Category Archives: Arts

creative expression in any medium

the Fortunato Persuasion Play®™©

While you’ve probably read the poetry of Edgar Allan Poe – perhaps killing and chilling with Annabelle Lee or certainly Nevermore with the blackbird – you may not have encountered his persuasion concept, the Fortunato Persuasion Play®™© as described in his research paper, The Cask of Amontillado.

The unfortunate Fortunato, connoisseur of wine and Amontillado, insults the wrong panther, Montresor, who devises the Fortunato Persuasion Play®™©. Imagine a catacomb, dark, deep, and dank with racks of wine and a pipe of rare sherry, a cask of Amontillado. Montresor lures Fortunato to the wine cellar and gets him drunk on good bottles of Bordeaux, a Medoc, then a Graves. Then Montresor inveigles the stuporous fool, ironically dressed in jester’s motley for a festival, deeper into a corner of the catacomb to sample the rare sherry. Now.

In an instant he had reached the extremity of the niche, and finding his progress arrested by the rock, stood stupidly bewildered. A moment more and I had fettered him to the granite. In its surface were two iron staples, distant from each other about two feet, horizontally. From one of these depended a short chain, from the other a padlock. Throwing the links about his waist, it was but the work of a few seconds to secure it. He was too much astounded to resist. Withdrawing the key I stepped back from the recess . . . I soon uncovered a quantity of building stone and mortar. With these materials and with the aid of my trowel, I began vigorously to wall up the entrance of the niche.

Holy Immurement, vampires and panthers! Fortunato chained then walled into oblivion, brick by brick, the truth buried alive and hidden from detection. Now, consider the Fortunato Persuasion Play®™© today. Let’s play Poe and do Clinical Trials.

A Clinical Trial is a formal research project aimed at testing the safety and effectiveness of some treatment (drug, surgery, diet, exercise, prayer, insurance status, and on and on) for its effect on mortality or morbidity. Tooth Fairy Tales can be Clinical Trials as can Steve’s Beloved Randomized Controlled Trials. It just a test in the broadest sense of the term, test. In the US almost everyone doing a Clinical Trial is required to register the research plan with the FDA and make a formal, public notification of the research effort. Go visit to verify this.

A Clinical Trial is a big deal and it requires a large crew of specialists to conduct, which also means you’re talking serious money with many of these projects costing in the millions. Sometimes the projects are funded by your tax dollars through the National Institutes of Health, sometimes they are funded by your venture capital through Big Pharma, Inc. The science of Clinical Trials is serious.

Except for this.

Main outcome measures The frequency of non-publication of trial results and, among unpublished studies, the frequency with which results are unavailable in the database.

Results Of 585 registered trials, 171 (29%) remained unpublished. These 171 unpublished trials had an estimated total enrollment of 299 763 study participants. The median time between study completion and the final literature search was 60 months for unpublished trials. Non-publication was more common among trials that received industry funding (150/468, 32%) than those that did not (21/117, 18%), P=0.003. Of the 171 unpublished trials, 133 (78%) had no results available in

Researchers simply went through the database of registered studies at They then searched for publications based on those registrations. And they could find no formal scientific communication – the publication – on 29% of these Clinical Trials, virtually all of them funded by your venture capital at Big Pharma, Inc.

You see our new persuasion play. Clinical Trials are expensive, time consuming, and difficult. You do them strategically, not just for the tactical fun of them, but because the information from the Trial will produce a benefit beyond the immediate test. Trials are inherently important, diagnostic, probative, just damn useful. And the registration before the research makes the researchers state their bets before they throw the dice. But, we see here that in almost 1 in 3 studies, the researchers don’t tell us the outcome of that bet and instead run the Fortunato Persuasion Play®™©. Just immure the results in the modern catacomb called the file drawer.

This is the greatest time in the history of civilization to conduct science . . . as persuasion. Put on the lab coat, put up a Power Point slide, and put out p < .05 and you can pass your persuasion as science without problem. And, if you can’t even manage p < .05, then just play Fortunato!

Jones CW, Handler L, Crowell KE, Keil LG, Weaver MA, Platts-Mills TF. Non-publication of large randomized clinical trials: cross sectional analysis. BMJ 2013;347:f6104

doi: 10.1136/bmj.f6104

Of course!  The Cask of Amontillado from Alan Parsons (YouTube)!

Amontillado Parsons

P.S. My favorite Poe poetry is The Bells.

The Bells toll for Poe


Poe practiced the tyranny of relentless meter and rhyme in his poetry, rendering it almost satiric through inadvertence. Nothing Sincere, just his Theory of Art. The poetry sounds better than it reads. You can vocally vary the sounds and timing to escape the sing-song. Contrast Poe to Whitman or Dickinson for a painful comparison.

However, with The Bells, the discipline of meter and rhyme makes the poem almost musical in performance. Most persuasive!

P.P.S.  Musical bonus: The Raven! Alan Parsons Project (YouTube).

Raven Parsons

Missing a Persuasion Utopia

Let’s consider a question posed as Literary, but hiding as Persuasion.

Bookends: What Would Aldous Huxley Make of the Way We Consume Media and Popular Culture?

Each week in Bookends, two writers take on pressing and provocative questions about the world of books. This week, Adam Kirsch and Jennifer Szalai on the prescience — or lack thereof — of the “Brave New World” author, who died 50 years ago this month.

While the two writers generally think we’ve evaded the media and social landscape in Brave New World, I would tend to disagree and ask whether they read Brave New World or, perhaps instead Brave New New World. Kirsch asserts:

Huxley’s predictions about sexual freedom have largely come true — but “Brave New World” was wrong about the essentials.

While Szalai notes:

This might have felt true 50 years ago, when Norman Rockwell’s sweet depictions of the affluent society still reigned supreme, but for anyone reading “Brave New World” in 2013, it seems as if Huxley picked the wrong horse to flog. The middle class isn’t commanding the kind of hegemony he feared; it’s having a hard time hanging on. The mass media aren’t pulling everyone into one middlebrow orbit; the media landscape is splintering into a profusion of niches. Our cultural moment is marked by fragmentation and dissolution. My guess is, Huxley would have had as hard a time making sense of it as the rest of us.


Consider now a persuasion perspective. Explicit in BNW is the moral consequence of peace and prosperity blended with science and technology. BNW has no war, only peace, and enjoys prosperity throughout society (with important exceptions for literary convenience!). From that foundation Huxley envisioned his new world as revolving around a paradoxical combination of individual-in-group, a face in the crowd that is at once unique and mass. And, all these unique mass faces in the crowd were united in the pursuit of pleasure.

While we’ve not yet arrived at assembly line genetic engineering (any day now!), whether we build classes of people from test tubes or invent them with norms and nurture, we still distinguish ourselves by type or class or background or accent or schooling or address and on and on with the social scissors we use to cut out our guys and dolls. Huxley’s genetics remains mistimed; he does not pass that test, but he does not fail it either and only more time will tell, as it always does with science . . . and persuasion! The outcome from BNW, however, remains the same. People see themselves as individuals while always being some kind of crowd with the top called Alpha or the Cool Table.

Remember, too, that Huxley wrote in 1931 which by the reckoning of most people is closer to the Dark Ages than our current Age of iEnlightenment. Huxley metaphorically scribbled in a cave lit by fire during the economic and near political collapse of Western civilization. Within the decade Huxley would hear and feel German bombs on London and the global catastrophe called World War II. Yet he foresaw a world of peace, security, knowledge, and technology. Take this telling line from the novel.

“I only said it was lovely here because . . . well, because progress is lovely, isn’t it?”

At core, Huxley saw progress as a force that would continue past the destruction of World War I, the Great Depression, and the foreseeably greater destruction of World War II. And he took that one idea, progress, and thought it through to . . . what? I’d argue something that functions a lot more like today than the NYTimes critics see.

Bright minds will seize the absence of factory genetics and other surface failed predictions in BNW and in so doing reveal their brightness as only a shiny reflection. When Cool Table critics scoff at a predicted, but yet nonexistent technology that could produce Cool Table critics, the only ones who cannot see the error and the irony are those critics.

I think Huxley would laugh with an upper class snort at the iGizmo revolution and platforms like Facebook, in particular. They are exactly the stuff of BNW. Critics miss the fact that while Huxley operated as an artistic intellectual he also trained as a scientist. By family heritage he was an early and ardent true believer in Darwin’s biology and a religious agnostic. Progress was evolution for Huxley and he just imagined the evolution of society primarily through a biological and chemical science. Cognitive and Computer Science were still more than a generation away and had Johnny Von Neumann or Steve Jobs been alive in 1930, Huxley would have known them and their science and technology. He certainly would have folded that into his new world. Huxley used chemistry to create the drug, soma, but he could have created a similar effect with the stupors of Facebook.

See Brave New World as a utopian Bolivian Bank where almost everyone is easy, ripe, and luscious for the persuasions of a few panthers beyond good and evil. You can fall into the rather weak plots about love, self esteem, and ambition that Huxley created with, for example, Bernard and Lenina, but all that is just the stuff of fiction and not the main point of BNW.

That main point is the persuasion machinery around everyone who thinks they are living unpersuaded lives. Huxley’s device is that persuasion machine and not the lives of his characters who only react to the device in predictable ways. Brave New World is the Skinner Box beyond good and evil.

While not explicit in the book, Brave New World is the end of imagination and individuality; no more Hamlet or Quixotes, no more Shakespeare or Cervantes. Peace and prosperity combined with science and technology remove the need to think creatively or independently. Why suffer the pains of blank verse in Romeo and Juliet when you can pop a soma pill? Why suffer the agonies of face-to-face relationship work when you can surf Facebook? All the effort of being a human disappears in BNW.

Any reasonable observer of the current scene must see how our society permits people to evade the work of being human. Think only about how abundance has played out: Obesity. We don’t have to work hard enough to maintain a fit weight and seek a different kind of soma pill as the solution. We don’t have to confront the torments of our unique individuality and try to relate to others strange to us. We can mix our individuality in a Social Media smoothie.

While history does not yet repeat Brave New World, I’d argue that we certainly rhyme with it and more than the NYTimes writers can imagine. Take peace and prosperity, combine with science and technology, then add persuasion panthers and you’ve got the iPostModern World. Contrast today with the envisionings of past philosophers who thought that our largest problem was nature and that once we could control nature so that our basic needs were met, the flower of human nature would bloom into imagination, intellect, and intimacy. We would each and all become philosopher poets, practical engineers, loving friends when we’ve actually moved closer to the passengers on the starliner Axiom from the movie WALL-E.
WALL E Passengers

Huxley mistimed his science, emphasized chemistry and biology, and pushed his technology down those paths making his Brave New World look quaint, your Grandfather’s Oldsmobile. Again, the appearance misdirects you from the function. Huxley looked at how society could operate as a machine under persuasion control and what that would do to human nature, thought, and action. We would prefer the mediated to the natural, seek pleasure over effort, defer nothing to impulse, and create or imagine nothing beyond our own sensations, all the while thinking ourselves self invented, pulling ourselves out of the swamp of nothingness by our own hair, as someone else put it.


Milton’s Good Temptation Persuasion Play©™® in Paradise Lost

Consider the Good Temptation Persuasion Play©™®.

A good temptation is that whereby God tempts even the righteous for the purpose of proving them, not as though He were ignorant of the disposition of their hearts, but for the purpose of exercising or manifesting their faith or patience . . . or of lessening their self confidence, and reproving their weakness, that . . . they themselves may become wiser by experience.

Surprised By Sin, by Stanley Fish, p 40. MacMillan, 1967.

Stated in persuasion terms, the Good Temptation is Inoculation Theory. We strengthen an existing belief or attitude by making a weak attack upon it – a Good Temptation – that briefly moves the Other Guys in the wrong direction, but just enough to test and strengthen Them so that They are able to become wiser by the experience of the weak attack (or Good Temptation). The weak attack or Good Temptation allows the Other Guy to consider the opposite of the existing belief or attitude (or value or feeling or Theology) and thus experience a Temptation. But the attack must be weak enough to only stimulate Temptation and not a Fall and in so doing motivate the Other Guys to think more fully and personally about how easily They may be attacked and how easily They may Change.

Stanley Fish argues in his critical book about John Milton’s epic poem, Paradise Lost, that Milton’s aim in the poem is to provoke a Good Temptation in believing readers. Milton deliberately sets out to present Satan, Adam, and Eve in a way that makes the Fall seem perfectly acceptable to readers. As we’ve noted in detail, part of Milton’s artistic genius is his ability to not simply say that Satan is persuasive, but to present Satan’s persuasion so well that it tempts any reader to disbelief, just like Eve and Adam. If you are not careful when you read Satan’s Box ‘n Play, you will find yourself swayed in his direction.

Fish critically argues that this excellent artistic persuasion is a Good Temptation to believers and that the poem entire is an epic Inoculation play. As Fish puts it:

Milton compels this duty by fitting temptation to our inclinations and then confronting us immediately with our fallibility. (p. 41).

Thus, the poem carefully makes weak attacks in the form of persuasive Satan, but then quickly points out the Temptation to the readers, forcing them to realize they’ve begun to fall. In Inoculation terms, Satan’s persuasion is the weak attack that then stimulates (with Milton’s pointed assistance) a Long Conversation in the Head. Fish quotes another source to illustrate this action.

Dialectic is the true rhetorical and persuasive art, because it permits a man to convict himself of error, and, on the other hand, to confirm himself in truth. He is self-persuaded. (p. 50).

I can translate that quote into the mechanics of Inoculation Theory. The dialectic is a provocative interaction between questioner and respondent where, through artful questions that form weak attacks on respondent beliefs, the respondent can be led into discovering errors and inconsistencies. But then, more importantly, the dialectic can produce the Long Conversation in the Head, which corrects errors and resolves inconsistencies thereby strengthening the original belief or attitude or value or Theology.

Fish develops this analysis in a book length treatment and if you enjoy Paradise Lost and criticism, I can only recommend you find this old out of print book either at a good university library or from a book seller. I think these quotes capture the essence of Fish’s approach.

It is the nature of sophistry to lull the reasoning process; logic is a safeguard against a rhetorical effect only after the effect has been noted . . . there is no adequate defense against eloquence at the moment of impact. (p. 6.)

Fish then makes a contrast between the dialect and the rhetorical in a footnote.

The tradition begins with Plato’s opposition of rhetoric to dialectic. Socrates’ interlocutors discover the truth for themselves, when, in response to his searching questions, they are led to examine their opinions and, perhaps, to refute them. The rhetorician, on the other hand, creates a situation in which his auditors have no choice but to accept the beliefs he urges on them. (p. 6, footnote 1.)

Like all Central Route plays, Inoculation in the form of the Good Temptation is a means of provoking High WATTage and an intense Long Conversation that will produce self change. Most generally this is a kind of Direct Experience Persuasion Play®™©. The Other Guys do engage in a personal experience with something new, but here everything happens inside the Other Guy. Typically, the Direct Experience play gives Them a new product or service to test, manipulate, or try and that Direct Experience manipulation produces higher WATTage and the Long Conversation. Here, the Direct Experience is only through poetry and imagination. No serpent offers the Other Guys a forbidden Apple; They just get Milton’s iambic pentameter.

Thus, Paradise Lost is an extended persuasion play called the Good Temptation. Milton’s poetic skill lures us into a re-created Garden of Eden that exists only in the imagination. Vicariously now in the moment, Milton tempts Other Guys, if only in their minds, with weak attacks from the rhetorical Satan. Milton then ensures the weak attack is sufficient to Tempt, but not to Trip, Them to the Fall.

Poetry as a dialectic Central Route play in the Good Temptation with Inoculation. See Milton’s Strategy from the beginning.

. . . what in me is dark
Illumine, what is low raise and support;
That, to the height of this great argument
I may assert Eternal Providence
And justify the ways of God to men

Paradise Lost, Book I, lines 22-26

Stanley Fish. (1967). Surprised By Sin. MacMillan: London.

P.S. Drag the Inoculation literature for a reference to Stanley Fish and you will find that your hook makes no catch. And, shop Stanley Fish for references to Inoculation and you will find no loaves of bread in your basket. We miss each other’s discoveries.

Persuasion Quotaphors; Drinking the Label from Hemingway

See the General Semantics Persuasion Play©™® from Ernest Hemingway! He shows a great dinner in a grand hotel dining room between an older Colonel and a younger Countessa, much in love. They desire wine with the meal, not a grand vin, only a young Valpolicella. The soldier asks the Gran Maestro server for advice.

‘Then what should we do?’

‘My Colonel, you know that in a Great Hotel, wine must cost money. You cannot get Pinard at the Ritz. But I suggest that we get several fiascos of the good. You can say they come from the Contessa Renata’s estates and are a gift. Then I will have them decanted for you. This way, we will have better wine and make an impressive saving. I will explain it to the manager if you like. He is a very good man.’

‘Explain it to him,’ the Colonel said. ‘He’s not a man who drinks labels either.’

HEMINGWAY, ERNEST (2013-04-06). ACROSS THE RIVER AND INTO THE TREES (Kindle Locations 2200-2205). Kindle Edition.

Hemingway heroes are not easily persuaded, but they know the Rules and the plays!


Scarcity as Hollywood Persuasion Play

Consider this story about Johnny Carson’s late arrival at a small party in Hollywood back in the day.

Virtually everyone in that room grasped the role scarcity played in maintaining celebrity; surely the performers did. They knew that they needed to keep hidden from public view until they were selling something. Then, when they had a new film or book or album to publicize, they would do the talk-show circuit, expose themselves to the crowd, and bare some part of their personality in the hope that this would help separate some portion of the audience from its money.

Bushkin, Henry. Johnny Carson (p. 7). Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Kindle Edition.

Even in a small room filled with great talents, everyone wondered about Johnny because of his notorious interpersonal scarcity. “Where’s Johnny?”

You’d think that within the club that thrives on Scarcity as a persuasion play, that Scarcity would have no impact . . . but, you’d be wrong.

The Beyoncé SM 2.0 Persuasion Play©™®

This. Changes. Everything!

But at midnight on Thursday, when Beyoncé released her latest album, she did none of those things. Instead, she merely wrote, “Surprise!” to her more than eight million Instagram followers, and the full album — all 14 songs and 17 videos of it — appeared for sale on iTunes.

The stealth rollout of the album, “Beyoncé,” upended the music industry’s conventional wisdom, and was a smashing success. It sold 365,000 copies in the United States on its first day, according to people with direct knowledge who requested anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss its sales. Depending on how it performed through the weekend, “Beyoncé” will likely have one of the year’s biggest opening sales weeks.

Finally. SM 2.0 demonstrates the persuasion power of networked iGizmos and an app, in this case, Instagram. And do the math. Nearly 400,000 units through iTunes. Beyoncé’s profit margin on this album must be setting records for pop artists. No material cost for hot wax or tape or CD/DVD. No distribution costs through Walmart or your favorite record store. Just studio costs for recording, a share to iTunes, and the rest belongs to Team Beyoncé. And here’s why it works.

In bypassing the industry’s traditional promotional machinery, she demonstrated social media’s power to amplify news and to forge a direct connection to her audience. The release was “designed to highlight that it’s about her and her fan relationships,” said Alice Enders, a media analyst with the firm Enders Analysis in London.

You could put it that way. It’s the relationship between the panther and her fans that sells 400,000 units in one day. Or you could read that entire paragraph instead of the edited version I just provided. That paragraph begins with this sentence.

Though very few acts could attract the same attention as Beyoncé, the episode contains some lessons — and possibly a future blueprint — for the music industry.

The only reason the Beyoncé SM 2.0 Persuasion Play©™® works is precisely because of All That Attention her prior ‘traditional promotional machinery,’ created in past years. In other words: All that persuasion with Your Father’s Oldsmobile.

It’s all about Exposure to gain Reception in the first stage of the Cascade. The Beyoncé brand right now includes enough persuasion to require only one word, “Surprise!” from the artist and a link to iTunes to hit the TACT and generate sales. And, I’d bet the ranch, the farm, and my good left hand that maybe even Miley Cyrus could do the same thing, right now, because of all the Exposure persuasion she fell into with her twerk.

You see the persuasion foolishness from the muggles on this one. They still think the persuasion equation looks like this:

“Surprise” + Social Media (Instagram) = 400,000 first day units.

Let’s all open or visit our Instagram accounts, type in “Surprise” with a link to our t-shirt and count that change. Yeah. It’s SM 2.0.

This story is all about fame and little about persuasion. When you have become All That Attention (which means All That Exposure), then you can skip through the remaining stages in the Cascade – all that Processing and Response effort – and just put down a link hammer and the Other Guys will hit the TACT without thought or effort. But, obviously, mere presence with SM 2.0 does not deliver All That Exposure.

That requires old fashioned persuasion.

But, there is an extremely interesting SM 2.0 persuasion lesson in this play. No Facebook for Beyoncé? How can you sell nearly 400,000 units in one day and no Facebook?

Facebook is the beer of fame. Instagram, at least today, is the champagne of fame. Consider that differential between Facebook and Instagram against the quote from the media analyst, Enders.

The release was “designed to highlight that it’s about her and her fan relationships,” said Alice Enders, a media analyst with the firm Enders Analysis in London.

What? Instagram is more “relational” than Facebook? As impossible as it seems to any rational thinker, Instagram is even less relational than Facebook where you can at least do asynchronous WATtapping with text and image. Instagram with Beyoncé is nothing but manipulating a brand with pictures. She’s able to do the same thing – hold on – that President Obama is doing to manipulate his brand. Think about it.

Neither Beyoncé nor Obama has to do that traditional, Your Father’s Oldsmobile persuasion. Obama rarely talks to the press, rarely holds press conferences, rarely gives interviews. He can run his brand entirely through networked iGizmos and an app. (And when he leaves office, you know he will have an Obama App for Mac, Android, and maybe even Windows 8!) Good grief, even the New York Times allows criticism of the President on this.

Manifestly undemocratic, in contrast, is the way Mr. Obama’s administration — in hypocritical defiance of the principles of openness and transparency he campaigned on — has systematically tried to bypass the media by releasing a sanitized visual record of his activities through official photographs and videos, at the expense of independent journalistic access.

The White House-based press corps was prohibited from photographing Mr. Obama on his first day at work in January 2009. Instead, a set of carefully vetted images was released. Since then the press has been allowed to photograph him alone in the Oval Office only twice: in 2009 and in 2010, both times when he was speaking on the phone. Pictures of him at work with his staff in the Oval Office — activities to which previous administrations routinely granted access — have never been allowed.

Both Beyonce and Obama can follow this strategy because of all the prior persuasion work they did and the Internet. When you’ve got All That Attention, you can evade traditional persuasion paths and control your brand in a way never available in human history.

Realize now that the Beyoncé SM 2.0 Persuasion Play©™® is about fame, the rare air that few ever attain, and about networked iGizmos. Fame and that network become a special kind of propaganda device just like the Hollywood Star Machine way back in the day when the studios controlled everything. They manufactured stars like Clark Gable and Gary Cooper and Jimmy Stewart or Katharine Hepburn and Gloria Swanson and Bette Davis. Hollywood obviously continues through today with manufacturing stars. The more famous a performer gets, the less “traditional” her persuasion. Think how rarely you see George Clooney live on any kind of screen.

Now. There is persuasion skill even after you achieve this kind of fame, whether with Beyoncé, Miley, or Obama. Fame is usually short-lived, easily lost, and quickly misused. You’ll recall that you evaluate persuasion with four different outcomes:

Magnitude (immediate change)
Persistence (how long the change lasts)
Resistance (sensitivity to attacks)
Prediction (what it drives in the future)

The persuasion problem with fame is Persistence. How long can you make the fame effective? Take a current contrast: Lady Gaga and Madonna. The similarities of the two are laughably obvious; they are each other, just at different ages and variable dancing skills. And both have achieved that rare air fame where one word like “Surprise,” can launch 400,000 hits. But see that Madonna has been riding her fame for nearly 40 years while Lady Gaga seems to be struggling after 5 years.

This pop press analysis reveals more persuasion than it intends. The story is wrong about SM 2.0 and Beyoncé’s success. Without old fashioned persuasion, Beyoncé could not have produced this latest triumph of fame. But, then see the persuasion problems that arise after fame. Fame is a fabulous resource that is the crystallized form of Exposure, the compressed diamond you get from years of hard persuasion carefully constructed out of pressure. When you wear the diamond correctly, the brilliance of the light will attract everyone around you; just provide a nearby hammer and everyone will hit the TACT.

Today you can wear a diamond on Instagram. But, not tomorrow for Beyoncé. She needs to study Madonna for her next fame play.

Newly Discovered Persuasion Theorists: Chaplin, Turner, and Parsons

While working on a new post about Embodied Smiling, I made an important discovery about an overlooked and early persuasion theory team whose work, to my knowledge, has never been cited in this new research area. Let me briefly recap the research, then present the old, unknown theorist.

Embodied Smiling provokes the Other Guy into striking the physical pose of smiling, but without any psychological response that accompanies smiling. To provoke the unknowing smile, researchers have Other Guys bite on a pencil or in this case, chopsticks.

Chopstick Smile

You see the Embodied Smile on the right hand image. Other Guys so provoked endure considerably more punishment on the cold presser task (inserting a body part into icy, running water). While the Embodied Smile hypothesis is only recently proposed, the idea is much older and found in this citation:

Charles Chaplin, John Turner, and Geoffery Parsons. (1936). Smile. Song from the movie, Modern Times.

Here are the Turner and Parson lyrics from Chaplin’s melody, Smile.

Smile tho’ your heart is aching,
Smile Even though it’s breaking,
When there are clouds in the sky – You’ll get by,
If you Smile through your fear and sorrow,
Smile and maybe tomorrow
You’ll see the sun come shining through – For you.

We can update the lyric with the research of our Modern Times.

Smile when your hand is freezing,
Smile even tho’ you’re sneezing,
When there’s ice on your thigh – You’ll get by . . .

Enjoy Nat King Cole’s interpretation (YouTube) of Smile as you ruminate over the lyrics and their persuasion implication.

P.S. You can enjoy Charlie Chaplin’s masterpiece silent film, Modern Times (YouTube).


Mr. Brooks as Persuasion Master; a Metaphor in Serial Killing

In Mr. Brooks, Kevin Costner plays a high functioning serial killer. In a brilliant piece of movie making, the movie portrays the dark side of Costner’s mind with William Hurt appearing in some scenes that no one but Costner’s Mr. Brooks can see. It’s a fabulous conceit where we can visualize what goes on in Mr. Brooks mind and William Hurt does a great job of playing the figment of another character’s twisted imagination.

In one scene Mr. Brooks is helping a young would-be serial killer (really) while his dark alter ego, William Hurt watches in the backseat. At one point the young killer says something stupid. Mr. Brooks thoughtfully acknowledges the stupid statement with a confirming nod, reassuring the dumb killer, then both Costner and Hurt break into wild and evil laughter. They are going to eat this kid alive.

Mr Brooks and Marshall Laughing

The scene and the movie with this marvelous visualization of both the actor and his mind provide a gorgeous metaphor for persuasion and the Rule, All Bad Persuasion Is Sincere. Without effort you see the pure Sincerity of the younger wannabe and the contrast of persuasion from the Costner/Hurt duality.

Of course, there’s more persuasion on display in Mr. Brooks and you get the benefit of seeing a well-done movie. Without the persuasion instruction Mr. Brooks is worth watching. With the persuasion, it’s worth watching twice!

And, yes, sigh, once again we note how Hollywood uses persuasion skill with another serial killer. Remember Dexter? We are certainly beyond good and evil with Dr. Nietzsche and feasting with panthers and Oscar Wilde.

Peitho Rules

Stripping for Exposure

Here’s a new twist on an old Exposure tactic. Girls take off their clothes to sell music!

No. Not like Miley and Gaga and Brittney and Madonna and on and on. Sure, female artists bare skin to sell music, but what if no one wants to see your skin? You can still use girls to take off their clothes. Visit Atlanta.

Each member of Coalition DJs, as the group calls itself, is responsible for spinning five new songs two to three times a night over an eight-week period, working them in between better-known hits. Artists, who pay several thousand dollars per song for the service, get a customized printout of data verifying where and when their song was played.

The result is similar to what happens when radio programmers across the country add a record to their limited rotations: The sheer repetition turns many of the songs into instant hits—in this case, on the streets of Atlanta, hip-hop’s unofficial capital city. That, in turn, can lead to record deals, radio airplay and national exposure.

And where do the Coalition DJs spin the new tunes? In Atlanta strip clubs! As the WSJ article notes, those strip clubs are a hot bed for hip-hop, so if you are a hip-hopster seeking sales you can use the female form to gain Exposure for your music.

You see the Exposure play here. Somebody else makes a crowd of Other Guys then you step into the spotlight with them. Of course, you pay them for the privilege, not like those locust-eating zealots who put their message on a billboard on the main road to your show. Or like Jamie the Celebrity Chef in LA. Nope. This is straight up persuasion business. You buy your way into their crowd.

What’s next?

Coming soon to a club near you: A girl who first strips for an Atlanta hip-hop tune then realizes she can write and perform her own music while stripping to it! Everyone thought that Miley was over the top. We’ve got at least one more stiletto heel shoe to drop on that play.

Then the porn star babe who does sex acts to sell her hip-hop. Then . . . I’ll leave that to your imagination.

Jeepers. No pictures in this post. How is that possible?