Thursday, June 22, 2017

Whom Are You Addressing?

     In any politically oriented statement, whether oral or written, the issuer must have a clear conception of his audience:

  1. Who are they?
  2. What convictions do they already hold, and why?
  3. To what sort of arguments are they most likely to be receptive?

     It’s a bit like marketing fiction. If Smith dislikes vampire stories, you can’t reach him (or his wallet) with a vampire story. To get into his billfold, you must offer him something he likes to read, at least generically. That having been said, the reverse is also true. If you detest vampire stories but that’s all Smith is willing to read, you might as well forget trying to hook him.

     I couldn’t help but address this subject after reading this piece:

     Rant: Stop with the False Equivalencies

     No, "everyone" does not need to simmer down.

     No, the right does not "do it too." Not as extensively and not with the same viciousness.

     And so on, and so on, and so on...

     Now, I like Stephanie. I read her blog fairly often. (It helps that we’re both SF readers. Inasmuch as I’m an SF writer, reading it is a professional requirement. Got to stay aware of what “the competition” is doing, don’t y’know.) But if she had a clear conception of her audience, her piece would have been quite different. Indeed, she might not have written it at all.

     Stephanie’s audience, like mine, is populated just about 100% by conservatives and libertarians. Those folks don’t need to be told that the Left’s many attempts to play the tu quoque game with us are utter, scrofulous deceits. They know it already – and it chafes them quite as badly as it does Stephanie.

     But the matter is more involved than that. Let’s have a quick gedankenexperiment. Let’s imagine that Stephanie’s audience had been replaced, for the duration of the cited article, with one that’s predominantly left-liberal. What then? Would her piece have persuaded any of those imagined lefties to change their ways?

     I think not, for some very simple reasons:

  1. Left-liberals in our time are not concerned with evidence;
  2. The tu quoque tactic is too useful to the Left for them to surrender it;
  3. A left-liberal receptive to Stephanie’s piece would swiftly be “read out of the church,” friendless.

     The only imaginable audience to which Stephanie’s article might be both interesting and effective is an audience of the uncommitted but open-minded, and such persons don’t read political blogs. They prefer not to court the attention of ideologues and partisans, whom they regard with a moderate distaste, about like door-to-door religious proselytizers. They talk about politics only among themselves...if at all.

     I could go on about this. I could embellish it with clever arguments and illuminating examples. However, I know my audience would prefer to read about just about anything else, so I’ll close here.

     Back later, I hope.

1 comment:

Arthur said...

It's 1776.

How many Americans cared? I have always wondered about the truth of it. The revolution was a pretty big deal in the proto-US, but I've always wonder what the percentages were: rebel/loyalist/don't care

If you have a great cite, I'd like to read it.