Er, What?

So, this week I was looking through the Ravencon draft program for things I’d like to do and ran into some lovely examples of how the “Big Lie” affects people. Seriously, if you get a near-unison chorus that says something for long enough and says it loud enough it bypasses the ability to reason and becomes common knowledge – which unlike common sense is distressingly common, but involves precious little actual knowledge.

Sarah has called it drinking one’s own ink. I’ve also seen/heard it called drinking the koolaid (a phrase I tend not to use quite so often as a friend of mine lost a good friend of his to Jonestown and that phrase is something of a trigger point with him). It’s a bit like sniffing your own gas and thinking it smells nice (and trust me, you do not want me giving you any of the Australian versions of the concept).

The number of otherwise intelligent, more-or-less politically neutral (damn you, Freud, I really did not need to undo typing “neuter” there) people I’ve seen mindlessly spouting Social Justice Whiner talking points (“the left is all about tolerance and inclusiveness and and and and” – yeah, right. Unless you don’t think like them) and completely incapable of moving past them is astonishing.

Worse, despite the preponderance of evidence, said people refuse to even consider that those of us who speak against the propaganda channels might have a point. The polite ones can’t seem to see that what they’re saying is self-contradictory at best, and the others, well… I generally just ignore the not-polite ones. I can spew four-letter profanities with the best of them: I don’t need lessons in how to use the word “fuck” as noun, verb, adjective, adverb, conjunction, and punctuation (as well as miscellaneous other grammatical constructions). They’re boring.

Anyway. The point here is that those of you who haven’t started to question everything especially what comes from those in power should do so. You should look to who stands to gain from what. And then when writing, you can construct marvelously twisted chains of disinformation in what you write. After all, when every official source of information is telling you it’s never been better than this, and you can clearly remember it being much better but nobody will agree with you, maybe your memory isn’t right.

Soon enough, most people will follow the group and remember that yes, it used to be much worse – and they’ll never realize that the history they’re so invested in is completely false.

One day I’ll point out to some of those who’ve been so thoroughly hoodwinked that they’ve fallen to techniques that aren’t even as sophisticated as the ones the Nazis used to keep most of the German population in line. That’s right. By comparison, Communist propaganda is crude stuff, and Social Justice Whining even cruder. The best examples (in terms of skill – and you have to be damn careful watching/reading because they work so well) include all the accusations and questions that the oddlings like me and my fellow Mad Geniuses are posing, and make sure that whoever gives the answers to them is a sympathetic person – who they have even characterized as being troubled by either the accusations/questions or the truths behind them.

Someone has to do this, because if you don’t know how propaganda works, you will fall for the Big Lie. Even if you do know, enough repetition can slip it past your conscious defenses and embed it in your subconscious – which if anyone is ever writing about cult action or deprogramming is a useful little bit of knowledge.

So, go forth and question everything. Even me. I might eventually get back to you on it.

p.s. Apologies for the lack of responses to last week – I’ve had a pile of domestic issues, my mother in hospital, and of course the usual work is eating my soul deal. I’m convinced any non-trivial piece of software is in reality a portal to the Great Old Ones.


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73 responses to “Er, What?

  1. Draven

    Well, any koolaid drinking in the case of Ravencon isn’t coming from at least two people i personally know on the concom.

    • Kate Paulk

      Oh, I know. There are good folks there, and I fully intend to warp and social justice whining I encounter.

  2. Luke

    Every position can be traced back to an assumption that must be taken on faith.

    Dewey called his belief system a secular religion, and as the founder of the modern American public school system, the public has been well and truly been indoctrinated in his dogma for over a century.
    The assumptions of progressivism are received wisdom, reinforced daily–even by language we use. While even the existence of competing worldviews and founding assumptions are hedged out.
    It’s no surprise that a destructive feedback loop has arisen.

    • Kate Paulk

      Pretty much, yes. The received wisdom has a way of sliding past the normal filters into background noise that you don’t even realize you’ve taken in – until you find yourself echoing it.

  3. I was a guest, and last night was looking through the programming and found myself thinking “none of this applies to me in any way… what am I going to do?”

    Then I realized that the easiest and best solution for all would be to back out as a guest. So that’s what I did.

    • Synova

      You don’t want to get on a panel and just change the subject?

      • Kate Paulk

        I twist the subject. Into pretzels sometimes. I’ve also been known to play Devil’s Advocate a time or two.

      • Sigh. Last year I stood up and disrupted a panel from the back of the room. Something tripped my wire. I THINK it was going on about how the US was eeeevile and doomed. I got pissy.Then I got up with the berserker waver in my voice (those who heard it know exactly what it is. It means the speaker is trying to stop herself from saying “I can taste your blood” and leaping for throats. Not that I have ever… well… often done that.) and more loudly than the mike told them they were wrong. (I have an amazingly strong voice. If only I could sing.) Anyway, so… it is possible. But not pleasant. For anyone.

        • Kate Paulk

          I was on that panel, if I recall correctly. If my memory hasn’t joined my brain on that tropical island I went on to refute rather strongly while your bodyguards got you calmed down.

        • Synova

          A couple of my worst experiences at cons have been sitting in the audience while panelists were particularly politically stupid (This is about George Bush? Really?) or bashing religion. I don’t think I’d ever leap to my feet and object… which is why the experiences were bad. I felt trapped and frustrated and angry with no socially acceptable way to defend myself. My *plan* is to work on quietly leaving. Maybe someday I’ll move on to disruption, but it’s not in my nature. In the meantime I’ll pretend that leaving made a statement… or something.

      • I hate people who do that. Especially when they turn it into one of those “all about me” panels and ignore the topic at hand.

        There is a special place in hell for people who do that.

  4. Oh yes to the problem of saturation with “messages” and right-think. I’ve caught myself working on the WWI novel and thinking “Oh, the character can’t say that. It’s insensitive/anti-Semitic/whatever” and then remembering that well, yes, this person certainly would have thought it, probably said it if in the right company, and all without a second thought. He would have been patronizing to a whole bunch of different people, because they were backward, uncouth, and ungrateful, as he understood things. I’ve read enough histories and biographies and memoirs to know better, but I still catch myself trying to bow to the SJW dicta. Insidious indeed.

    • Eamon J. Cole

      It’s frightening, isn’t it? Not fear for personal safety, since we’re watching (the historian in you probably strengthens your eye for it), but civilizational fear. So many have little reason to deconstruct their internal monologue.

  5. This was a complete waste of time to read since you never went on to say exactly what in the Ravencon draft program was an example of the Big Lie. The only way this piece made any sense is if you already knew what was in the program, why it was bad, and agreed with that view, because you forgot to tell us.

    • Actually an explicit example was unnecessary. The techniques are the same regardless of the example. Sometimes the propaganda is so ignorant that it is impossible to take seriously (Actually tried on American soldiers: “Go Home! Bart Simpson is sleeping with your wives.”) But regardless of the specifics the techniques are the same and something to be wary of. Now, in a longer or more specific piece a disection of specific examples might have been useful.

      The point wasn’t what the lie was, rather the concept of the big lie and its impact.

      • Kate Paulk

        Exactly, wyrdbard. The examples themselves could come from any convention program past or present. Or most of what appears on most news sites.

        What interests me more is how what started as crude propaganda has become something “everyone knows”, like the whole “the left is where the tolerance is” deal.

    • Odd, I had no problem at all “making sense” of the article, since she used a rather classic style that includes flatly re-stating the point at the end: “So, go forth and question everything. Even me.”

      • Kate Paulk

        Thanks. I think Mackey may have been expecting me to play happy shredder with the Ravencon program – something I have no intention of doing, in part because I enjoy that convention programming quirks notwithstanding, and in part because the draft is still in alpha and is only available to guests.

  6. McChuck

    I used to watch the East German evening news for entertainment, way back when. (Clearly marked Cuban troops fighting in Angola were described as American imperialist aggressors. I fell off the couch laughing.) That’s why I stopped trusting the major news networks, CNN, and AP/UPI about 20 years ago. They just couldn’t handle the fall of Communism, so they all tried to be More Socialist Than Thou. Or at least, that’s what it seemed to be to me.

    Sometime back around then, I bought a book out of the bargain bin – “Reality isn’t what it used to be.” I read it, and thought it was the greatest piece of farce I’d read since Gulliver. The entire premise was that there was no such thing as objective reality, since each of us experienced it differently. I didn’t understand until the 20-oughts that they were actually serious. I really wish that book had survived all the moves, so I could show it to my kids. The modern propaganda machine seems to have run full circle, from the US (Wilson administration), to the Soviets and Germans, and then back to the US to reinforce the remnants of the earlier period.

    Oh, and a sincere “Thank You!” to all of you Mad Genii, Huns and Hoydens for explaining why there were so few worthwhile books to read for about 15 years (I noticed the drought, but didn’t understand it), and then making new stories that are worth my time. I’m doing my best to help you make your mortgage payments, but the Dread Mistress insists I have to hold some back to pay our own. And the kids seem to like to eat…

    • We’re glad you’ve enjoyed our stories – and trust us, even with our numbers, we can’t write as fast as you can read. So your mortgage is safe once you get through the backlist…

    • Kate Paulk

      Sadly, yes, that sort of thing is often serious. Yes, if you ask a group of people to describe an event they all witnessed, everyone’s description will differ. People do filter things through their experience.

      That said, the event happened. There were a series of objectively observable events. Those events had an objectively observable impact on other events and on a number of people.

      The modern propaganda machine appears to have settled on “all things produced by technology are evil”, “all things produced by anglocentric western cultures are evil” and “all things that are not Western cultures or technological items are good”. It’s kind of like a hacked together mix of Romantic poets, nostalgia for simpler times on crack, and the usual human attraction to the different and exotic ramped up to eleventy bajillion.

      Add in the idea that the feels matter more than the facts, and you’ve got a recipe for trouble.

      I sympathize for your mortgage. If I ever get past the current “work eating my soul” period, I’ll be melting keyboards, and who knows what will happen then?

  7. Rook

    “and trust me, you do not want me giving you any of the Australian versions of the concept”

    Ooh! an opportunity to broaden my horizons by learning Australian colloquialisms! Do tell!

  8. Pat Patterson

    I looked at the website to see if I could find what had set you on fire, Kate, and maybe I did, and maybe I didn’t.
    The reason I think maybe I didn’t is because I didn’t see anything on the program itself that looked hinky. Unless it’s the theme: The Con of Opportunity. Maybe ‘Opportunity’ has become a codeword.
    The reason I think maybe I did is more convoluted: I recognized not one single name of the headliners or programming guests. Not one. And, since I read works by people I like, that leads me to believe that MAYBE none of the people on this program are people I like. It could be that I’ve just limited myself, and maybe I’d LOVE their work, or even that I do love their work, but didn’t record their names in my data cells.
    Be that as it may, today I read and reviewed Cedar’s lovely ‘One Eyed Dragon’ and Peter Grant’s ‘Ride the Rising Tide.’ That makes eight reviews this week, my best week so far. Only one was a non-MGC, a long-overdue review of Brad Torgerson’s “The Chaplain’s War.” I’ve exhausted all of kiltedave’s work, which makes me a bit nervous: what will I do when I run out of Mad Genius publications? Cancel my KU, or (gulp) launch out into the deep?

    • You could take a look at what I have reviewed on my blog: I often get books through KU myself. Also, you might take a look at Sarah’s Saturday book promo post or Book Plug Friday.

      • Pat Patterson

        Cedar, I’ve read & reviewed 5 of the 10 works you’ve got on KU, which includes ‘Farmhand’ under your pen name Lilania Begley. That puts you in the number one spot, at the moment. I really need to make sure I’ve got all the pen names before I evaporate. I know the Sarah D’alameida (sp?) for Sarah Hoyt & Sam Schall for Amanda and that kiltedave is David Pascoe.
        Seems like an entire club of mad geniuses OUGHT to be able to stay ahead of one crippled redneck. Sigh.
        Write Like the WIND, Mad Club of Geniuses!

        • Thanks for the reviews, Pat! Glad you liked the books!

          The last couple weeks, I’ve been moving forward aggressively on a campaign to be The Perfect Writer’s Wife. That is, I got all the chores and errands and housework done, made delicious meals and stocked the fridge full of easy to grab nutritious snacks, and tried to remove any barriers at all between my Calmer Half and writing.

          Somewhere, a SJW is screaming about patriarchal oppression. I’m making delicious low-carb clam chowder instead, and serving it with love to someone who’s half-lost in trying to tie all the subplots together and get them into a satisfying ending for the reader. All going well, the next book will be out before March!

        • Jim McCoy

          Write Like the WIND, Mad Club of Geniuses!

          This is a terrifying concept. What if they take this literally and start writing things that -like the wind which is moving air- I CAN’T SEE. I’m almost fainting at the mere thought.

          • Pat Patterson

            Actually, you CAN see air molecules; you just need teensy little eyes to see the teensy little air, like you need teensy little hands for milking mice! (according to Frank Gasperik).

          • Kate Paulk

            The question at hand is which wind, and whether or not said wind has been assisted by copious amounts of onion, beans, or cabbage. That could be really dire.

    • Kate Paulk

      sniffle I’m one of the programming guests… Okay, I’m not a big name and nowhere near a headliner, but still… 🙂

      Anyway, the program for Ravencon isn’t up on their website yet – it’s for the guests only, which is one of the reasons I didn’t go into details.

      • Synova

        And it’s probably not the final-final version either.

        • Kate Paulk

          Oh, heck no. There’s places where the programming folks are waiting on information, and others that they simply haven’t found the right activity for. It will change, probably a lot, before it ends up on the website.

      • Pat Patterson

        Ouch! But your name is hidden…in the middle…alphabetically…


  9. After all, when every official source of information is telling you it’s never been better than this, and you can clearly remember it being much better but nobody will agree with you, maybe your memory isn’t right.

    Gaslighting for fun and profit. 😉

  10. Reblogged this on The Wandering Witchling and commented:
    Yes, yeap with a side of Yeah.

  11. Holly

    So if I wanted to go to a con, having never been to one before, what should I look for? Salt Lake City is the nearest Big City to us, and there seem to be a bunch there.

    • Kate Paulk

      I’d suggest looking through past programs to see if the sorts of things they do interest you, as well as looking at guest lists to see whether they have guests you recognize.

      Sending up an “I’m thinking of going to such & such convention, is anyone else going?” is a good way to get yourself a collection of friendly folks to meet up with – and going to the con with the attitude that most of the people there are simply friends you haven’t met yet makes a huge difference (I’ve made quite a few con circuit friends this way – and I’m as introverted as it’s possible to get).

    • Synova

      Bring a friend and just explore. Or if you are thinking of going alone, look up how to volunteer. Even if you only work for the minimum that they ask volunteers to work (and it probably won’t get you in free unless it’s something like Comic Con that has a really low front-door fee and charges to see the big names) you’ll immediately meet a number of people and also have an official reason to talk to total strangers.

      As for choosing which con to go to, some are media oriented and some are book oriented and some are a mix. Start with that and then see if any of your favorite authors will be there.

  12. Synova

    I didn’t see a draft program at the website so this is something sent to participants and not posted because it might change?

    One thing that can (and probably should) be done is to make counter proposals for panels. It might be too late now, but at the same time there are usually a bunch of things that don’t make the cut because not enough panel participants ask to be on the panel. Thinking up interesting panels is HARD. (When ever I’m asked to do this I write down “Cage Fight: Fantasy vs. Science Fiction.”) Another possibility, depending on if the con has room for it or organizers are open to the idea, is fan or author presentations that *aren’t* panels. Not readings, but something else. At Bubonicon we’ve had demos on how to print and bind your own paper back (truly self publishing!), martial arts demo (this last year, first of this type I’ve noticed), art technique demos (the Artist GoH doesn’t always do one, but sometimes they do), or various other “fan programming” by the local Star Trek club or whoever. This last year there was a discussion something about sexism or how women are kept out or something I don’t remember very well, but someone said we ought to have it, said she’d do it, so she got a room and a time slot. (From what I heard about 6 people showed up and had a really nice talk.)

    In any case, the con-com would almost certainly like to hear panel suggestions from authors. Doesn’t mean they’ll do them… or do them this year… and your “Cage Fight” suggestion might get altered to follow the theme and you might hate it… but it’s worth putting stuff out there instead of just accepting what con staff managed to come up with.

    (I recognized a couple of the names.)

    • Kate Paulk

      That’s exactly the case – those who make the suggestions get their suggestions used. Alas, the call for suggestions usually happens right about when my job goes nuts for several months, so…

  13. Synova

    “Lying for Fun and Profit: How “true” does your story need to be?”

    I think I’ll switch that in for my usual “Cage Fight” suggestion this year.

  14. emily61

    I think the Big Lie can be visual. For a while I was having a craving for a very specific pastry, then I wondered why? Turns out that there was a picture of that pastry in almost every scene of a video game I played everyday. This wasn’t deliberate on anybody’s part, I don’t think, still…

    • Kate Paulk

      Absolutely. The Big Lie encompasses all the senses, and advertising is where the greatest sophistication in pushing it can be found (after all, when you want to convince people to part with their $$$ you have to be very persuasive)

  15. Dan Lane

    Dovetails nicely with a brainworm that’s been chasing its tail in my head for a couple of days now (history of propaganda sparked it). Going to have to nail it down after a bit of research and keyboard hammering. Good thoughts, thanks!

    If work ever lets up a smidge and Murphy turns his attention elsewhere (I’m *positive* there’s a deserving SJW out there somewhere…), I might even finish it before I’m dead.

  16. Holly

    Kinda totally off topic, to Mr. Freer, I posted a link to Joy Cometh With The Mourning on my facebook, which you may or may not recollect I had gotten in hard copy for my mom for Christmas (I was one who had trouble with the link).

    Her comment to her friends on my post: I read it through twice. The characters are so interesting and the ending, well, no spoiler from me.

    Thanks for a Christmas present she enjoyed very much. Dare I hope you have the sequel out by next Christmas?

  17. Cat

    ” The best examples (in terms of skill – and you have to be damn careful watching/reading because they work so well) include all the accusations and questions that the oddlings like me and my fellow Mad Geniuses are posing, and make sure that whoever gives the answers to them is a sympathetic person – who they have even characterized as being troubled by either the accusations/questions or the truths behind them.”

    I’m sorry, I can’t figure out what you’re trying to say here.

    • Are you familiar with the “concern troll” tactic?

      Sort of like that– when faced with hard questions, making sure that the person who answers them is a sympathetic figure, and characterized as sympathetic to the issue.

      A simple example is how a government that is persecuting a religious group will almost always have their speaker be a member of that group, which will be mentioned during the press conference.

      Paying attention to substance can bypass it, but substance is really hard to pin down in most persuasive rhetoric.

      • Kate Paulk

        Except much, much more competent. Some of the German movies of the 1930s do this so well that while watching it’s possible to get caught and start sympathizing with the position they’re taking. By comparison, the Soviet movies of the same era are clumsy as all get-out.