Category Archives: narratives

Populism and the trauma of history

Populism Is a Door That Swings Both Ways Let me introduce you to Andrés Manuel López Obrador, who became president of Mexico in January of this year.  He’s a populist of the left.  I bring him up because there’s a … Continue reading

Posted in democracy, narratives, the public | 2 Comments

The problem is…

This is a post about analysis.  I mean nothing magical by that word, just the ways by which we subtract a little from our ignorance.  We need a frame to understand the world, and facts to make that frame helpful … Continue reading

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Analyzing events

Readers of Duncan Watts’ Everything Is Obvious know that most attempts to analyze human events are shot through with fallacy and error.  This is true of ordinary persons watching the evening news, but also of the professional analysts in CIA … Continue reading

Posted in analysis, narratives | 4 Comments

The extinction of narratives in an age of distrust

Every public message must undergo two transformations – one a cognitive imperative, the other a consequence of our digital age. To persuade the public, a message must be embedded in a shared narrative.  This is how our species converts information … Continue reading

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The death of Bin Laden as information and influence

On Sunday, May 1, an elite and secretive team of US operatives killed Osama bin Laden in his hideout in Abbottabad, Pakistan.  Many Americans, myself included, applauded the demise of the infamous promoter of global terrorism and mastermind of the … Continue reading

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Syria: “Death has become something ordinary”

Inevitably, yesterday’s massive protests across Syria were countered by lethal violence from armed minions of the regime.  At least 88 people are said to have died in the onslaught.  Protesters traded their blood and their lives in a bid to … Continue reading

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Bloody Syria in a transparent world

A barrage of YouTube videos has recently hit the web documenting the demonstrations in Syria, and the brutal response by the regime.  Barrage is the right word, too.   Watch the first minute of the video below – an attack last … Continue reading

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Libya the lab rat

If the Middle East has become a huge laboratory of information effects, Libya’s part in the experiment is the most difficult and uncertain:  that of control animal. From the perspective of information flows, Libya resembles Cuba more than Tunisia or … Continue reading

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Information, events, and Cleopatra’s nose

That an event can galvanize behavior is a common and natural belief.   A young Tunisian, Mohamed Bouazizi, set himself on fire after humiliations at the hands of the police; his agony and death ignited a firestorm of protests, and within … Continue reading

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