Dear Dr. Bones,
|The choice of words, though, is secondary to having a narrative. The Republicans have narratives:|
1. The recession was caused by over-regulation. Over-regulation, per the GOP, is always messing up the economy so of course it caused the recession.
2. Housing policies favoring the less well-off caused the economic collapse. Whenever we give stuff to people who don’t deserve it bad things happen.
3. The soaring national debt caused by spendthrift Democrats caused the recession and Democrats are just trying to make it worse.
Those are their stories. Yes, they are wrong and stupid. But they have traction. Lots of it. Simply yelling “reckless! reckless!” doesn’t undermine these Republican stories — especially when there’s a whole bunch of Fox commentators, er, candidates pushing them.
kbusch @ June 21, 2011 at 11:01 pm
_¡Qu’ ils mangeant des ‘narrations’!_
Let THEM, not us, climb up on verbal stilts to eat ‘narrative’!
If the Daughters of Virtue & Sons of Wisdom, LLC, could be persuaded to behave like utter stiltheads, they would lose their "respectable Republican cloth coat" Pat Nixons and that would be the end of them.
The said Freedame of the Otherparty, complete with her dog an’ her whole WalMart-equivalent wardrobe, did not add up to even a crumby _conte_, let alone a proper _narratio_. At best, ’twas only a table of Dramatis Personæ or list of ingredients. When his Freelordship of Nixon brought his mildly personal flotsam an’ jetsam to public notice, he afforded Televisionland and the electorate a chance to wag their -- ‘our’ -- own tales.
Thus has it ever been. In 1840, General the Freelord of Harrison an’ the log cabin an’ the hard cider (¡plus the Freelord of Tyler at no extra charge!) were all very well in their way, but that way was not much like _Madame Bovary_. Or like "The Devil and Daniel Webster" either.
Ms. Poster, evidently one of our team’s Beautiful People , likes to have her ‘narratives’ preassembled by the servants, rather than fumble around with bits and pieces herself. Up to a point Madame’s druthers are pure _de gustibus_, but they could become an impediment to effective agitation and propaganda if swallowed uncritically. The trouble I foresee is that for every consumer of ‘narratives’ who likes the pieces put together Madame’s way, there are perhaps nineteen others who would prefer some other configuration. Though it is theoretically possible that other ‘narrative’ consumers would first disassemble  the work of the hired hands and then put their own paws to work creating a more congenial Narrative Object, in practice one should assume that few denizens of Televisionland will actually get up off their potatoe couches to do anything so strenuous. Almost certainly, Harry and Louise MacLuhantube will simply feel bored, deciding subliminally that Madame’s Political Action Committee does not know how to natter a good narrative -- and then maybe click their way over to Fox.
Now Madame herself takes for granted that they do these things better in Foxcuckooland. She even condescends to provide three examples, although these have been CliffsNote™d down so austerely that most of their _narratio inflata_ charm is lost. A blow-up of Exhibit B in particular can be lots of fun, with the Three Weird Sisters, Fanny Mae an’ Freddy Mac an’ Barney Frank, conspirin’ to destroy the U. S. housin’ market for ends of their own.
Exhibit C, I observe, also runs to the "for end of their own" _topos_ and, come to think of it, so does Exhibit A. Evidently _narratio foxcucuensis_ is, in a manner, pure ‘narration’ -- all story and never any plot. Rarely do the minions of Rupert explain WHY we donkeys want to cause recessions an’ housin’ busts an’ then make ’em worse once we got ’em. Though it is extremely unlikely that Firstlord of Murdoch an’ Kiddiemaster Ailes (&c. &c.) have consciously adopted what might be termed the "Erector set" view of the _ars narrativa_ just set forth, yet their reluctance to dabble in motives gives their freelordships most of its advantages. After exposure to some tolerably fleshed-out version of one of the above ‘narratives’, Harry an’ Louise retain the freedumb to fill in any motivations they like, an arrangement that is convenient indeed for the Party of Big Management and of the AEIdeology.
And not just the motivations can be filled in by the patient / victim / customer, but also a good deal of significant local colour by the way. ‘Recession’ and "economic collapse" and "soaring national debt" are very general expressions, so general as to be almost Blakean idiocies. Out amongst the couchpotatoes, these portentous cloudinesses can be cashed in for how Louise got fired, an’ Harry can’t seem to get along with his credit-card corporation these days, an’ nobody wants to buy their house at a non-joke price. Those blanks are filled in first, I presume; only afterwards do the MacLuhantubes fill in the motives of their oppressors.
Naturally the Joneses across the tracks, who, let us say, got *their* shanty as a free gift from the Three Weird Sisters, would fill in the blanks quite differently. What with Human Nature (Pat. Pend.) and _peccatum originale_ and a’ that jazz, it is quite possible that the MacLuhantubes will conclude, in effect, that the Joneses wanting to stay dry when it rains (without ever properly earning and deserving their dryness) is the root cause of recessions and housing busts and economic collapses.
At least as regards the upmarket side of the railroad tracks , which votes a lot more regularly, this situation ought to suit their freelordships of Newscorp to a ‘T’. Or make that "to a ‘GOP’."
At the moment, though, we are concerned with literature / rhetoric / agitprop rather than with political substance, and my chief point is that the upshot would not be anywhere near so satisfactory if the Whight-Wing Persuaders had themselves supplied the concreteness of this keyboard’s feigned Joneses and MacLuhantubes. Had they done so, the resultin’ product would have borne a much closer resemblance to the Eng. Lit. or Comp. Lit. Dept. type of ‘narrative’, but at the same time it would inevitably (I think) be a product that is easily dismissed out of hand as "merely anecdotal evidence" by those who do not like the doctrinal drift.
Furthermore, merely anecdotal evidence is dismissed merrily by dismissers who do not deny that every word of it is G*re’s Own Truth, which nobooby expensively educated demands that ‘narrative’ should be.
"Merely anecdotal evidence we just made up from scratch" is a pretty useless category of wares for the agitpropper, despite being a not very friendly but technically accurate account of what M. Flaubert and Mr. Benet and the gang were up to. Not all ‘narrative’ is MAEWJMUFS, to be sure, but some is. And not just any ‘some’ but the very _crème de la crème du genre narratif_.
Such things considered, then, I’d say ‘narrative’ is mostly spinach. 
 "Beautiful People" _es una ma®©a registrada de_ Howard Lawrence, zeroth Freelord Carr in the peerage of Wingnut City. Used here by gracious impermission of his freelordship.
 Notice, Dr. Bones, how easy it would be to erect a _pons asinorum_ at this ford and turn back all wayfarers who suppose that ‘deconstruction’ -- which I take to be a sort of Stiltword to end all stiltwords -- means disassembly.
 In accordance with the announced Erector-set principles, it is left to the student as an exercise to cross the figurative tracks and spell out how the Joneses might come to suppose that recessions and housing busts and economic collapses largely result from the MacLuhantubes (d.b.a. "the Middle Class") specuvestin’ a little too exuberantly with their real-estate equity.
Or alternatively, from the MacLuhantubes’ pig-headed insistence on makin’ sure that the Bad Poor stay poor--assumin’, that is, they can’t just be deported.
 "¿But what shall we eat if spinach be austerely renounced?" Well, ¿how about argument?