Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Shocking that more people don't see it (or maybe not)

Naomi Klein was the highest ranked female on a recent Internet poll for top public intellectuals. Not a single woman was in the top 10. She was 11th.

I found it interesting that Klein had some of the following analyses for the Kerry failure in 2004. Obama has been accepting some really bad advice. I guess he prefers Democratic Party hacks to rational thinkers. These statements were made in an interview on Alternet two months after the election.

The Democrats didn't fully understand that the success of Karl Rove's party is really a success in branding. Identity branding is something that the corporate world has understood for some time now. They're not selling a product; they're selling a desired identity, an aspirational identity of the people who consume their product. Nike understands that, Apple understands that, and so do all the successful brands. Karl Rove understands that too.

When you have genuine conviction standing next to extremely expert and successful marketing, it exposes the latter as marketing. Whereas when you have bad marketing next to expert marketing, it actually makes the other person look good.

Another part of the failure has to do with the way you answer the language of faith. You don't answer the language of faith with the language of more effective bureaucracy, which is the image that John Kerry's campaign presented: more effective administrators, more effective bureaucrats of war. You have to answer the language of faith with the language of morality.

[My emphasis]

All of this led me to explore Klein’s most recent book, The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism. I think I’m going to have to read it. Check out the short video, in which Klein defines “the shock doctrine”.


PhillyChief said...

The right wing has put on a clinic on how to advance yourself and your ideals. The process of educating/indoctrinating Chileans was brilliant.

I agree with her 100% about it being the responsibility of those of us who aren't targets to speak out against targeting.

I think I'm more interested in reading No Logo now.

Anonymous said...

It's what I said earlier. The more Clinton people Obama has brought on board, the worse his campaign has gotten. He's gotten away from presenting principles and gotten into marketing, with marketing advice from the Democratic losers among consultants, like that fucking idiot at Clinton's campaign, Mark Penn. They're going to hand the presidency to McCain.

The Exterminator said...

The Friedman quote is taken completely out of context. He was having a discussion with Ben Wattenberg about Free Markets vs. Government Control. Wattenberg asked:

QUESTION: If the Depression told the American people that government is the solution rather than government is the problem, some decades later you get deeply involved in trying to change that perception. What did you preach, and how did you ultimately prevail, in a sense?

MILTON FRIEDMAN: I believe that one of the important factors that affected it, [that is] professional opinion, was the result of our book on the history of money, and the demonstration of the role that the Fed had played in the Great Depression. I think that played a very important role on professional opinion. But, so far as popular opinion about the role of government, I believe that has been changed by experience. People have observed that government policies don't work. The government sets out to eliminate poverty, it has a war on poverty, so-called "poverty" increases. It has a welfare program, and the welfare program leads to an expansion of problems. A general attitude develops that government isn't a very efficient way of doing things. The Post Office becomes an object of scorn.

Now, you never have real changes unless you have a time of crisis. And when you have a time of crisis what happens depends on what ideas are floating around, and what ideas have been developed, and thought through, and are made effective. And I believe the role that people like myself have played in the transformation of public opinion has been by persistently presenting a different point of view, a point of view which stresses the importance of private markets, of individual freedom, and the distorting effect of governmental policy. That may not persuade anybody, in one sense, but it provides an alternative when the time comes that you have a crisis and people realize that you have to change.

In this particular area what was the crisis? What is it that has produced so dramatic a change? The fall of the Berlin Wall, [which] really demonstrated beyond the shadow of a doubt that there was a bad system, and what subsequently happened in the Soviet Union, that that system was a failure. And it made people, I think, much more receptive to the kind of ideas that I and others of my persuasion had been promoting for years.

You can read the entire interchange here.

Brendan said...

Weeeeellllll, the fact that Thomas Friedman appears on the list at all makes the whole thing kind of suspect, doesn't it? It appears to be more of a matter of name recognition than anything else, which, I admit, doesn't completely excuse the absence of women from the top 10.

The new poll (the old one ran in 2005) shows just how susceptible to gaming such online polls are, too.

Of related interest: Hitchens, How to be a public intellectual.