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January 14, 2017

Thread below the Gardening Thread: Chicago Dreams and Memes [KT]

Serving your mid-day open thread needs

Well, I missed Obama's Last Campaign Rally this week. Yes I could, yes I did. But the Chicago location of the rally triggered me to seek out a safe space for thought somewhere in Chicago. Maybe with the Chicago Boyz?

David Foster wonders why college professors and entertainers often have similar political views. Do you have any clues?


I also found his nice little piece on Jargon, Proverbs and Memes. It starts with a discussion of buzzwords in education. He also quotes Sarah Hoyt:

Of all the ways people have come up with to avoid thinking, I like memes the most. They are so ridiculously easy to fall into. You see the words, you see the picture and you go "ah ah, that's so true." Even when on a minute's reflection it makes no sense whatsoever. . . I think in a way it follows the same pattern that proverbs followed in more ancient cultures. . . While proverbs were ways not to have to think or short cuts around thinking, they weren't, by themselves, pernicious. . . Proverbs are in a way, the encoding of societal wisdom into short cuts to lead people into ways that have worked before. . . Memes are similar, but you have to remove societal wisdom and put in "the commanding forces of culture and mass media.

What is your favorite buzzword or meme? Or the one that makes you cringe the most?

If you're up to slogging through something a little heavier, how about this summary on Propaganda in a Democracy by Aldous Huxley? There are some seriously long paragraphs in it. Longer than this one:

In their propaganda today's dictators rely for the most part on repetition, supression and rationalization - the repetition of catchwords which they wish to be accepted as true, the supression of facts which they wish to be ignored, the arousal and rationalization of passions which may be used in the interests of the Party or the State. As the art and science of manipulation come to be better understood, the dictators of the future will doubtless learn to combine these techniques with the non-stop distractions which, in the West, are now threatening to drown in a sea of irrelevance the rational propaganda essential to the maintenance of individual liberty and the survival of democratic institutions.

Ready to turn off the TV for a while? Take your kid out of college and give him a book?

Have a great weekend.

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