Monday, August 30, 2010

Brand Obama: The Spider and The Fly

Will you walk into my parlour?" said the Spider to the Fly, -Mary Howitt 1821

On November 4, 2008, America changed. On that day, an inexperienced candidate with a scant resume and views that contrasted with the majority of the population was elected to the most powerful office in the world, the Presidency of the United States of America.

Brand Obama Series

Brand Obama is an ongoing series that chronicles the powerful psychological techniques used in this improbable campaign. Other Brand Obama posts include:

The Drunkard's Search
Inoculation and the Art of Persuasion
Mesmerizing Voters with Hypnotic Speech Techniques
New Math and the Rise of the Unwed Mother

The Spider's Web

During 2008 Americans went wild for an Obama campaign strategy that JohnQuincy has dubbed the "Spider and the Fly." Ominously, clever predators often use this very same tactic to lure their human prey. While a method of attack, it involves no physical brutality and  the marks are often gratefully duped. This tactic requires only two main elements: Inculcating a target with a sense of victimization and presenting a tonic in the form of a saviour. Unfortunately, for our society, it has some dark implications.

Finding an Angel

In this intriguing interview with Phil Donahue, Thomas Friedman, after being asked to defend Capitalism against charges of greed, responds with this intriguing question: "where in the world are you going to find angels to organize society for us?" While Phil is perplexed by the question, any runaway who has taken a short stroll down Hollywood Boulevard knows the answer: Victims do not find angels. Angels hunt their victims and they are angels of the dark/fallen variety.

Please note Phil's use of the word 'Greed. as a shorthand for victimization.

Greed is Good - For Getting Me Elected

The word, 'victim,' apparently does not poll test well so the Democrats use 'greed' as a substitute. Since the duped do not want to be called fools to their face, greed gets the job done just fine. It implies being taken advantage of so it puts the crowd in the victim column without being obvious about it. It is the standard 'we are helpless, Obama save us' boilerplate.

By the Tilt of Her Head - Stalking Prey

Despite what you read in the newspapers, predators who prey on their fellow man rarely act randomly or senselessly. They follow predictable patterns and specifically target their victims.In the book Serial Murder By Ronald M. Holmes, Stephen T. Holmes , Ronald Holmes writes about how in an interview, Ted Bundy, a prolific serial killer, described his finely honed sense of victim selection:

Ted's statement was later confirmed by a fascinating study conducted by Angela Book, Associate Professor of Psychiatry, Ph.D., Brock University Canada,.  She found that people that scored higher on tests for psychopathy were much better able to spot victims from brief, random samples of films of people walking past a camera.

Please jump to 1:05 for the clip:

Me So Pretty

Since predators seek victims who will fall for their spell, it is helpful to understand what character traits a typical psychopath would exhibit as these would presumably appeal to their victims. It would also be helpful to compare these to the traits Obama has displayed:

Aggressive narcissism

1.Glibness/superficial charm

2.Grandiose sense of self-worth

3.Pathological lying


5.Lack of remorse or guilt

6.Emotionally shallow

7.Callous/lack of empathy

8.Failure to accept responsibility for own actions

Addendum 1: The Spider and the Fly

Addendum 2: Spider and the Fly Blues

Addendum 3:  The Spider and the Fly - by Mary Howitt 1821

Will you walk into my parlour?" said the Spider to the Fly,
'Tis the prettiest little parlour that ever you did spy;
The way into my parlour is up a winding stair,
And I've a many curious things to shew when you are there."
Oh no, no," said the little Fly, "to ask me is in vain,
For who goes up your winding stair can ne'er come down again."

"I'm sure you must be weary, dear, with soaring up so high;
Will you rest upon my little bed?" said the Spider to the Fly.
"There are pretty curtains drawn around; the sheets are fine and thin,
And if you like to rest awhile, I'll snugly tuck you in!"
Oh no, no," said the little Fly, "for I've often heard it said,
They never, never wake again, who sleep upon your bed!"

Said the cunning Spider to the Fly, " Dear friend what can I do,
To prove the warm affection I 've always felt for you?
I have within my pantry, good store of all that's nice;
I'm sure you're very welcome -- will you please to take a slice?"
"Oh no, no," said the little Fly, "kind Sir, that cannot be,
I've heard what's in your pantry, and I do not wish to see!"

"Sweet creature!" said the Spider, "you're witty and you're wise,
How handsome are your gauzy wings, how brilliant are your eyes!
I've a little looking-glass upon my parlour shelf,
If you'll step in one moment, dear, you shall behold yourself."
"I thank you, gentle sir," she said, "for what you 're pleased to say,
And bidding you good morning now, I'll call another day."

The Spider turned him round about, and went into his den,
For well he knew the silly Fly would soon come back again:
So he wove a subtle web, in a little corner sly,
And set his table ready, to dine upon the Fly.
Then he came out to his door again, and merrily did sing,
"Come hither, hither, pretty Fly, with the pearl and silver wing;
Your robes are green and purple -- there's a crest upon your head;
Your eyes are like the diamond bright, but mine are dull as lead!"

Alas, alas! how very soon this silly little Fly,
Hearing his wily, flattering words, came slowly flitting by;
With buzzing wings she hung aloft, then near and nearer drew,
Thinking only of her brilliant eyes, and green and purple hue --
Thinking only of her crested head -- poor foolish thing! At last,
Up jumped the cunning Spider, and fiercely held her fast.
He dragged her up his winding stair, into his dismal den,
Within his little parlour -- but she ne'er came out again!

And now dear little children, who may this story read,
To idle, silly flattering words, I pray you ne'er give heed:
Unto an evil counsellor, close heart and ear and eye,
And take a lesson from this tale, of the Spider and the Fly.

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