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Friday, April 02, 2004

How to write effective propaganda

It's a shame that Marvin Olasky and I have the same employer, especially considering he surely makes quite a bit more than I do. It's amazing to me that someone can rack up so much so-called education and none of it really sinks in. Olasky has been hoodwinked into believing the myth that the Founding Fathers really intended our country to be a theocracy but just somehow forgot to mention that fact in the Constitution. Anyway, this essay is cute. Olasky is a big contributor to the conservative strategy of crafting language and images to override the reader's ability to think reasonably about the issue. Misleading your audience with evocative phrasing is what he would consider "good writing". To justify himself, he draws on a number of pretty famous writers, very few of whom actually seem to back up his apparent thesis. Where I was educated, having internal consistency to an essay was "good" writing, but what do I know?
Mostly he just wants to imply that writers like Mark Twain (a big critic of irrational Christian fundamentalism of the sort that Olasky would like to have dominate the government) and George Orwell (need I remind anyone Orwell's opinions on misleading propaganda?) would somehow support him. It's a nice conservative trick that it's best to be aware of--to bolster the belief that in every way, shape, and form, that they have the force of history behind them, they will quote writers out of context to recruit them to the cause, pretty much hoping that their audience is uneducated enough not to catch it. And then they have the balls to pretend that it's liberals who are condescending!


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