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H. L. (Bud) Goodall, Jr. lives in Arizona where he is a college professor and writer. He has published 20 books and many articles and chapters on a variety of communication issues. His most recent books include Counter-Narrative: How Progressive Academics Can Challenge Extremists and Promote Social Justice (Left Coast Press, 2010) and, with Jeffry Halverson and Steven R. Corman, Master Narratives of Islamic Extremism (Palgrave Macmillan, 2011) .
(3 comments) SHARE Sunday, February 20, 2011 The Republican Hate Narrative Against Public Employees and Unions
Scott Walker is a multi-millionaire governor who hates public employees and unions. John Boehner is a multi-millionaire Speaker of the House who hates public employees, unions, & NPR. The Koch Brothers are billionaires who provide funding for politicians and the dupes of the Tea Party to rise up against the government programs that provide a quality of life and protections against corporations. The Republican rich hate us.
(2 comments) SHARE Friday, January 21, 2011 JFK's Inaugural Address: 50 Years Ago and Still Relevant
Yesterday marked the 50th anniversary of JFK's inaugural address. I take another look at it but find in it some good lessons for us today. While our time is messier and more complex than his was on the world stage, we face many of the same divisive challenges at home that we then faced abroad. It was a great speech for its time, and its message should resonate for our time.
(8 comments) SHARE Monday, December 13, 2010 What is "The American Dream?": John Boehner vs. Barack Obama vs. Walter Trout
The idea of "the American Dream" has been part of every politician's narrative for as long as we can remember, but there are really very different versions of what this idea means. This piece examines John Boehner and President Obama's views on the subject, and then contrasts them with musician Walter Trout, who offers a more realistic version than either the president or the incoming Speaker.
(3 comments) SHARE Saturday, February 26, 2011 Divided We Fall
What do the protests and uprisings in the Middle East and North Africa have in common with the protests in Wisconsin and Ohio? What does the "bold plan" put forward by the Chancellor of the U of Wisconsin system have in common with the "bold plan" being discussed in Arizona to create competition among colleges for resources? What is it like to be a college professor in these times and what should we do about it? Here's what
(13 comments) SHARE Saturday, March 19, 2011 The Liberal Inside of Me
Dr. Timothy Chandler withdrew from a Provost job at Kennesaw State University he had just won after a local newspaper found that a paper he published in 1998 contained a reference to Karl Marx. This is the latest tactic by the right to discredit educators and education. It is also a namecalling propaganda strategy similar to that used by Peter King against Muslims. In America, these outrages cannot be tolerated.
(3 comments) SHARE Thursday, March 10, 2011 The Republican War on Higher Education: Abraham Lincoln Weeps
The massive budget cuts to higher education sweeping the country should be of great concern to all of us. Public higher education provides opportunities for access to these institutions and the excellence in them to non-elites. But these cuts will change that. Thirty years of Republican propaganda will have been successful if an effective counter narrative isn't launched.
(3 comments) SHARE Sunday, February 13, 2011 The Tyranny of Silence
The success of the Egyptian protests demonstrates the power of voice in a democracy. It is a lesson that those of us on the left (and in the center) should learn from, much as those on the far right have done. As we watch our democracy become a plutocracy, as we see our values compromised and our services and salaries diminished while the rich get richer and the wars go on, we need to remember what Egypt has taught us.
(2 comments) SHARE Thursday, December 9, 2010 God Bless You, Michele Bachmann
Michele Bachmann delivered a letter to the president on behalf of the Congressional Prayer Caucus that should be an outrage to any American and especially to Christians. Their demand that the president use the word "God" and/or "the Creator" in public speeches is a violation of our Constitutional freedom as well as a cheap political tactic in a time of economic crisis.
(1 comments) SHARE Friday, January 7, 2011 True Grit: Language and Culture Aren't Neutral, Or, Huck Finn Meets the U. S. Constitution
Two issues related to language and culture found their way into political news this week, and both are rooted in the same bad idea: that we can edit out the unseemly aspects of our nation's history. So it is that I examine the replacement of the "n-word" in Huck Finn with "slave" and the editing out of the reading of the U.S. Constitution the "three-fifths" clause. But the lesson of why these edits are bad is in True Grit.
(13 comments) SHARE Tuesday, January 11, 2011 News Flash: Most Americans Believe there is No Link Between Rhetoric and Reality!
The CBS opinion poll released today says most Americans don't believe there is a link between vitriolic rhetoric and the tragic shootings in Tucson. That is a convenient and easy excuse, but it is also wrong. The right can't have it both ways--they claim reading Marx makes you a Commie but then deny that hate speech on the airwaves or targeting images on the Web have any motivational effect. Words matter and here's why ...
(12 comments) SHARE Monday, March 28, 2011 The War On Science is Now a War on Education
The Open Records request for Professor William Cronon's email is an expansion of the Republican attack that began with evolutionary biologists and then expanded with "climate gate." Their attempts at intimidation will not stand. If nothing else, this latest tactic offers further evidence of the lack of respect the right has for college professors as well as the disdain they have for the freedom of speech and right to dissent.
(4 comments) SHARE Wednesday, December 15, 2010 What's Wrong With America, Part I: We Like to Watch
Television is the primary vehicle for creating, organizing, and delivering culture and politics in America. And our country is culturally and politically in trouble. It's time to take account of television's influence on us. To do that I use communication and media research studies to underscore how watching television makes us more fearful of Others and more prone to see politics as just another entertainment option.
(5 comments) SHARE Friday, November 19, 2010 Warren Buffett Thanks Uncle Sam: And Values GOVERNMENT
Warren Buffett wrote a love letter to Uncle Sam thanking him for saving the economy from total meltdown. Better late than never, I suppose, but the important message for Progressives is that someone is speaking up for the value of government in our lives.
(2 comments) SHARE Tuesday, November 23, 2010 A Liar's Narrative: George W. Bush's "Decision Points"
A liar's narrative is not new in politics, but public acceptance of the liar's narrative--particularly when it involves war crimes--is behavior unbecoming of those living in a democracy. George W. Bush's "memoir" is just such a tale and that there hasn't been more of a public outcry at his continuing fabrications about going to war and in defense of torture is outrageous, even for an American politician.
(2 comments) SHARE Saturday, February 5, 2011 The Battle of Narratives Over Egypt
Journalists are missing the point of the Egyptian protests for the same reasons as they missed the impending global economic collapse. The call for "democracy" in Egypt means a call for lower food prices, more jobs, and less income inequality, all stories that are bypassed by networks only interested in spectacle. Up next: the global food crisis, job shortages, and inequality which may affect us like the Egyptians.
(1 comments) SHARE Saturday, January 15, 2011 The Many Storied Story of "The Narrative" and What the Loss of It Costs Us
Politicians, pundits, academics, and ordinary citizens talk about "the narrative." But what is a "narrative?" Why is it important? What is the work that "the narrative" about our country does in our country? Given the triumph of the Tea Party anti-government narrative, what can be done to recapture "the narrative" high ground? And how did Obama's speech in Tucson remind us of what we lost when we lost "the narrative?"
(19 comments) SHARE Monday, January 10, 2011 Killing Words, Metaphors, and Images: Narrative IEDs Come to Arizonistan
The tragic shooting in Tucson demonstrates that we need to think seriously about the relationship of words to actions in the hotly mediated political cauldron in Arizona as well as throughout the rest of the country. The idea that political rumors and vitriol represent narrative forms of IEDs (improvised explosive devices) that lead to acts of political violence in the Middle East is no sadly also the case at home.
(2 comments) SHARE Tuesday, February 1, 2011 Four Good Reasons America Got It Wrong in Egypt
Why is the U.S. getting it wrong in Egypt? There are four good reasons for our failure to get behind a popular democratic uprising against a tyrant. All of them are understandable, but also wrong-headed. We cannot continue to pursue old policies that no longer are in our best interests, nor can we afford to act on the basis of fear.
(1 comments) SHARE Saturday, January 29, 2011 Democracy, God, the People, and the Pharaoh: A Master Narrative's Work is Never Done
Understanding the use of the term "Pharaoh" to describe Egyptian dictator Mubarak creates a link to a powerful master narrative that cuts across religious and cultural borders. One result is that the ironic posture of the US - professing support for the protesters desire for democracy while continuing to support Mubarak - must be resolved in favor of the people if our words about democracy are ever to ring true in the region.
(1 comments) SHARE Thursday, November 11, 2010 Talking Critically About Religion: The Last Taboo
Talking critically about religious beliefs in public is the last taboo in American and global politics. But we must be able to do it if we are to successfully counter the fundamentalists at home and abroad. This op-ed takes into account the role of professed evangelical Christian beliefs in relation to climate change policy and advocates a way of opening up the religious narrative for the public good.
(8 comments) SHARE Tuesday, February 8, 2011 Obama's Rhetorical Leadership: Cutting the Bad Guys Off at the Pass
The president has demonstrated his rhetorical and leadership skills in two recent public appearances - the interview with Bill O'Reilly and the speech at the C of C. While as a communication scholar I applaud his ability to adapt his message to his audience and situation, as a progressive I am less satisfied. However, I say let's get behind him while he cuts off the bad guys at the pass, and hope real change follows.
(18 comments) SHARE Saturday, October 30, 2010 Strengthening the Progressive Core
The question "what should we say?" is one Progressives often ask when confronted with Teapublican propaganda. In this article I review the core narrative for Progressive thought and advocate two goals for how we should collectively carry forth our message.
(2 comments) SHARE Friday, December 17, 2010 What's Wrong With America, Part II: We Are a Warrior Nation That Can No Longer Afford to Be a Warrior Nation
Richard Holbrooke's last words were "You have got to stop this war in Afghanistan." They are now contested as to what he meant by a White House that is receiving a review of the war on the heels of WikiLeaks about its futility. The question "why are we in Afghanistan?" is worth asking, but the answer is embedded in a collusion of corporate interests, media complacence, and political lies. Holbrooke's memory deserves better.
(1 comments) SHARE Thursday, December 23, 2010 Another Christmas Carol, Part I: Scrooge Gets a Night Visitor
Ebenezer Scrooge, Teapublican from Down There, receives a night visitor--his old business partner and political ally, John McCain. McCain's appearance is a portend of three other night visitors to impart wisdom to Scrooge in the hope of getting him to change his political ways ... truly, this is an "end-of-the-year story for 2010!
(5 comments) SHARE Thursday, January 27, 2011 Game-Changing Narratives, Or: How Social Media is Changing Reality
The convergence of new social media and politics is on the verge of changing how we think about and act on reality. This piece explores that convergence by bringing together some new research on gaming, emotions, social media, and terrorism that should be a wake-up call for all of us.
(3 comments) SHARE Tuesday, February 15, 2011 Spending Cuts as Magical Realism
Both proposals to cut spending are exercises in magical thinking and both suffer from an inability to address the Big Four: War, Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. But of the four, the cost of war is most pressing. To seriously address the deficit requires ending the war and taxing the wealthy and the corporations who have "recovered" better than the rest of us. What we need is a bipartisan plan to accomplish it.
(3 comments) SHARE Tuesday, January 4, 2011 The Year Ahead in Political Narrative
Master narratives shape the political landscape at home and abroad, and this year in politics the role of master narratives about America, American identity and culture, and America's place in the world are likely to further divide the left from the right. However, our divisions will set the stage for political action on the left that is desperately needed.
(3 comments) SHARE Thursday, January 20, 2011 Inflexibility as a Poor Narrative Stance: The Republicans on Health Care and Sarah Palin on Tucson
A communication problem confronts our country and it is, for lack of a better descriptor, "inflexibility." Yesterday the House Republicans demonstrated it in their stubborn symbolic vote that did nothing but waste time, which is also what Palin's speech on Tucson did last week. In both cases we see leaders entrenched in their own "rightness" while poses peril for the rest of us. If you are too rigid to bend, you break.
(4 comments) SHARE Saturday, March 12, 2011 From Baghdad With Love
The similarities in strategy between Governors Walker and Snyder is worthy of a comparison to the Republican campaign strategy in the early days of the Iraq war and the situation in Baghdad. Overreaching ideological fervor combined with a strategy of controlling the situation by silencing the opposition, coupled with placing cronies in charge, allowed war profits for those at home but led to civil war in Iraq.
(1 comments) SHARE Sunday, November 21, 2010 What the Republicans and Teapublicans Have Done So Far: Get Me Outta "Toon Town!
Here is a summary of what the Republicans and Teapublicans have accomplished so far, which is a whole lot of nothing punctuated by a series of notable contradictions. I also call for President Obama to show some real leadership. The current situation reminds me of "Who's Afraid of Roger Rabbit?" and what we need is someone needs to get us out of this 'Toon Town!
(1 comments) SHARE Thursday, January 13, 2011 Amid the Political "Brabbling": What Gonzalez and Obama Accomplished and What Remains for Us To Do
Americans heard two poignant speeches last night honoring the victims of the Tucson shooting tragedy. Both of them appealed to our common humanity and sense of spiritual connection. But will we change as a result? Can speeches inspire us to action? These are important questions and if nothing else should require all of us to become more reflective about our speech and behavior. But it should also motivate us to action...
(3 comments) SHARE Monday, December 6, 2010 The Imagined America(s): Competing Political Fictions and the Loss of a Shared Storyline
Benedict Anderson's notion of "imagined communities" is a useful way to approach the current political divide in America. It is also a way of understanding the "thriller fiction" that passes for fact in Washington on both sides of aisle in Congress and increasingly from our president. What is lost when we give up on truth in favor of fiction is more than political leverage, it is a shared storyline capable of sustaining us.
(4 comments) SHARE Thursday, October 21, 2010 When Should We Speak?
What should Progressives say in response to attacks by Teapublicans on Obama? When and where should we speak out? This article provides a scenario and three possible solutions to those questions. In the end, it is as the late Martin Luther King, Jr. put it: In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends."
(4 comments) SHARE Monday, November 1, 2010 Midterm Elections: After Tuesday, It's Turtles All the Way Down
What are the two competing narratives that the major parties bring to this midterm election? How can we best understand them? Using Clifford Geertz's method for analyzing stories in relation to cultures and Walter Fisher's method for evaluating them, I offer an assessment.
(1 comments) SHARE Tuesday, February 22, 2011 Protests, Power, and the Longer Storyline: Lessons from Revolutions Past
The recent uprisings in Libya and Bahrain provide us with hope but also a reminder of the long slog that accompanies most revolutions. Unlike Egypt and Tunisia, dictators backed by the military make protests messy. Vietnam taught us that. We need to practice patience as well as passion and recognize that this struggle against money and power will take years. The same is true in the US. Wisconsin is only the beginning ...
(1 comments) SHARE Monday, January 24, 2011 SOTU Message to Obama: You Need to Pick Up the Pace and Score Three Touchdowns
The president should surprise everyone by acting on what is obvious to all of us: we need to end the wars that are costing us $190 million or more a day. With the savings, we can create a federal jobs program and provide incentives to business to hire and train workers. We can save education, health care, and social security. And we can win the battle of narratives abroad by showing what is best about the US.
(1 comments) SHARE Wednesday, November 3, 2010 The Morning After: What Went Wrong & What We Can Do With Narrative to Make it Right
The president failed to communicate the good work he was doing, failed to provide the core narrative that good government is all about promoting the public good, and failed to realize that most Americans pay more attention to soundbites and signs and anger than we do to calm rationality and a cool demeanor. This is a war of ideas, and every day we engage in a battle of narratives ... each and every one of us.
(1 comments) SHARE Monday, January 17, 2011 Narrative Inheritance, Redux: What We Should Learn Again From Martin Luther King, Jr.
We remember Martin Luther King, Jr. through his powerful speeches, his image, and the courage of his nonviolent convictions. But in the wake of the tragedy in Tucson, we should also remember the transformation of society that he enabled with his words and actions. Those who followed him did not let his death stop his dream. Today we need not shy away from the hard politics ahead, but remember King and change America.
(1 comments) SHARE Monday, February 28, 2011 Cantor's Excellent Question and How We Should Answer It
Eric Cantor asks an excellent question - why are we putting people on the federal payroll that we can't afford? But he gives the wrong answer by threatening to cut 700,000 American workers. The right answer is to cut the Iraqi and Afghanis we have on the federal payroll, and while we are at it, the contractors that have wasted billions of dollars on failed projects over there. Then end the war.
(1 comments) SHARE Thursday, December 2, 2010 Bad Sex in Fiction Criteria Applied to Obama's Narrative Strategy
The "Bad Sex in Fiction" award missed an opportunity to "honor" Barack Obama's failed 2010 narrative campaign strategy's core message, which was "Things would be worse without us." Here's the criteria for bad sex writing applied to his message and a call for a vastly improved narrative performance based on story, not bad metaphor.