by John Fenderson

John Fenderson's Favorite Techdirt Posts Of The Week

from the doublethink dept

As is my wont, I sit here watching the salamanders play in the embers of a lazy fire, blowing slow, mighty rings of the cherry-tinged tobacco smoke that I inhaled from my Calabash pipe and ponder the week gone by. And what a week it was. It brings to mind that great sage of sociopolitical dystopianism, George Orwell and his discovery of doublethink.

Doublethink is believing two contradictory things simultaneously. Some say that doublethink is just a snappy name for cognitive dissonance, although I would argue that there's a subtle but important difference between them. Cognitive dissonance is the uncomfortable feeling that you get from believing two contradictory things. Doublethink is when it doesn't bother you at all. The concept is a key method in stage magic, hypnotism shows, advertising, and coercive propaganda. If you are in a state of cognitive dissonance, a part of your logical mind is jammed. In that state, you are very suggestible.

We've seen plenty of doublethink this week. At a low level, Google pretending they don't get FISA gag orders while simultaneously trying to get them eased is a good example, as is Hollywood's stance on employee pay. The Chamber of Commerce got into the game by claiming that Bollywood's success means they're failing in a way only strong copyright will help.

There were also more subtle variants on this theme, such as failing to recognize that keeping secrets harder can make the secrets get out faster or that telling people not to see what their lying eyes have seen.

But, the crowning moment of doublethink this week was the disclosure of the makeup of the advisory council for "Free Speech Week". That Chris Dodd is the chair was just the desiccated cherry on top of an ant-infested sundae.

Not everything was doublethink, though. There were some stories that demonstrated sublime consistency. Dick Cheney is still an illusionist who refuses to use his power for good. Spies still want to make criminality legal, while attorneys want to turn law-abiding citizens into criminals. Hollywood declares itself awesome, and the FBI is annoyed by the Constitution.

Oh, and the civilized world, as always, is coming to an end.

Oddly, I suppose, I find solace in that.

Reader Comments

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  1. icon
    ottermaton (profile), 22 Jun 2013 @ 12:25pm

    Best. Roundup. Ever

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 22 Jun 2013 @ 4:15pm

    At least they are not messing with beer, the day they mess with beer things get serious.

    ps: I don't drink.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. icon
    Capitalist Lion Tamer (profile), 22 Jun 2013 @ 6:11pm

    Re: Best. Roundup. Ever

    Indeed. This was a very smooth and entertaining read and expended fewer words than I normally use in an opening paragraph. Nicely done, John.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 23 Jun 2013 @ 7:35am

    And if you point out the lack of clothes upon the emperor, you are subjected to the traitor treatment.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. icon
    John Fenderson (profile), 25 Jun 2013 @ 8:59am

    Re: Re: Best. Roundup. Ever

    Thanks for the kind words, guys!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. identicon
    Josh Brancek, 26 Jun 2013 @ 10:52am

    Mr. John, as previous commenter said already, Best. Roundup. Ever

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

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