How to Influence the Influential
Though I am a bit slow to post it, Funny or Die’s “Presidential Reunion” is an impressive piece of political commentary.
Humor aside, the video is most laudable for being a piece of pop culture that actually explains the context of a complicated and essentially historical issue in a highly accessible manner. It apportions blame and credit fairly, keeps the viewer’s attention, and even offers both idealistic and politically feasible and actionable prescriptions for moving forward. Rarely do you see that wonderful blend anywhere, let alone in a Funny or Die video.
For instance, the Economist has long been a favorite of mine due to its diagnostic approach and high-handed prescriptions for most of the world’s political issues, as it can almost always correctly identify the actual nature and causative inputs that give rise to problems (even where the problem may not have been readily perceptible without a bit of added perspective). However, often as not, the Economist is only readily capable of diagnostics, and its preaching, however wise, has few practical ramifications or suggestions that could be implemented by a reader. Such was the case with this otherwise excellent article pointing out the increasing gender gap that restrictive population-control policies have resulted in.
And all countries need to raise the value of girls. They should encourage female education; abolish laws and customs that prevent daughters inheriting property; make examples of hospitals and clinics with impossible sex ratios; get women engaged in public life—using everything from television newsreaders to women traffic police. Mao Zedong said “women hold up half the sky.” The world needs to do more to prevent a gendercide that will have the sky crashing down.
When the proffered solution is to reform society in such a way as to carry on as though the problem had never arisen in the first place, it seems as though one is somewhat begging the question. Then again, given the Economist’s uniquely powerful and influential audience, perhaps the correct strategy is to simply change the minds of its readership (though I get the impression that the Economist is a newspaper that is often preaching to a choir, and not trying to convert anyone).
Another version of this lacking efficacy in political communication is the Internet soapbox commentator, often expressing his or her point vociferously or eloquently, but without the possibility of converting even a single mind. Take this random Craigslist post for example:
First of all…..when 28% of you brain dead fucking morons give a blithering IDIOT like Sarah Palin positive approval ratings and think she ought to run for president in 2012, it really makes me sick to know I am lumbered with that many mouth-breathing Cro-Magnons I unfortunately have to consider as my fellow countrymen….trust me…..I don’t. You motherfuckers are beyond help.
Sadly, I fear this blog may be in that category of political writing. Maybe I should just shill for the Coffee Party movement or something like it, purely on the basis of my penchant for effective political communication and a broader sense of perspective in addressing the root causes of our current state of political failure.
Maybe you should do the same?