In the post, I'm not talking about "being all things to all people," or framing in order to trick people into agreeing with you. My point is simply this -- learning effective message control and disseminaton, or what in the olden days we called "rhetoric" wasn't too low for Socrates, wasn't too low for Thomas Jefferson, and we should stop turning up our noses at it and calling it "selling out."
My point is not in how to fool rubes into agreeing with you. My point is that often, when communicating our ideas to other people, we do not stop and think of the best way to make clear that we already share the same ideas. I used to mention in passing about how Canada had single-payer health care. Always got a few "socialism" catcalls from the audience. But as soon as I said "It's wrong for you to lose your house if you kid gets cancer", you could feel the audience swing, sometimes burst into applause. For that group, at least, a little meme-seed had been planted. I could have gone on about bed/patient ratios and per capita expenses to my heart's content. But that wasn't relevant to my audience.
Learn to Say Ain't isn't about being something you're not, or all things to all people. (and if that's how you read it, you were really just looking for something to disagree with in order to reinforce your own beliefs. Sorry.) what Boats taught me back then is that we all have common ground, and if you want to communicate your idea clearly, you need to start with the common ground of your audience and then get them to meet you halfway. It's about boiling your idea down to what really matters. This is not about lying -- this is about telling the truth in a more effective manner.
What's so horrible about that? And once you have done that, and changed the Us/Them dynamic, you've won.
In a bit of time (I am STACKED with screenwriting work) I'll parse out the stand-up/electioneering link a bit more, linking it more explicitly to meme theory. Stand-ups spend years honing their little sentences into language constructs that evoke a distinct involuntary emotional response (laughter) and also stick in people's heads, get repeated(disseminated) because of the inherent simplicity and easy memorizability of their construct, and then help establish loyal fan bases (constituencies). Good comedians don't just create jokes, they create coherent worldviews.
You know, you hate the idea of "framing" fine. Keep repeating the same policies in the exact same way over and over again. But the sad thing is -- as Molly Ivins says:
What kind of courage does it take, for mercy's sake? The majority of the American people (55 percent) think the war in Iraq is a mistake and that we should get out. The majority (65 percent) of the American people want single-payer health care and are willing to pay more taxes to get it. The majority (86 percent) of the American people favor raising the minimum wage. The majority of the American people (60 percent) favor repealing Bush's tax cuts, or at least those that go only to the rich. The majority (66 percent) wants to reduce the deficit not by cutting domestic spending, but by reducing Pentagon spending or raising taxes.
The majority (77 percent) thinks we should do "whatever it takes" to protect the environment. The majority (87 percent) thinks big oil companies are gouging consumers and would support a windfall profits tax. That is the center, you fools. WHO ARE YOU AFRAID OF?-- the sad thing is that despite the fact that the progressive movement's priorities are plainly the priorities of a massive majority of the country, WE ARE NOT RUNNING THE JOINT. (and feel free to insert any whining abot biased media and fixed election machines here) We have somehow got into a position where people who just out and out fucking LIE have come to the positions of power.
Call me crazy for saying that maybe we ought to look at every little nook and cranny of why that isn't so. why somehow well-crafted lies have come to defeat serious truth. My job as a stand-up was communication, and so this is my take on the communication issue. Disagree, fine. But I don't think anyone can disagree that this is a field that needs serious examination and some fresh ideas, even if those ideas lead to naught, they may inspire even better discussion. We need every, EVERY tool at our disposal to change the terrifying direction this nation is sliding in. "Shut up and vote harder" just ain't going to hack it, kids.