BREAKING: The Washington Post brings the experts out!

TUESDAY, JUNE 12, 2018

The body language experts, that is:
What do we mean when we say it's all anthropology now?

We mean it's clear that our floundering species just isn't built for this game. We aren't bright enough, or sufficiently disciplined, to deal with a world drenched in corporate entertainment posing as news.

How foolish does the foolishness get? Consider what the Washington Post has now done in the wake of Donald J. Trump's "historic" summit.

On the Post web site, even as we type, the Post is highlighting an "Analysis" piece. The piece is prominently positioned, and it a very large headline. Sadly, though, its pair of headlines say this:
What body language experts saw when Trump and Kim Jong Un met
The two leaders began their summit in Singapore with a historic handshake.
The silly, sad "analysis" piece was written by Monica Ulmanu and Kevin Uhrmacher. Sadly, they start like this:
ULMANU AND UHRMACHER (6/12/1): In front of a backdrop of alternating American and North Korean flags, President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un approached from opposite sides of a stage and shook hands in the middle.

While the leaders spoke little in their appearances Tuesday, experts in body language pointed out notable nonverbal cues that could provide insight into their demeanors during the meeting.
We're so old that we can remember when Chris Matthews, then Bill O'Reilly,would burn up time on cable news by clowning with their body language experts.

The silly approach was so inane that even Chris and Bill abandoned it. Today, there it is, getting big play from the Washington Post in the face of the latest burst of reality TV from our bizarre head of state.

According to the Post, "experts in body language pointed out notable nonverbal cues that could provide insight into t[Trump and Kim's] demeanors during the meeting."

Notable cues that could provide such such insight—or then again, that maybe could not!

What we saw last night from Singapore was reality TV. Then again, vast amounts of our journalism in the past thirty years have been reality TV as well. As a species, we rather plainly don't have the tools to see through such presentations.

(One example: "Al Gore said he invented the Internet!" That was twenty months of reality TV performed by the New York Times, the Washington Post and the major cable and broadcast networks. It was designed as punishment in the wake of the Clinton impeachment. Our liberal tribe wasn't sharp enough to see it for what it was.)

That "Analysis" piece on the Post's web site is pure entertainment-as-news. That said, entertainment product of this type is widely sold today, all across the various realms of silly sad corporate news.

On the whole, we liberals simply aren't sharp enough to see these events for what they are. More on that failure tomorrow. The Washington Post's Outlook section and the Sunday Review were deeply revealing this week. (Also, deeply depressing.)

It's all anthropology now! Simply put, we Homo sapiens simply weren't built for the game we're now asked to play.

Corporate orgs are selling entertainment packaged as news. A lot of it is aimed at us liberals. On the whole, as a tribe, we're happy to gulp it right down.

We can't see that we're getting played. We simply weren't built for that work.

Meanwhile, good God: Meanwhile, good God! There was Greta, interviewing The Donald last night, on tape for The Voice of America!

During the roughly four years of Trump's aggressive birtherism, Greta served as his leading enabler on the Fox News Channel. He came on her show again and again. Concerning his endless birtherism, she sat there and just let him talk.

Early last year, MSNBC hired Greta and put her on the air. Rachel swore that Greta is great. "My drinking buddy," she said.

Rachel's so skillful at selling the car that we didn't ask why in the world she would do something like that. Last night, there was Greta on the TV, interviewing The Donald again!

(At least it wasn't Diane Sawyer! She would have asked him if sex with Kim was the best he's ever had!)

Full disclosure! We did a few shows with Greta, years back. Nicest person on earth!

Her enabling of Trump, like Rachel's endorsement, was simply part of the corporate game. Dearest darlings, use your heads! This is the (extremely lucrative) business these highly-skilled experts have chosen!

21 comments:

  1. Non-verbal behavior is a serious area of research with a literature. It falls within social psychology. Of course there are charlatans, but there is also solid knowledge. Psychology is a field where there tends to be a lot of pseudoscience mixed with actual science, so it is hard for folks like Somerby to tell which is which.

    If everyone dismissed astronomy because of astrology, there would be a triumph of ignorance similar to what Somerby commits with this post.

    Trial lawyers pay big bucks to non-verbal behavior experts to assess jury reactions to testimony, because the info is valid and it works. On the other hand, the self-help books that tell you how to read people are garbage. The people who proclaim themselves experts without any training are similarly damaging the field and misleading people. Journalists should vet their experts, but that is the point Somerby should be making, not that everyone is wasting their time by paying attention to non-verbal behavior (which constitutes 60% of the info transmitted during interactions between people).

    Too bad Somerby didn't have time to take any psychology courses while at Harvard. It might have helped him in his teaching career and it certainly would have helped him as a standup comedian.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. anon 1:21, so true. I understand Buddy Hackett minored in psychology when he attended Bowdoin.

      Delete
    2. Buddy Hackett was a successful comic. Unlike,....

      He also told d*ck jokes.. just not on tv.

      Delete
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  2. "The silly approach was so inane that even Chris and Bill abandoned it."

    Surely it's no surprise to you, Bob, that the oligarch owning the WaPo and using it to massively fuck up American political process has less scruples that a couple of clowns playing talking heads on TV.

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    Replies
    1. And yea, it has come to pass that a god has descended from the heavens to lead our great country to be great again, as it was in 1953-1962. And, my dear namesake, you are so right, we need a good oligarch like "Rupert Murdoch to seize control of the WaPo.

      Delete
  3. The piece is behind a firewall, but from the excerpt, the first sentence about the flags is a nod to a twitter fracas over the positioning of the flags.

    Some Twitters are outraged because of the side-by-side positioning of the flags which they think denotes more cordiality and equivalency than necessary.

    Which pretty well illustrates the "homosapiens can't cope with this level of bullshite" point.

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  4. I wonder how many have watched the video that Trump shared with Kim to convince him to denuclearize. You can watch the English language version of it at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F2LHJEhpmO4

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It is unlikely Kim watched it, which is a good thing, it is embarrassingly bad, almost satire, pandering and condescending to the point of being insulting to the intended viewer. Trump claimed:

      "I showed it to him today, actually, during in meeting, towards the end of the meeting and I think he loved it. We didn't have a big screen like you have the luxury of having, we didn't need it because we had it on a cassette, an iPad, and they played it and about eight of their representatives were watching it and I thought they were fascinated by it.

      "I thought it was well done, I showed it to you because that's the future, I mean, that could very well be the future. The other alternative is just not a very good alternative, it's just not good.

      "But I showed it because I really want him to do something."

      this is the closest I think he got to being truthful:

      "they played it and about eight of their representatives were watching it"

      At any rate the goal of the video was not met:

      Trump-Kim Jong Un summit fails to produce disarmament plan

      Trump also tried to convince Kim to let Trump build condos on North Korean beaches. A touch misguided.

      Trump also confessed to falling for Kim's leadership of North Koreans:

      “Well, I think you have somebody that has a great feeling for them. He wants to do right by them and we got along really well. We had a great chemistry"

      oh my



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    2. " ... to convince him to denuclearize."

      https://www.cbsnews.com/news/north-korea-summit-singapore-trump-says-he-trusts-kim-jong-un-to-denuclearize/

      http://www.businessinsider.com/north-korea-failed-to-denuclearize-in-the-past-2018-6

      https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2018/06/12/donald-trump-says-kim-jong-un-denuclearize-despite-skeptics/693392002/

      https://www.dailyrepublic.com/all-dr-news/wires/trump-kim-differ-on-what-it-means-to-denuclearize/

      [In Davidworld]
      T: Please. please. PLEASE - won't you denuclearize
      K: Maybe. I'd like to.

      T: There, I've convinced him!!

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    3. Tim -- You may be right, but I see Trump as intentionally flattering Kim in order to convince him to heroically denuclearize. It may not work, but I think it's worth a try.

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    4. Is this how Trump voters are going to excuse themselves for their complicity when the shit hits the fan?
      I suppose it's better than making believe they never heard of him, and calling themselves "Independents" or members of the "Tea Party", like they did after the last Republican President they adored crashed the world's economy and wasted $3+ Trillion on a military boondoggle.

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    5. Anon 12:40, I don't know what you mean by the shit hitting the fan. I don't see any downside in Trump's peace effort. If NK doesn't follow through on their promise to denuclearize, we're just back where we were before.

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    6. I think Trump is not the slightest bit concerned about North Korea having nuclear weapons. I think his desperate attempt to score political points via flattering Kim will open up the potential for Kim to get what he wants from Trump with no advantage for the US.

      Delete
    7. David,
      I was thinking more about what Trump's cabinet of grifters (Pruitt, DeVos, Perry, Mnuchin, Carson, etc) are doing.

      For instance, do you really see no downside of larding the EPA with folks who are OK with toxic air, water, and land just so the corporate elites can make another buck?

      Delete
    8. 10:47 since you asked
      EPA - there is a big cost to regulation. And, as liberals rightly claim, costs are disproportionately borne the weakest. Scaling back excessive EPA regs helps corporate elites, but it also helps the poor. It's one reason why black and Hispanic unemployment are at the lowest levels ever.

      DeVos -- Many black children are trapped in failing schools. She's working to give them alternatives

      Carson - a brilliant man, but with no background for the job. HUD has been a harmful and corrupt organization. The best thing to do with it would be to shut it down, but Carson isn't going to do that.

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    9. DeVos - wealthy bible thumper seeking to privatize education for the benefit of other wealthy school-privitizers and wipe out public education to the detriment of the non-wealthy.

      Carson - grifter (no need to go any further); HUD - providing housing, etc. assistance for the poor and no surprise horrible jackasses like you don't want to do anything to help the poor.It's a cultural thing, right?

      EPA - incredibly stupid word salad, even for you.To paraphrase Kudlow, there's a special place in Hell for deniers like you.

      Your response to my comment - I'm sure you understand the difference between convincing and trying to convince someone. Apparently, being such a constant liar is par for the course in your warped "conservative" bubble.

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    10. 11:20 supports the grift, because Trump is sticking it to black football players.

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    11. EPA costs.
      Now they're humbleragging the United Staes of America. There is no bottom to how low the Right-wing will stoop.

      Delete
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