Author Topic: Oh Dearism.  (Read 2685 times)

Demolition Squid

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Oh Dearism.
« on: January 02, 2015, 10:48:37 pm »
This is a really interesting clip from Charlie Brooker's 2014 Wipe. Adam Curtis has discussed the idea before, but this hypothesizes that the reaction most people have to the media ('oh dear' because they feel it is something they can do nothing about) is now being deliberately invoked by politicians and media elites as a form of control.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wcy8uLjRHPM

What particularly stood out was this quote about the war in Ukraine, from one of Putin's advisors.

Quote
The underlying aim, Serkov says, is not to win the war, but to use the conflict to create a constant state of destabilized perception in order to manage and control.

By continually throwing contradictory information into the mainstream, and flooding us with a stream of information with little context (or deliberately misleading context) we are kept in a state of uncertainty where we do not have the tools necessary to form a coherent alternative to the decisions that are being made on our behalf. They - the politicians and decision makers - deliberately want to make people throw up their hands and say 'oh dear' because merely recognizing that a thing is bad does not threaten them. Especially when they are ostensibly agreeing with you that the situation is bad and they would like to change it, whilst simultaneously working to perpetuate it.

This kind of thinking seems like it'd be quite familiar to Discordians - and it plays into some of the behaviours we talk about with people taking the opinions of their 'group' and seeing it as an attack on their identities when those opinions and assumptions are attacked. It is more sinister than we often ascribe to - I don't know about anyone else, but I assumed that the politicians were as much a victim of confirmation bias as anyone else, and tended to just be blind to the inherent contradictions in what they were saying.

But the quotes from the Russian advisor seem like a convincing argument that this isn't the case.

It also feels like I've been falling for this myself. Looking back over the year - longer, really - the news has just been a constant stream of horrible situations with the end result generally being a sense of powerlessness.

The question is, knowing this, what do you do about it? It is almost the opposite of 1984's Ministry of Truth. Where the Ministry of Truth wanted to reinvent the past and make people believe in their version of events, this strategy relies on nobody knowing the present and casting doubt on the past so that the status quo can just continue. If you can't pin down what's happening, you can't respond to it. There's been massive anger and outcry over all sorts of issues over the past few years - MP's expenses, child abuse, banker's bonuses, the financial crisis and the Occupy movement - but this anger has failed to result in any actual changes or serious action (aside from some arrested celebrities) and eventually the news cycle just moves on with no resolution.

It seems like a strong and independent press to confront politicians when they lie and mislead, and hold them to account, should be the answer. In practice, any more voices will just add to the cacophony, because having many conflicting messages is itself part of the strategy. This problem is likely exacerbated in the UK by the fact the BBC has taken impartiality to mean 'give equal voice to the two most polarized individuals we can find on any issue'.

Step 1 is probably 'refuse to accept that things can't get better'. I'm just not sure how to translate 'media is probably being manipulated in order to provide confusion' into useful actions.
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Junkenstein

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Re: Oh Dearism.
« Reply #1 on: January 02, 2015, 11:38:13 pm »
Quote
It seems like a strong and independent press to confront politicians when they lie and mislead, and hold them to account, should be the answer. In practice, any more voices will just add to the cacophony, because having many conflicting messages is itself part of the strategy

Interesting read. Just wanted to pick on this for a moment.

It seems to me that any established power structure, be that government, press or other firstly makes a priority of protecting itself. To that end you get shit like Leveson in the UK where government and press collude to protect the powers of both at the expense of outsiders. The ongoing internal police investigations are much the same and mirrored in the USA with general levels of culpability admitted.

As a result of this somewhat, I can't see the traditional methods of protest being particularly effective in the future. There's realistically no press outlet that you can trust completely, if at all. Voting is right out as well really unless you can push a giant protest vote to the greens or something but I'd guess the populace to abstain or vote Nazi if that's the hot idea.

Quote
There's been massive anger and outcry over all sorts of issues over the past few years - MP's expenses, child abuse, banker's bonuses, the financial crisis and the Occupy movement - but this anger has failed to result in any actual changes or serious action (aside from some arrested celebrities) and eventually the news cycle just moves on with no resolution.

This sort of ties into the above somewhat. The easy example I could use here would be the "Bring back our girls" thing that went around for a while. Last I checked there was still no resolution on that because everyone started shitting themselves over Isis spreading ebola. Such things seem to be exactly the kind of thing you're talking about - Serious problems with no clear narrative, obvious signs of improvement/worsening but a general mood pushed of "something must be done about this awful thing".

Is the media contradictory and providing bad signal? Almost certainly, with some much more blatant than others. It's never a surprise when say, certain newspapers giving high ratings to certain films, or low ones. Some outlets barely hide their contempt for their audience (Fox, particularly guilty here. Outlet built on "the big lie") and others are totally shameless about whatever yesterdays news was. I've lost count of the number of days shite such as the daily heil has screamed about house prices going up/down/up/down/up/sideways and we're all dooooomed/up on sequential days, not even any gap, to the point where I'd believe that half the text is just copy/paste with names changed.

Credit where it's due, Russel Brand has been doing quite well with his "trews" stuff, Something like that perhaps slowed and presented to target a broader audience may be a way to go, particularly when there's obviously a party line in the papers. 
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Re: Oh Dearism.
« Reply #2 on: January 05, 2015, 07:15:21 pm »
The way I see it (and I don't entirely dismiss the possibility this is an epic cop-out) is that their defensive position is practically unassailable. There is no physical way on earth to take down a corrupt superpower. Best I can do is watch and giggle as the whole thing comes crashing down on it's own. I've been patiently waiting for western capitalist economics to dissolve completely for the best part of a decade but it never does, it just teeters on the edge of oblivion with no end in sight.  :argh!:
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Re: Oh Dearism.
« Reply #3 on: January 06, 2015, 04:45:04 pm »
Posting here to remind myself to come back to this in a couple of days, when I have time.

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Re: Oh Dearism.
« Reply #4 on: January 07, 2015, 03:58:11 am »
I think it goes beyond that. It's the Brave New World method. If the onslaught of information is so saturated with not only contradictory and conflicting information, but with unrelated items, as well ("Movie star talks about butt plugs on Leno, then we'll hear from Tom who has been following the latest on the leaked nudes fiasco..."), you won't have the mental resources available to engage yourself on the matter long enough to for an opinion; let alone speak out in support of it. Postman refers to it as the "And now... this!" of our media.

And this is floating in a dingy amidst a piss ocean of entertainment media. I've never seen movies and TV shows shot out of the corn hole at such a rapid fire.
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Re: Oh Dearism.
« Reply #5 on: January 07, 2015, 08:54:46 am »
I think it goes beyond that. It's the Brave New World method. If the onslaught of information is so saturated with not only contradictory and conflicting information, but with unrelated items, as well ("Movie star talks about butt plugs on Leno, then we'll hear from Tom who has been following the latest on the leaked nudes fiasco..."), you won't have the mental resources available to engage yourself on the matter long enough to for an opinion; let alone speak out in support of it. Postman refers to it as the "And now... this!" of our media.

And this is floating in a dingy amidst a piss ocean of entertainment media. I've never seen movies and TV shows shot out of the corn hole at such a rapid fire.

"I could explain to you why this Fox News bit is propaganda, bu not only will it take MUCH longer than the actual bit, it will take MUCH more effort, and require your WILLINGNESS to hear a different pov... in other words, im fucking done and you can keep thinking what you like."

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Re: Oh Dearism.
« Reply #6 on: January 07, 2015, 03:52:31 pm »
The best way to change someone's mind, IMO, is to agree with them, or at least acknowledge the validity of their point, and then to introduce some small question or exception.

When you go for full-frontal disagreement, it's more likely to result in an increase in disagreement than lead to agreement.
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Re: Oh Dearism.
« Reply #7 on: January 12, 2015, 07:17:25 pm »
Posting here to remind myself to come back to this in a couple of days, when I have time.

Posting here to remind Cain to come back to this in a couple of days, when he has time.
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Re: Oh Dearism.
« Reply #8 on: January 12, 2015, 07:28:47 pm »
The best way to change someone's mind, IMO, is to agree with them, or at least acknowledge the validity of their point, and then to introduce some small question or exception.

When you go for full-frontal disagreement, it's more likely to result in an increase in disagreement than lead to agreement.

Somewhat tangential, an old sales technique that I was once shown is "Agree-confirm-overcome".

Basically, regardless of what the objection is, you initially agree, as people like people who agree with them. Then you confirm that the objection is actually the objection. Then you move to get round it in some fashion.

Done right, people end up selling the product/service to themselves. I would suspect that this would all translate very closely to arguments/debate etc. A Conservative is unlikely to be convinced of much by a liberal, but they will be readily convinced by another conservative. The reverse equally applies and applies to most things where people segregate themselves into arbitrary groups.

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Re: Oh Dearism.
« Reply #9 on: January 12, 2015, 11:52:20 pm »
The best way to change someone's mind, IMO, is to agree with them, or at least acknowledge the validity of their point, and then to introduce some small question or exception.

When you go for full-frontal disagreement, it's more likely to result in an increase in disagreement than lead to agreement.

Somewhat tangential, an old sales technique that I was once shown is "Agree-confirm-overcome".

Basically, regardless of what the objection is, you initially agree, as people like people who agree with them. Then you confirm that the objection is actually the objection. Then you move to get round it in some fashion.

Done right, people end up selling the product/service to themselves. I would suspect that this would all translate very closely to arguments/debate etc. A Conservative is unlikely to be convinced of much by a liberal, but they will be readily convinced by another conservative. The reverse equally applies and applies to most things where people segregate themselves into arbitrary groups.

There was some hilarious (actually depressing) study in which Republicans were given economic proposals from Democrats, but told they were from Republicans, and vise versa. In every case, the Republicans strongly preferred the plans they were told came from Republicans, and the Democrats strongly preferred the plans they were told came from Democrats, and could even build arguments for why they preferred them and how they upheld their party's values, unaware that the proposals they were agreeing with actually came from the opposing party.

The same experiment was done with Israelis, Palestinians, and peace agreement proposals. In every case, affiliation made all the difference. ALL the difference.
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Re: Oh Dearism.
« Reply #10 on: January 13, 2015, 02:09:12 pm »
Yeah, cognitively speaking, meatware is pretty impressive but only when considering the fact that the software wrote itself, by accident. This is why I'm reasonably confident that AI will not turn out to be the anthropomorphic comedy show that many people seem to think it will. Why go to all the trouble of making it rubbish, when it's much easier to make it practically flawless? That is without the irrational emotional circuitry and various other biases and glitches. Problem is many people think Homo Sapiens 1.0 is some sort of holy pinnacle of creation. If that were the case then we'd never have had to bolt on cognitive upgrades like satnav, databases and written language.
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Re: Oh Dearism.
« Reply #11 on: January 14, 2015, 02:05:53 am »
The best way to change someone's mind, IMO, is to agree with them, or at least acknowledge the validity of their point, and then to introduce some small question or exception.

When you go for full-frontal disagreement, it's more likely to result in an increase in disagreement than lead to agreement.

Somewhat tangential, an old sales technique that I was once shown is "Agree-confirm-overcome".

Basically, regardless of what the objection is, you initially agree, as people like people who agree with them. Then you confirm that the objection is actually the objection. Then you move to get round it in some fashion.

Done right, people end up selling the product/service to themselves. I would suspect that this would all translate very closely to arguments/debate etc. A Conservative is unlikely to be convinced of much by a liberal, but they will be readily convinced by another conservative. The reverse equally applies and applies to most things where people segregate themselves into arbitrary groups.

There was some hilarious (actually depressing) study in which Republicans were given economic proposals from Democrats, but told they were from Republicans, and vise versa. In every case, the Republicans strongly preferred the plans they were told came from Republicans, and the Democrats strongly preferred the plans they were told came from Democrats, and could even build arguments for why they preferred them and how they upheld their party's values, unaware that the proposals they were agreeing with actually came from the opposing party.

The same experiment was done with Israelis, Palestinians, and peace agreement proposals. In every case, affiliation made all the difference. ALL the difference.

Ah. So the short version essentially is "We are totally fucked."

There is, however, an idea somewhere in switching election slogans as a general thing. No attribution, just a raw text quote on a photo of someone allegedly wanting the opposite. It's 2AM, leave that with me.
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Re: Oh Dearism.
« Reply #12 on: January 14, 2015, 07:53:13 am »
We're all totally fucked if humanity stays in charge. Maybe AI is actually our only hope :lulz:
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Re: Oh Dearism.
« Reply #13 on: January 14, 2015, 02:20:04 pm »
Posting here to remind myself to come back to this in a couple of days, when I have time.

Posting here to remind Cain to come back to this in a couple of days, when he has time.

Tomorrow.  After I've slept and gotten back onto a day time schedule.

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Re: Oh Dearism.
« Reply #14 on: January 15, 2015, 09:11:47 am »
Surkov is one of my favourite modern thinkers, despite producing very little in the way of actual programmes to scrutinize.

I was aware of the name since about 2008, but I only noticed him as one of the "fixers" of Putin's regime until about 2010, when Adam Curtis forced my focus on him.

Surkov's strategy can be summed up as "weaponised postmodernism", which is not unfitting for someone who cut his artistic teeth in the underground and avant-garde milieu of 1980s Moscow.  An earlier graduate of that milieu, the leader of the National Bolsheviks and Putin critic, Eduard Limonov, noted that Surkov had "turned Russia into a wonderful postmodernist theatre, where he experiments with old and new political models".

Of course, as a good former Soviet citizen, I am sure Surkov is aware that Marx said history repeats itself...second time as farce.

However, it's an inherently unstable mix.  Surkov's system almost crashed in 2011.  The wheels came off "Sovereign Democracy" a few years earlier, but the introduction of a fresh face in the new President and general momentum allowed the system to continue.  Fortunately, while the system has splintered the Russian leadership, and caused corruption to metasize to such an extent that even Putin cannot truly control it anymore, Surkov's playbook keeps the Russian opposition weak and divided, allowing Putin to exploit them.

Surkov also followed this strategy in Ukraine, where he acted as Putin's envoy, after Putin's own attempts at improvisation went to shit.  For starters, he exploited the divisions between the ultranationalists in Donbass to give the Kremlin greater control over the situation there.  Surkov's confusion also gave the Kremlin a chance to "clear the deck" in Donbass and stack the cards to allow for Putin's preferred outcome - negotiations with Poroshenko and the West, while leaving the "People's Republic" as yet another frozen conflict and bargaining chip with Ukraine in the future (Crimea's gone, that ship sailed).

------------

The problem is, how does one discern "weaponised postmodernism" in a fundamentally postmodern society?  Europe and North America are far ahead of Russia, on this side, so it becomes impossible to see how this method would be much different from naturally occuring social outcomes.  The internet further complicates matters, creating epistemic conclaves where one can be exposed only to the evidence that supports ones inclination and ideology.

Thats not to say I don't believe this isn't also being used in the UK, USA, France etc. only that finding the Surkov like figure behind the curtain is going to be much harder.  Not least because there are likely several ("America is also a one party state, but with typical American extravagance, it has two of them").