally deficient than any of the other characters. We have Brer Possum, Brer Mr. Mink, Brer Coon, part of the same tricker-trickee scenario of the tales. But Disney apparently needs Vaudeville, and a stereotype, and turns Brer B'ar, into an oaf, a laughingstock.

Are these Brer B'ar issues important?

Brer B'ar made a huge impression. For many, it is a highlight of the old film. Ask any pre-boomer/ boomer who saw the film, or had the old 78's record album, what a favorite part is, and I bet you will hear Brer B'ar's slow dull hollow loud inflection. Something like:


Turning Brer B'ar into a buffoon has other ramifications. Brer B'ar is not a one-time appearance. He is in many stories. If he is kept in as a laughable, dumb distortion in Tar Baby, what happens to him in the other films that might be made of Uncle Remus.

Preference: leave out Brer B'ar, particularly in this stereotype. Just a little respect. With cultural icons, tell us if what we are being sold is authentic, or changed, and if it is changed, is it in ways we might not expect. Uncle Remus would never present one of his friends as a buffoon, to be laughed at. Walt Disney the marketer would think nothing of it. Because, to him, Brer B'ar is a no 'count. Laugh away at him.
There is an ongoing request for the full movie to be re-released, and not just the DVD's

See // The idea of a re-issue even has some websites claiming credit for one political self-defined group spearheading it; and blaming other political groups (who are they supposed to be??) for any delay in a re-release - Mercy. See://

Self-Protection Against Sales - Learn Propaganda Techniques Yourself

The half-protection of the first amendment.

Can and should political speech be regulated like commercial speech, even in the limited way that affects commercial speech.

The grounds would be this: that we need some recourse against fraud in political speech, because political speech is bought by those selling products - protection for their programs and profits.

Even if the recourse would not abridge the right to lie, could it provide an opportunity for exposure of the lie before the sale.

See companion posts at Joy of Equivocating, Blur - Political, Commercial; Joy of Equivocating, Fib Meme; and Joy of Equivocating, Sales Tactics, FUD.

The free market is not enough. The deceit has already happened, like in Swiftboating. It may have helped the public assess the merits of the Swiftboating if it knew the funding, but so far Brer Funder, he can lay or lie low.

This is a proposal for the US to promote the
  • "right to receive" full information, as in a public forum, and
  • recourse to get underlying facts and objective "truth," and
  • a right to timely apply experience to the issues being sold - like going to war or not, or FCC rules changes.
For "amok" see / Interesting roots. I never knew that.

That is probably coming anyway.

Then research how to protect yourself against the King - marketing.

It is easy to read the papers for the comics.

But more prudent to self-educate about the sales techniques out there, to at least know when we are being sold.

We can't do much else- yet. See the evolution of the use of sales in Studying War, and the increasingly sophisticated techniques to sell war, politics, religion and business, beginning with American Edward Bernays in the early 20th century. People lose because they have no way of knowing they should be on their guard.

Commercial speech; First Amendment; Living With Political Equivocation - Blur. Counter-Measures

Political-opinion speech; and commercial speech.

Here is the issue for the common person:

Can secrets underlying public positions, that are being sold to voters, be shut up in the truck, out of sight; so that people have to vote on buying the truck, without knowing what secrets are inside.

The kinds of secrets involved include credibility of the speaker, what facts were relied upon, or excluded and why, funding sources and special interests, and the likely outcomes of the position if effectuated.

A court could decide, but a case must present the issue squarely, the court has to accept the case for decision anyway, before an issue can be decided.

So let's suppose the judges have that case. Let's suppose they agree to decide whether the protections offered commercial buyers (at least a degree of truth, no substantial deceit or fraud) should now be offered political buyers, where a speaker takes issues to the public on any media open to public access, or where positions are reported publicly.

This would be no abridgement of the right to continue robust and free debate through fib-speech in politics. Lie on! See discussion at Joy of Equivocating - Fib Meme. It just gives the market, the voters, the opening to find out in time. Allowing inquiry into credibility and background is not abridging free speech.

The First Amendment bridge stands.

A speaker can get on it and sell. But if the speaker does get on the bridge and talks to the public to persuade on governing issues, even name-calling, and fails to provide full background fact information, his position will be undercut by his own failure to fill in. Secrecy won't win, at least not as much.

This is not forcing someone to make speech he or she does not want to make. Speakers can explode or implode at will. The implementation will be as to an ongoing public forum on the same media as the position was presented.

Arguments might include these: For market freaks, how else to preserve a free marketplace of ideas when ideas are not up for persuasion, but up for sale. How else to keep a democracy going, when one marketer owns all the media outlets in a community. I ask you. One alternative is to put time, place and manner restrictions on speech, but that is already a hard sell.

We know that even those limits on commercial speech are themselves under attack. Some seek the opposite of what is proposed here - that commercial speech should be as wide open and potentially deception-filled as political-opinion speech is now.

The idea is that the consumer no longer needs (or deserves) protection from sophisticated sales tactics - as though our government in 1937 was misguided in teaching us how to spot propaganda back then, see Institute for Propaganda Analysis,

For some background on business claims to broad free speech protection, you could start with //

The bottom line is whether people are really being "sold" on political and social issues (go to war or not, fund social security or not, healthcare, all that), whether candidates are being marketed like products, and should consumer-voters be entitled to credibility information about the position being sold, and before the sale.
How to do it? Idea - you upgrade it.

The concept of the "FDA" but better and actually effective - in the form of a truly neutral, well-funded, not in-bed-with, "PTA" - political truth administration.

Paid for by deflected pork, because there are plenty of leftovers for that.

We have the FDA for protection for ingestibles and other physical safety issues, even though the agency itself is in cahoots with those it regulates, and is grossly underfunded for any real and neutral regulating; still, it is something and perhaps improving.

Have a better PTA for the political-social position field - neutral panels as well, and providing an ongoing forum for testing out the positions being sold. Politics Truth Association. We are being asked to swallow political positions. They affect our health and wellbeing and even our survival. Do we have a right to see what it behind the position being rushed into place, who funds it, what it means objectively, the background facts relied on, if any, and the toxic additives in it, serving the few at the expense of the many? Is that ever true?

This won't see the light of day, but the idea presents no abridgment to the First Amendment because it is recognizing only that political speech has become commercial in so many ways. Applying a degree of truth protection where the buyer-voter has no way otherwise of knowing what is going on, is better than political positions being bought.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

What Fear of Uncertainty Leads Us To - Remus: Disney merges stories

The Disney changes - failure to improve. Our main Uncle Remus site is at Uncle Remus Tales and Translations, but this issue of fogging, taking liberties with texts, also is relevant here.

Two changes to notice.

1. First, Disney combines two episodes of a story into one - "The Tar Baby," with how Brer Rabbit got stuck; and "How Brer Rabbit Was Too Sharp for Mr. Fox" - how Brer Rabbit escaped, the briar patch ending.

Remus presents the episodes as separated by another story ("Why Mr. Possum Loves Peace"). This allows far more suspense about poor Brer Rabbit, than the stories placed together. Did Brer Fox ever eat Brer Rabbit, asks the little boy.

Maybe he did, maybe he didn't, says Remus. Now run along. See the story at Joy of Equivocating: Uncle Remus and the Tar Baby Story. Then, at "How Mr. Rabbit Was Too Sharp for Mr. Fox" we find the briar patch escape.

Killing equivocation. Killing ambiguity.

Preference here -live with uncertainty, even for a space of an intervening story. The briar patch section is quoted here at //

2. Second change: Brer B'ar suddenly inserted into the Tar Baby story in the film, and "I'm gonna knock his haid clean off." That's not Uncle Remus. Remus thrives on the one-on-one relationship when it comes to the essence of a story, and this is a comedic distraction only, and one that is not true to the character of Brer B'ar at all.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Preparing for Ongoing Equivocation - Spotting FUD; and Protecting the Voter in Political Speech

Fodder (see "fodder" at Studying World War.)

Disposable people, fodder, stay that way when they (we) go off our guard when talk is coming at us. Talk manipulates even when we are not aware. When talk sells the idea that "fear, uncertainty and doubt" are the appropriate response to a new person or situation, the alarm bells should sound. FUD - an actual term for "fear, uncertainty and doubt," comes from the marketing context - see :// It is a tactic diverting attention from the merits, to emotional response.

The market does prohibit fraud and deceit, but only to degrees. Even those protections are now eroding in commercial speech, see Joy of Equivocating, Death of Sales Meme post.

Puffing vs. disclosure. So far: A salesman can go only so far in puffing about the product. The buyer has an obligation to use common sense. If a claim simply is too good to be true, it probably is false and there is a point where a buyer is reasonably expected to know that from his/her own experience.

Consumer experience is helpful in commerce. A home seller has to disclose known defects, and the auto salesman will probably permit a test drive, or let you take the car to your own mechanic. You can return the socks, if unworn. You have a chance to try them out at home, again, to a degree.

Problem: Put these commerce ideas into politics.

Consumer experience is useless in politics. When sales tactics are applied in the political context, the voter has no way of knowing what is being sold, the underlying facts, the meanings of the words, whether something is true or not. The voter has no way to find out if the fears elicited are real or not, and his or her own experience is not a test for whether to go to war, or when social security will belly-up, if at all.

Free speech plays along. Victimizing in the political context. Free speech so far does not require that anybody say more than they want, and they can say what they want. Apparently. The free and robust marketplace of ideas. Even substance-less or deceitful ideas. Sales of ideas and positions through equivocation, FUD tactics, words with uncertain meaning, fogging, and prevents the disclosure of underlying facts needed for a choice.

Proposal: When opinion and political persuasion talk is intended for public persuasion, on the public airwaves, cable, public access print media, or otherwise intended to reach the public, add some rights to receive: the hearers may request, of any speaker on media to which the public has access, the usual information that establishes credibility of not -- backup facts relied upon in coming to the conclusions or opinion, and who is paying for it.

The person is not under oath so can lie like a trooper, but one counterweight would be finding out the basic credibility foundation.

1. Add that the voter has the right to receive information. The requirement to give it, or else the failure to provide information can be used in weighing credibility as well.

2. This is not abridging of the right to speak, and does not require "equal time". Instead, we make explicit the implicit reasonable need for a speaker to fill in the blanks - let the voters get at motive, expertise, intent, funding, effects, kickbacks, interest.

3. If voters cannot evaluate the merits of the speech for their decision-making purposes, the democracy falls and marketing is the new monarchy.

Like a rebuttable presumption - do look that up, it's a straightforward concept -if those supporting facts are not provided, there will be a presumption, rebuttable, that the statements have little merit/credibility.

Adulterating Uncle Remus, The Best in Equivocal Endings - Why Mr. Possum Loves Peace.

Equivocation can also be by behavior. Say one thing, do another, interpret what you do in a way that leaves the other scratchin' his haid, and then leave as though all is fine. Say one thing now, and another when the first thing becomes inconvenient.

The Possum topic seems to be weaseling out of something, with fabulous explanations, and that fits the theme of equivocating generally.

Read it at Uncle Remus: Translation, Why Mr. Possum Loves Peace post.

No expertise here, just enjoyment.

Brer Coon challenges Brer Possum for playing dead when there was a fight to be had: Brer Coon calls him a coward. Who's calling who a coward, says Brer Possum - and here it it:

"'You is," says Brer Coon, 'that's who. I ain't associating with them what lays down on the ground and plays dead when there's a free fight goin' on,' says he.

"Then Brer Possum grinned and laughed fit to kill himself.

"'Lord, Brer Coon, you don't expect I done that 'cause I was 'feared, do you?' says he. 'Why, I wasn't any more 'feared than you is this minute. What was there for to be scared of?' says he. I knew you'd get away with Mr. Dog if I didn't, and I just lay there watchin' you shake him, waitin' for to put in when the time come,' says he.

"Brer Coon turn up his nose.

"'That's a mighty likely tale,' says he, 'when Mr. Dog ain't more than touched you before you keeled over, and lay there stiff,' says he.

"'That's just what I was going to tell you about,' says Brer Possum, says he. 'I wasn't no more scared you is right now, and I was fixin' for to give Mr. Dog a sample of my jaw,' says he, 'but I'm the most ticklish chap what you ever laid eyes on, and no sooner did Mr. Dog put his nose down here among my ribs than I got to laughin', and I laughed 'til I ain't had no use of my limbs,' says he, ' and it s mercy unto Mr. Dog that I was ticklish, 'cause a little more and I'd e't him up,' says he. 'I don[t mind fightin', Brer Coon, no more than you does,' says he, 'but I declare to gracious if I can stand ticklin'. Get me in a row where there ain't no ticklin' allowed, and I'm your man,' says he.

"And down to this day" - continued Uncle Remus, watching the smoke from his pipe curl upward over the little boy's head - "down to this day, Brer Possum's bound to surrender when you touch him in the short ribs, and he'll laugh if he knows he's going to be smashed for it."

Political Free Speech Meme: Fabricating Amok. New Fib Meme.Swiftboating. No Accountability. Joy of Fog At New Heights: Opinionus Absolutus

The Free Speech
with No-Accountability
Fib Meme.

Swiftboating. Press a view based on a limited presentation of facts, or quasi-claimed facts, until people finally believe because it has become absorbed, no other investigation. Other forms of misrepresentation based on limited statements of "fact", and outright lying.

It may "win" in the short run for the liar or misrepresenter, but when do we see that it kills the common good, the national interest. See American Revolution: Was Benedict Arnold, that brilliant stragetist, "swiftboated" with the result that he went over to the British?.

Why do we support lying as part of "free speech."

1. Overview of the scene.

Lying, misspeaking, is accepted. Buyer beware. Voter beware. We see no significant restrictions coming to hold people accountable for truth. It is up to others to catch the lie, not up to the speaker to speak careful truth to begin with, the old pattern. If caught, everybody spin. But nobody has to feel guilty about doing what needs to be done to get what he or she wants.

2. Interest.

Where did that idea come from in the land of We the People. Is it really a value we want entrenched. There do seem to be more "fact-checkers" out there in this election cycle, but where are they in the FDA or the Pentagon or White House.

3. Can we affect that process. Re-meme.

3.1. Analysis. The Meme.

Tolerating loose talk in politics, sales, or elsewhere, is a meme. A meme is an idea that springs up independently in different heads, often at similar times. Immediate. Viral. Spontaneous. Brain to brain. See :// It happens - and suddenly you see it all around. It's Superthought!

So: If we don't like the cultural value of lying as free speech, in whatever setting, can we move to block the meme before it becomes the cultural value. Can we shape our futures. Or are memes beyond shaping. They just go.

3.2 If a meme is to be reined in, act fast.

Catch the meme if it is a negative one (who decides that?) because it represents a process, an idea with leaping unconnected speed of transmission. If it congeals, it becomes a cultural value, an idea formally transmitted moving by usual visible or aural channels of teaching, didactics, reading, actual contact, discussion, legal support emerges, Supreme Courts decide, power entrenches, the already there. The wisp vs. the concrete.

3.3 The stakes.

A meme that gets articulated and formally approved by those who discuss it, including at Supreme Courts, can become a bunkered cultural value. Some are great for us, some toxic. The point is to be conscious and decide. No time to lose.

Watch the speeding meme.

A. Memes and the Evolution of Free Speech Ideas.

What did our Founders intend. How can people protect themselves/ ourselves, from sales of ideas and products against your/ our interest. Are we at the point of trusting no-one who has a financial or other interest in your decision?

Jump immediately to some proposed resolutions, if you like, at Joy of Equivocating - Fib Meme - Time Place and Manner Corrals for Political Speech. For more background, stay here. Memes and the art of lying with impunity. The American Way.

1. How did fibs, disguises, shams, come to be acceptable means of persuasion, in accomplishing personal profit and power goals.

When did democracy become a battleground where any tactic that wins, wins. The issue recurs - How did our democracy get to be defined as "combat" - as performer Chris Matthews defines it on a TV ad for his talk show (opinionating, in the guise of news importance) 1/11/08 or so * -
in essence that democracy is one side battling with another and the outcome of the battle shows which winner is "right" - suggesting that winner take all. In other words, life is sales. Succeed in selling whatever, and you "succeed."

Does that square with your understanding of our democracy, or the role of principles? We think no. Democracy by our Founders is ultimately a fiduciary concept, see below.

What is the process.

How do these battle-oriented cultural ideas begin and spread, do we have to stay with them just because they are entrenched, and is it all because of testosterone and for aeons clearly out of control (the Creator's original mistake?); and can these dysfunctional cultural ideas, that battle is all, be countered. See meme at Hello , Fodder, Meme post.

How does the Lying Meme impact The General Welfare. Is Lying a necessary part of a successful capitalist society where the sale matters most, and not the merit of the product.

When it comes to democracy, and transparency, "truth," square-dealing, the goal of happiness for the citizens collectively, focus here on We, the People. The general "welfare." Then hear the reaction, "Yeah, right, ha-ha."

How did serving the People get a bad rep, so it is now denied as a value of democracy, and commerce is crowned instead. Enron rules, and the few who are caught exploiting the many deter nothing. No accountability enters to change the system.

We are too good at selling, propagandizing. What is true? Words and more words fog the idea. And more memes soften the "lie" into mere salesmanship puffing. Just little puffs here, nothing serious, just the same old pufferfish we expect in the market. Not sinister at all. Salespeople puff, politicians spin, and talking heads talk in order to sell themselves as a product, not educate, not move the culture forward in understanding.

But if we are embattled because everyone is faking something, that is by our choice and neglect. Life as just a bowl of sequential sales, self-promotion and presentations. Chris Matthews likes the sales idea and sells it, making all of us products or targets. See his book, "Life's A Campaign," for that philosophy - :// Maybe we are.

We vote instead for an enforceable fiduciary democracy, a culture that reinstates "equity" as the measuring stick, with all its history; not just what is narrowly "legal." See a heavy overview of equity at ://; and a lighter one at :// I

2.2 If dysfunctional memes can be countered, then let's do this:

We could lay a "fiduciary obligation" for those in public life, or in sales where those persons have superior knowledge about what they are marketing, and the experience of the buyer cannot begin to find it out before buying.
Including war.

Meanwhile, watch people like you and me:

2.3 We can educate about equivocation.

Use of language with multiple meanings with intent to deceive, or language to avoid committing oneself, is our concern. See //

Equivocation can be the functional equivalent of a lie. For the bards among us, equivocation and falsity have another relationship as well: See Macbeth - "In simpler terms equivocation stood for justifying a lie on the basis of a larger picture just as Shakespeare's Macbeth justifies murdering Duncan to become king so he can fulfill his destiny." See "Equivocation and Free Choice in Macbeth," by Faye Kiryakakis, at // Do an images search for equivocate and Macbeth. See also reference at

2. 3. We can educate about the Outright Fib in Sales Meme.

See earlier post here on memes as contagious ideas, cites at Death of a Sales-Meme: Not Yet, But Coming.

There, find the commercial fib meme, that allows lying or equivocation in order to sell something, provided that
  • the hearer reasonably should know whether the sales person is puffing or not, and
  • the statement is not fraudulent or a misrepresentation. That meme is in flux - soon maybe even those provisos may be gone in favor of free speech period. Say what you want, just sell the darned thing, common good overboard.
2.4 Next step: Educate about The Fib in Opinion and Political Speech Meme.

Any controls on that so far? Fibs everywhere as ordinary arsenal.

Not much. Fibbing in talk is fine, except if sworn in; or something is libel or slander (look them up), or hate speech (look it up). And those categories are hard enough to prove, in a time frame that will make a difference. Public figures get hardly any protection from them. So far, it looks like opinion and political speech permits almost all fibs in the interest of free speech, without a requirement that the hearer have any ability to measure if something is reasonably true or not; or that the speaker is not to represent or be fraudulent.

2.5 Then the big enchilada. Teach about the First Amendment Background; Schools and media won't, because the funding is not there, so educate yourself.

Opinion and political speech have huge First Amendment freedom of speech protection.

We say almost all fibs are okay, because free speech protection may be huge, but it is not absolute. Free speech can be regulated as to time, place and manner, and has been so limited in the porn world (look that up), and especially if the words present a clear and present danger that the words will bring about a substantive evil that Congress has a right to regulate, Congress can regulate the time, place and manner of the speech. The usual phrase to cover the situation is whether someone can cry falsely that there is fire in a theater, causing panic. That general wording is from Oliver Wendell Holmes' opinion in Schenck v. United States, 249 US 47 (1919).

B. Application so far.

We like free speech. Politicians are free to do it whatever they say. See "Laws on Lies by Politicians Is Found Unconstitutional," by Adam Liptak //

Corporations are on the way. Do a search for Nike and the constitutional right to lie, and it all comes up - the corporations, everyone, no obligation to tell the truth. Go ahead, say it - rude, gross, dipstick, tub-radio, zeal, anything. First Amendment: See //

And people and groups have broadly enjoyed the right to get off their own broadsides at will.

Example of verbal and opinion salesmanship:
Swiftboating. See // There is no recourse once the winds blowing are blowing fog.

That highly effective approach used all the best sales techniques du jour.

Attack someone at his so-called strongest point, with grounds or not. True or false matters not. Take it out of context, spin it, repeat it, yell it, until someone believes there must be something to it. Watch him wreck. The wreckers. A/k/a Swiftboating.

First Amendment interpretations, so far, say this, apparently:
  • Not only people can lie, but also corporations.
  • Look up Nike free speech, several angles, at ://; and at ://; ://;:// - on the corporate right to lie?
  • Look up your own Farberware (reg trademark) egg poacher. Box says non-stick inside and outside. Egg cups good to 200 degrees. Open it up. Egg cups plastic. And boiling is 212 degrees - how many of us can really poach an egg without going over 200 degrees? Fib about the materials, Farberware; make an egg cup that falls apart over 200 degrees. Go ahead. Wonderful. Run back to store. Complain. See the blank, irritated stares behind the counter. Go lay an egg.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Sales Puffing Meme: Limit it

A meme. Some describe a meme as "contagious idea." See Read the book cited on it.

Other definitions get more descriptive - likening a meme to a virus phenomenon of the brain.

It spreads, and crops up, even spontaneously in different places without direct communication. Some stick. Is it not a meme once it is established? Such as the idea of "buyer beware," even when the buyer has no way of checking the merchandise?

These ladies are out of copyright, and clearly enjoying a new angle. Ideas evolve, reproduce. Person to person and culture to culture, by talk and imitation, internet thoughts suddenly everywhere, or on its own. Like conjuring. An insight or behavior pattern that is "caught" and spread by any means. See, for example, // The term originated in 1976, says the site, and more detail is there, and identification of books.

Some cultural ideas may have begun as memes, but should be given back. For example, why on earth should the buyer beware? Why should those with superior knowledge of a product and its effects and flaws be allowed to keep silent? Why allow puffing where people really are expected to rely, to their detriment.

As of now, it takes "fraud" to make sales talk actionable. Nuts. Apply a fiduciary standard instead - watch the World Improve. Not everything untrue as of now is actionable, especially where the people should be expecting that kind of talk from that kind of talker. See the jury instructions on fraud here at
See an overview of contracts, from the Mississippi Bar - //

Perhaps the puffery sales meme began like this:
I am selling this wonderful food product.

1. It tastes like absolute heaven, properly prepared, and you will swoon from delight;

2. It also will restore your original hair col0r from age two, that little curling snippet in the envelope in your mother's desk, that you found when she died.

Would you eat this? Sure. And you probably already do. Sausage, hot dogs, head cheese, snouts 'n cheeks.

Sales pitch Part 1 - a little puffing on how tasty it really is, but ok for a sales pitch.

Sales pitch Part 2, if you believe that, you won't get anyone to sympathize.

So, lying is not fraud if it is done in the context of a commercial setting, where people should expect some reasonable degree of puffing on the part of the sales guy.

Let's rethink that. Only permit puffing where the consumer has a reasonable ability to check it out in experience.

Does it really taste good, or should it be be desiccated and used as doorstop instead; and do I get that flaxen color back? Should I expect it? Experience will out, and the market can control that. False, big claims will come back to haunt the seller. Common sense angle. And even lying in a commercial setting may not long be scrutinized at all - a changing area of law where some want "free speech" in the market without bounds of fraud.

Enter the 21st Century: Quoth the candidate: "I want you to support me in going to war, or passing this legislation, or changing this aspect of the tax code, or whatever. This will bring peace and prosperity for all in this time frame stated, benefits will trickle down to the have-nots, and so on. And it will keep America and its values strong."

Sales has moved beyond the commercial product range, into marketing politics.

Bad idea. No surprise to find extreme salesmanship techniques and trashing the competition being applied to ideas. And that is an area where the voter has no reasonable way to test out from his or her own experience what is true or not.

Selling wars. Selling social programs and the impact on an economy. News and analytical sources bought by the same interests, and ideas sold rather than developed for information. Sell a position anyway and hope the poor turkeys out there gobble it up. Fodder anyway. See Studying World War at point 4.

What can fodder do? Find out the real force behind the claim, and who is served by it. Common good, or personal profit and power plays. Personal profit and power are part of it all, all the time, but the degree matters. The consumer has a right to know before deciding, but has no way of reasonably finding out.
Once sensitized to the idea that positions, court cases brought, and talking heads serve marketing interests, and may well not want you to be informed, read the news differently.

Is a critique just shoot-the-messenger, and who is funding what. Not that they shouldn't do it, but who is doing it matters to the merits of the claim.
Here, a Colt. The Colt.

Here is a comment by the Gore group as to the British court case about "An Inconvenient Truth:" A fair use quote about tactics and funding to discredit:

"Our experience is that when the vested interests do not like the message, they tend to use diversionary tactics to create uncertainty or to fund individuals and groups to shoot the messenger. In this instance, it appears they are trying to do both. According to these reports, Mr. Dimmock will still not fully reveal who funded the case. See "An Inconvenient Truth: Team Gore Responds" For more on the use of FUD - fear, uncertainty and doubt - see post at Equivocating and the Art of FUD.

Watch for the memes. They do stick.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Indirection, Similes, Metaphors - Uncle Remus and Rhetoric. How to say the unsafe safely.

The Uncle Remus classics: "The Wonderful Tar-Baby Story." Brer Fox jes' laffin' en laffin'.

These stories have meaning beyond the literal. How to get that point across - try figures of speech that persuade. Similes, metaphors, analogies, the topic here.

1. Simile:

We can say that
The Wonderful Tar-Baby story is like, or similar to, another story, and that would be a simile. Example: The Wonderful Tar-Baby Story is like Iraq. Brer Rabbit got himself all stuck in the Tar Baby because he just had to swing his fists, and the other guy watching just laughs and laughs as Brer Rabbit can't get loose. Something is stated to be "like" something else.

2. Metaphor.

We can say that
The Wonderful Tar-Baby story is life itself. Brer Rabbit didn't get his way, and stuck his two hands and butted in without knowing what was really going on, and sure enough can't get loose. That story - that's life. Crooner style. If it "is" something else - that would be a metaphor. See // Example: My love is a peach. We don't mean necessarily that person is that fruit, but that perhaps we look forward to being on the same plate.

3. Analogy:

How about this: We can say "Tar-Baby is to Iraq as Brer Rabbit is to _____________." Fill it in.

tar-baby : brer rabbit :: iraq : ___________.

You have just completed an analogy, like people taking aptitude tests for college or a graduate school. See //

4. Use of terms with other meanings - undermessages.

The many meanings of words.

If we say that the Tar Baby is to Brer Rabbit as the Honeypot is to Pooh, watch that honeypot because it has other meanings to an audience that knows that. See the computer world use of "honeypot" at //,,sid14_gci551721,00.html, or //

So: Hacker is to decoy server as pooh is to honeypot. They could as well have used the Tar-Baby reference (as Brer Rabbit is to Tar-Baby).

5. The cartoon.

Now: Who is Brer Fox?

In the story, Brer Fox creates the Tar-Baby and sets her out on the road. Make a 9/11 reference drawing and show a political or other figure who set out the crashes into buildings or used misdirection on information about WMD's as a metaphorical "tar baby," and what was the response, and how does extrication occur. Is there an ultimate briar patch.

What if Brer Fox instead saw a situation in the road and added the tar? Maybe not 9/11 now, but how about Iraq? Then who is Brer Fox like? And so on.

You'll be pleased to find that rhetoric has many more uses. Rhetoric: tools for persuasion. List to end all lists, for figures of speech, at

Ricardo Sanchez, you indeed have identified the tar-baby and its processes. See NYT today, at
These illustrations are from the original "Uncle Remus, His Songs and His Sayings," by Joel Chandler Harris, illustrator A.B.White, my copy is from 1928, long out of copyright.
Indirection - Approach an idea by using something else. A way to address unsafe topics safely.
Not a new idea. Like indirection in warfare - see // Indirection can be more effective than the direct onslaught. Do your own search for indirect warfare concept and see the current (alarming) thinking - alarming because the focus is still on using indirection to overwhelm and force, not on solving human problems for the long term, //, but take a look. As a citizen.
*This is in the tales, songs and proverbs in the setting of the old stereotypical Southern benign plantation, collated and presented in a rural inland slave-heritage dialect,* by Joel Chandler Harris, my copy 1921, earlier versions 1880, 1895, 1908. Illustrations by the unsung artist named Arthur Burdett Frost, see These are in the tradition of the African trickster legends - see Tricksters are found in many cultures, and in govts.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Ambivalence - Death, Politics. Living with it when you love to hate it. Death.

Real life. Issues of tolerance for the unclear affect more than politics. They are also existential. Are we our bones. Dying. Recognition of uncertainty in : equivocation, ambiguity, and now ambivalence - having positive and negative feelings about something at the same time. See //

Example: The fascination with death, the fear of it, paying money to see people get it on the silver screen, cartoon Lisa meeting it, and the great grief she left for her family (see strip 10.10.07 and weep yourself), peeking at other people who got it from the plague, or were caught in the 30 years' war.

This photo is from an outdoor window, Chapel of the Skulls, Kudowa Zdroj, Poland, Poland Road Ways, and the bones there are cared for with respect. and stored en masse now because their below-ground places were needed for more. Go inside (guided only) and see much more, and entire skeletons beneath the floors. Ossuaries. Homes for bones. See

This is not an unfriendly photo. It is real. I think about it often. And share it here.

Death. Firming up the unfirm. Firming up the infirm. Some people recite firm fact-sounding words about what happens after it. Do we make it up. In the face of ambiguity, equivocation, ambivalence, do we embrace this that may fit our desired result, and reject that if it does not, in order to come up with firmness. Is conviction itself enough fact.

Move down to the political again - uncertainties. Are these good or bad, all the time, some of the time, none of the time, and who decides: War. Immigration. Unsupervised taps. Changeable. How do we manage. Certain candidates. If they do not fit and stay into a box, are we uncomfortable. Worship of consistency as though that is a higher value than continuing assessment amid change. Maybe it is. Maybe not.

Coping proposal: take no third party assessment of anything as your own. Go to original sources. Ask, where did you get that information? Then look up the speech, the history. Focus. Keep open to the other side. Your own resolution, not someone else's.

Equivocation and the Art of FUD - Fostering Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt

1.  What is FUD.

FUD is Fear, Uncertainty and  Doubt -- usually produced by artful hemming and hawing, mischaracterizations, indirection, image association, disinformation, and muddying of waters, can defeat a policy, a candidacy, a product, without having to offer a better alternative; or address objective facts.  Declaim: This makes no sense!  This makes no sense!  And such may well be the perception driven home, regardless of the sense involved.  Look sad and say, "I hate to say this, but this just doesn't sit well, but, of course I may find something worthwhile here in time, but then again (shrugs, leaves)...."  Artful equivocation.

Artful equivocation: Implant fear, uncertainty and doubt about the solution proposed, introduce irrelevancies and make them big, and the people will react by constricting and rejecting.  It is like the  Chewbacca Defense on TV and in actual trials, as the Urban Dictionary lays out. Confuse the jury. 

2.  How is it used in media.

A current commercial thrives on FUD.  Join us now, as we find Elmer and Lucille in their nice home, focusing on their beloved pet:

Elmer and Lucille commercial:

The product is a new dog food. Elmer and Lucille are in the kitchen, talking over coffee.

Lucille: I just might try that new brand of dog food for our Fido. The price is good, and look at that nutrition label. All natural ingredients. I can pronounce all of them.
Elmer: You know, that new stuff might be a good dog food. But, then again, it could have some adverse effects, and our house is small. It hasn't been on the market for long, and, well, you've been ok with the other brand for a long time. You could take the chance, but do we really want to take the chance.... Look what happened to Harry and Louise's pup (shows picture)
Lucille: Oh my! I would never take that kind of chance with our little Fido. And (looking at the camera) you shouldn't either. (Elmer reaches over and kisses Lucille on the cheek) (Fade.... )

This is a tactic of rhetoric that involves involuntary implants - implanting fear, uncertainty and doubt without their realizing, in order to keep people in the fold, and preventing their defecting to other ideas. Enjoy Wikipedia on this - go to

3.  What is the origin of FUD as an acronym

Acronyms are popular, see

The story about FUD starts in the acronym wars at IBM and Gene Amdahl.  Once upon a time, there was a big corporation and an employee. And then the employee left and wanted to start his own business. But the big corporation engaged in a marketing campaign, to make people feel unsafe if they bought the new product and left the tried and supposedly true. Disinformation. A competitive weapon. Find the tale at  And the process continues.

Like the Chewbacca Defense- deliberately confuse the jury. Manipulate fear of uncertainty. Bring out open-ended hesitancy in order to maneuver, persuade.

FUD - fear, uncertainty and doubt. Use it to get what you want. Elmer FUD. For more FUD, see its origin in corporate competition at