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Really excellent advice for finishing a book

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Chuck Wendig (previously) celebrates the release of his latest novel Invasive with 25 extremely good pieces of advice for people trying to finish a novel. (more…)

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mxm23
8 days ago
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Because BoingBoing sometimes buries the links: http://terribleminds.com/ramble/2016/09/20/heres-how-to-finish-that-fucking-book-you-monster/
San Rafael, CA
emdot
8 days ago
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Read through to the actual advice.
San Luis Obispo, CA
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Deplorable Pneumonia

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When Hillary Clinton called half of Trump supporters a “basket of deplorables,” I said it would not move the polls more than 1%. My thinking is that we have three types of voters:

1. The Deplorables – who already made up their minds for Trump.

2. Clinton supporters – who already made up their minds for Clinton.

3. Undecideds – who don’t care about stuff like this. That’s why they are undecided. And most of them probably have decided. They just don’t want to admit it.

All by itself, the “deplorable” gaffe wouldn’t be much of an issue in the long run. Clinton had time to apologize and recover from it.

But then Clinton collapsed with some sort of health problem – perhaps pneumonia – at the 9-11 anniversary event. The optics of a potential commander-in-chief collapsing at that holy place, and on an important anniversary, rendered her unelectable in my opinion. I base that prediction on how people will associate her health issues with the need to have a reliable commander-in-chief. Persuasion-wise, that’s a hole you don’t get out of.

But the 9-11 situation had another impact that I didn’t realize until today. It weaponized Clinton’s earlier gaffe about the deplorables by turning it into what I call a “fake because.” Sometimes you need a “fake because” to rationalize whatever you are doing. And that’s doubly-important in this situation. Here’s why.

In our rational minds, we are good people who use data and reason to arrive at our decisions. We need to maintain that untrue self-image to stay happy. Clinton’s collapse at the 9-11 event creates an uncomfortable dissonance in us. On one hand, we don’t think anyone should be penalized for a minor illness. And we don’t wish harm on anyone. Our rational minds want to NOT care that Clinton collapsed on the 9-11 anniversary. That’s who we are. We’re rational people who can put stuff like this in context.

But in our irrational minds – the part that actually makes decisions – we really, really don’t want a commander-in-chief who is so frail that she might sneeze-fart herself to death in the Situation Room. Realistically, and rationally, we know that isn’t a real problem. 

But…it…feels…like one. 

And that’s what matters. We want to act on that feeling, but it conflicts with our self-image as nice people. That causes cognitive dissonance. The way out of your dissonance is to find a “fake because.” You need to latch onto some sort of rational-sounding reason that passes the sniff test. 

And so you look to Clinton’s “deplorable” comment and find your “fake because.” She insulted voters, you say! It’s just like Romney’s 47% gaffe, you say! She’s acting unpresidential, you say!

Any reasonable person knows Clinton was making her usual point about Trump attracting an unsavory bunch of supporters. She just worded it in a funny way (and it was funny) but it blew up in her face. There is no story here. 

All by itself, the “basket of deplorable” gaffe was more funny than damaging. But coming as it did so near to Clinton’s health problem, it turns into a handy “fake because.” 

The existence of a “fake because” frees the undecideds. It gives them an issue they can understand – as opposed to international trade deals, for example – and it gives them a “reason” for their change: They can say they want a president who supports all Americans, even the deplorable ones.

When Clinton collapsed at the 9-11 site, that was enough to end her chances of winning. But adding the “fake because” to her “deplorable” comment will super-charge whatever was going to happen anyway.

You might love my book because Clinton called some voters deplorable. (But some, I assume, are good people.)

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mxm23
17 days ago
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For someone who endorsed Clinton he doesn't act like it.
San Rafael, CA
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The Race for President is (Probably) Over

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If you are following breaking news, Hillary Clinton abruptly left the 9-11 memorial today because she was reportedly “overheated.” Her campaign says she is fine now.

You probably wonder if the “overheated” explanation is true – and a non-issue as reported – or an indication of a larger medical condition. I’m blogging to tell you it doesn’t matter. The result is the same.

Here’s why.

If humans were rational creatures, the time and place of Clinton’s “overheating” wouldn’t matter at all. But when it comes to American psychology, there is no more powerful symbol of terrorism and fear than 9-11 . When a would-be Commander-in-Chief withers – literally – in front of our most emotional reminder of an attack on the homeland, we feel unsafe. And safety is our first priority. 

Hillary Clinton just became unelectable.

The mainstream media might not interpret today’s events as a big deal. After all, it was only a little episode of overheating. And they will continue covering the play-by-play action until election day. But unless Trump actually does shoot someone on 5th Avenue, he’s running unopposed.

No book ad today. Remember 9-11 instead.

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mxm23
17 days ago
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I can't decide if I'm reading Scott's blog to attempt to shock myself out of cognitive dissonance or if he's really a raging lunatic?
San Rafael, CA
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Hacked 2015 Democratic memo tells candidates how to deal with Black Lives Matter: listen, but offer no policy support

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An internal memo from a key Democratic Party electioneering group tells candidates to listen but “don’t offer support” for the “concrete policy positions” of Black Lives Matter protesters—and offers tips on getting past it. Whatever you do, don't say all lives matter! "This is the worst response," the memo warns.

The 2015 memo was allegedly swiped by hackers supporting Russian efforts to influence election season in America.

“Presidential candidates have struggled to respond to tactics of the Black Lives Matter movement,” reads the memo, sent by a Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee staffer in November. “While there has been little engagement with House candidates, candidates and campaign staff should be prepared. This document should not be emailed or handed to anyone outside of the building. Please only give campaign staff these best practices in meetings or over the phone.” ...

If approached by BLM activists, campaign staff should offer to meet with local activists,” the memo reads. “Invited BLM attendees should be limited. Please aim for personal or small group meetings.”

“Listen to their concerns,” it continues. “Don’t offer support for concrete policy positions.”

The memo includes advice on what, exactly, to say to Black Lives Matter activists. It recommends avoiding phrases like “all lives matter” and warns not to bring up “black on black crime,” since the “response will garner additional media scrutiny and only anger BLM activists.”

BLM responded:

We are disappointed at the DCCC’s placating response to our demand to value all Black life. Black communities deserve to be heard, not handled. People are dying.

Whether Republican, Democrat or otherwise, our elected officials have an ethical and democratic responsibility to make legislation that reflects the needs of their constituents. That includes Black people facing life-threatening challenges because of racist, failed policies.

We demand, and are fighting every day for, a radical transformation of American democracy where all Black lives are valued. We expect that our elected officials will stop pacifying and take us seriously.

We encourage all policymakers and elected officials to read the Movement for Black Lives policy platform and commit to legislation in the first 100 days that ensures that #BlackLivesMatter.

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mxm23
28 days ago
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I can't trust the veracity of the document -- Russia may have altered it or outright faked it. However it does, unfortunately, have the ring of truth.
San Rafael, CA
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Bill Gates' net worth hits $90B, proving Thomas Piketty's point

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-1x-1

When Thomas Piketty published his 2013 book Capital in the 21st Century, he said that capitalism's primary beneficiaries aren't those who make amazing things that improve the world (as its proponents claim) -- rather, it favors those who have a lot of money to begin with. (more…)

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mxm23
37 days ago
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While it may be true, one data point does not "prove" anything. (Although I haven't read the book.)
San Rafael, CA
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The Greatest Cognitive Dissonance Trap of All Time

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Here’s the set-up:

1. The mainstream media knows they are smarter than Donald Trump. They see evidence of this truth all the time, although much of that evidence is confirmation bias. 

Then…

2. Trump does something smart – accusing Obama and Clinton of being “founders” of ISIS. This is a clever way to get the world to debate Clinton and Obama’s ineffectiveness during a time when ISIS expanded. In other words, it is brilliant media manipulation, and it worked.

3. CNN and other Clinton supporters interpret Trump’s statement about ISIS as absurd and uninformed because they can’t imagine a scenario in which Trump does something brilliant. Trump being brilliant isn’t one of the options, as far as they know.

The reality of Trump’s clever persuasion is crystal-clear to anyone who thinks Trump is smart. Trump was clearly joking about the “founder” part to get people squawking, and it worked. Total success. Brilliant technique.

Now the media has a big problem. They can’t admit that they were extraordinarily dumb in this situation and Trump was brilliant. That reality is invisible to them because it doesn’t fit their worldview.

So…cognitive dissonance happens. 

This is a textbook set-up for cognitive dissonance. The facts we observe (Trump is smart, the media is gullible) is opposite of the media’s worldview in which they are smart and Trump is uninformed. So what do they do?

They act as if Trump is the dumb one in this situation. Because that fits their worldview.

And…they…fact-check his claim.

Meanwhile, the unhypnotized laugh themselves into a stupor watching this spectacle of cognitive dissonance. Humor aside, it is a marvelous and incredible thing to behold.

One of my smartest friends just emailed me to say he thinks Trump really believes that Obama and Clinton “founded” ISIS. My friend has a very high IQ and he’s well-informed. But cognitive dissonance isn’t influenced by intelligence. He believes whatever fits his worldview. Just like the rest of us.

The fun part is that we can see cognitive dissonance when it happens to others – such as with my friend, and CNN – but we can’t see it when it happens to us. So don’t get too smug about this. You’re probably next. 

I think this story will end up in psychology textbooks. You rarely see such a clean example of cognitive dissonance in public.

Oh, and Trump hates babies, and he also wants a 2nd amendment supporter to assassinate his opponent. As long as the media is being dumbasses, they might as well fact-check that stuff too.

I have never been so entertained.

If you think Obama and Clinton were not founders of ISIS, you might like my book.

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wreichard
48 days ago
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"Here’s the set-up:

1. Scott Adams _knows_ he is smarter than the mainstream media..."

"The fun part is that we can see cognitive dissonance when it happens to others – such as with my friend, and CNN – but we can’t see it when it happens to us. So don’t get too smug about this. You’re probably next."

Oh, the irony.
Earth
wreichard
48 days ago
"Oh, and Trump hates babies, and he also wants a 2nd amendment supporter to assassinate his opponent. As long as the media is being dumbasses, they might as well fact-check that stuff too." So, he is fact-checking them. That makes complete sense if you believe nothing makes sense.
wreichard
48 days ago
I guess the only answer to something like this is: I know you are but what am I?
mxm23
48 days ago
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Scott Adams funds ISIS.
San Rafael, CA
wreichard
48 days ago
I wonder if we're supposed to think Scott Adams actually believes what _he_ is saying and writing or whether it too is a cunning ruse.
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