Re: Ever Since Jeremy Bradley

From: Scott Chase (
Date: Fri 02 May 2003 - 05:16:20 GMT

  • Next message: Jeremy Bradley: "Re: Ever Since Jeremy Bradley"

    >From: Jeremy Bradley <>
    >Subject: Re: Ever Since Jeremy Bradley
    >Date: Wed, 30 Apr 2003 08:10:21 +1000
    >At 12:53 PM 29/04/03 +0100, you wrote:
    > > From News in Brief @ (satirical)
    > >
    > >Tortured Ugandan Political Prisoner Wishes Uganda Had Oil
    > >
    > >KAMPALA, UGANDA. A day after having his hands amputated by soldiers
    > >backing President Yoweri Museveni's brutal regime, Ugandan political
    > >prisoner Otobo Ankole expressed regret Monday over Uganda's lack of oil
    > >reserves. "I dream of the U.S. one day fighting for the liberation of
    > >the oppressed Ugandan people," said Ankole as he nursed his bloody
    > >stumps. "But, alas, our number-one natural resource is sugar cane."
    > >Ankole, whose wife, parents, and five children were among the 4,000
    > >slaughtered in Uganda's ethnic killings of 2002, then bowed his head and
    > >said a prayer for petroleum.
    > >
    > >----------------------------------------------------------
    > >
    > >Single instances make for bad precedents. We gonna free the world now?
    > >
    > >There are several indisputably guilty as hell child-killing perverts in
    > >prison that I'd happily execute, but I am against a death penalty. It is
    > >indefensible in principle and, especially, in practice. No exceptions.
    > >
    > >Chris.
    >Hey Guys
    >Don't blame me for starting this. I wanted to talk about memetic ice-cream
    Or it may be even better to talk about memetic flowers. To think I scoffed at *that*.

    If one wants to talk about social dynamics, politics and policy decisions they might want to consult Irving Janis. After reading his example of a NON-"groupthink" counterpoint of the Cuban missile crisis I rewatched Thirteen Days (starring Kevin Costner et al) and realized how close I (and the rest of you) may have been to never being born. My parents could have easily joined the millions of other crispy critters that would have resulted if cooler heads hadn't prevailed, especially after the U-2 being shot down over Cuba. 9-11 would have been eclipsed, if it could have even happened, given New York City might have met several Soviet nukes.

    Yet that was a non-"groupthink" counterpoint, an example where groupthink was supposedly not prevalent. Janis offers several putative examples of actual groupthink in his book _Groupthink_ (1983. Houghton Mifflin Compny. Boston) such as Bay of Pigs, Pearl Harbor and the Vietnam escalation ("We Were Soldiers" anyone?).

    Kirsten Schulze (Fall 1998. Israeli crisis decision-making in the Lebanon war: group madness or individual ambition?. Israel Studies (v3:i2), p. 215) considers the phenomenon of groupthink, as opposed to Arik's personal ambition, being important in Israel's invasion and subsequent war in Lebanon. John Schwartz and Matthew Wald discuss the Challenger and recent Columbia space shuttle disasters in their New York Times article (March 9, 2003) on groupthink (called "'Groupthink' is 30 years old, and still going strong; NASA's curse?").

    Janis' groupthink notion sounds more like a workable sort of "psychohistory" to me than either the psychoanalytical or scifi versions I've read about. Janis applies social psychology to historical events. I wonder what memetics could add to what Janis puts forward with groupthink?...

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