The frenetic manic hyperbolic pace of national scandals being issued from every orifice of the Ol’ Pussy Grabber’s is the defining quality of our times. It is as if the Ol’ Pussy Grabber is suffocating us with his sulfurous farts, drowning us in his acerbic diarrhea, and choking us on his bilic vomitus. He is eroding and corroding the soul of the nation by exposing us to his own black corrupted heart. Our national experience is his daily experience writ large.
The intense partisan battle that ensues around him is just another of his gaslighting techniques designed to further degrade our commitment to anything other than his corrupt intent. My fear, and that of many who are closely engaged in the partisan fight, is that it will consume the nation, but the sad reality is that most of our citizenry are not engaged in it at all. To the degree that they’re aware it all seems a huge messy tit-for-tat he-said, she-said kinda thing. Something that is impossible to figure out.
In many ways that is by design — designed by the Ol’ Pussy Grabber and allies and by evolutionary psychology. Disengagement is a design feature of our brain, not a flaw. Anytime we encounter something that is difficult, we will look for a simpler, but similar, version to use.
The example that Kahneman used to demonstrate this point — and in the experiments he ran to support it — went something like this:
How likely is that the Ol’ Pussy Grabber will be re-elected?
That’s a hard question to answer, it’s still likely a long way away, so we look for a simpler related question — not consciously of course; this is done completely outside of your conscious awareness — like, How do I feel about the Ol’ Pussy Grabber right now?
- I hate the mo’fo’! Probably gets you a solid, zilch. He’s toast.
- I’m afraid of the slippery sumbitch! Probably gets you a solid, it’s possible. I hope not, but it’s possible and I’m afraid likely.
- We love to choke on the shit that slides down the walls after he slings there! Probably gets you a solid, he’ll win a landslide.
It is an energy saving strategy since our brain makes up 2% of our body’s mass but uses 20% of its energy. A design feature that was beneficial in the calorie-poor environment of hunter-gatherers but is not no longer needed in our calorie-rich urban environments.
Irony alert: Our disengagement with complex difficult problems is about to return us to a calorie-poor environment as the environmental calamity of climate change descends upon us. Ha ha! And, of course, the Ol’ Pussy Grabber is doing far more than his fair share to ensure that climate change happens. Whether that is his intent or just an unfortunate side-effect of his malignant personality is the topic of another blog post.
Don’t believe that most Americans really are not all that engaged and that most of us don’t get our news inside an echoing bubble of like-minded citizens? Check out the FiveThirtyEight article, Media Bubbles Aren’t The Biggest Reason We’re Partisans. It explains the research behind it. It is filled with enlightening gems like these:
“People have a notion from hearing about (information echo chambers) that most Americans are getting news and information from a very slanted media diet,” he [Brendan Nyhan, government professor at Dartmouth] told me. “Empirical evidence suggests that’s not true.”
There are about 122 million Americans who told the Census Bureau that they voted in 2018.
FOX News and MSNBC pull in around 3 million viewers when their top hosts are on air.
…around 5 million people tune in to each of the network nightly news shows.
So, let’s see, that’s three million for FOX and three million for MSNBC, so that makes six million together… assuming there is no overlap. And five million for broadcast TV… hmmm… Garsh darn it! I have to take off a shoe and sock. Hah! That’s eleben million total… if there aren’t any cross-overs which only makes the total much smaller.
Let’s see here, that leaves a hun’ert and elebinty million not watching any news a’tall, but they is still voting! Now, how can that be! Are they getting there news from social media?
In a national sample of about 2,500 Americans, taken during the final weeks of the contentious 2016 presidential campaign, nearly 60 percent of all fake news visits came from the 10 percent of respondents with the most conservative media diets.Guess, Nyhan, and Reifler, 2018
[R]esearchers tracked a sample of 50,000 Americans who heavily consumed online news and found that their reading was overwhelmingly self-directed (rather than algorithm-selected) and mainstream centrist in orientation. And, while the use of social networks and search engines were associated with a larger partisan divide — they were also associated with people being more frequently exposed to more opinions they disagreed with.Flaxman, Goel, and Rao, 2016
But it isn’t all bad news. Nyhan, the political junkie from Dartmouth, tells us that a small percentage of partisans consume the largest amount of news — is this the old 80-20 Pareto thing coming back round? — and are all big-mouths, so politicians listen to them.
[T]he polarizing effects of talking to people who share your partisan political bent were more than twice as large as the effects of consuming politically biased media.Druckman, Levendusky, and McLain, 2018
That’s the good news! If you’re spending all your time fretting about the Ol’ Pussy Grabber, you may as well, also spend some of that time on the horn to your MoC and influence the tune they sing wherever they are representing you. Or at least to whatever friends, relatives, and distant relations that will still go out for coffee with you!
So, go ahead, bop on over to FiveThirtyEight and get the nitty gritty on all the stuff I left out! Chicks dig the nitty-gritty! Drop a few of those nuggets down at the local dico, and who knows who you’ll be hooking up with!
Categories: Behavior Economics