Friday, October 29, 2010

Mysteries of resonance

Messages are always a bit strange when you're not the target audience, but usually you can manage some level of understanding if you look at it from the target's perspective.

I don't agree with this protester's tee-shirt but I understand how he feels. On some level we all consider politicians in the other party liars and I suspect we have all indulged in the fantasy of saying some variation of "you lie" to a politician we particularly dislike and disagree with.

But sometimes, no matter how you try to see things from the other guy's vantage, you simply can't understand how something provokes its intended response.

Carly Fiorina's campaign spent tens of millions of dollars on an ad showing a clip of Barbara Boxer insisting that a witness at a Senate hearing refer to her as 'senator' saying "I worked so hard for that title." Now another group is using this phrase as a tagline.

Perhaps it would be different if I could have gotten Zucker's video to work, but I can't imagine how hearing a senator say "I worked so hard for that title" would generate much of an emotional response. Kay Bailey Hutchison worked hard to get into the Senate. So did Orin Hatch. So did every senator I can think of.

Is there an emotional resonance I'm missing here? Or is this a miscalculation on the part of Fiorina and company (keep in mind, these are the same people who thought a Bond villain would make a good spokesman).

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