A name on the breath as an arrow in the wind

One of the primary reasons the right has been merely the mucus trail of the left is language. More precisely, the right’s failure to understand and deploy language strategically. To establish mental frames and place themselves in advantageous terminological position vis-a-vis their enemies. So much human communication is meta, and the left–to their credit and their nations’ misery–have been competent managers of these unfiltered and evocative channels.

The percentage of people who premise their behaviors and politics on purely logical inputs and reasoned dialectic does not round up from zero. There is a cohort capable of reaching general conclusions about their own interests, but mostly people are moved by emotions: fear, greed, hate, lust.

The language one uses to transport information speaks far more effectively to these powerful behavioral engines than the objective facts they are nominally intended to bear. Some of these messages within the language messenger are so obvious even a vice president could understand them.

For instance, by the time they’re out the door most people have realized that We’d like to offer you the opportunity to pursue more lucrative advancement opportunities outside the company actually means you’ve been fired in favor of a gibbering H1B Indian working for half your salary. The communication was all subtext, but still perfectly clear upon reflection. But much of the political variety is not clear; or not clear to most people.

When media organs dryly report that a group of neo-nazis convened at the Ronald Reagan building in downtown D.C. on Saturday they are not actually attempting to convey the time and date of a meeting. They are instead screaming fear of and hate for their enemies into the absorbent subconscious of their readers. Language carries the actual message, not the sentence’s subject and predicate.

If this had been instead a confab of non-white racial advocates, it would have been a civil-rights meeting at the Ronald Reagan building. Again, the point would not have been to convey time and place, but to provide an endorsement via the positive connotation in terms. A corollary to that endorsement of non-white racial advocacy is the implication that expressed opposition will earn an oppositional term: like ‘neo-nazi’ for instance.

And because the bulk of the bell curve is comprised of gulls and moral opportunists (to say nothing of its left-flank) this language ordnance is sufficient to sway millions in the middle just by the disparity in terms: civil rights are good and no one wants to be a nazi.

Unfortunately, conservatives seem to have a native immunity against understanding this. That conclusion was reinforced reading about the interactions between VP-elect Mike Pence and the antagonistic cast of Broadway’s Hamilton. Personally, I would just as soon extract my ear drums with fish hooks than subject them to such caterwauling. So why Pence would even bother to attend this musical is a mystery, when he could have as easily seen The Cure in concert. An event that in comparison would have been just like Heaven.

For those few who aren’t familiar with this admittedly stale story, Pence was jeered lustily by New York’s effete theater patrons, who would have likely all been shot dead with pistols had Alexander Hamilton himself been in attendance. Following this display, and in accordance with liberals’ bumper sticker mentality that requires every party within earshot to be advised of their convictions on the faint chance they aren’t already, the cast itself took the opportunity to upbraid the insolently attending politician.

We are the diverse America who are alarmed and anxious that your new administration will not protect us, our friends, our children, our parents, or defend us and uphold our inalienable rights,” Dixon said, reading off a piece of paper. “But we truly hope that this show has inspired you to uphold our American values and to work on behalf of all of us.”

We all know what true message was carried beneath the veneer.

We non-whites expect a continuation of passive prostration to our perpetually increasing demands. As such, we truly hope this display of hatred and contempt has intimidated you into adopting an appropriately submissive posture as you assume the vice presidency.

That wasn’t particularly difficult to translate. Though Mr. Pence mangled it badly nonetheless. Speaking to the press, he responded by showering his antagonists with encomiums. This being an example of the eternal republican gambit: punish your friends and reward your enemies.

Vice President-elect Mike Pence on Sunday referred to the boos and lecturing he received when he went to see the Broadway musical “Hamilton” on Friday night as “what freedom sounds like.”

Pence said he “wasn’t offended by what was said” by one the lead actors during the curtain call.

On Sunday, Pence, in his first public statements about the aftermath, called the production a “great show” and insisted that his family “really enjoyed being there.”

He suggested he would “leave to others whether that was the appropriate venue” to express that message — instead, he asserted that the message was understood.

Pence went as far as to suggest others “go to see” the “great show.

You won’t believe how to lose the narrative with this one weird trick!

Obviously Pence is striving to maintain a presidential demeanor that is magnanimous and accommodating to the myriad competing factions of “Diverse America.” What he is not striving to do, however, is establish a context that is conducive to winning in the future.

Just as black advocacy is civil-rights and white advocacy is literally Hitler, consider the two poles of this Hamilton frame that Pence himself has labored to secure.

Diverse America: Our opponents are hate-bigots deserving only of mockery, lectures, and derision.

Legacy America: Our opponents are “what freedom sounds like.” And boy do they put on a great show!

We should all understand how these linguistic contours funnel observers toward the left as surely as a gutter funnels rain off a roof. Watching these exchanges, people subconsciously internalize the meta hate/fear risk in aligning with the right. While no such risk premium is attached to the left. By the uncontested statements of both sides, the right is oppression while the left is freedom. Which do you think will exert the greater gravitational pull on millions who want only to occupy an emotional safe space? If I say you are evil as you say I’m a swell guy, don’t be surprised when your children are my acolytes.

If Trump is to have any lasting impact, he must jettison the Art of the Deal in favor of the Art of the Word. He’d be amazed at how high is its return on investment.


16 thoughts on “A name on the breath as an arrow in the wind

  1. Way to raise the black flag on our enemies, Pence. Granted, with Trump/Pence in power, it was a little easier to swallow. Before the election, hearing him cave like that would have made my blood boil. Now it just makes me nauseous and irritable.

  2. Pingback: A name on the breath like an arrow in the wind | Reaction Times

  3. this tempest seems to have shunted mr spencer into the hinterlands of the dark edges of night in shadow where the alt-right cannot reach. and now the alt-right seeks some new brand, while others wish to join him in the deplorably denied and unrecognized areas of the map. it is obvious that pence was trump’s cuck to the GOPe. and now he does a night of the long knives on his brownshirts. but- unfortunately he is not, nor will he ever be der leader the pepe-boys were dreaming of. oh-ee-vay.

  4. Amazing piece. I am trying to learn what you are teaching us.

    Obviously Pence is striving to maintain a presidential demeanor that is magnanimous and accommodating to the myriad competing factions of “Diverse America.” What he is not striving to do, however, is establish a context that is conducive to winning in the future.

    What precise words should he have used and what message should they have conveyed?

    How did you evaluate Trump’s own response under this kind of analysis?

    Thank you!

    • Bite back. Stand up for those who helped put you where you are. Ignore (or better yet, ridicule) the ‘problem’ of ‘coming together’ in this ‘polarized’ America.

      Instead, when specifically addressed by the cast, stand up. Spread your arms, slightly crooked, like you’re hanging from a cross, and address the audience. Show them that you have been attacked, and that THEY have been attacked, that these ‘actors’ have committed malfeasance against THEM by bringing this piece of drivel to their attention in this venue.

      If you’re in a theatre where that won’t play well with at least a large minority of the audience, you’ve already made a grave mistake.

      You might even go so far as to point out that this kind of sanctimonious undeserved condescension is exactly what they voted against.

      Or, you know, you could suck and swallow.

  5. Another excellent essay. I hope they’re listening. Perhaps you should put yourself forward as their speech writer? That would certainly sharpen the knife.

  6. Broadway shows? Christ on a crutch, people still waste money on that crap? The only show I ever went to twice of my own volition was “Man for All Seasons”, best thing I ever saw on stage, largely thanks to Paul Scofield. That must have been 1962 or thereabouts.

    Very good essay and sadly so spot on. Puddinheads abound among white people of practically all political persuasions. It seems all the pc nonsense has gone to far for its course to be reversed without confrontation, something I imagine as unlikely. Sigh.

    Happy Thanksgiving Day all the same from down in the Southern Cone.

  7. I’m surprised Pence even went to see this abomination. His reply should’ve been “No.” And then get leave.
    Happy Thanskgiving Porter, everyone. May your tables be full of turkey and free of shitlib relatives.

  8. Thanks for the comments and happy Thanksgiving to all.

    Cris, if not already, you’re going to make some man a happy bigot.

    Shaun, I’m ready when Trump’s speech team calls.

    Reader, if Pence asked I’d develop a precisely worded response to fit just barely within the range of current political palatability. Though without putting that degree of care into it, he could have offered something to the effect that this is precisely what millions of voters came out in this election against. The theater ambush wasn’t against him at all, but the hard-working, law-abiding Americans who are mocked and derided by the same hateful leftists whose luxury lifestyles they make possible. He and the President-elect will be tireless defenders of these forgotten patriots, and no amount of ugly identity politics hypocrisy is going to change that.

  9. This sheds light on how light the red-pilled Trump bench is. Churchy cucks and neo-cons abound on the right, and will likely do so on the Trump team. It’s really just his family, Bannon, half of Sessions (he’s learned the right lesson on half of the invade and invite mantra) and the original core team who are true believers in his stated agenda. His cult of personality is the only hope of keeping them in line. Without Trump, the right reverts back to unpopular, theoretical dogma and all gains quickly lost. A new generation of smart, disciplined shitlords with lots of personality has to grow up fast.

    • Right, the ranks from which Trump could conceivably draw are extraordinarily thin in regard to post-cucktuals. And it is that raw paucity of confirmable talent that keeps me from the gag-reflex on his latest cabinet selections. I’m now closely watching for Kobach at DHS. If that doesn’t materialize while a Romney SOS does, my aspirations for the administration are going to be substantially tempered.

  10. Late to the party, but here it goes. I’ve seen this catastrophe happen, with terrible consequences for all of us, in the drive to the affordable care act.

    Almost the instant BHO started forming his government, we started seeing and hearing references to “…XX million Americans without HEALTHCARE…” As you mentioned above, the tone deaf GOPe and the idiot Buckleyan press, anf FOX, just repeated the words without pausing to consider the consequence of accepting the premise, “without healthcare.” That was when we lost that battle. We allowed, thoughtlessly, an insurance problem to morph into a health care problem, and to this day, the ‘punditocracy’ is blissfully unaware of the consequence of this conflation.

    Our esteemed ignorami masquerading as media experts seemed to be completely unaware that the United States had a fabulous system for delivering free, high quality healthcare to all and sundry uninsured. In fact, another soul that noticed this oncoming catastrophe made an offer of $100,000 to anyone that could produce one person, just one, that had been refused healthcare. And all because they successfully replaced the word “insurance” with “care” as in Americans without “health insurance” became Americans without “health care”

  11. Revenge is a dish best served cold. A proper response for Pence is to leave the rhetoric to others, then move to defund the National Endowment for the Arts, NPR, PBS, and the remaining alphabet soup of leftist arts organizations.

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