Friday, October 10, 2008

file under: sweeping generalizations

this evening, while reading the crunchy con blog, i ran across the following quote from peter suderman concerning "why the republicans are so bad at communicating."

"One of the major problems with the contemporary right, broadly speaking, is that when it comes to communication, it's good at manipulation, but it's not very good at conversation. That makes it fairly effective when it comes to TV ads and speeches, which are one-way broadcast mediums. That's great for telling people what to do, and the GOP, especially in the Rove era, has become masterful at figuring at ways -- usually involving fear, of change, of the other, of political enemies -- to tell people what to do in ways that will actually get them to follow instructions."

now read the quote again, but substitute the term "conservative evangelicalism" for "contemporary right" and "the GOP."

maybe it's just me, but i find the critique fits both the GOP and much of evangelicalism quite well. the second part of the critique, which i've posted below, seems to apply to both groups also:

"But it's borderline catastrophic when it comes to new media, which emphasizes networked interactivity -- which is where the left, online or off, seems to shine. Part of this is the way the right appeals to authority while the left appeals to community. The left's infrastructure has always (and unremarkably) emphasized communal action -- whether in 60s and 70s anti-war protests or in Alinsky-style community organizing . It also has a lot to do with modern conservatism's trouble with doubt: For decades, the right has had trouble with ambiguity (Postmodern Conservatism doesn't seem strange for no reason), and systems without authority and hierarchy -- systems like the web -- are inherently ambiguous."

i'm not trying to throw bombs here. i just think that suderman's critiques are worth considering.

ht: rod dreher


Landis said...

I agree with what you're saying here. I'm curious what you substitue the second half of the critique "the left" with if "contemporary right"="Conservative evangelicalism"?

Landis said...

I guess what I'm looking for is a community of Jesus followers that look a lot like what the author describes in that last paragraph: communal action, not having trouble with ambiguities, and systems without so much hierarchy. Sounds like a group I could hang with.

g13 said...

as for the second part of the critique i don't know if you can draw a direct parallel between the left and emerging christian communities. many of these communities, such as the one that i am currently a apart of, do not have a super sophisticated understanding of relational technology, though they definitely reflect the focus on communal organizing and communal action.

the latter communities are definitely more comfortable with ambiguity and suspicious of patriarchial, authoritarian leadership.

as for your search, i wish you lived closer. i think your family would fit in quite well at the gathering.