Friday, August 25, 2006

What's In A Frame?

Painting damaged during Katrina undergoing restoration
by the New Orleans Conservation Guild

Sometimes a painting's in a frame and sometimes manipulated words are in a frame.

Wikipedia defines the latter,
In communication theory, and sociology, framing is a process of selective control over media content or public communication. Framing defines how a certain piece of media content or rhetoric is packaged so as to allow certain desirable interpretations and rule out others. Media frames can be created by the mass media or by specific political or social movements or organizations. The concept is generally attributed to the work of Erving Goffman, especially his 1974 book, Frame analysis: An essay on the organization of experience.

I bring this up because America has two tragic anniversaries coming up in the next two weeks, Hurricane Katrina, and the attacks of September 11, 2001. Major media buys are already in place for both dominant political parties.

George Lakoff is a world renown expert on communication framing particularly in how the right wing political activists have used it to take almost complete control of the U.S. Government. Lakoff says,
Reframing is telling the truth as we see it – telling it forcefully, straightforwardly, articulately, with moral conviction and without hesitation. The language must fit the conceptual reframing — a reframing from the perspective of progressive morality. It is not just a matter of words, though the right words do help evoke a progressive frame: paying their fair share, those who have received more, the infrastructure of wealth, and so on.
Reframing requires a rewiring of the brain. That may take an investment of time, effort, and money. The conservatives have realized that. They made the investment and it is paying off. Moral: The truth alone will not set you free. It has to be framed correctly.

Since the Republican's disastrous "Contract With America" their party has been doing a better job of framing the national debate than any other group. This success in framing has won them control of all three branches of our government. None of this is news but it takes constant vigilance for us to remember what happened, when, and who did what exactly when it comes to the accelerated history we've lived in the past six years. Part of the power of framing comes from distracting the opposition so much that they can't get their bearings in time to defend themselves.

An analogy might be, the American right wing is acting like a pyromaniac, a person who exhibits
... a pervasive pattern of disregard for and violation of the rights of others occurring since age 18 years, as indicated by three (or more) of the following:
*Failure to conform to social norms with respect to lawful behaviors as indicated by repeatedly performing acts that are grounds for arrest.
*Deceitfulness, as indicated by repeated lying, use of aliases, or conning others for personal profit or pleasure impulsivity or failure to plan ahead.
*Irritability and aggressiveness, as indicated by repeated physical fights or assaults reckless disregard for safety of self or others.
*Consistent irresponsibility, as indicated by repeated failure to sustain consistent work behavior or honor financial obligations.
*Lack of remorse, as indicated by being indifferent to or rationalizing having hurt, mistreated, or stolen from another. -
in the Sierra Mountains in August. The pyro has a full box of matches and he's setting fires all over the place. By the time the firefighters can reach the first fire, he's set two more. He can't help himself, he's driven by inexplicable inner urges to set fires and will do so until caught and punished.

Our current situation, as you well know, is that we haven't got enough authorities trying to catch and punish the renegade Republicans.

A key part of holding the right wing responsible for their failed political and social policies is making sure you have the facts straight, making sure everyone knows the facts, and pounding them over and over until something gets done about it.

Dangle © Kevin Brett 2006

So with that in mind I present a timeline of Hurricane Katrina as compiled by the excellent non-profit, Think Progress. Please visit the link, save it, circulate it, and read as much of the information as you can, (there's a lot there). Then when you see right wingers re-framing the facts to benefit their own goals, CALL THEM ON IT! That means writing to the media outlet that's allowing them to manipulate the facts and demanding they correct the record. You have the right, and the duty to do this. It's an important aspect of winning our country back.

You can find contact information for most American media outlets HERE.

If you have HBO you should take the opportunity to watch
When the Levees Broke by Spike Lee.

Please respect the work of the artists you see here and be sure to credit them when you share their artwork with others.

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