WHAT’s THE STORY?
Five GOP local members in Texas are tweeting that George Floyd’s death was a set up funded by George Soros and staged to attack Trump. The murder never happened.
What a story? Believe it and what does it turn you into? Someome from another world perhaps who has the secret that us mere mortals lack? Makes you feel superior, I guess? You are in the know.
A black conservative commentator Candace Owens is saying that George Floyd was a thug, that sure, he did not deserve to die but he had a criminal record and that she does not support him as a martyr, meaning I guess that she, as his black sister. resents his hero status. She said “it sickens me.” So Fox News loves Candace Owen’s upset stomach enough to take it seriously because they agree, George Floyd, does not deserve the outrage.
What a story to tell, even before the deceased is laid to rest? And if we accept it, what does it turn us into? Does it make us into God who can see into other people’s souls? What did my Irish Aunty May say,’Never speak ill of the dead.”
President Trump tweeted that in Buffalo, NY, the 75 year old peacful protester pushed to the pavement and cracking his skull was an Anti Fa provocateur. His fall was an exaggerated reponse to the gentle push. He is still in serious conditon in hospital.
Another “great” story. If you imagine that to be true, what does that say about you? That old men are dangerous, and that blood on the pavement is some kind of prop.
The virus was a deliberate mistake from the Chinese scientsts in Wuhan who let loose the infection to punish the USA for the trade tariffs. Another amazing story because USA scientists were in Wuhan on that research.
If that is your story, no need to blame anyone else. And that is why Trump will keep calling it the “Wuhan Virus.” There seems little in the way of facts to back it up. Just lots of conincidences and suspictions. And for anyone to believe that, what does it turn you into? Do Conspiracy theories save us from having to think?
Near where I live, there is the Comet Ping Pong Pizza restaurant that an armed man attacked after hearing the story that it was a Hillary Clinton hang out for child abuse and drugs- a tweet that Attorney Sessions retweeted. Again, if you have ever been to that place, you would have to marvel at the powers of imagination to spin that story. They sometimes are so popular that they struggle to serve pizza, let alone all the other stuff. But someone bought the story and caused an act of violence.
The power of a story? Oh the sad state of some people’s minds. Why do science fiction or conspiracy theories better explain the world to many of us better than verifiable facts? Have facts lost their mojo? Have facts lost their storytellers that once made reality believable and convincing? Was that supposed to be our job? Truth today seems inept and simply unable to compete.
A Virus that is spread by chance, a freak accident of infection is no match for a 007, spy driven Chinese strategy for world domination. Throw in the CDC and Obama and the WHO as co-conspirators and spy master John LeCarre could sue for copyright. Have our lives so worn us down that we crave mindless escape? Reading novels is for high school. We watch Fox news or listen to the President instead. Non fiction is too boring.
Stories, Stories, Stories. I am one of those narrative evangelists of the world teaching that stories matter and how they can change the world. But what I do not often teach is that stories destroy the world too, just as easily and probably more often. Certainly, that seems to be the case right now. And I don’t like admitting that in the President and his megaphone media, we may have met our match.
Take the very issue that got Trump elected. Most immigrants are more law abiding than the locals, but one heart wrenching story about the one illegal immigrant who raped and murdered an innocent is enough to have the masses sign on to the “Build the Wall” agenda. The President knows that and he knows how to stage it at a State of the Union, and White House visit. What can we do? Call the Fact Checkers who call out the lies? But we see that stops nothing. Sadly the world does not work that way anymore. But have we even caught on enough to catch up?
I love to teach how amazing Churchill was as a narrator of the nations hopes, but I won’t admit that Hitler was much better at it. My German is basic. We will quote the amazing impact of Harriet Beecher Stowe’s “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” that President Lincoln said “caused the Civil War” but fail to mention that the “Protocols of the Elders of Zion” fed the Holocaust and feeds to this day White Supremacy, Charlottesville, and the President’s own tweets. How can we count the real cost of a story? We teach how to do it for right puropses. But seems more people know how to do the opposite without our coaching.
We consultants always want to stay on the bright side- that is what we are selling after all. People want dreams and hope. We supply. But when stories become the poison that is contaminating our world, what to do? We seem out of our depth. We do our best to keep on with leadership training- how to lead in a time of crisis, as if we know more than anyone else. We teach how to tell good stories. We assert that they have the power to disarm bad ones, but other than that, our critical tool box seems bare. Preformance storytellers know better- Monster, Ghoul and Ghost stories always eat our good stories for breakfast. Kids get off on horror. Did we forget that? Look at their Games.
When the world is contaminated by stories, and we are the story experts, what is our response? Drawing from our work, what can we offer or teach to help people to know the game and how they are being played?
I think we have lots to offer but I throw out the queston to my colleagues. If the story of power is that facts don’t matter, that lies can change the world and scandal, gossip and exaggeration seem to have walked off the page of Grimms Fairy Tales into our government and into our politics, what is our answer? This is our business-right? They are playing in our patch.
Maybe Truth needs us to be better storytellers.