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April 22, 2008

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Jeremy Gregg

Phil, I thought you might enjoy this: "Does sarcasm work?"

http://news.google.com/http://www.donorpowerblog.com/donor_power_blog/2008/04/the-misdirected.html

Phil Cubeta

Thanks, Jeremy. The piece makes good points about how to make friends and influence people. The challenge one has, though, is that when the "reality frames" have been built by professionals to exclude or marginalize important issues, the frame has to be broken, or accepted. You can operate nicely inside a frame, created and held in place by established systems, and expect to have much impact. The strategies for frame breaking cannot easily be reduced to a formula, like "play nicely," or "don't offend established pieties," or "sound reasonable."

It is always worth asking who has faced similar challenges in earlier eras and how they got the job done. What rhetorical devices do work, beyond acceptance of the status quo and its prevailing decorum?

Fable, parable, satire, just so story, carnival, humor, allegory - all are potential models. Then you have your slogans, bumper stickers, soundbites, jingles, white papers, celebrity endorsements, even handed recounting of warring views, etc.

"Snark does not wor," is true, what works is going along to get along. Some of us are willing to take big losses to learn the limits, and how to transgress them successfully for the public good. That is one reason I can't stop thinking about the relationship between the arts and philanthropy. Different means, same ends, perhaps - both instrumentally and expressively, and both may involve a gain to society and a loss to the giver.

Your blog and that of Dr. Larry James set an excellent example of upsetting people in a good cause and doing it with grace (maybe in more than one sense of grace.)

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