Thursday, November 21, 2013

Manipulation 104: words

This was an interesting video about how word choices are basically by their very nature manipulative:



I love the references to Barack Obama's political campaign phrases and Occupy Wall Street. I'm not saying it's bad to use words in a way that is clearly manipulative. When I was writing the book, some of the people involved in the publication were concerned that the book was going to be manipulative. I told them that the book was going to be manipulative no matter what as long as it involved word choice -- the question was only about degree of manipulation and which way it slanted. I have spoken before about loaded word choices from journalists, even so-called objective journalism is naturally manipulative in that it is trying to get you to actually read or watch the feature. And of course one of the most loaded and pejorative terms you can call someone is a sociopath. I guess that's because you are inhuman unless you empathize? (Except people with autism, asperger's, some limited types of brain damage, some mental handicaps, or other things that Simon Baron-Cohen does not deem to be one of the "evil" types of lack of empathy).

18 comments:

  1. 1st !!! Rat Bastards!

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  2. This phenomina has been known from time immorial.
    There was a book written in 1937 titled "The Tyranny Of Words."
    It gets to the heart of the "unspeak" question. This will always be
    used in the arsenal of persuation. Hitler was quite adept at it, as are
    cults.
    I remember, when my late mother was in the I.C.U unit, the "Palitive"
    doctor, gently suggested that she be removed from life support so
    she could make her "transition." He described the painless proceedure and took pride in the special way they did it.

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    Replies
    1. would you have preferred that he used harsh words?
      I hate a late pregnancy loss and my body never went into labor to expel the fetus. It was excruciating to carry a dead child (who we had already named) and then learn I had to have a late term abortion performed to rid my body of the dead baby to prevent infection/future infertility. This was devastating.

      The doctors called the surgery "the procedure". I was very grateful for the euphemism. It kept me from crying when I had to talk about the unpleasant details that needed to be addressed.

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    2. I've always preferred that doctors call a spade a spade when they're dealing with me. I feel spoken down to when they couch everything in pretty, gentle words. I may be female, but I'm not a moron and I've done enough research to understand the cold facts. I would rather be told, "You're dying" than "You are transitioning to another state of being".

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    3. agreed- but once the verdict has been spoken it helps sensitive types keep their dignity and not become blubbering messes when you state things delicately. But that's my preference- not everyone's. The wisest doctors will take cues from body language with what the patient prefers- to me that is what it means to have a skilled bedside manner.

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  3. There are reasons being a writer is very satisfying. The choice of words is always deliberate and manipulative. You want to evoke certain feelings in your reader so they will consider a point of view that their minds had previously closed to. It's called persuasion.

    This is pattern of behavior is present in sales, seduction, religion- you name it. It's converting a person to your agenda because they now believe it is in their own best interest to do so.

    Still, it respects the other party enough to appeal to their own self interest rather than using the coercive power of force, which completely ignores the preferences of the other person. Hitler manipulated the German people into embracing his evil agenda. Hitler used force on Jews, gays, and political dissenters.

    Verbal manipulation is to be feared when it is the first act by a party planning to follow up with force. But when it's simply a tool to get people to think differently about something their minds were previously closed on, I think it can have a beneficial effect.

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    Replies
    1. That's right.

      Everyone loves the Jews.

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    2. I was not implying that what Hitler did was ok. I am contrasting his verbal manipulations with his use of force to illustrate that there is a vast difference between the two.

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    3. No shit.

      It's all Hitler's fault. The poor German people were actually manipulated by an evil mastermind to murder poor innocent Jews, antisocials and sexual deviants.

      Delete
  4. ik ben een woordenaar geen moordenaar

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  5. In M.E.'s book there are references to her abusive father and him beating her, but in the
    Dr. Phil interview it's mentioned she had basically a good family. What a contradiction,
    what is the truth? I believed what I read in the book. Is the book a lie? I don't know what to believe.

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    Replies
    1. Throughout the book, she repeatedly states that she had a generally good family. She also states that her father beat her and her siblings and her mother and intimidated them. There's also an instance where her parents abandon her and Jim on an outing without apparent remorse. This seems to me to be an example of how families can be broken, yet still appear to function "normally" to the outside world.

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    2. @756-
      can't you just be a "berliner?" ;)

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  6. so true, we accept autism, aspergers, etc, for the most - but for some reason empaths (NOT ALL) think socio's have kooties, cuz their wiring is different, (a-typical). . good post M.E. I get it. acceptance builds upon acceptance.

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  7. The Intense World Theory suggests autistic people do not lack empathy or emotion, but shut down when they are overloaded with emotions due to hypersensitivity:

    http://www.frontiersin.org/human_neuroscience/10.3389/fnhum.2010.00224/full

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