Attention, persuaders: avoid time-wasting appeals to reason. (Bonus campaign commercial included!)

25 Jan


Democrats and Republicans Both Adept at Ignoring Facts, Study Finds

…The test subjects on both sides of the political aisle reached totally biased conclusions by ignoring information that could not rationally be discounted, Westen and his colleagues say.

Then, with their minds made up, brain activity ceased in the areas that deal with negative emotions such as disgust. But activity spiked in the circuits involved in reward, a response similar to what addicts experience when they get a fix, Westen explained.

The study points to a total lack of reason in political decision-making.

“None of the circuits involved in conscious reasoning were particularly engaged,” Westen said. “Essentially, it appears as if partisans twirl the cognitive kaleidoscope until they get the conclusions they want, and then they get massively reinforced for it, with the elimination of negative emotional states and activation of positive ones.”

This study proves that everyone needs to stop wringing their hands like a bunch of goddamn schoolmarms about the decline of rational political discourse in America. It’s a waste of time. You don’t need facts or reasonable arguments – people ignore them anyway! Go for the gut!

Here, I’ll get the ball rolling with a screenplay for an anti-Republican commercial that I whipped up within the space of about five minutes. Like everything else on my blog, it’s available for use under a Creative Commons license – so go to town with it, Democratic Party!


CLOSE-UP of a young, intense-looking GOVERNMENT AGENT wearing wire-rimmed spectacles. His face is lit an eerie blue by the computer screen in front of him.

Our viewpoint swings around: he’s reviewing hundreds of Google searches.

EXTREME CLOSE-UP on the name “John L. Smith, Des Moines, Iowa”.

CLOSE-UP of the agent as he turns and catches the eye of a TOUGH-LOOKING AGENT in a black suit.

The tough-looking agent nods grimly and picks up a phone.

CUT TO: JOHN SMITH walking down the sidewalk with his WIFE and LITTLE GIRL. They are laughing and chatting.

WIFE: We’ll just be a second.

SMITH nods amiably as his wife and daughter enter a doll store. Smiling in joy and contentment, he watches through the store’s window as his wife and daughter pick out a doll.

A BLACK MERCEDES pulls up to the curb. Several AGENTS in black leather coats get out, including the TOUGH-LOOKING AGENT from earlier.

AGENTS: (Yelling) Homeland Security! Homeland Security!

SMITH: (Confused) What do you want? I haven’t done anything!

The AGENTS grab Smith and drag him toward the car. He resists, and an agent punches him hard in the stomach. Once they are inside the Mercedes and the door is closed, the car pulls away quickly and speeds off down the street.

Smith’s wife and little girl emerge from the shop to find the sidewalk empty.

WIFE: John? John?!

LITTLE GIRL: Mommy? Where’d Daddy go?

CLOSE UP on the wife’s fear-filled eyes as she scans the street searching for her missing husband. The camera pulls back, emphasizing their smallness and fragility. The scene darkens. Snow begins to fall.



You might object that this commercial greatly oversimplifies the issues. It doesn’t clearly state who these agents are, who they work for, what they’re doing, why they feel the need to arrest John Smith, or what legal steps may or may not have been taken before Smith’s capture.

That’s because that would distract from the impact of my message. There aren’t even any issues, just emotionally-charged images! Damn you to Hell for your meddling interference!

You’ll also notice that I’m not really sure which parts of a screenplay get all-capped and which don’t.

Tags: , , ,

One Response to “Attention, persuaders: avoid time-wasting appeals to reason. (Bonus campaign commercial included!)”

  1. The Saddest Girl January 26, 2006 at 7:19 am #

    you crack me up sir

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: