Of ego-foddering, Chautauqua and circuses…

I call the circus “ego-fodder”ing. (See youtube video here.)

Conferences, I have learned, follow one of two models, which might be called the Chautauqua model and the circus model. The Chatauqua model—does anyone these days remember the old Chatauqua shows? Communities across nineteenth-century America built large meeting halls and brought in lecturers to speak in them. Every week or so, outside of planting and harvest time, you could count on an evening lecture at the Chautaqua hall on any subject you cared to imagine; after some entertainment and a bit of speechifying, the lecturer would spend an hour or two talking about Arctic exploration or electricity or, well, just about anything, followed by a lively question and answer session.

Conferences on the Chautauqua model follow a similar pattern. Individual speakers get 90 minute slots, an hour to talk and half an hour to field questions, so there’s ample time to get into details and engage the audience. Conferences on the circus model, on the other hand, have panels of speakers with fifteen or twenty minutes each, and maybe a few questions at the very end; the man on the flying trapeze gets his fifteen minutes of fame, and then it’s on to the clowns or the dancing bears; the famous names are under the big tent, while lesser performers are sideshow acts. Most conferences I attend outside the peak oil world follow the Chautauqua model, but ASPO follows the circus model.
from The ArchDruid

and the rest of the post is WELL worth a look.

Those of us who are familiar with the professionalization of dissent in recent decades have seen the same process at work countless times. Call it coercive consensus: the manipulation of the forms of consensus to enable a faction with an agenda to take control of a large but unfocused movement. It’s become the standard model for organizing a protest on the American left these days, and is a core reason why the American left has accomplished so little in the decades since that model came into fashion.

Hat-tip to Leavergirl.


About dwighttowers

Below the surface...
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