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John Wayne Can Shoot to Kill

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California State University, Dominguez Hills
University of Wisconsin, Parkside
Created: June 22, 2004
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Latest Update: June 22, 2004

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NY Times, front page article, March 2, 2000. by Kevin Sack, "McCain Is Hit By a Backlash Over Remarks"

This is on McCain's attack on intolerance. On June 22, 2004, I was unable to find this article in the archives. Don't know why. There are some articles from that same date in which Bush was emphasizing race tolerance. But the message I wanted to convey was that a direct attach on a hero is doomed to failure. Consider the recent death of Ronald Reagan. Many politcal analysts have been amazed at the poring out of seemingly endless praise for Reagan's presidency. He is certainly not ranked as one of our greatest presidents. But a "hero" phenomenon took over, and there was little criticism for any of his political or social positions for more than a week of mourning.

Theory: attitude persuasion theory: you don't attack heroes. The hero is chosen to deliver the message because of our dislike of cognitive dissonance. Hero is associated with good. Therefore, hero's message must be good. Negative side of message isn't heard. John Wayne could carry a 6 shooter with no need for the NRA to defend him. He was an "American hero."

Define intolerance.

Merriam-Webster Dictionary Search:

Reject the structurally violent behavior, not the child. Hard to do with sound bites and off the cufff. Many of our inter-relational patterns are not at a level of conscious awareness. We automatically connect some things with good, some with bad. Heroes are connected with good. For a deeper theoretical understanding of this consult Measuring Attitudes: Harvard's Implicit Association Test. Try out at least one of the tests, if it won't upset you. Consider again the importance of awareness levels, and of talking over the issues we have avoided for so long, like religion, guns, equality of income, of gender, of race.

On the important of awareness levels consider also Edwart T. Hall's affect changes at the technical, the formal, and the informal levels at which we gained our knowledge. Affect and Learning when the information is given us by a hero or a respected personnage, it is given formally. We resist any attempt to tell us that the information may not be accurate because that would create dissonance with our concept of the authority as hero or respected personnage. Some of what the hero does is also modelled, meaning that we learn it informally. John Wayne whips out his six-gun to maintain justice and order, therefore whipping out a six-gun is a good thing. You see the problem we can have with messages and heroes.



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