[KB] "Trivial Repetition," "Dull, Daily Reenforcement"

wessr at onid.orst.edu wessr at onid.orst.edu
Mon Sep 15 21:58:09 EDT 2014

Ed, Burke is surely right about the power of repetition. The  
advertising industry leaves no room for doubt about that.

What identifications might the left try to repeat ad nauseam?

What might Burke advise?


Quoting Edward C Appel <edwardcappel at frontier.com>:

> Burkophiles,
> 	I asked in a chapter in Praeger’s Venomous Speech last year, “Where  
> Is the Democratic Narrative, FDR Style?”  That piece had mainly to  
> do with the polemical malfeasance of the Dems in dealing with,  
> rhetorically pretty much ignoring, what globalization has done to  
> aggravate the income gap in USAmerica the past three and a half  
> decades.  (Tax policies are culpable, too, we know, in multiple  
> ways.)  Senator Warren appeared on Moyers on PBS last Sunday.  She  
> listed four Democratic proposals she thinks are winning issues going  
> into the Fall elections.  Moyers asked her why, then, aren’t we  
> hearing more about them from Democratic candidates and their  
> spokespersons?  Warren really had no good answer.
> 	Burke says in the Rhetoric (p. 26), “Often we must think of  
> rhetoric not in terms of one particular address, but as a general  
> BODY OF IDENTIFICATIONS that owe their convincingness much more to  
> trivial repetition and dull daily reenforcement than to exceptional  
> rhetorical skill” (emphasis in original).
> 	I monitor Fox News daily.  That propaganda network masquerading as  
> a news channel (I know, we can say the same thing about MSNBC) is  
> near-fanatically repetitive in promoting its conservative,  
> anti-Obama agenda.  Fox is relentless.  Case in point: Bill O’Reilly  
> has invidiously targeted the President in his opening “memo” for as  
> many nights as I can remember.  Another: Wish I had even one dollar  
> for every time I’ve watched our consulate in Benghazi burn on my  
> Channel 48.  They don’t let up.
> 	Add this mantra to the list: Bush 2 “won” our righteous “War on  
> Terror” with the surge in Iraq.  Obama came into office, took our  
> troops out of that country, and now has “lost” a war that Bush,  
> Cheney, Rumsfeld, and Wolfowitz had brought a U.S. victory and peace  
> to!
> 	The rhetorically inept, more accurately altogether missing,  
> response by Obama in his “leading from behind” speech on Wednesday,  
> and in his fumbling precursors to that address, are dispiriting.
> 	First and foremost, Obama was and is uniquely situated to  
> characterize the Iraq War for what it plainly was: A mendacious  
> military adventure, foisted on USAmerica by subterfuge and  
> deception, a cynical exploitation of the shock of 9/11, not merely a  
> “dumb war.”  Fifteen Saudis and four Egyptians, under the leadership  
> of a wealthy Saudi, trained in Afghanistan, highjacked four  
> commercial jetliners and perpetrated the mayhem of that frightful  
> day.  Saddam, we knew even then, had nothing to do with it.  Nor did  
> his chemical weapons, if they even had existed and they didn’t, nor  
> did his so-called “mushroom cloud” potential, pose any real threat  
> to this nation.  Again, we knew even then that Iraq’s nuclear  
> ambitions, even if real, were as yet no more than hope, if not  
> fantasy.  And, for anyone paying attention, the Bush-Cheney  
> fear-mongering had already been shot down in an op-ed in the NYTimes  
> by Ambassador Wilson, and by clear-headed reporting
>  by the McClatchy News Service.
> 	So, what happened after waste of a trillion dollars (it will be  
> three trillion or more after medical expenditures are exhausted a  
> half-century from now), loss of thousands of American lives, tens of  
> thousands of maimings and woundings, and destruction and shattering  
> of this jerry-built nation of warring sects that only a tyrant like  
> Saddam could hold together—what happened after the candidate who  
> promised to end the Iraq War came to power?  He stopped calling the  
> war what it really was and started treating it pretty much like a  
> somewhat legitimate enterprise we had to bring to an end  
> “responsibly.”  Obama was even planning to keep fifty thousand (or  
> was it eighty thousand?) troops in Iraq in perpetuity, before  
> al-Maliki said “no way” to our insistence on military immunity.   
> (And Obama doesn’t even defend himself on that issue.)
> 	You may object that Obama had to metamorphose into a “war  
> president,” since he was then Commander-in-Chief.  Can’t in any way  
> imply that our soldiers died in vain in a conflict subversively  
> motivated by oil, Israel, Bush family score-settling, or plans for  
> victorious re-election in 2004 by a flight-jacketed president after  
> “Mission Accomplished.”
> 	Upshot: There exists a corrupt context to what Obama and USAmerica  
> face in the current chaos of the Middle East.  It is a context that  
> requires repetition and more repetition still by leadership that has  
> some semblance of the near-self -destructive insanity of America’s  
> vaunted “War on Terror.”  As he takes us into yet another phase of  
> this resource-draining, quick-sand tugging, tar-baby of a conflict,  
> someone with a megaphone has to stand up and shout down the McCains  
> and Foxies who current occupy the rhetorical terrain uncontestred.
> 	I have no hope that Obama’s the one.
> 	Ed
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