March 15, 2003

How to win friends and influence people

Not. Patty comments on this article which (unintentionally, I am sure) reveals the contempt the mavens of the "peace movement" feel towards the masses they are trying to engage in "dialogue." The gist of the article is: talk down to them, because obviously the only reason that the American people haven't jumped on the peace bandwagon in droves is because they are too stupid. Money quote from Susan C. Strong, a "former teacher of rhetoric and argumentation in Berkeley" :

"Speak American," she said. "Strip down to the simple, metaphoric Anglo Saxon. Leave out long words, complex explanations, historical analysis or arguments supported by lots of reasons, facts, statistics."

Up yours too, you cow. Go fuck yourself sideways with a plank. Look! All Anglo-Saxon words. Think Ms. Strong will get it?

Posted by Andrea Harris at March 15, 2003 11:30 AM

Simple and patriotic. I give you a 10!

Posted by: Patty at March 15, 2003 at 11:48 AM

Glad I finished my coffee before I got to that last bit! I nearly swallowed by Marlboro, though. "Look!" - cough, sputter.

Posted by: Scott Chaffin at March 15, 2003 at 12:12 PM

"..reasons, facts, and statistics"...such silly things.

How does one decide what to believe if not on the basis of such things?

Posted by: David Foster at March 15, 2003 at 12:47 PM

David Foster:

1. Argue that feelings are EVERY BIT AS LEGITIMATE as facts.
2. Argue that EVERYONE'S FEELINGS are every bit as legitimate as each other's.
3. DELEGITIMATE facts and statistics as "patriarchal," "Euro-centric," "male-thinking," "favoring those in power," etc.
4. Inculcate the belief (called "post-modernism" by some) that there is no objective truth, that facts are subject to interpretation, and each interpretation is equal (i.e., facts+feelings>facts alone).

Once you've internalized the above four aspects, then it becomes clear that the majority's feelings are what matters. And since everyone, even those in favor of war, want peace, then peace, which everyone favors, is clearly the answer.

N'est-ce pas?

Posted by: Dean at March 15, 2003 at 02:19 PM

Oooh! You speak Anglo Saxon real good like!

(what's Anglo Saxon?) [snicker]

Posted by: Ith at March 15, 2003 at 02:23 PM


That reflects a common (but irritating) trait among ivory-tower elitist types- treating American English as not just a dialect, but a separate language altogether. (That's because American spelling and grammar are "incorrect", while British-style spelling and grammer are "correct".)

Posted by: Joe Green at March 15, 2003 at 02:50 PM

The two biggest failings of the vocal antiwar movement have been their clear hatred of America and their fundamental contempt for the intelligence of average Americans. Which is why there's good reason to believe that their protests have actually strengthened support for the war overall.

But it's not at all clear that the folks who have been responsible for organizing the protests actually care about the war, as such. They've been using it as an excuse to get a lot of people to come out and listen to speeches about a lot of other causes; it's been a rather blatant recruitment drive for such groups as the WWP.

Some who have been involved truly do oppose the war. But they've been suckered.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at March 15, 2003 at 04:06 PM

"That's because American spelling and grammar are "incorrect", while British-style spelling and grammer are 'correct'"

I'm sourry, Joe, you misspelled "grammour", "spelliung" and "Britiush".

Posted by: Ken Summers at March 15, 2003 at 04:22 PM

Last I heard of the 'Anglosaxons' we were invading their shores, raping their nuns, burning their monasteries and making them pay us for the privilege.

Posted by: Emperor Misha I at March 15, 2003 at 04:58 PM

Take out the condescension, though, and it's pretty good advice for rhetoric of any kind. Trying to explain what you mean using simple, straightforward arguments is a good way to clarify what you really believe. You can always offer to give more statistics on request.

Richard Feynman once said that if you can't give at least a qualitative explanation of a scientific concept in terms any layperson can understand, it's possible that you don't really understand it yourself. The same goes for political opinions.

In the particular case of whether there should be an invasion of Iraq, unlike many people on both sides, I think there is actually much room for disagreement among those of good and patriotic intentions. And it's at least good to see anti-war people recognize that there's a way to phrase their objections that doesn't amount to paranoid screaming about the menace of Amerikkka. The debate can only benefit from that.

Posted by: Matt McIrvin at March 15, 2003 at 05:07 PM

With that kind of attitude il professori could be French?

Posted by: will at March 15, 2003 at 05:21 PM

With that kind of attitude il professori could be French?

Posted by: will at March 15, 2003 at 05:22 PM

Robert Fisk said the exact same thing. Remember his recent article about how the cameraman in Austin, TX told him off, and Fisk characterized him as an uneducated redneck type and said the anti-war movement wasn't reaching people like that because of the big,fancy words?

Posted by: Diane L. at March 15, 2003 at 07:43 PM

Fisk was almost right. The anti-war movement isn't reaching people like that because of the big, fancy lies.

Posted by: Kevin McGehee at March 15, 2003 at 07:58 PM

"Strip down to the simple, metaphoric..."

Darmok and Jalad at Tenagra.

Unzani, his fist closed.

Shaka, when the walls fell.

OK, now I get it.

Posted by: Moira "Comic Book Store Guy" Breen at March 15, 2003 at 08:07 PM

Here's some Anglo-Saxon for her:

Wrætlic is þes wealstan, wyrde gebræcon;
burgstede burston, brosnað enta geweorc.
Hrofas sind gehrorene, hreorge torras

...which I dedicate to the UN.

Posted by: Toren at March 16, 2003 at 03:03 AM

Heh heh -- I was going to do that, but I got sidetracked. Now translate? (I haven't seen an English/Anglo-Saxon translator anywhere, though Klingon-English ones abound. Now how fair is that?)

Posted by: Andrea Harris at March 16, 2003 at 03:25 AM

It's good to see I'm not the only one who's been reminded of that particular ST:TNG episode...

Posted by: Kevin McGehee at March 16, 2003 at 10:18 AM

Sorry, here's the translation:

The city buildings fell apart, the works
Of giants crumble. Tumbled are the towers
Ruined the roofs, and broken the barred gate

The rest is here.

Posted by: Toren at March 16, 2003 at 02:36 PM

Because metaphors are so much simpler than those icky facts!

Posted by: amy at March 17, 2003 at 10:54 AM

Thank you, Andrea, for the addition to my list of invective. The mental picture of "Fuck yourself sideways with a plank" is hilarious. I had never heard that one before. Ooooh, mama. That has to hurt!

Posted by: Gary Kitts at March 17, 2003 at 12:05 PM

I see, though, that I should have used some other word than "plank," which is Middle English by way of Old French, rather than Anglo-Saxon in origin. (I belatedly looked it up on Oh well, it's a one-syllable word anyway. Gotta keep it simple!

Posted by: Andrea Harris at March 17, 2003 at 01:54 PM