Tales around the camp(aign)fire
“At a time when both parties are talking about the virtues of working together, the anniversary touched off a bitter dispute between them, with each using the day to write its own political narrative around the bill. …”
--Thursday, in The New York Times
Here at the National Narrative Institute, it’s all about the story.
Let others get bogged down in the complicated details of complicated issues. Let others try to sift through forests of studies and mountains of reports. At the National Narrative Institute, we’ve taken a different path.
A better path.
Our highly trained staff of highly skilled narrative-crafters can put aside complexity and zero in on what really matters: a simple tale, with easy-to-recognize good guys and bad guys, and a moral that can fit into a fortune cookie. In today’s 24/7 world, after all, who has time for more?
The National Narrative Institute was built for these times—and for today’s over-extended citizenry, drowning in a sea of “convenience” gadgets and struggling to keep up with an information overload unlike any the world has ever seen. These desperate Americans know they can turn to us for the help they need.
It might be our take on the economic-stimulus package—just the latest worse-than-useless Washington boondoggle from a federal government that’s gone completely out of control. Unless, of course, it’s a bold and necessary step that finally put the brakes on a financial crisis that was sliding us ever closer to a second Great Depression, and set the country on the road to robust recovery.
We say: absolutely. The professional, nonpartisan NNI staff can produce both of these stories—one tailor-made for Republicans and one, equally compelling, for Democrats—and never lose so much as a minute’s sleep. This is our mission. This is what we do.
Or take the war on terror—another failure of nerve by a wimpy president who puts our country’s very survival at risk by hamstringing his generals, apologizing for extremists and reading terrorists their Miranda rights. Unless, of course, it’s a subtle-yet-aggressive campaign that, under this same president’s wise and firm leadership, has already scored significant victories against those who would do us harm, even as it reaches out to forge new alliances to further protect America’s security.
Obama as sellout? Obama as savior? Take your pick. We can sell it flat, and we can sell it round.
We can even sell it hot or cold. Global warming is the greatest fraud ever perpetrated on the planet, with granola-chomping environmentalists and data-distorting “scientists” happy to band together to jam a giant stick into the gears of industry, no matter how many hardworking people are thrown out of their jobs and into the streets.
Unless, of course, the polar ice caps really are melting, threatening life as we know it—and all because greedy businessmen insist on spewing deadly chemicals into our air and water in single-minded pursuit of corporate profit, no matter the societal costs.
Choose A. Or choose B. Go with whichever NNI narrative you prefer. Whichever narrative makes the hard things simple, and explains everything about your world in partisan, easy-to-swallow soundbites.
We could go on: health-care reform, Wall Street regulation, even the concept of bipartisanship itself! There are multiple narratives for each of these topics and so many others—simple, and appealing, and in total conflict. Google the word “narrative,” and the nearly 50 million results will tell you all you need to know: Narrative is now. Narrative is the future.
That’s our story, and we’re sticking to it.
Rick Horowitz is a syndicated columnist. You can write to him at firstname.lastname@example.org.