August, 2020 archive
At the Hartford Courant, Thomas Cangelosi suggests a metaphor for the United States’s incompetent and uncoordinated response to COVID-19. A snippet:
During a recent power outage in Connecticut, I stopped my car at a busy intersection where the traffic signals were blacked out. While I was relieved to see the majority of drivers following the safety protocol of a four-way stop, each taking their turn, I was disturbed by a number of drivers that saw the situation as a license to blow through the intersection.
The scene seemed to be a microcosm of the national crossroads America faces as it negotiates the COVID-19 pandemic, which has become nothing less than a crucible of our national character.
Follow the link for his explanation.
Writing at Psychology Today Blogs, Jennifer Latson explores how exposure to constant repetition can wear down skepticism, cater to credulousness, and foster falsehoods, so that truth gets lost. Here’s a bit (emphasis added):
The marketing term “effective frequency” refers to the idea that a consumer has to see or hear an ad a number of times before its message hits home. Essentially, the more you say something, the more it sticks in — and possibly on — people’s heads. It doesn’t even have to be true — and that’s the problem. What advertisers call “effective frequency,” psychologists call the “illusory truth effect”: the more you hear something, the easier it is for your brain to process, which makes it feel true, regardless of its basis in fact.
In her piece, she goes on to explore other human tendencies that make us susceptible to such subterfuge, while also pointing out that, in these days of digital deluges of dubious diatribes and a blatherscape of blaring botnets, staying aware of facts and identifying falsity is increasingly important.
I suggest “Fox News Effect” as shorthand for this phenomenon.
Sam talks with Mike Dimondstein, President of the American Postal Workers Union.
At Psychology Today Blogs, Charles Johnston muses on what seems to be the political strategy of the current occupant of the White House. A snippet:
With the election polls trending poorly for the current president in the U.S., there is really only one kind of strategy that remains if he is to be reelected. It might seem exactly backwards, but it has always been much of the current president’s strategy (though just how conscious this has been I am not sure). And Democrats seem always ready to play along. That strategy is to generate maximum discord and polarization.
Follow the link for his thoughts on why and how this just might–and he metaphorically emphasizes “might”–work.
At the Inky, Will Bunch weighs in.
Methinks The Roanoke Times editorial board has a point. They suggest that “social” media is not connecting persons, it’s separating them. Here’s snippet:
This process of self-isolation is hardly new. Bill Bishop and Robert Cushing wrote a book about this back in 2008. “The Big Sort: Why the Clustering of Like-Minded America is Tearing Us Apart” looked at how people have been self-segregating themselves by ideology in a way we haven’t seen before.
Follow the link for the entire article.
Will Bunch looks back at the Republican
convention coronation. An excerpt (emphasis added):
Since 1968 — the last time the nation held a political convention and melted down simultaneously — the Republican Party had relied on racial “dog whistles” about forced busing or supposed “welfare queens” to cling to power. But in 2020, a desperate, despot-led GOP sent out a Bat Signal. In one of those suburban bedrooms in Antioch, Ill., a 17-year-old boy — a Trump fan who’d grown up during a 21st century where Facebook lies were the only “reality” he’d ever known — answered the call to defend white supremacy.
Only 26 hours after the disgraced former Party of Lincoln hit rock bottom by inviting racial vigilantes into your living room came the heartbreaking yet utterly predictable response: American carnage. Two people lay dead in the streets of strife-torn Kenosha, Wis. The 17-year-old — his life, too, forever broken by the lies of a movement he’d embraced — was finally arrested. But only after calmly walking right past police officers who apparently were there not to prevent disorder but to preserve it.
Do please read the rest.