Saturday, April 22, 2006

Reframing 9/11 Truth

It is no secret to 9/11 activists that it’s difficult to get the truth across. We need to recognize that we are not alone here, and that “progressives” and “liberals” have the same problem. They are beginning to come up with some answers, and we need to know what they are.

I’m speaking of George Lakoff and his Rockridge Institute:

Reframing isn’t everything, as William A. Gamson and Charlotte Ryan point out,

but it is something, and it’s a tool 9/11 Truth has much use for. This is because every time someone, whether Truther or Bush-backer, says that the WTC buildings “collapsed,” they use vocabulary that frames and supports the official story. This is not a habit we want to be copying from the Democrats.

On p. 73 of Don’t Think of an Elephant! Know Your Values and Frame the Debate, (White River Junction, VT, 2004) Lakoff says:

“One of the fundamental findings of cognitive science is that people think in terms of frames and metaphors---conceptual structures like those we have been describing. The frames are in the synapses of our brains, physically present in the form of neural circuitry. When the facts don’t fit the frames, the frames are kept and the facts ignored.

“It is a common folk theory of progressives that ‘the facts will set you free.’ If only you can get all the facts out there in the public eye, then every rational person will reach the right conclusion. It is a vain hope. Human brains just don’t work that way. Framing matters. Frames once entrenched are hard to dispel.” (73).

Every 9/11 activist will admit this.

Here is Doug Thompson answering responses to his anti-9/11 Truth rant, “9/11 Conspiracy Theories Don‘t Pass the Smell Test“:

To answer some questions:
--I've watched "Loose Change." Didn't convince me. Lots of speculation.
--Striking The Washington Monument didn't have enough kill potential. The plane would have crashed short of the Pentagon.
--As a journalist, I based my conclusions on facts from experts, not speculation from others with an agenda. The facts, as I see them, don't support the theories. As someone who loves a good story I wish they did. But they don't.
Posted by Doug Thompson at March 31, 2006 10:10 AM

Now here is Lakoff again:

“When we negate a frame, we evoke the frame.” (3).
“Remember, don’t just negate the other person’s claims; reframe. The facts unframed will not set you free. You cannot win just by stating the true facts and showing that they contradict your opponent’s claims. Frames trump facts. His frames will stay and the facts will bounce off. Always reframe.” (115).

Note that Lakoff is not suggesting that you ignore facts.

As examples of framing Lakoff gives the phrases ‘tax relief’, ‘permission slip’ and ‘wasteful spending‘ (as in Bush’s State of the Union speech), ’rogue states’, ’friendly nations’ and ‘family values’.

“When the word tax is added to relief, the result is a metaphor: Taxation is an affliction. And the person who takes it away is a hero, and anyone who tries to stop him is a bad guy. This is a frame. It is made up of ideas, like affliction and hero. The language that evokes the frame comes out of the White House, and it goes into press releases, goes to every radio station, every TV station, every newspaper. And soon the New York Times is using tax relief. And it is not only on Fox; it is on CNN, it is on NBC, it is on every station because it is ‘the president’s tax-relief plan.’ And soon the Democrats are using tax relief--- and shooting themselves in the foot.” (4).

An example of framing relevant to 9/11 Truth is saying that the WTC Towers collapsed.

The official story has it that the three buildings of the World Trade Center did what they did because they were on fire, but no one says that the buildings “burned down.” That would be ludicrously inappropriate, even though they did turn into a kind of “ashes.” The official story has to use the term ‘collapse’ because that term is so general it conceals what really happened to the buildings. Buildings collapse in earthquakes, but they don’t turn into what the WTC buildings turned into. Firefighter Joe Casaliggi, in the DVD 9/11, created by Jules and Gedeon Naudet, says, “The building collapsed TO DUST. [His emphasis.]” But he was only using the word that had been given to him by the media. He knows as well as you or I that nothing “collapses to dust.” That is as silly as saying that they “collapsed to smithereens.”

Lakoff himself is misled into misdescribing what happened to the Towers.

“Metaphorically, tall buildings are people standing erect. As each tower fell, it became a body falling. … when we see a plane coming toward the building and imagine people in the building, we feel the plane coming toward us; when we see the building toppling toward others, we feel the building toppling toward us. … If we see the plane going through the building, and unconsciously we evoke the metaphor of the building as a head with the plane going through its temple, then we sense--- unconsciously but powerfully--- being shot through the temple. If we evoke the metaphor of the building as a person and see the building fall to the ground in pieces, then we sense---again unconsciously but powerfully--- that we are falling to the ground in pieces.” (54).

Anyone who watched the news during VietNam, as Lakoff did, has seen a person being shot in the temple and falling to the ground; and they know that the person does not fall to the ground in pieces, much less disintegrate from the top down.

This is what happened to the WTC buildings: they didn’t topple; they disintegrated. When something falls down, it doesn’t disintegrate, it just falls down, or collapses (like a person). When something burns up, it may disintegrate, but not in ten seconds. The only way to disintegrate massive concrete and steel buildings is by means of explosives, and that fact is apparent even to very frightened people.

It was good to have Hoffman and S.P.I.N.E. showing that what the official story alleges is physically impossible; in fact, it was necessary in the beginning because people are often unwilling to trust their own judgment when it seems to be contradicted by experts and authorities.

In the 1950s a psychology professor, Solomon Asch, did some experiments on college students. He told them that he wanted to test visual perception, but that was a lie. He had them sit in a classroom with other students and showed them all some lines, asking which lines looked like they were the same length, but only one student was really being tested. The others were conspirators along with Professor Asch, and they deliberately gave wrong answers. The student being tested was always asked last, after having heard all the others say that it looked to them like the wrong lines were the same length. The experiment was really to find out how many people, percentagewise, could be made to say that they saw what they didn’t see, just to go along with the crowd. The answer was: about one third.

Note that the pressure came only from their equals, other undergraduates, not from any authority figure such as the teacher. Now suppose some crafty professor told his class that he was going to illustrate the nature of some visual illusions for them, and then showed them some unequal lines, saying that the appearance of inequality was an illusion---the lines were really equal. He then puts out a bogus, but detailed, explanation of why the lines look unequal when they’re not. How many of the class will be fooled? Probably quite a few; a majority, surely, if not all. What happened to the Towers looked like a controlled demolition, but of course it really wasn’t. It couldn’t have been, because the authorities, that is, the government and the $1.3 trillion media industry, said it wasn’t. It may have looked like a missile hit the Pentagon and the abandoned strip mine in Pennsylvania, but of course what really happened was that a giant airliner, a Boeing 757 weighing 128,730 lbs. empty, hit those places and disappeared, according to some highly convoluted explanation.

“Even though the facts which prove this to be so [that is, that they were lied to] may be brought clearly to their minds, they [the people] will still doubt and waver and will continue to think that there may be some other explanation.”

Hitler was certainly right when he said this. Bring the facts clearly to their minds, or even to their eyes; when the obvious is also the unthinkable, what are they to do? The function of government “experts” is to provide that “other explanation,” those “facts as we (would like to) see them” which will allow people to continue to think what they want to think, what they need to think, in spite of their own eyes.

The point is that it is obvious that the Towers were exploded. Saying that they collapsed obscures this and shoots us in the foot. The Towers didn’t “fall,” or “come down,” or “topple.” They disintegrated from the top down, as anyone with eyes can see. Shock and awe are over now. It’s time to start reframing the obvious as obvious.


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