Thursday, October 09, 2003

In this day when a super-gropinator gets elected to office with ease, some thoughts come to mind. Cognitive dissonance, the social psychology theory put forth by Festinger, was in action with the reaction of so many to the LA Times. Cognitive dissonance, neither a diagnosis nor a disease state, describes a process when two opposing thoughts/ideas create an internal conflict: say, someone is an admired action hero and he's also a serial groper. How does a person resolve this? Research indicates that for many, the messenger of the negative message gets slammed. (How dare you mess with me and create some conflict?) The more the discrepancy between the two thoughts (hero versus jerk), oftentimes the more the insistence on the superhuman qualities. Of course, this all occurs unconsciously. For those trying to put out the progressive message out, this is food for thought.

Cognitive dissonance is just one of the many confluence of factors involved, sad to say. Lots of great writing and commentary on the progressive blogs, including this excellent post by Digby on Hullabaloo.
    "...The Democrats' problem is one of tactics and strategy. We have been too complacent and too stiffly unresponsive to the modern politics of personality, public relations and advertising. We have consistently underestimated the power of Republican dominated talk radio (which I believe was hugely responsible for Arnold's victory yesterday.) We have been slow and sluggish in recognizing that we are in a new political era in which symbolism and image are going to substitute for serious dialog and in which substance is only relevant to those who are deeply engaged...
    ...The lesson isn't that we aren't liberal enough. And, it's not that we are too liberal. It's that we are naive about the modern political landscape. That's what we need to change..."

He's got a bunch of great readers as well; check out the comments.