Archive - Nov 2, 2008

It’s the Narrative, Dummy!

The extra hour that we gained last night gave me more time to work on my novel for National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). Between that and reading Neil Postman’s Building a Bridge to the 18th Century, I’ve been thinking a lot about the importance of narrative, of sense making, of how all the information bombarding us daily helps us understand ourselves and those around us a little better.

I would like to suggest that this may be the most important part of Sen. Obama’s campaign. All of the social networking tools trying to raise money and get out the vote are just more of the never-ending stream of information bombarding us. However, they are a valuable tool if they help people establish their own understanding of who Sen. Obama is and how it relates to their lives.

It is because of this that I’m most interested in some of the user generated content that has been created around the campaign. Several months ago, this video appeared on YouTube casting the presidential campaign in terms of PokeMon

More recently, somehedgehog wrote Adventuring Party Politics: The Campaign is Getting Ugly. It provides a humorous insight into politics that makes sense to Dungeon and Dragon players.

This came into even better focus during a show on National Public Radio yesterday talking about Hunter S. Thompson’s coverage of the 1972 campaign. One person quoted a McGovern campaign official saying something to the effect that Thompson’s coverage was the most factually inaccurate coverage, but at the same time showed better understanding of what was really going on in the campaign.

So, as people argue whether or not the guilt by association attacks by the McCain campaign, or the discussions of economic policies of the Obama campaign make for better politics, the real question remains, how do we understand all of this in a narrative that helps us better understand who we are and how we can be the best we can be. Joe the Plumber was an interesting attempt, but I still think that a level 8 paladin with Grassroots Organizing and Oratory/Colgate Smile proficiencies has done a better job in helping people find how his campaign relates to all of our stories.

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