Listened to Tribalism, Anger and the State of Our Politics from On the Media | WNYC Studios

An extended conversation with Lilliana Mason about tribalism, anger and the state of our politics.

If solidarity and the recognition of mutual self-interest are the keys to moving past our fractious moment, it can be hard to see how we'll get there. Anger and tribalism appear to be at an all-time high, creating political and societal rifts that seem unbridgeable. Indeed, it is hard to believe that only 70 years ago, the country was deemed by political scientists to be not polarized enough. In 1950, the American Political Science Association put out a report that suggested that the parties were not distinct enough and that it was making people's political decision making too difficult.

Over the next few decades, they became distinct alright. Lilliana Mason is a political psychologist at the University of Maryland. When we spoke to her last fall, she told us that most people think they know exactly what each party stands for — leaving us with two camps that both seek to destroy the other. 

Listened to OTM presents: Shell Shock 1919: How the Great War Changed Culture by Sara Fishko from On the Media | WNYC Studios

WNYC's Sara Fishko and guests sift through the lingering effects of the Great War on modern art and life in Shell Shock 1919: How the Great War Changed Culture.

You really have a feeling that here is a building that looks fantastically beautiful, and it’s got its whole façade simply blown off by this war.

 -Philipp Blom

World War I presented civilization with unprecedented violence and destruction. The shock of the first modern, “industrial” war extended far into the 20th century and even into the 21st, and changed how people saw the world and themselves. And that was reflected in the cultural responses to the war – which included a burgeoning obsession with beauty and body image, the birth of jazz, new thinking about the human psyche, the Harlem Renaissance, Surrealism...and more.

WNYC's Sara Fishko and guests sift through the lingering effects of the Great War on modern art and life in Shell Shock 1919: How the Great War Changed Culture.

Guests include Jon Batiste, Ann Temkin, David Lubin, Philipp Blom, Jay Winter, Ana Carden-Coyne, Sabine Rewald, David Levering Lewis, Emma Chambers, Marion von Osten, Emily Bernard, and Gail Stavitsky

I was a bit surprised that they mentioned George Antheil, but left out his work and collaboration with Hedy Lamar who was a German refugee whose husband was a major arms dealer for the Germans.

This is a fantastic piece that makes me want to subscribe to more of Fishko’s work.

Listened to Queen of Cuba, Season 4 Episode 11 by Malcolm Gladwell from Revisionist History
A strange chain of events preceded the shoot-down, and people in the intelligence business turned to a rising star in the Defense Intelligence Agency, Ana Montes. Montes was known around Washington as the “Queen of Cuba” for her insights into the Castro regime.

👓 rapid eye movement from dominique o’brien | General Memory Chat | Art of Memory Forum

Read rapid eye movement from dominique o'brien (Art of Memory Forum)
Hi, in a TV-show about all kinds of crazy world records I saw dominique o’brien memorising 50 objects that were placed on some kind of running track. When he was doing this, his eyes moved from side to side in a very fast pace. This reminded me of an incredibly smart IT-guy (I felt like Forrest Gump in comparison) that came to our warehouse to implement a new computer system. If he was asked a very difficult question he would look up in the air and his eyes would behave precisely like those o...

Possibly tangentially related:

  • If you sit on a swivel chair (safer than doing the same thing standing up) and gently place your fingertips on your closed eyes while you turn around and around, you’ll be able to discern that your eyes will still exhibit saccadic movement even though you can’t “see” anything. (Not sure if this is true for the blind, but it’s worth considering who this may not be true for and why.)
  • Rapid Serial Visual Presentation methods for speed reading (Spritz and related apps) work well primarily because they limit saccadic eye movements which take up a proportionally large portion of your reading time. (Ultimately I think there is an upper limit to how fast one can read and comprehend and retain information.)
  • The visual systems of chickens are responsible for their odd walking manner in which they throw their heads forward and then move their body underneath them while their head remains stationary. Essentially while their head is moving, they’re “blind”.

Is it possible that saccades of the eye are tied into our visual processing and memory systems in a manner deeper than we’re consciously aware? Does reading on a page help our comprehension or long term memories more because the words have a location on a page versus RSVP reading methods? Do our mental visualizations (imagination) change depending on these visual/reading methods? What effects to these have on our memories?

Some interesting questions worth pondering/researching.

🎧 Episode 1: You Can Change | The Happiness Lab

Listened to Episode 1: You Can Change from The Happiness Lab

There are things you can do today to make yourself happier. Your life circumstances and personality aren't nearly as important as you think in deciding how happy you can be. Dr Laurie Santos explains how understanding the latest science will point you in the right direction to making you more satisfied with your life.

👓 Why Women, but Not Men, Are Judged for a Messy House | New York Times

Read Why Women, but Not Men, Are Judged for a Messy House (New York Times)
They’re still held to a higher social standard, which explains why they’re doing so much housework, studies show.

👓 How Barr and Trump Use a Russian Disinformation Tactic | New York Times

Read Opinion | How Barr and Trump Use a Russian Disinformation Tactic (New York Times)
They were able to define “collusion” to benefit themselves. Don’t let them twist meanings again with their “spying” investigation.

👓 Dear Journalists, Stop Being Loudspeakers for Liars | Dan Gillmor

Read Dear Journalists, Stop Being Loudspeakers for Liars by Dan Gillmor (Medium)
An open letter to newsrooms everywhere

I’m a fan of the concept of George Lakoff’s “Truth Sandwich” idea in journalism. I’m curious with his recent spate of great publicity for it if any major outlets have taken it directly to heart? Are there any examples of major newspapers or online publishers taking it closely to heart? Has George or anyone created a news feed or Twitter account of articles covering Trump (or topics like the Alt-right, Nazis, etc.) that highlights articles which pull off the idea? I’d love to support journalism which goes to greater lengths to think about their coverage and it’s longer term effects. Having an ongoing list of articles as examples would help to extend the idea as well.

It would be cool to have something like NewsGuards’ browser extension for highlighting truth sandwiches, but I’m not sure how something like this could be built to be automated.

The best example of a truth sandwich I’ve come across thus far actually went a few steps further than the truth sandwich and chose not to cover what was sure to be untruth from the start: MSNBC declines to allow Sarah Sanders to dictate its programming (Washington Post).

 

👓 How the media should respond to Trump’s lies | Vox

Read How the media should respond to Trump’s lies by Sean Illing (Vox)
A linguist explains how Trump uses lies to divert attention from the "big truths."

I like that he delves into the idea of enlightment reasoning here and why it doesn’t work. This section of this article is what makes it a bit different from some of the interviews and articles that Lakoff has been appearing in lately.

Highlights, Quotes, Annotations, & Marginalia

I take your point, but I wonder if Trump is just kryptonite for a liberal democratic system built on a free press.  

The key words being “free press” with free meaning that we’re free to exert intelligent editorial control.

Editors in the early 1900’s used this sort of editorial control not to give fuel to racists and Nazis and reduce their influence.Cross reference: Face the Racist Nation from On the Media.

Apparently we need to exert the same editorial control with respect to Trump, who not incidentally is giving significant fuel to the racist fire as well.
November 20, 2018 at 10:11AM

A lot of Democrats believe in what is called Enlightenment reasoning, and that if you just tell people the facts, they’ll reach the right conclusion. That just isn’t true.  

November 20, 2018 at 10:12AM

👓 11 Warning Signs of Gaslighting | Psychology Today

Read 11 Warning Signs of Gaslighting by Stephanie Sarkis, Ph.D.Stephanie Sarkis, Ph.D. (Psychology Today)

Gaslighting is a tactic in which a person or entity, in order to gain more power, makes a victim question their reality. It works much better than you may think. Anyone is susceptible to gaslighting, and it is a common technique of abusers, dictators, narcissists, and cult leaders. It is done slowly, so the victim doesn't realize how much they've been brainwashed. For example, in the movie Gaslight (1944), a man manipulates his wife to the point where she thinks she is losing her mind.

People who gaslight typically use the following techniques:
1. They tell blatant lies.
2. They deny they ever said something, even though you have proof. 
3. They use what is near and dear to you as ammunition. 
4. They wear you down over time.
5. Their actions do not match their words.
6. They throw in positive reinforcement to confuse you. 
7. They know confusion weakens people. 
8. They project.
9. They try to align people against you.
10. They tell you or others that you are crazy.
11. They tell you everyone else is a liar.

Interesting to see that this was published on January 22, 2017, immediately after the inaugural of Donald J. Trump.

🔖 Sans Forgetica | RMIT

Bookmarked Sans Forgetica (sansforgetica.rmit)
Sans Forgetica is a typeface designed using the principles of cognitive psychology to help you to better remember your study notes. It was created by a multidisciplinary team of designers and behavioural scientists from RMIT University. Sans Forgetica is compatible with both PC and Mac operating systems. Download it for free today, or keep scrolling to learn more about how it was made.

👓 The Cruelty Is the Point | The Atlantic

Read The Cruelty Is the Point (The Atlantic)
Trump and his supporters find community by rejoicing in the suffering of those they hate and fear.

A searing piece of writing here. A must-read.

This makes a compelling argument about why some humans are so painfully cruel.