Thursday, April 26, 2012

Reminder: Repeating reinforces

I used to like to watch cable news.  Then the hyperventilating began.  More egregious than the breathless introductions has become the repetitiveness – saying the same thing in 3 different ways.  Listen to any of the questions being asked – it’s asked, summarized and rephrased all before the guest has a change to weigh in.  It’s a total irritation and waste of time.  It’s done because repetition is effective in making an impact.  People need to hear things multiple times.  Consumer buying behavior indicates that it can take dozens of impressions to move people to action.  This is why repetition matters.  Repeating things helps people understand things when it’s phrased differently and compels them to act.  There’s lots of data to support the thesis that providing information multiple times causes people to remember the message.
Anniversaries are opportunities to reflect and remember.  At my Parish in Hollywood (as in many other Churches of many denominations) a Chantry Book (or Book of Remembrance) is kept.  The tradition at this particular Church is that for two or three weeks each year individuals in the book are remembered in prayer on the anniversary of their passing.  Each person in the book is also prayed for on All Souls Day.  It is a powerful component of the liturgy that reminds us of who has gone before.  It’s a beautiful way to honor important people in our lives. 
May 1st, coming up next week, marks the first anniversary of the death of Osama bin Laden.  I doubt that many Churches, let alone many individuals, will have much regret that he’s been dead for a year.  The cable networks might do a breathless re-enactment, but there won’t be much substantive analysis.  Is this incident worth repeating and revisiting?  It is.  There lessons and the precedents that go far beyond the impact of the death of one individual.

Osama bin Laden was a bad guy.  The allegations against him are plentiful and describe a heinous individual.  I do not grieve his passing.  I mourn the death of the Rule of Law.  Operation Neptune Spear had U.S. soldiers invade a sovereign nation, go into a private residence, find the target (bin Laden) and kill him.   He was never charged with a crime in a U.S. or an International Court.  The highly skilled marksmen made no attempt to disable the man (who was reported to be on dialysis).  It was an assassination, ordered from the President of the United States based on his sole determination the this individual was guilty.

The world was told that this was an extraordinary situation and applied to a select group of people.  Months later a U.S. citizen was assassinated by U.S. soldiers on the sole determination of a former Constitutional Law Professor.  This is the Obama Doctrine.

These are not new points.  Last year I wrote Gotcha! and Story Time - both worthy of a revisit about the binLaden situation.
Going through the archives (on the right column, sorted by year and month) I took a quick review of the first few months of this year’ subject.  I’ve written about the Government taking down Twitter posts in Privacy Lost & Found.  Two weeks later there was the post Driving Ms Irony that explored the laws requiring each American to carry Government Identification.  In Public Privacy three examples of loss of privacy were explored.  
These blog posts are thematically repetitive but fresh in subjects explored.  Their conclusion:  there’s a better way.  If you agree – share these posts.  If you disagree – share these posts.  Push back at the elected leaders who are creating this legislation.  Register to vote and then actually vote.  Let’s repeat this quote from John Diefenbaker (13th Prime Minister of Canada):  Freedom is the right to be wrong, not the right to do wrong.

1 comment:

  1. I'm impressed by shows like TMZ and The First 28 Hours that repeat the same shots over and over