Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘framing

Sunday Afternoon

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* ICYMI: Dr. Seuss Explains Assessment, Metrics, Administrative Blight, and Pretty Much Every Aspect of the Contemporary Education System.

* This is, I think, literally the first time I have ever heard of university budget cuts impacting administration. Meanwhile.

* Meanwhile meanwhile, Congress talks adjuncts and adjunctification. I’m sure they’ll come up with a good solution soon.

Tressie McMillan Cottom on race and adjunctification.

* Yo novel so staid and conventional, it’s taught at over 50 MFA programs.

* Submitted for your approval: An OCR of the MLA JIL list, 1965-2012.

* For some reason I’m seeing a ton of links to Bousquet’s “Tenured Bosses and Disposable Teachers” this weekend.

*  Bérubé’s last post on MLA 2014.

Harvard, MIT Online Courses Dropped by 95% of Registrants.

Inside a for-profit college nightmare.

* Inside the “longform backlash.”

How Student Activists at Duke Transformed a $6 Billion Endowment.

* “Income inequality” has proved a very successful framing for Democrats discussing a massive social problem, so of course the Obama White House is rolling out a much worse one.

* Pope Francis Is Drafting An Encyclical On The Environment.

cold* xkcd explains climate.

* Demographics is destiny: Latinos overwhelmingly want action on climate change.

* How nonviolent was the civil rights movement?

It’s 1968, and Esquire is interviewing James Baldwin.

* Chris Christie says no to dashboard cameras.

* The coming Common Core meltdown.

* The headline reads, “Chinese restaurant owner told to pull down two gigantic 50ft naked Buddhas from establishment’s roof.”

Highly Educated, Highly Indebted: The Lives of Today’s 27-Year-Olds, In Charts.

* America’s nuclear corps are a mess. Dr. Strangelove was a documentary.

A journey to the end of the world (of Minecraft).

* Science has finally proved that sex reverses cognitive decline in rats.

This World Map Shows The Enormity Of America’s Prison Problem.

* The New York Times has the tragic story of a man with a million dollars in his retirement account struggling to scrape by on just $31,500 a month. Truly, there but for the grace of God go we.

Bucking trend, Wisconsin union membership grows.

* Fox to strand reality show contestants on an island for an entire year.

Woody Guthrie’s daughter wants to preserve Greystone Park Psychiatric Hospital.

* The “okay, fine, let’s abolish all marriages” response to marriage equality is so strange to me. I know things like this happened during the civil rights movement — and one might argue that precisely the same thing has been happening in slow-motion to public education over the last few decades — but it still seems like such a strange, uniquely twenty-first-century temper tantrum.

* Behold, the 90s! The Most Impressive Costumes from Star Trek: TNG’s First 3 Seasons.

Life as a Nonviolent Psychopath.

We Didn’t Eat the Marshmallow. The Marshmallow Ate Us.

* And Stephen Hawking wants to destroy all your silly, silly dreams.

Friday Night Links, Special ‘Jesus Year’ Edition

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Sunday Night Links

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* The New World Order One World Government wants to ban golf! Wake up, sheeple!

* …if we look closely enough, we’ll have to conclude that poverty is not, after all, a cultural aberration or a character flaw. Poverty is a shortage of money.

* From Aaron’s latest Sunday Reading:The Intellectual Situation of n+1. For U.S. universities, a failing grade in economics. The Irish Begin to Wake Up to the Fact That They are Repaying Money That is Then Burned. The Hand That Feeds. Historicizing the Conservative Think Tank. A short history of the vibrator. The Inside Story of How John Carter Was Doomed by Its First Trailer.

* flashes back to another This American Life truth panic.

* Roland Barthes’ last doctoral student describes the writing of his dissertation. Via MeFi.

* Scientists think they’ve figured out what’s causing Colony Collapse Disorder (again). Surprise! It’s pesticides. Also via.

* Crooks & Liars has some advice for Lakoff-style reframing.

1. Never say Entitlements. Instead, say Earned Benefits.
2. Never say Redistribution of Wealth. Instead, say Fair Wages For Work.
3. Never say Employer Paid Health Insurance. Instead, say Employee Earned Health Insurance.
4. Never say Government Spending. Instead, say The People Are Investing.
5. Never say Corporate America. Instead, say Unelected Corporate Government.

* And here comes the Romney shadow cabinet. It’s even worse than you think!

Against Demands

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At Stumbling and Mumbling, via @zunguzungu.

So, how might “demands” of the sort that James makes be reframed? Here are three possibilities:

1. An assertion of rights. James says we should have a right to recall MPs who break manifesto promises. But why frame this as a “demand”? Why not instead say that the breach of such promises is tantamount to a breach of contract and thus a violation of basic democratic rights? Framed this way, it is manifesto-breaching MPs who are making unreasonable demands – demanding to stay in office despite lying to voters.

2. Stress the benefits of the policies. For example, egalitarian policies such as taxing the rich or nationalizing utilities can – if you insist – be presented as a way of increasing aggregate demand, by redistributing income from savers to spenders.

3. Use the language of inevitability and necessity; you don‘t have to demand what will happen anyway. Marxists, of course, used to do this, to the chagrin of champions of free will such as Isaiah Berlin. But the trick has long since been copied by the right. It has claimed (reasonably) that bank bailouts were necessary and (less reasonably) that public spending cuts are. And of course every boss trying to justify mass layoffs does so by claiming they are necessary.

The left should relearn this trick. Rather than “demand” change, it should point out that things can’t go on as they are, and so change is necessary.

Written by gerrycanavan

January 2, 2012 at 9:39 am

How to Win an Argument

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Paul Waldman on the political value of shamelessness.

It’s great that The Daily Show is around to heap some scorn on these blowhards, but it won’t really do them much harm. One thing they understand very well at Fox, and in the conservative movement more generally, is the political value of shamelessness. As long as you say what you’re saying with conviction, it doesn’t matter how absurd or hypocritical it is. You may not get the majority of the public to agree with you, but you can get a good number. And among the functions Fox serves for the right (along with conservative talk radio) is the rapid dissemination of arguments and a model of argumentation. They tell conservatives not just what they should say, but how they should say it. A key component is that every argument is presented without a shred of doubt, and with a clear delineation between heroes and villains, the people we should be celebrating and the ones we should be hating.

As a result, conservatives may not win every argument, but they almost never get routed completely. And they manage to keep the debate from moving too far away from where they’d like to be. Right now, at a time when the public’s preferred solutions to the budget deficit run to raising taxes on rich people and cutting defense spending, those kinds of things are not even being considered. Instead, the administration and Republicans are arguing about just how much they should screw the middle class and the poor (Republicans say a lot, Democrats say some, but not as much).

When Obama Failed

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My own answer to the question of how things got this bad has less to do with whether Obama should have been more liberal or more centrist than with his and his party’s apparent inability, or perhaps refusal, to offer broad and convincing arguments about their central beliefs that counter those of the Republicans. This problem goes back to the Reagan years. It is a failure that many Democrats and liberals hoped Obama could change—something he seemed capable of changing during the campaign but has addressed rather poorly once in office.

Of course, the fact that unemployment is still 9.6%, in part because of a too-small stimulus package that was itself an early attempt at unnecessary policy compromise with the GOP, doesn’t help either.

Written by gerrycanavan

October 9, 2010 at 11:39 am

The New and Not Improved Barack Obama

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The New York Times editorial today goes after the “new and not improved” Barack Obama. These reports of flip-flops are greatly exaggerated—why, it’s almost as if the corporate media were attempting to unfairly shoehorn a Democratic candidate into a well-established negative frame—and to whatever extent that he has shifted to the center, well, welcome to American Politics 101. Armchair Internet pundits would be well-advised to keep in mind a number of fundamental political truths:

* we just aren’t Obama’s target audience right now, and we need to learn to live with that;
* conservative media frames should never be embraced, even when you’re Really Mad about Something Totally Important;
* and, most importantly, the point is to win so we can actually accomplish something, not to be pure and perfect or to Prove That We Were Always Right All Along.

Once we’ve won, and have a Democratic majority in Congress, then we can hold Obama’s feet to the fire; for now, we have to fall in line and let the man do his job and get elected. That’s party politics. You don’t have to like it to recognize we’re stuck with it.

A little pragmatism, please.