Episode #1340

Campaign Ads & Steampunk Chic

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Friday, October 05, 2012

Attendees of Steamcon II Attendees of Steamcon II (Jake Warga)

What exactly is steampunk?  We’ll meet some musicians who are making the dusty Victorian era new all over again.  Kurt Andersen finds out why the presidential campaign ads have lost their edge. Mark Helprin (Winter’s Tale) reveals that his new novel — a story of war, romance, and gangsters — is actually based on his family. And singer-composer Shara Worden (who performs as My Brightest Diamond) plays live in the studio.

Campaign Ads Nauseam

The real problem with campaign ads today, Kurt Andersen thinks, is that they’re boring.  Why? "The same people that would do great commercials for products and services would also d...

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Mark Helprin: In Sunlight and in Shadow

Mark Helprin has been a scholar, soldier, farmer, commentator, and a speechwriter (unpaid, he insists) for Bob Dole.  He’s best known, though, as a writer of great fiction, and his...

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Steampunk: Victoriana Remixed

Steampunk — a term that once referred to a few science-fiction authors — has become into one of today’s most influential design styles.  From a handful of hobbyists encasing their iP...

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Shara Worden: My Brightest Diamond

There’s a generation of younger musicians who grew up with rock, pop, and punk, but studied classical composition and love the diversity of sounds it offers. Shara Worden is one of ...


Reliving the Golden Age of MTV

Recently, Kurt Andersen looked back at MTV’s Golden Age and asked for your favorite videos were from that late, lamented pre-Jersey Shore era. The clear front-runner seemed to be Pete...

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Comments [1]

nrcbtm1 from Ashburn, VA

Propaganda is not the same as advertising. It has its own tricks.

One is the "big lie" described in Hitler's "Mein Kampf"and used by Goebbels, his propaganda minister. As Hitler described it, if the lie is big enough people will think there must be some truth to it because no one would just make up something so outlandish. Along the same line is repeating the lie in the same words often enough and by enough people ("message discipline") that the average person begins to accept it as fact.

Another is changing or co-opting the meaning of words, a technique used by the"Big Brother" despot in Orwell's "1984." In the novel it was called "New Speak." Basically it involves changing the meaning of words. For example, today "conservative Republican" describes what used to be called a reactionary. Conservative meant resistant to change, wanting to keep the status quo. Reactionary meant wanting to return to earlier policies, "status quo ante.". Eisenhower would be considered liberal by today's conservative Republican base. "Liberal" originally meant simply someone willing to try some changes from the status quo. "Radical" was used to descibe someone who wanted to throw out the status quo and replace it with a system alien to our culture. Republican propaganda has convinced most people (including newscasters) that liberal means someone who wants to impose socialism instead of free enterprise. Republican propaganda refers to the Democratic Party as the Democrat Party, in order that people don't associate that party with democracy.

One propaganda technique is to confuse the voter by co-opting the other party's position. Democrats' ads say that Mitt Romney's policy's will increase middle class taxes. Republican ads say the same thing about Pres. Obama's. Probably both are misleading. The latest example is "trickle down economics." That has long been used to mean government assistance to wealthier people who would use it to create jobs that benefit the lower classes. Romney started to use the term "trickle down" as meaning government taking in money from taxes and passing some of it down to the middle and working classes.

So these propaganda techniques are quite different from Madison Avenue ads that give positives about products they are pushing, or perhaps just to remind people about the brand. If you notice any of these techniques in a political ad, question whether it is truth or propaganda.

Oct. 06 2012 03:01 PM

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