Charting the Narrative

“White Privilege” in New York Times articlesIn a number of comments on various posts here over the last year or so, and asides in main posts, I have discussed my conclusion that there is an organised mechanism, akin to a public relations firm, which is generating the “narrative” that seems to occupy the minds of the legacy media and politicians associated with them at any given moment.  I have no concrete evidence to back up this belief, but the existence of JournoList between 2007 and 2010 (which was shut down after its public exposure) indicates that prominent media figures are interested in and willing to co-ordinate their efforts in favour of the causes they advocate.

My conviction that the narrative of the moment is actively manufactured, disseminated among top-level figures in the media and “progressive” politics, and then passed down through the ranks by a mechanism akin to an old-time “phone tree” (in which most of the ultimate recipients are unaware of the origin of the themes and specific phrases they parrot), is that the way each new obsession simultaneously appears within hours to days on the lips and in the printed works of hundreds of supposedly independent players simply doesn’t fit the model of the organic diffusion of information.  Further, when precisely the same phrases are used by widely-separated speakers, and a neatly packaged interpretation of an unexpected event is presented a day or two after it happens, that doesn’t look like a bottom-up process.  And finally, when you observe this phenomenon again and again, with precisely the same pattern, that reinforces the suspicion that something is going on to make it happen.  As Ian Fleming had his supervillain Auric Goldfinger say, “Once is happenstance. Twice is coincidence. The third time it’s enemy action.”... [Read More]

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Experimental Feature: Extracts in Post Archives

I have just made a change in the configuration of extract generation when posts are displayed in what WordPress calls an “archive”.  This includes posts displayed when you select:

  • All posts by a member
  • Posts from a specified month and year
  • Posts in a category
  • Posts with a given tag

Previously, these showed the full text of the selected posts, regardless of their length, unlike posts shown on the home page or in search results, where only the excerpt was shown if the post was longer than two paragraphs and you could read the balance by clicking a “Read More” link.... [Read More]

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Engineers of the Human Soul

Stalin said, “The writer is the engineer of the human soul.” One of the characters in the film The Lives of Others slightly misquotes Stalin to include all artists as engineers of the human soul. It seems that Stalin was a few decades ahead of Andrew Breitbart’s politics is downstream from culture. Totalitarians know their stuff.

This is not a movie review but I do recommend this film. It’s about the Stasi in East Germany, set a few years before the fall of the Berlin Wall. It’s in German with subtitles, streaming on Netflix. I enjoyed this joke from the movie:... [Read More]

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Summer Pictures

Here is the bridge over the river before late spring, when it really got gorgeous.
This is my younger daughter on “our” lake near sunset. I have a just okay camera on my phone, so I was skeptical about taking pictures. But the light that evening was amazing. My older daughter and I walked by the lake nearly every evening. We love the landscaping, trees, and walks to private little docks.

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Decompressing…and a Volcano

In these times of frenzy, whimsey and complete lack of serious thought by our betters, a serious person who takes responsibility and soldiers on despite regret for being so stupid in such an age, must decompress now and then.

The Red Headed Irish Wisecracker and I paid a visit to the northern grandchildren last weekend, and decided to do a minimum vacation on the drive home. We drove the circuit at Mount Rainer National Park , stayed at a friendly motel off the interstate and then paid a long overdue visit to Mount Saint Helens.... [Read More]

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Checking Off My Summer List, Part I

Note: Ratburger friends, I will have to post pictures soon.

Summer in Northwest Montana goes by in a blur. One breezy, sparkling day, a season I call “late spring” emerges out of the weeks of rain, mud, fog, and false starts. I’m ogling the blossomy landscaping at our McDonald’s drive-through and thinking that this must be the prettiest corner of the prettiest region in the US. We’ve arrived, and I vow to hold on to each day so that the months don’t flip by quite so quickly. But then after just a couple family visits, an out-of-town trip, several smoky days we hope will go away, and some weeks of tourist-packed traffic, we’re suddenly back to new teacher training at my job. And then I see the back-to-school supplies at WalMart. And finally—the death knell for summer—come the first crimson leaves that signal we’re about to enter that other season, that one that is unpredictably glorious, and we hope long, but always the gateway into weeks of bleak indoor weather.... [Read More]

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