Saturday, August 30, 2008

Google Bombing and Shaping the Narrative

Years ago, Electronic Arts made a sports game for Commodore 64 called Caveman Ugh-Lympics. It was one of their classics, from EA's golden age. It was a spoof of all the olympic-themed games to follow after Track and Field, and featured caveman-themed sporting events. One event was the combat arena. Two cavemen would club each other around in order to knock the other off the cliff, but this wasn't the whole event, merely the second stage. The first stage was the Intimidation Phase, where each caveman tried to freak the other out, pushing and pulling for territory. You could begin the fighting on equal ground, or your toes up against the edge.

In politics, the "Intimidation Phase" is known as shaping the narrative, or framing the debate. It involves establishing the ground rules of the later rounds. The Republicans are masters of this; Democrats, ehh...not so much. We're getting better. At least those of us in the blogosphere.

Anyway, we're in that crucial phase in regards to, um...dammit, What's-Her-Name? So-And-So? The Ugly One? Okay, it's Sarah Palin.

So you see what I'm doing, right? I am doing this in order to help shape the narrative. I'm trying to push that other caveman to the edge of the cliff. I really do forget this woman's name, so it's not completely disingenious. This was my first honest reaction to McCain's VP pick - I immediately thought of Strong Bad's Teen Girl Squad. And it gets a lot of laughs. Go ahead, try it yourself. You'll make everybody around you laugh and chuckle.

This is important. I know Democrats and activists are still working through their strategy in how to deal with Palin, and I do take the Republicans seriously. They remain a great threat, and they can still win this election (as frustrating and baffling as that sounds). But we already have a powerful weapon on our side, and we need to wield it now: humor and satire. We need to laugh our way to victory. This is especially crucial for the bloggers.

You will also notice the previous post, where I highlighted the phrase, "Palin is a bust"? This is another important part of our strategy. This is really just that old tactic called "Google bombing." We're using the internet's search engines to associate certain words, and join them together. AmericaBlog, those wonderful souls, began this with their headline. Now I'm repeating it in my post, in the link itself.

This is extremely important. I cannot emphasize this enough. We can help to shape the narrative this way, and move the fight to terms more favorable to us. The Democrats always wind up in trouble because they allow the Republicans to dictate the terms of the debate, usually involving emotional rhetoric over facts and reality. It works, it works a lot. We need to do more of the same. The best part is that we have facts on our side. We just need to get the message out.

So here's what we will all do. When linking to posts and articles on What's-Her-Face, use words like "Palin is a bust." Think of it as Miserable Failure, Part II. Get on it, gang!

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