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October 16, 2017

Jimmy Kimmel on Republicans Who No Longer Watch His Show: It's Not "Good Riddance, But Riddance"

Actually, this shouldn't be oversold too much -- he's not exactly saying he's happy to lose Republican viewers, but he does say he'd do it all over again "in a heartbeat" and also says he wouldn't even want to "have a conversation" with anyone bothered by his leftwing politicking:

"I don't say I don't mind," Kimmel said. "I want everyone with a television to watch the show, but if they're so turned off by my opinion on health care and gun violence, then... I probably wouldn't want to have a conversation with them anyway."

"Good riddance?" Smith asked.

"Well, not good riddance, but riddance," Kimmel said, laughing.

By the way, maybe worth a listen if you care about such things, but social psychologist Aydin Paladin (not her real name, because she's a conservative in academics) has an interesting YouTube essay about late night comics' attempt to spread an "emotional contagion" (of anti-Trump hysteria) for propaganda purposes.

She herself says that much of what she says (indeed, most of social psychology itself) is of a "No shit?" nature, in as much as it tells you, with rigorous definitions and survey evidence, what you already pretty much knew, but I think some of you may find it interesting to know why this sort of "emotional contagion" propaganda works.

Long story short: Someone (an entertainer, for example) creates goodwill in an audience and then uses ridicule or crying on camera to create an emotional response in the audience towards a target person or idea. Because people don't like the idea that any idea in their brains was inserted into their brains by someone else -- they don't like the idea of being manipulated or influenced by a third party-- people assume the contempt or anger they feel towards the target person or idea originated entirely within themselves, and is therefore their own belief.

Kind of like the idea of Inception -- the trick is not suggesting an idea to someone, which is easy (just speak the idea to them), but of making the person think they thought of that idea themselves, so they take pride of authorship in it.

There are limits to the effectiveness of this, of course. People only feel goodwill to the late night clowns because the clowns make them laugh (and making someone laugh is a good way to earn goodwill), and as they shift their priority from making people laugh to just straight-up political advertising, they loose the goodwill that makes their emotionally-based propaganda effective in the first place.

Also once someone realizes they're being "injected" with someone else's beliefs (and can no longer fool themselves into thinking they are solely responsible for those beliefs), people tend to react hostilely to the propaganda, and the "boomerang effect" actually pushes them in the exact opposite direction. She talks about that effect, called "reactance" (rebellion against attempts to control you) here.


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posted by Ace at 07:41 PM

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