Welcome Anat Shenker Ororio (ASO Communications) and Host Spocko (Spocko’s Brain)

Don’t Buy It: The Trouble With Talking Nonsense About the Economy

If you are like me (and the odds are 89.5 to 1 that you are) you have heard this line seventy Brazilian times since you started paying attention to messages or talking points on issues. “The right wing does a much better job than the left when it comes to messaging.” Amiright or amiright? Then the person talking (sometimes you) will say, “You know what we need? A Frank Luntz on our side, someone who can come up with stuff like “death panels” or “Job Creators” and then get everyone to repeat them. Next someone who reads books will shout, ‘Lakoff!! Frames! Don’t Think of an Elephant!” as if Lakoff, his books and his defunct institute is any match for the fully-funded, focus-group-tested, linguistically robust messaging work conservatives do. And don’t get me started on the multi-million dollar right wing infrastructure of belief tanks and media. (Seriously, don’t get me started, I’m really pissed off about it and I can pontificate and whine about it for hours.)

But here’s the thing, we do have a Frank Luntz on the left, and she does great messaging work for us. Her name is Anat Shenker-Osorio and her new book is “Don’t Buy It. The Trouble With Talking Nonsense About the Economy.” Now of course the question is will we start paying attention to her work and will progressives start paying her and supporting an infrastructure to get her winning messages out there. Since you, my dear readers, are now the media, I encourage you to read this book so that you can start using her real people-tested messages and metaphors that work for us.

Her first book is based on years of research on how people talk about the economy. The research ranged from academic reports and blog posts to focus group and dinner conversations. She also reviewed years of cable news footage and pop culture TV shows. As many of you will note (and will soon become more aware of after reading this book) when lots of people talk about “the economy” they use a couple of different metaphors. In many cases these metaphors support the right wings’ ideas, and it’s no accident when they use them. It’s also no accident that WE use them, even when we fundamentally disagree with them.

First metaphor: the Economy is a deity.

The impact this metaphor has on policy, and then human lives, is happening seriously right now in Spain and Greece. How often have we heard bankers, economists and politicians talk about the “sacrifice” that people must make to “The Economy.”

Shenker-Osorio is a crisp, funny writer and she starts off the book describing an episode of South Park, Margaritaville, in which the inhabitants of the small Colorado town are hit by a sudden and serious economic decline.

After a period of collective soul-searching, the locals hit upon the obvious cause of rampant unemployment and plummeting stock values: the Economy is pissed.

The citizens cower upon realizing the truth–the Economy is an angry and vengeful God. Because South Parkers have paid insufficient homage to it, the Economy visits ruination and recession upon them. A character lectures a crowd of rapt listeners, ‘There are those who will say the Economy has forsaken us. Nay! You have forsaken the Economy. And now you know the Economy’s wrath.”

The solution in South Park, as will be familiar to modern-day Greeks and low-income Americans, is sacrifice. The cartoon version of this goes full throttle: Bible-inspired acts of piety and prostration ensure. Citizens turn their sheets into togas and cease to buy or sell things altogether in an attempt to show deference before the Economy.

Second metaphor: The Economy as a Living, Breathing, Intentional Being

In current comments about economic policy and explanations of events, you will hear people talking about the economy as a living, breathing, intentional being. As a person with agency who we should by all means avoid hurting.

Think about how many times you have heard, “We can’t do [fill in some socially beneficial act] because it will hurt the economy. ” Or, “If we do [the thing that make American's lives better], it will scare the markets.”

We also hear talk about how The Economy is sick, unhealthy, suffering or recovering. which conveys the message that the economy is something organic and self-regulating.

Third metaphor: The Economy as Weather and Water

When it’s not a deity or lesser being in a body, the economy is often spoken about as some other natural element: the weather, the tides, the life force itself. We speak of “weathering economic storms.” We will say, the money moves freely, like a liquid. Or, like an ocean, the money rushes in or out.

When each of these metaphors are used they often support a conservative world view. In the book, Shenker-Osorio points out clearly how this helps them, and why. For example, when people use the economy as weather model, like the belief tanks Cato and Heritage do, they transmit the idea that conditions are natural, external control is either impossible or harmful, and that outcomes are as God intended. You know who regulates the ocean? The moon. (Or as Bill O’Reilly has said, ‘Tide goes in, tide goes out. Never a miscommunication. You can’t explain that.”)

Another problem with this metaphor (and she dives into explaining why each metaphor is problematic) is that it reinforces the idea that things just happen– no on does or decides anything, so no one is to blame. The retirement money you’ve been saving for decades? It went out with the tide. Your assets evaporated.

The issue of “things just happening” because they were caused by “The economy” also removes a focus on people. If God (or the “Invisible hand of the market” ) is running things, there isn’t really much people can do. How do you talk to God to convince him to do things differently? Well you can go to your Priests and they can make some recommendations. “The Economy wants some sacrifice” (of course it is always a special kind of sacrifice– rarely do the US military weapons contractors make sacrifices not to mention hurting the bonuses of Wall Street CEOs or CitiGroup stockholders.)

Real people are getting hurt because of decisions that people have made and policies that have been implemented. The Economy did not foreclose on Lilly Washington’s house and throw away her son’s Purple Heart while she was visiting him in the hospital in Germany. That was Bank of America. Specifically responsible it was Brian Thomas Moynihan, the policies that he enacted and the bank branch executive who signed the order to hire a company to empty out the house.

So, if we aren’t going to use these metaphors, what do we use? Unlike so many non-fiction books that I’ve read in the “messaging space” (I hate that term) this book does have some answers, and because Anat isn’t going away, there is an ongoing ability for us on the left to keep testing and creating metaphors that work and messages that resonate with people.

On the Right Track: The Economy as an Object in Motion

In contrast to the other metaphors there is a highly recommendable metaphor that suggests the economy is a human-made object. We compare the economy to a thing that’s in motion. We can say, for example, that we need to “rev up our economic engine” we can debate whether the economy is “on the right or wrong track” or “stuck in a rut.” Progressive economists like James Galbraith and Joseph Stiglitz have a frameworks about what should “drive” our economy.” This model works when talking about concern with movement, relative speed and direction.

Progressives have many reasons to use the language of such a model. First, an object in motion generically, and a vehicle more specifically, is almost always person made. It is a complex thing people build to do their bidding. Second, a vehicle actually requires an external operator. It absolutely does not run itself (okay, so pre-Google cars). A free and unfettered economy will “crash.” This model offers us the chance to argue that the government can “steer” the economy or create “rules of the road.” No, this metaphor is not foolproof, but it does make a case for many of the things that progressives want, including the case that we need someone at the wheel and a discussion about who should drive and what track to take going forward.

There is a lot more to this book, and I’ve already gone on too long, so please ask questions of Anat in this Book Salon.

This book reminded me just how important it is to our democracy to have good models to talk about the economy. As she says in the book. “Words mean things and the ones we pick matter.”

 

[As a courtesy to our guests, please keep comments to the book and be respectful of dissenting opinions.  Please take other conversations to a previous thread. - bev]

123 Responses to “FDL Book Salon Welcomes Anat Shenker Osorio, Don’t Buy It: The Trouble With Talking Nonsense About the Economy”

BevW September 29th, 2012 at 1:50 pm

Anat, Welcome to the Lake.

Spocko, Thank you for Hosting today’s Book Salon.

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sadlyyes September 29th, 2012 at 2:01 pm

the economy is controlled by surprisingly few old men

dakine01 September 29th, 2012 at 2:01 pm

Good afternoon Anat and welcome to FDL this afternoon. Good afternoon spocko!

Anat, I have not had an opportunity to read your book so forgive me if you address this in there but i do have a question. I am one of the long term un/underemployed and I have been somewhat forced to try to learn far more about economics and write about it from the lowest end perspective at my sucky little blog

One of the problems I see, is when the few economists who get things correct are ignored and those who are consistently wrong about everything are championed, how do we break the spell of the ones who are often wrong but never in doubt?

sadlyyes September 29th, 2012 at 2:02 pm

make that old WHITE men

spocko September 29th, 2012 at 2:03 pm

Welcome Anat.

I had a hard time cramming all the great ideas in your book into my recommended word count. One of the things that I’d like you to get into is some more of your findings of WHY the Deity metaphor is bad for the left and even your premise of what you consider good for the left.

spocko September 29th, 2012 at 2:05 pm
In response to dakine01 @ 3

Great question, dakine01, so glad you are hear, I read your stuff all the time and I was going to ask Anat a similar question.

BevW September 29th, 2012 at 2:05 pm

Anat, thanks for joining us today! Anat is logged in and responding to questions now.

wigwam September 29th, 2012 at 2:05 pm

So, what are we going to do about our out-of-control crushing mountain of debt that is driving us over the fiscal cliff? ;-)

dakine01 September 29th, 2012 at 2:08 pm
In response to spocko @ 6

Thanks spocko. I wish I hadn’t had to learn what little I have about economics but as an old Sociology major, I am appalled at what constitutes research and reporting in that field. I’m almost embarrassed for most of them

spocko September 29th, 2012 at 2:08 pm
In response to wigwam @ 8

You are the metaphor king of that mountain.

Anat Shenker Osorio September 29th, 2012 at 2:08 pm
In response to dakine01 @ 3

Good afternoon to all! So honored to be here.

No worries about not having read the book already — hopefully this will serve to whet your appetite for more ;)

You are absolutely right that the few professionals who really get what’s happening and offer good, sound, advice for managing the economy might as well be echoing in a well. My argument is that this is, in part, because they’re outright assertion — e.g. the Fed must do X, gov’t ought to be employer of last resort, we need financial transaction tax, etc — are at odds with what they imply the economy “is”. Because all of us, experts with good ideas included, have a tendency to refer to the economy as something natural we convey the notion that it’s best left alone. With that in place, the rest of what we say (gov’t has role in economy) sounds contradictory or impossible.

Anat

Anat Shenker Osorio September 29th, 2012 at 2:09 pm
In response to sadlyyes @ 2

Sad and very true!

wigwam September 29th, 2012 at 2:10 pm
In response to spocko @ 10

I strongly believe that fucked-up metaphors are at the base of most of the public’s misconceptions.

spocko September 29th, 2012 at 2:11 pm
In response to dakine01 @ 9

I hear you, one of the people who attended a book reading at the World Affairs council for Anat’s book last night was an economist. If was clear that he had a lot of views that were very different than mine. I wished that I could have had more education on economics so I could discuss why my views were different than his, but one of the problems with the way that our economic models are set up is that people fell like if they don’t have a Ph.D in economic they are not allowed to even comment. But as you have found, so much of what they are saying is just out and out wrong.

spocko September 29th, 2012 at 2:12 pm
In response to wigwam @ 13

This is the book for you! She explains just why these fucked up metaphors are used, who uses them and how they profit from them.

She also shows us some new metaphors that we can use.

dakine01 September 29th, 2012 at 2:13 pm
In response to spocko @ 14

Well, anyone can write a lede for just about any economy based article with “Economists were surprised to day when …”

Anat Shenker Osorio September 29th, 2012 at 2:14 pm
In response to wigwam @ 8

Great question! I’m tempted to say — I’m a language expert, not an economist. In other words, I’m here to dissect the unconscious ways we reason about the topic not how the economy actually functions or is best managed.
But, I’m also a very interested party and consider myself pretty well versed at this point in economic policy so here’s my very short suggestion:

There are 2 ways to handle a debt — destroy what we have to pay what we can immediately or accelerate our economy by putting more people into good jobs that allow them to then contribute back to said economy as consumers, tax payers and producers. (Not to mention educate their kids who will then become more of the same.)

I’d prefer the latter.

As far as “fiscal cliff” — there’s no self propelled force taking us there. It’s people making the decisions to commit this unforgivable national destruction.

Anat Shenker Osorio September 29th, 2012 at 2:16 pm
In response to spocko @ 5

The economy as deity, and even moral arbiter, is a non-starter for anyone who wants the public to “get” the economy requires external supervision. Who is sitting over God’s shoulder telling him how to move the chess pieces? Right. No one.
If we surrender over (first with our language and thus with our reasoning) to the idea that we owe the economy fealty and “sacrifice” — we will in fact continue to give up our environmental health, pursuit of happiness, future prosperity, equality, you name it to a fake idea that the economy is the most important thing there is. It’s not. WE the people are.

BevW September 29th, 2012 at 2:18 pm

What is the most common metaphor/phrase you came across in writing this book?

spocko September 29th, 2012 at 2:19 pm

I would like to point out that even the phrase “fiscal cliff”
gives intention to something that sounds dangerous.

Think about how we might talk about that in a way where it is more accurately portrayed and then let’s see if it isn’t less dramatic.

For example, my understanding is that a vote to change the debt ceiling is really not a big deal, and even the word “ceiling” is arbitrary. What if it was called the deficit number? Well you can change a number. But you have to “raise the ceiling” and that sounds hard.

Anat Shenker Osorio September 29th, 2012 at 2:22 pm
In response to BevW @ 19

Great question! Bar none, most common is to liken the economy to something natural — usually a body. “Economy is healthy” “suffering “thriving” “Recovery Bill.” Other natural language likens it to moving liquid: “capital flows” “world awash in cheap goods” “flooding the market” “rising tide lifts all boats” and…(dun dun dun dun) “trickle down.”

Reason this language is so common is that the right uses it very consistently to the near exclusion of the mechanistic language that’s better for truly conveying what the economy is and how it ought to operate.

And, the left, lacking metaphor discipline, also uses it too — along with the machine language I just mentioned.

So this makes it the most prevalent.

wigwam September 29th, 2012 at 2:23 pm

IMHO, the problem with conservatives is that they believe that there biological systems require “intelligent design,” i.e., they can’t be self organizing, and that in economic system, intelligent design is impossible, i.e., they must be self-organizing. My Marxist friends call that “the unseen-hand job.”

spocko September 29th, 2012 at 2:23 pm

One of the things that I got from this book was that when we use certain metaphors we support ideas that we don’t really want to endorce, but also that the right throws up metaphors that they KNOW we won’t like as a way to get us to talk about them.

Could you please give us an example of when and how this happens?

Anat Shenker Osorio September 29th, 2012 at 2:24 pm
In response to BevW @ 19

Most common phrase is less route words and more tendency to always put economy in the subject position. “The economy is XXXX” “The market is XXXX”

Rather than have PEOPLE in this position.

Anat Shenker Osorio September 29th, 2012 at 2:25 pm
In response to wigwam @ 22

Can’t really come up anything better than that phrase! Want to use it, with your kind permission!

spocko September 29th, 2012 at 2:26 pm
In response to wigwam @ 22

HA! The whole “Invisible Hand” idea is very much in the deity world view. And it has a very religious connotation. How do you influence the “invisible hand”? You can’t.

Anat. Could you talk a bit about “the invisible hand” metaphor and what you could say to someone who uses it all the time? (A relative loves this one and it is a matter of faith that “the market knows best”)

wigwam September 29th, 2012 at 2:27 pm

(dun dun dun dun) “trickle down.”

I like that metaphor. But the trickle hasn’t happened. What do doctors do when people fail to trickle? The intervene by catheterizing them. And that’s what I propose for our economy. We should catheterize the wealthy with Eisenhower era marginal tax rates so the the 1% trickle more freely.

wigwam September 29th, 2012 at 2:29 pm

I got it from Vince, but I’m sure he won’t mind.

spocko September 29th, 2012 at 2:29 pm
In response to wigwam @ 27

“Catheterize the wealthy so they will have a healthy trickle down!”

spocko September 29th, 2012 at 2:31 pm

Or Make the wealthy healthy, catheterize them to help the trickle down.

Anat Shenker Osorio September 29th, 2012 at 2:32 pm
In response to wigwam @ 27

That’s still, as I suspect you know, squarely in the body notion we want to escape.

spocko September 29th, 2012 at 2:36 pm

One of the things that I’d like you to address is the question of how certain metaphors get “locked in” by economists and politicians.

Who specifically are some of the economists on the right who use the deity or force of nature models? If you questioned them about their use of this metaphor what would they say? How are these economists responsible for the current austerity and sacrifice “requirements” happening in Europe?

Would they agree with you that those metaphors dis-empower people? Would they care? (e.g. because they are high-priests they don’t really want people to get involved or have an opinion)

wigwam September 29th, 2012 at 2:37 pm
In response to spocko @ 26

Anyone who believes that, under unrestricted competition, the unseen hand produces optimal outcomes has visibly never played Monopoly.

I’m reminded of the definition of “piracy” in Ambrose Bierce’s Devil’s Dictionary: “Commerce without its folly-swaddles, just as God made it.”

Anat Shenker Osorio September 29th, 2012 at 2:37 pm

Because making them trickle more (even if possible) still implies the money ought to be theirs in the first place. It rightly belongs with the rich and we just need to make them give it up. It doesn’t actually rightly belong with them — well, not all of them, esp. the Wall St folks who make money off making things up.

wigwam September 29th, 2012 at 2:38 pm

Consider that to be “reductio ad absurdum.”

BevW September 29th, 2012 at 2:38 pm

I like the quote you have from Paul Krugman about how the “framing” has been taken over by the right:

I and others have watched, with amazement and horror, the emergency of a consensus in policy circles in favor of immediate fiscal austerity….This conventional wisdom isn’t based on either evidence or careful analysis. Instead, it rests on what we might charitably call sheer spectulation, and less charitably call figments of the policy elite’s imagination.”

I also like the phrase “confidence fairy”

Anat Shenker Osorio September 29th, 2012 at 2:41 pm
In response to spocko @ 32

Specific folks on the right are the usual suspects (not nec. economists): John Boehner, Eric Cantor, Romney, Grover Norquist.

Interestingly, the hard core economists on the right — Milton Friedman, for example, don’t tend to go into the natural metaphors. They are just dryer writers overall.

spocko September 29th, 2012 at 2:42 pm
In response to wigwam @ 33

I think I heard John Stewart yesterday referring to Romney , “Why would blue collar workers vote for the guy in Monopoly who wears the top hat?”

sadlyyes September 29th, 2012 at 2:44 pm
In response to spocko @ 29

LOL

wigwam September 29th, 2012 at 2:45 pm
In response to spocko @ 38

Someone should do a photoshopped poster of Romney with a top hat and monocle.

spocko September 29th, 2012 at 2:45 pm

After reading the book, I’ve been changing the way that I talk and write about the economy. I know that my remarks might not propel this this locomotive very far, but I think that it is worth doing. What kind of push back have you gotten from people ON THE LEFT when you talk about using new metaphors? How to you address them?

Anat Shenker Osorio September 29th, 2012 at 2:46 pm

As far as how they get locked in — repetition repetition repetition! From all quarters. Once you have the models that work for you (natural/body, diety/moral arbiter) then you make sure that every policy you push e.g. privatizing SS, not taxing the rich, etc — you craft language arguing for it from the metaphors that reinforce your deeper views.

spocko September 29th, 2012 at 2:47 pm
In response to wigwam @ 40
wigwam September 29th, 2012 at 2:47 pm

Journalists love metaphors, especially business journalists. That’s why I love to run their metaphors to the limits of absurdity.

sadlyyes September 29th, 2012 at 2:49 pm

How come so many so called conservatives,in reality just dont give a fig about,the planet,human beings, other species plant,animal or anything but their net worth…truly amazing

truly the coming Wasteland

Anat Shenker Osorio September 29th, 2012 at 2:49 pm
In response to wigwam @ 44

Fair game!

dakine01 September 29th, 2012 at 2:49 pm
In response to spocko @ 43
sadlyyes September 29th, 2012 at 2:50 pm

stolen from the Nazi playbook

spocko September 29th, 2012 at 2:54 pm
In response to wigwam @ 44

I think that is a good reason to provide them with new metaphors. It’s also one of the reasons that I want LOTS of people to read Anat’s book. There are a couple of people here at FDL that write about “The Economy” and some who write about the media and the economy. It wasn’t until I read this book did I really realize just how stuck journalists were in body, deity or naturalistic metaphors. And if they are shared by both the right and the left they will have no need to change.

For example, here is another metaphor that I just HATE that I’ve started trying to get everyone to notice first and them provide a different metaphor so they stop using it.

“The Government’s budget is just like your family’s budget.”

Not it’s not. If it was I would just print out more money on my inkjet because my inkjet is just like the Fed.

Now, I CAN attack that metaphor right off the bat, but in a way I’m also strengthening it by repeating it.

As I asked Anat earlier, why is it so important to use our metaphors and get them out there rather than simply responding to their metaphors?

spocko September 29th, 2012 at 2:55 pm
In response to dakine01 @ 47

You win! Here is $200. Bank error in your favor.

sadlyyes September 29th, 2012 at 2:55 pm

if repetition is the game,negative ones can be very easily employed,such as the CATFOOD Commission,CouponCare,CravenCare,DeadlyCuts,etc,etc.

wigwam September 29th, 2012 at 2:56 pm

I also like to ask simple questions. Whenever someone says there isn’t enough money for something or other, I ask “Then why not print some more.” They inevitably respond that creating money out of “thin air” leads to run-away inflation. I point out that since 1971 all U.S. dollars have come from “thin air,” and we’ve never had “run-away inflation.”

They’ll soon point out that if we can simply print more money then there’d be no need for taxes. At that point, I’ve got them.

I point out that the only intrinsic value of a dollar is that the government requires that U.S. taxes be paid in dollars. Taxes are the intrinsic demand for dollars, and the value of the dollar is governed by supply and demand. The dollar is tax-based money, and surest way to debase the dollar is to lower taxes.

At that point they run out of the room screaming that I’m a mad man. ;-)

sadlyyes September 29th, 2012 at 2:58 pm
In response to spocko @ 49

cant wait to read it….words do matter!

spocko September 29th, 2012 at 2:58 pm
In response to sadlyyes @ 45

He who dies with the most toys wins?

But seriously, I also wonder how so called Christians buy into this model of greed. Instead of following the actual teachings of this Jesus person, they reinterpret his teachings into the “prosperity Gospel” volia they make a needle so large they can fly a camel through it in a helicopter.

Anat Shenker Osorio September 29th, 2012 at 2:59 pm
In response to spocko @ 41

Major push back, always, to all work — “has it been poll tested?” Partly, this is just plain frustrating because it’s a fundamental misunderstanding of what polling is useful for. If you want to know “where people are” so you can meet them there — poll away, by all means. But what a poll tells you is not just where people are but their own self reporting about that. In other words, their completely conscious evaluation of what they think that they like, are persuaded by, believe etc.
In reality — the vast majority of thought, perception, formation of judgment, etc is not conscious. IOW — we don’t actually know why we think things!
So, asking people outright in a poll is not that useful.

You can’t poll a metaphor by saying — do you think the economy’s like an X (building, crop, etc.) It’s b/c metaphors engage us w/o our awareness that they’re so powerful.

sadlyyes September 29th, 2012 at 3:02 pm
In response to spocko @ 54

history chanel last night had a program,on the beginnings of the KKK
turns out the roots were in the American Presbyterian Church,amazing ,no?

spocko September 29th, 2012 at 3:04 pm
In response to wigwam @ 52

I like that you ask them questions. That is a really good way to keep diving into people premises. One of my problems is that I often don’t have a second response to their response.

Of the real benefits of belief tanks and right wing talk radio hosts is that then not only postulate a argument they create answers to challenging questions. And, since they often use strawmen questions, they “win” the conversation.

I have a relative who is a lawyer who is also a right winger. he WANTS to engage me in discussions of the economy because he had developed answers to all the objections that I might have. And since he starts the discussion he often puts me on the defensive.

Too often on the left we aren’t aggressive in pushing our ideas and then forcing the right into a defensive posture.

Lots of the arguments of Rand are like that. But if you start off with, “So if everyone “Goes Galt” here is what will actually happen.”

Anat Shenker Osorio September 29th, 2012 at 3:05 pm
In response to spocko @ 54

Absolutely! Besides the prosperity gospel thing which, let’s give credit where due — is brilliant justification for hoarding and ignoring what Jesus actually said in the name of…Jesus — there’s also the subtle but very powerful chipping away at people’s own self worth.
Plenty of evidence shows that ppl who internalize this rich = good, poor = bad way of thinking become self-loathing and then need (voila!) to “redeem” themselves thru evangelical channels, hard work, etc. IOW — they truly believe their problems are due to their own failings. And thus others’ problems are as well.

Peterr September 29th, 2012 at 3:07 pm
In response to spocko @ 49

Because good metaphors drive out bad metaphors.

I have not read the book, but as a pastor with degrees in theology, communications, and economics, I have long had the sense that the language around economics is as religious as that of the Book of Common Prayer and the King James Bible.

And just as religious groups have their fundamentalists, so it is with economists. Neither is terribly good at examining their assumptions and questioning the conclusions they draw from them.

As I wrote here at FDL a while back, these folks who religiously invoke the divinity of The Market and the evils of government are “worshiping Milton Friedman and calling him Jesus.”

Anat Shenker Osorio September 29th, 2012 at 3:07 pm
In response to wigwam @ 52

Love it! I sometimes have a fantasy of doing a pro-taxes campaign that’s entirely around the US dollar as a luxury brand. In the same way Gucci or Prada or whichever logo makes a thing “worth” more (has consumers shell out more for it despite its quality) so too is the US dollar’s worth based upon perception of how good a brand it is.

spocko September 29th, 2012 at 3:09 pm

Which leads me to some of the things that you have found out in your work. I described early on the years of research you did to have empirical evidence for how people talk about the economy. I’d like you to talk about some of your current work testing some new phrases and metaphors.

I don’t want you to go into the actual phrases and words you are testing, but I would like you to talk about “Dial testing” and what you have learned about the way we on the left measure the impact of words and phrase as compared to the right.

Anat Shenker Osorio September 29th, 2012 at 3:09 pm
In response to spocko @ 57

Other thing about this — and I’m thrilled you referenced Rand as your example — they understand the power of story. We understand (what we think is the) power of charts. And graphs. And facts. And stats.

Arguably, single best spokesperson for the entire right-wing ideology is a FICTIONAL character — John Galt. Where’s our Hero, on his/her Quest, fighting against Villain(s), etc.

sadlyyes September 29th, 2012 at 3:11 pm

that makes me truly SAD.people must look out for each other,and the planet

wigwam September 29th, 2012 at 3:13 pm

The metaphor (actual truth) that I love to use is that a dollar is nothing but a transferable tax credit. That one I’ve borrowed from Warren Mosler.

Anat Shenker Osorio September 29th, 2012 at 3:14 pm
In response to spocko @ 49

It’s important b/c by only responding to theirs, we actually reinforce them. This was/is the central lesson of Lakoff in “Elephant.” When you negate a frame, you evoke it. By saying “the economy doesn’t run on it’s own” — rest assured, the “doesn’t” is silent. The most concrete words (nouns) in sentences stay with us. There’s a reason why babies first learn table, dog, chair, etc — things we can see concretely are very powerful. Don’t/doesn’t/not has no image, weight, color, etc.

Only by introducing better language — economy as person-made object that has a driver and inequality as barrier NOT “gap” can we seize back what these intangible things “are” in popular perception. And, with it, have a sane argument about what ought to be done with and to economic components.

wigwam September 29th, 2012 at 3:16 pm

One of the prime villains in all of this is Ayn Rand. IMHO, she is the anti-Christ in the sense that her teachings are diametrically opposed to those of Christ. In fact, back on April Paul Ryan’s bishop made him renounce Rand.

spocko September 29th, 2012 at 3:18 pm
In response to Peterr @ 59

Peterr, EXCELLENT comment. It is one of the things that drive me nuts. As someone who has 17 years of Catholic education, 8 of which were with some Jesuit missionaries who colonized space, it really is sick that people can justify a budget that kills people. As Sr. Joan Chittister, OSB says
A budget is a country’s theology walking. The federal budget is a moral document that shows what is important both in the near term and in the long term.

Dearie September 29th, 2012 at 3:19 pm

For those of us dealing with perhaps lower information potential voters and such, might you be willing to share some good ideas of how we might use better metaphors. Is there anything that works to shake the ground under the ditto-heads? We need help out here!

wigwam September 29th, 2012 at 3:22 pm

We need not only our own metaphors but also our own paradigms. I’ve found the Modern Money Theory people to be quite good for that, but they tend to be tediously long-winded. I’ve been trying to compress their stuff into one-liners. Warren Mosler’s characterization of the dollar as a transferable tax credit is the sort of thing I’m looking for. (He did the compression in that case.)

sadlyyes September 29th, 2012 at 3:22 pm
In response to wigwam @ 66

she is a self made character,a Russian Jew Alisa Rosenbaum,she hated Christ another Jew,it was imo her bizarre thought processes,to embrace evil

Peterr September 29th, 2012 at 3:23 pm
In response to Dearie @ 68

One way I have found helpful is to take the metaphor of the right and turn it on its head. “In worshiping The Market, aren’t you making it into an idol?

Anat Shenker Osorio September 29th, 2012 at 3:23 pm
In response to spocko @ 61

Sure. BTW — I definitely didn’t get this gig due to my awesome typing so please forgive both my slowness and any errors!

Until now, and I really mean right now as in this month, folks on the left across any issue have dial tested in the same way. First, a pause — dial tests are when we play messages for people and have them move a dial back and forth to register how they feel about each thing they hear, as they hear it. B/c it’s instantaneous and also done physically (as opposed to answering questions from an interviewer) it’s a better measure of people’s real feelings about what they hear — rather than what they think they think about it.

We’ve always considered a winning message one that dials high with all 3 groups we generally divide listeners into — base (progressives), persuadables and opposition. We have always looked for the moment in the dialed message where the 3 lines are above the “magic” 75 mark. (Dials are scored 0 to 100, 50 is neutral, 75 is benchmark for good performance.)

Not so on the right! They consider the words that work (Frank Luntz phrase) to be when their base (conservatives) are super hi, persuabables are above 75 and their opposition (aka progressives) HATE it! Dial way down.

They’re looking for messages that — engage and fire up their base, persuade the middle and ALIENATE the opposition. That’s why they enrage us.

Why do this?

So many reasons!

1. Base is the best messenger of the message. If you offer them something that dials well with everyone, it’s “motherhood” “apple pie” milquetoast stuff that’s NOT reflective of their values. They don’t want to repeat it!

The right gives their base “red meat” they then actively desire to say to others.

2. Alienating opposition differentiates you from them — makes clear what you stand for. It also forces them off their prepared talking points. We do this all the time for them — “can you believe he just said XXXXX!” “they’re nuts! they think XXXXXX” And thus we repeat their nonsense for them — giving free air time!

I am thrilled to say I finally just got thru a project where we dialed new messages and ONLY counted our base and persuadables in our responses. The new msgs are wonderful! And advocates love them and want to repeat them! Best of all, opponents in this issue are way pissed — and have started repeating them too!

Dearie September 29th, 2012 at 3:26 pm

Peterr@70: Thanks for that! I like it. I’m often not quick enough when the rightists start running their spiel.

spocko September 29th, 2012 at 3:27 pm
In response to wigwam @ 66

The proselytizing of Ayn Rand’s “theology” of is pumped into the heads of teenage boys and girls. “Permission to be selfish? Sign me up!” and many do.

When I was in Jesuit Space Academy one of the things that was pushed on our moral and ethical development had to do if we were self -centered or other centered. It turns out that being self-centered is something that lots of children have and that if you keep saying how great it is and how it’s the way to happiness lots of people will say, “Hey sign me up!” of course many of them grow and figure out that being self-centered isn’t really the ticket to happiness. But some never out grow it.

The people who want to keep that self-centered world view will go into denial about the cruelity and unrealisticness of their system. And in some cases they will replace Jesus and his teaching with Rand rather than stop calling themselves Christians. I would like more people to questions Ryan’s devotion to the ideas and morality of Jesus as compared to his devotion to the ideas and morality of Rand.

wigwam September 29th, 2012 at 3:28 pm

Thanks!!! That’s beautiful.

spocko September 29th, 2012 at 3:30 pm
In response to Dearie @ 68

Great question Dearie! I’ll let Anat comment, but just for my edification, what are some of the metaphors do you mostly encounter? The Economy as a body? (Unhealthy economy) The Economy as a deity? “We need a shared sacrifice so the Economy has confidence in the US again.”

Anat Shenker Osorio September 29th, 2012 at 3:33 pm
In response to Dearie @ 68

Absolutely! The book is pitched for precisely folks in your situation and, I also just want to personally thank everyone who like you is doing our nation such great service in being a community educator.

Not strictly metaphor specific but the best advice I can give (and offer up lots of in the book) is to do your best to exorcise the passive voice from your communication. When you look at what you write or reflect on what you say — ask yourself — does this convey People Do Things. That’s my short hand check that it’s good communication.

So, when we say, for example — “people lost their homes” we are shooting ourselves in the foot — esp. those of us who work on helping people who’ve been foreclosed upon individually in our communities or on broader mortgage reform stuff, including writing down the principal on underwater homes.

No one “loses” a house. Keys? Yes. Wallets, sure. But it’s impossible to misplace a whole house.

Yet, when we say stuff like this we shield from view — and thus culpability — the real people making decisions and getting very rich off them. People who TAKE houses away from others. As Spocko referenced in his intro.

Same with, for another example, “the unemployment rate rises.” Nope. It’s not self-propelled. Not the tides pulled by the moon. People make decisions to eliminate jobs in order to make more money.

wigwam September 29th, 2012 at 3:34 pm
In response to spocko @ 76

And everyone should be subjected to “the discipline of the market.” I.e. the market as dominatrix.

Peterr September 29th, 2012 at 3:36 pm
In response to spocko @ 76

Along with the religious bent of the Economy as Deity metaphor are a whole host of sub-metaphors of economic powerhouses as the high priests and prophets of that Deity.

It might be Wall Street (The Dow was up . . . the Economy is pleased), or the Big Banks (these economic messages from God are complicated, but we can interpret them for you as God’s chosen ones), or specific people like Alan Greenspan (which is hilarious when you think of his Randian proclivities).

sadlyyes September 29th, 2012 at 3:38 pm

i think it is important to point out the preachers of the pull yourself by the bootstraps ideology,are,millionaire,billionaire talking heads like Rushbo,and Beck,who were paid for by rich right-wingers…when you tell ordinary people how much 25 to 50 million $ a year these creeps make,it astounds people

dakine01 September 29th, 2012 at 3:38 pm

Anat, what’s your perspective on using mockery. For example, a lot of times when folk start in on “the economy needs to have confidence in order to create jobs and investment” it often seems that by mocking that line with references to the “confidence fairies coming out with their fairie dust at night” seems to stop a bit of the nonsense.

sadlyyes September 29th, 2012 at 3:39 pm
In response to Peterr @ 79

it really fits neatly,doesnt it?

sadlyyes September 29th, 2012 at 3:41 pm

the market as friendly pal

The trend is your friend…..

wigwam September 29th, 2012 at 3:42 pm
In response to Peterr @ 79

Just as there are doctors who specialize in “diseases of the rich,” there have always been theologians who specialize in theology of the rich and powerful. The Catholic church has their spin with the divine right of kings. Calvin has his theology of “the elect” and of predestination. I guess we could call social Darwinism a theology of sorts, and so far as I can tell, that’s about as far as they’ve gotten.

Anat Shenker Osorio September 29th, 2012 at 3:42 pm
In response to wigwam @ 78

A perfect (and hilarious) evocation of the econ as what I call moral arbiter. It’s role, or that of “the market”, is to reward the good and punish the bad. Who are the good? Obviously the rich — God loves them best we know b/c they’re rich.

Linking this back to the earlier issue of when we convey the opposite of what we intend, we then contribute to this issue by speaking about the wealthiest as “the top” and those with least as “the bottom.” Unfortunately, in English we have a metaphor of good as up/bad as down (things are look up, he was down in the dumps.) Thus in using top and bottom we unwittingly reinforce an equivalency between having money and being morally “worth” more.

Dearie September 29th, 2012 at 3:42 pm

spocko@76: I get lots of “the economy would be fine if ‘the takers’ paid their fair share”…. and “I worked hard for mine” (as if someone holding down 3 part-time jobs at minimum wage isn’t working hard!). And, of course, “job creators are keeping the market afloat…. but the freeloaders are dragging us down.” That kind of stuff. And i don’t have a grasp of good words to confront them because they are such believers.

Anat Shenker Osorio September 29th, 2012 at 3:44 pm
In response to dakine01 @ 81

Huge fan of mockery, and humor more generally. Anytime you can knock people out of their standard, half listening, arguing mode (and humor is one of the best) you’re reaching a less calcified part of the brain.

One way to deal with the don’t evoke their frames in arguments is to actually point straight at them (in lieu of negating them) via mockery.

Right on!

spocko September 29th, 2012 at 3:44 pm

By the way there is a hilarious video of CNN doing some “dial testing” of the debate and they call the dial a “Perception analyzer” Here is the link. got to 14:00 minutes in.

wigwam September 29th, 2012 at 3:46 pm

At a recent Occupy event, I saw a poster that read:

It’s not a matter of right vs. left, but rather top vs. bottom!

spocko September 29th, 2012 at 3:47 pm
In response to sadlyyes @ 80

“I pulled myself up by my bootstraps so hard I flew around the room!”

juliania September 29th, 2012 at 3:48 pm

Beautiful, beautiful point!

People Do Things.

This is such an important anchor, and we have known it has been missing since accountability has become a no-no and every culpable action gets treated in monetary terms only.

This is indeed a way to look at what we are saying when we say it, something we can all do. Thank you very much; I look forward to reading your book!

sadlyyes September 29th, 2012 at 3:49 pm
In response to spocko @ 90

as Dr.Watson might say,It cant be done my good man,it cant be done
Hahahahahahahahaha

spocko September 29th, 2012 at 3:52 pm
In response to wigwam @ 89

Interesting. Note how you instantly put the rich at the “top”
Why is that? Is Up always good and down always bad? Well it depends on a lot of things. When my golf score is down that’s good. When my bowling score is down that bad.

Anat and I would talking prior to this book salon and talking about words. I said something like, “The Walton Family is worth XX billion dollars.” she noted that the word “worth” as connotations of moral goodness. Or their holding have “value”

Instead I could have said they have XX billion in cash which doesnt’ have the same connotation.

Anat Shenker Osorio September 29th, 2012 at 3:53 pm
In response to Dearie @ 86

You are right, they are such believers. Robust studies of the electorate tell us — there are 20% of folks who are like me (and you, I suspect!) No matter what you say, I will never hate gay people. No message will make me do so. I won’t ever believe in a flat tax. Keep talking — you’ll never convince me.

As there are folks like me, so too on the other end of the spectrum are folks who — no matter what we say, how well we say it, how often, etc — they won’t be moved. They’re true believers. Credible estimates have this very die hard cons. group at 20% of the electorate too.

Ignore them! Yes, I meant that. We’ll never change them so it’s useless to even try talking to them. Waste of time.

We need to focus on the 60% in the middle. That’s where our rhetorical energy should be. And we need to have messages the base (that 1st 20% like me) is thrilled and psyched to repeat.

When we come up with our milquetoast — “of course we need to tackle the deficit as well as provide for our people” “we should be concerned about debt levels alongside tackling unemployment” — our base has no reason to want to beat this drum. It’s boring. It’s incoherent. It’s not an evocation of our values.

It’s, again, what “polls well” or dials to all of the people.

But it’s not what we actually believe — not the world we want to create.

So, let’s free ourselves! And say what we actually think, from our values.

In my America, anyone who hungers has enough to eat and a place to sleep. This is the nation that put a man on the moon. Came up with a cure for polio. Invented the middle class.

I don’t know where you’re from (said to cons. blow hard) — but I’m from America.

karenjj2 September 29th, 2012 at 3:53 pm

according to one of 3 online chapters from ellen brown’s book at webofdebt.com, baum’s book, “wizzard of oz” was about money in the ongoing “gold standard” debates of the 30′s (?). i was very interested that “oz” referred to the weight of gold! might have possibility in reference to who is/are themen behind the curtain? like ny bankster bernake, for example..

BevW September 29th, 2012 at 3:54 pm

As we come to the end of this Book Salon discussion,

Anat, Thank you for stopping by the Lake and spending the afternoon with us discussing your new book and how we use language.

Spocko, Thank you very much for Hosting this great Book Salon.

Everyone, if you would like more information:

Anat’s website and book (Don’t Buy It)

Spocks’s website (Spocko’s Brain)

Thanks all, Have a great weekend.

Tomorrow: Arun Chaudhary / First Cameraman: Documenting the Obama Presidency in Real Time; Hosted by Christina Bellantoni (PBS News Hour)

If you would like to contact the FDL Book Salon: FiredoglakeBookSalon@gmail.com

wigwam September 29th, 2012 at 3:55 pm
In response to spocko @ 93

I always prefer to use the term “wealth” rather than “net worth” for exactly that reason. You could say that their wealth is $XX billion.

sadlyyes September 29th, 2012 at 3:56 pm
In response to spocko @ 93

great George S Kaufman ,Moss Hart play play

Ya Cant Take it with You

Dearie September 29th, 2012 at 3:57 pm

anat@94: your last line has me standing on my chair! THAT I can use — even with the diehards!

One of the reasons I so love Book Salon…… encouragement to keep on going!

juliania September 29th, 2012 at 3:57 pm

Flannery O’Connor does a beautiful job with this in her short story “Revelation.” At the end, marching up to heaven, the well-off come last. They are the only ones singing in tune but “..she could see by their shocked and altered faces that even their virtues were being burned away…” Whereas the poor, the lame, the outcast are at the front of the line, “..shouting and clapping and leaping like frogs…”

I love that story.

wigwam September 29th, 2012 at 3:58 pm

We need to focus on the 60% in the middle. That’s where our rhetorical energy should be. And we need to have messages the base (that 1st 20% like me) is thrilled and psyched to repeat.

And, we need to arm them with metaphors, paradigms, talking points, one-liners — all stuff that easy to remember and colorful to say.

spocko September 29th, 2012 at 3:58 pm
In response to juliania @ 91

Agreed.

Let me ask you a question (and throw it out their for Anat and others). Do the politicians and economists who push for “sacrifice” (that is directed in a way that harms people and puts “the economy” ahead of their lives, have blood on their hands? Do THEY bare any responsibility? Would anyone bother to ask them. “How did your metaphor of “the economy” make food riots possible and millions stare so that Goldman Sachs can get paid first and make more profits?”

sadlyyes September 29th, 2012 at 3:59 pm
In response to wigwam @ 97

i shall remember that….the worthiest critters i know ,havent a brass farthing

Anat Shenker Osorio September 29th, 2012 at 4:00 pm

Thanks to you all for having me! It was an incredible honor and pleasure to be among such brilliant folks.

Time to take a typing class, pronto!

wigwam September 29th, 2012 at 4:01 pm

Thank, Anat, for sharing your wisdom with us.

sadlyyes September 29th, 2012 at 4:03 pm

food for thought,many thanks

Valley Girl September 29th, 2012 at 4:05 pm

Ah, sorry I got here just as Salon was closing.

Skimming the comments, it looks like a terrifically interesting book to put on my list of buys.

Spocko, great intro.

Just in case anyone is still reading- don’t know if this is in the book, but Obama’s continued statements (sorry I can’t remember the exact words, but the gist “the economy is like a family” and we all have to sit around the kitchen table and balance our budge really pissed me off.

Sorry if I don’t have this exactly correct- typing quickly just in case someone has a view on this metaphor.

Anat Shenker Osorio September 29th, 2012 at 4:08 pm

Yes, I believe they do bare responsibility. Just as I believe those behind LIBOR, for example, literally killed children in Africa by gaming and thus raising prices on basic necessities (i.e. commodities.) We may see plenty of news stories about vicious gangs armed to the teeth in our inner cities or terrorizing innocents in Mexico and Central America — but these folks are the real thugs. They kill many many more with some key strokes, and get accolades and bonuses for doing it.

I feel kind of badly ending on this note. So let me try another:

There’s a whole lot in politics that’s out of our hands. We know the wealthiest are out there purchasing policies like you and I buy socks and underwear. It’s horrible.

But we are in control of our own words — and with them our deeper understand, our unconscious formulation of judgments — what we’re transmitting is “true” to our audiences. They can’t take this from us. And we can arm ourselves, a wigwam says, with the right words to speak truth to power.

spocko September 29th, 2012 at 4:09 pm
In response to wigwam @ 101

Agreed. That’s one of the reasons I asked to have Anat on here for the Book Salon. If she was on the right she would be flying all over the country to talk to people about these ideas and given the budget to test and work out these messages. As it is, our side is expecting her to speak for free at conferences. You think Frank Luntz works for free? Advertising focus group leaders don’t work for free. Why should people on the left. It makes me angry and frustrated.
(Spocko Smash! ooops wrong show)

So, buy the book, it’s a fun read. And then start talking using her metaphors. Write about them in your blog posts. suggest she be a guest on various TV and radio shows.
The right have paid staffers (Heritage has 15 of them) pushing their authors on the world. Maybe you know someone who books The Daily show, Planet Money, Market Place, suggest her and the book. That is how this stuff gets down when you don’t have the money to throw at the people like the right does.

spocko September 29th, 2012 at 4:16 pm
In response to Valley Girl @ 107

Hi VG. Yes, I’ve heard that one and it is infuriating. The “family budget sitting around the kitchen table” metaphor is used because the writers want to get people to associate it with their own experiences. However it just is wrong for the left to use. The right will push it because it aligns with their goals (people like Pete Peterson who has spent 500 million on his way too one thousand million, to scream about the deficit.)

The Federal Government budget is NOT like your family budget. BIG differences and I’m sad that Obama used it.
But one aspect of the metaphor is okay, that we CAN makes changes in a budget. We can make decisions that we can then change when circumstances change. However one answer with the whole Family budget is, “We can make more money.” of course the government can make money in a different fashion than your family can, but there are two sides to an accounts book. Generating revenue vs. Cutting spending.

wigwam September 29th, 2012 at 4:18 pm
In response to spocko @ 109

Thanks for putting this on. And, I will definitely buy and read her book.

It would be great to get Anat onto some of the left-leaning cable news shows: The Young Turks, Viewpoint with Eliot Spitzer, The Rachel Maddow Show, and Up with Chris Hayes. Spitzer and Hayes seem to be particularly fond of talking about economics, and Hayes likes to spin economic metaphors.

wigwam September 29th, 2012 at 4:21 pm
In response to spocko @ 110

The federal government is like a family of counterfeiters … but one that has the power of taxation.

Valley Girl September 29th, 2012 at 4:27 pm
In response to spocko @ 110

Thanks for the response Spocko, re the “family budget”

Again, thanks for your great intro, and for bringing this book to Book Salon.

karenjj2 September 29th, 2012 at 4:30 pm

thanks, spocko and Anat. excellent discussion. my favorite line, that we could all use was @ your # 67: “the budget is a country’s theology walking.” and isn’t “our” budget damning!

Valley Girl September 29th, 2012 at 4:32 pm

p.s. Spocko

And, this is not the first time you have chosen a great book for Book Salon.

You have great instincts.

I particularly remember “FDL Book Salon Welcomes Martin Hickman, Dial M for Murdoch: News Corporation and the Corruption of Britain”, which you hosted.

http://fdlbooksalon.com/2012/07/15/fdl-book-salon-welcomes-martin-hickman/

Like this present Salon, totally fascinating.

Anat Shenker Osorio September 29th, 2012 at 4:38 pm
In response to wigwam @ 111

Your lips to Chris’s ears! (Or Spitzer or Maddow or…anyone!) Chris has a copy of the book — it’s on his very long to read list. Any suggestions or influence most kindly welcomed.

wigwam September 29th, 2012 at 4:43 pm

Chris Hayes once gave a beautiful irrigation metaphor for federal spending. I forget his exact words, but the idea was that too little irrigation and the fields die, too much and they drown (or you run out of water).

I don’t have any contact or influence with these folks, but The Young Turks supposedly has an online comments blog. I’ll give it a try.

Thanks again.

Valley Girl September 29th, 2012 at 4:47 pm

I looked up Up! trying to find an email addy for Chris Hayes, thinking we could bombard him with emails in support of your book.

http://upwithchrishayes.msnbc.com/

Alas, no email addy there. Seems like he mostly does “twitter”. I have no clue about how you or we might bring this to his attention via twitter, but other folks might have ideas on this “proposed” campaign on behalf of your book.

spocko September 29th, 2012 at 4:48 pm
In response to Valley Girl @ 115

Thanks! BTW, I’m still following that story four days after that book Salon one of the people who revealed what was happening was found dead.

News of the World phone-hacking whistleblower found dead

But of course the death is not suspicious…

Valley Girl September 29th, 2012 at 4:54 pm
In response to spocko @ 119

Oh wow! Just read the link you gave. Have you talked to Martin Hickman about this? You have the gift of establishing great rapport with your Book Salon authors.

Have you commented on this story elsewhere? Sorry to ask, but I struggle to keep even with the few blogs I read regularly.

Of course the death is not suspicious….

spocko September 29th, 2012 at 5:05 pm
In response to Valley Girl @ 120

I haven’t. But what I have done is get Martin to speak on a couple of radio shows that I like.

Here he is on Angie Corio’s show, In Deep

Also if you are busy and want to hear more of Anat while your are running around or in your car, here is Anat on Angie’s show.

In general, I highly recommend Angie’s show. I’ve helped produce a few episodes and she is just a great interviewer and really helps bring out great info from guests. I learn a lot from her shows and about how to interview a book author. Now if I could only write the same great pithy short intros she does!

And as long as I’m talking radio, Do check out The Jimmy Dore show. Here is a link from Sticher hilarious, politically tuned in and you can listen to it on the way to the gym or work. It’s like The Daily show for radio. (As funny and as insightful)

Valley Girl September 29th, 2012 at 5:21 pm
In response to spocko @ 121

spocko- thanks for the great links! I will check them out.

You said: Now if I could only write the same great pithy short intros she does!

Okay, if you are comparing radio intros on Angie’s show (which is what I think you mean, not having checked out your links) versus your intros on Book Salon, you are comparing apples and oranges. Heh. To coin a new metaphor /s.

I really really enjoyed your “long intro” to the present Salon, and also the Hickman one. Most often, readers of Book Salon haven’t yet read the book in question, so your intros are invaluable in setting the scene, and really help further Book Salon discussions. You provide a great view, so that even those who haven’t read the book have the opportunity to get up to speed (to coin another metaphor /s) so that they can follow the discussion in an informed way. That is one important reason as why your Book Salons are so great!

Anat Shenker Osorio September 29th, 2012 at 10:18 pm
In response to Valley Girl @ 118

I can’t believe how kind you are to do this. It’s really lovely of you to tweet Chris about me.

Sorry but the comments are closed on this post