Narratives in action

Source: Hot Air

I may sound like a broken record, but as a former academic I watched the concept of building a Narrative™ evolve from a relatively obscure academic theory popular in law schools and English departments into a full blown propaganda machine in the United States.

By that I don’t mean that propaganda was invented by academics and filtered out into the real world in modern times; propaganda is as old as language itself. The ancient Greeks even had schools that taught a form of rhetoric–sophistry–the aim of which was to convince people of things advantageous to the speaker regardless of truth and logic.

But The Narrative™ as it exists today is something a bit different; it is designed to replace reason and facts with a constructed world that is not only separate from and indifferent to facts and logic, but to do so with the minimum level of actual compulsion. Totalitarian societies are not comprised simply of hucksters hawking wares or lawyers getting guilty clients off; they are designed to force total compliance with the diktats of the people in power and they don’t hesitate to use force.

The Narrative™ is designed to make the use of force unnecessary. Or in the words of the World Economic Forum, you will believe that things have never been better.

Today we got a lesson in Narrative™ building. Beege wrote an excellent post about this which you should read first, but I wanted to throw in my 2 cents to create my own Narrative™.

The Twitter tweeter End Wokeness posted this earlier today, and it is quite instructive.

As Beege pointed out in her post, the talking points went out about how to cover Donald Trump’s entry into the presidential race, and every media outlet said pretty much the same thing, with only the particular order of the words varying. A message had to be pounded home, and by the end of the day every person susceptible to the message would have it burned into their brains.

As I said, same message, different words.

Yet when you place two different stories with two different messages next to each other the larger message becomes clear. A black student who murders his classmates is presented as almost a hero, or at least a tragic figure. He was climbing up from the depths, a terrible childhood that was “troubled.” He still managed to achieve something great–getting a college education at a premier academic institution! He flourished!

Yeah, well too bad. Didn’t work out. So he went on a killing spree. An almost inspiring story when you think about it though. Unlike Bad Orange Man who is a threat to democracy and insurrectionist.

Of course the attempt to stretch The Narrative all the way to justifying a killing spree was going too far, and the WaPo had to pull back. It turns out that mass murder is not quite excusable yet, at least on college campuses. On the streets of Chicago the killers and victims can all be heroes, but even the WaPo can’t turn a college kid killer into something admirable.

But this attempt to create a tragic hero was The Narrative™ at work. And as I cruised the internet for news on the UVA shooting it struck me that the coverage was remarkably spotty and poor. I don’t watch TV coverage so I couldn’t say if the usual wall-to-wall “if it bleeds it leads” coverage is out there, but the coverage in the print media is pretty awful and useless.

This, I assume, is largely because the case doesn’t fit the Narrative. You have the gun violence, but the perpetrator doesn’t fit the storyline.

The Narrative™ isn’t just created through the constant repetition of talking points, but also requires the ever tightening of the rules for what can be said without silencing or outright censoring inconvenient storylines. This is why Elon Musk is such a pariah in the media now, and under investigation as a potential “security risk” by a government that simultaneously uses his services to launch classified missions into space.

His threat is not to National Security, but to Narrative™ security. To the totalitarian state, not the physical one.

As dissenters we all fall into that category. God help us if the West keeps going down this road.

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