The Deaf Claque

Because they’re worth clapping for…probably…

I Need a Brand-Aid

So. A rather depressing realization just struck me. Our political process here in the states has become, LOL like totally, dominated by brands.

Brands are simply, specifically a means of you telling me what you mean for me to see. Basically. That is to say, a brand is the personal feeling–emotional aftertaste, as Ze Frank likes to call it–that is felt when a word or phrase is heard, read, spoken, or otherwise experienced. Brands are often used to convey a complex message or feeling in very few words.

In the first paragraph above, “the brand” is responsible for the awkwardness of the presence of the valley girl expletive in the context of an otherwise…arguably intelligent…sentence.

We don’t usually think about them, but brands very much shape the decisions we make. Would you rather eat “Spew’s Potato Chunks” or “Lightly Salted Kettle Chips”? Familiarity notwithstanding, your decision is probably the latter, thanks to the concept of the brand.

I’ve been reading The Federalist Papers lately–the single most important document in American political history. The difference in methods of persuasion between then and now is unmistakable and unacceptable. To me at least. I guess.

In the The Federalist Papers, persuasion was achieved or at least attempted chiefly through a clear, content-based presentation of arguments. But now it ain’t no thang.

If you pay as much attention to politics as I, two thoughts may have crossed your minds:

1. “I pay far too much attention to politics.”


2. “These politicians talk more than an excited Valley Catholic schoolgirl but never really say anything.”

How is this tolerated you may ask? My answer to you, dear friend, would be “brands.” In the case that you don’t ask, on the other hand, my answer to you, dear friend, wouldn’t be.

Because I am authoring this essay into–this examination of–the brand, and because it is a tradition among pseudo-philosophers (and philosophers alike, I might add) I will now pull two terms out of a certain one of my human orafaces that have no real meaning. BUT! They will when I’m done with them.

The first is this: the “Explicit Brand”

The second is this: the “Implicit Brand”

By the first, I mean what we normally think of in the rare instances that we think of the meaning of brands. The feeling you get when you hear the word “warm cookie,” for example.

By the second, I mean the feeling you get when you hear a speech by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Or a speech by Adolf Hitler. This is one of the rare instances in which those two men can stand in common example of a singular idea so I thought I might as well make use of it. Seize the moment or something. An experience can be recalled, and only in part, by the phrase “Adolf Hitler’s speech” (and explicit brand) but it is initially constructed by the experience of the speech itself–the implicit brand. (I realize “explicit” and “implicit” aren’t really the proper terms but flow is more important to me right now as I write.)

Contemporary politicians use both. Regularly. In fact I would argue that politicians almost entirely rely on brands when communicating with the general public. They give speeches, appear on telivision and radio, make visits to various locations, etc…. But, when you listen to what they are actually saying–and I’m speaking about 99% of the population of politicians in an attempt to seem legitimate by avoiding generalizations–you see that, though there is some kind of content, it is clearly not the focus of the experience.

It’s not JUST the fault of politicians though; we demand it of them.

In order to compete in the politics of a nation that has sooooo many people and is so like-totally-instant-gratification-nowly-minded you HAVE TO create a brand for yourself or you just won’t get your rep.

It’s fast food politics for a fast food nation. But as we all know, fast food isn’t good for us and if we continue eating it 24/7 we’re going to die a lot sooner than we’d like.

July 10, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Jon Stewart: Doug Feith Interview

This is Jon Stewart’s interview with Doug Feith, the former Under Secretary of Defense for Policy for President Bush.

On somewhat of a serious note, I think this interview THE perfect example of the role of the media. Stewart clearly has his opinions, acknowledges them, and makes the goal of the discussion to “bridge the gap,” as he says.

Most importantly, he holds Feith accountable for what he says which, in my opinion, should be the chief role of the interviewer/host and doesn’t let him get away with deception or honest misunderstandings. It’s too bad we have to look to a show on Comedy Central for this kind of quality interviewing.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

May 13, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Department of Peace and Non-Violence

By Nathan Schmitt

The past February, Dennis Kucinich introduced H.R. 808–Department of Peace and Nonviolence Act. The bill is currently going through subcommittees of the House, though rather slowly at this point, and gathering co-sponsors of which there are currently 67. Here is a summary of the bill:

Department of Peace and Nonviolence Act – Establishes a Department of Peace and Nonviolence, which shall be headed by a Secretary of Peace and Nonviolence appointed by the President with the advice and consent of the Senate. Sets forth the mission of the Department, including to: (1) hold peace as an organizing principle; (2) endeavor to promote justice and democratic principles to expand human rights; and (3) develop policies that promote national and international conflict prevention, nonviolent intervention, mediation, peaceful resolution of conflict, and structured mediation of conflict.

Establishes in the Department the Intergovernmental Advisory Council on Peace and Nonviolence, which shall provide assistance and make recommendations to the Secretary and the President concerning intergovernmental policies relating to peace and nonviolent conflict resolution.

Transfers to the Department the functions, assets, and personnel of various federal agencies.

Establishes a Federal Interagency Committee on Peace and Nonviolence.

Establishes Peace Day. Urges all citizens to observe and celebrate the blessings of peace and endeavor to create peace on such day.” (1)

November 8, 2007 Posted by | Uncategorized | 3 Comments

Facebook Poll: Slightly Disturbing

By Nathan Schmitt

Woman President Poll

I logged into Facebook just now and was confronted with this poll. It is by no means a credible representation of the population as there is no sampling/method data (i.e. MoE, target demographic, etc…) so it’s not worth reading too much into. However, it is safe to assume that the overwhelming majority of submissions are from college students, followed by high school students and people of similar age.

That’s not to say that this is representative of young adults, but it seems to be representative of some unknown demographic. It’s hard to tell what this means, if anything at all. I just thought I’d post it since I was so surprised.

October 31, 2007 Posted by | 2008 Election, General Discourse, Hillary Clinton, Nathan Schmitt, Uncategorized | , , , | Leave a comment

2007 U.S. Intelligence Budget: $43.5 Billion

By Nathan Schmitt

For the first time in almost a decade, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) released the the Intelligence budget for 2007. There is very, very minimal information on the distribution itself, but the total amount is $43.5 Billion. Director Mike McConnell says,

Any and all information concerning the intelligence budget, whether the information concerns particular intelligence agencies or particular intelligence programmes, will not be disclosed.” (1)

Also, according to the WaPo,

The director of national intelligence will disclose today that national intelligence activities amounting to roughly 80 percent of all U.S. intelligence spending for the year cost more than $40 billion, according to sources on Capitol Hill and inside the administration.

The disclosure means that when military spending is added, aggregate U.S. intelligence spending for fiscal 2007 exceeded $50 billion, according to these sources, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the total remains classified.” (2)

That is about a quarter of the amount that Bush requested for next year to fund the war in Iraq. The two aren’t directly related, the comparison is just for scale.

October 30, 2007 Posted by | Economics, Nathan Schmitt, Uncategorized | , | Leave a comment

Pirates: “We’re coming back!”

By Nathan Schmitt


Speaking of non-news, pirate attacks are on the rise worldwide. Perhaps I should make some cliched remark correlating this rise of attacks with Pirates of the Carribean and, although I am decidedly against such references, I just did.

The IMB said Southeast Asia’s Malacca Strait, one of the world’s busiest waterways, has been relatively quiet with 198 attacks on ships reported between January and September, up from 174 in the same period in 2006.

It said 15 vessels were hijacked, 63 crew members kidnapped and three killed.” (1)

Also, I think I should qualify that it is a problem as valuable goods, as well as lives, are being taken so it’s not something to be lightly laughed at. It does sound rather absurd rolling off the tongue though…

October 30, 2007 Posted by | Economics, Uncategorized | | Leave a comment

CafĂ© Mundo: A Virtual Coffee Shop

By Nathan Schmitt

I was pointed to this website by a reader (of at least one time…) and thought I would share it.

Here is the general description:

The Cafe Mundo staff are university graduates who came back to school after more than ten years of working, traveling and teaching. We started the Cafe Mundo website as a project to open a forum for our visitors to research papers, essays, travel stories, and photos. We want to bring the discussion of Western Hemisphere issues out of the classroom and into an open forum for students, business people, travelers and writers.” (1)

My two favorite sections so far are the Article Section and the Research Section. On this site, there is a wide variety of topics from a wide array of perspectives, and the pieces are very intelligent and articulate.

October 28, 2007 Posted by | Nathan Schmitt, Uncategorized | | 1 Comment

Regime Alteration: Theocracy?

Haha, I apologize for that tremendously horrible attempt at a pun.

The Deaf Claque now has a new writer! Yesterday, a friend of mine and very intelligent…human being…Theo O’Brien agreed to write stories for The Deaf Claque. From now on, each post will have the author’s name at the top so you know who’s bias you’re ignoring–as well you should be… Though unmarked, all posts prior to this one are written by Nathan Schmitt.

October 25, 2007 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | 1 Comment

This is an odd post…Ann Coulter…? (Video)

I came across a compilation of Ann Coulter quotes a few moments ago and my immediate reaction was “Wow…I have to post these.” After further considering this for, at the most, 20 seconds I thought “Wow…No I don’t.” The news media LOVES Ann Coulter for reasons obvious enough. From one perspective she is a ridiculous source of absurd hilarity. From another she is a passionate, mainstream representative for those who share her beliefs. From yet another she embodies all that is Entertainment, therefore putting her in the center of the public eye from time to time.

Regardless of which one of these you may subscribe to (or if you subscribe to another unique perspective), there’s no denying that she is a media monkey. I use the term not to degrade or insult her at all; the monkeys are handpicked with equal consideration from both the news media and the news media consumers.

My “Wow…No I don’t” reaction came the little dude in my head that wants me not to participate in partisan media hackery, but after careful deliberation (of about 30 seconds) I decided that my posting of this doesn’t count. It’s a good collection of “Coulter Quotes” all of which are cited (but not hyperlinked).

My qualifying disclaimer is this: all of the quotes here are out of context; I post them only for entertainment for those of you who already have some experience with her (which, I think it’s fair to assume, is the vast majority of people who bother to look at obscure blogs such as this). Do not try to use them as any sort of substantive support unless you research them further.

I understand that Ann Coulter is not real news and I don’t plan to run much on her in the future.

That being said…THESE ARE HILARIOUS!

Supplemental video:

October 21, 2007 Posted by | Ann Coulter, General Discourse, Uncategorized, Video | | 1 Comment

Wouldn’t this be nice…

Here is “The Ultimate Rejection Letter.” Very funny. Thanks for the link, Rachel.

October 21, 2007 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment