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5 thoughts on “Cultural Storytelling

  1. This is fascinating material and your narrative is well-paced and persuasive. There is a major element missing, however, and that is the element of telling a story through curation, using a common curation tool such as Storify or Pearltrees. (Others are referenced on the Cultural Storytelling assignment page on the course website.) Your narrative actually feels like an example of curation, which should make it simple to port over into the tool of your choice. It’s clearly intended to persuade (as opposed to just inform), and that makes a perfect subject for curation. Take a look at some of the cohort’s examples for this assignment to see how curation tools have been employed to create narratives of various types.

  2. This topic and this approach do not really feel like you are telling a story. The moment where you turn the corner and begin to speculate on how to engage or beat Trump at his own game was when the narrative lightened and became more story-like for me, the “what-if” perhaps.

    I completely get the need for objectivity, for facts, for building an argument and yet I wonder if there are analogous ways to do that in the storytelling tradition. Would a fictional character(s) allow different voices and perspectives? Would, a conversation between characters be a foil to facts? I have no discernable talent for writing fiction or storytelling so please don’t take these questions to be more than they are. I don’t pretend to have a recipe for success.

    I do think you are on a very important strategic moment when you situate lampoon against reality. I wonder if there is a way to make more and more of that? In this way, you are showing rather than telling and that too feels more like storytelling.

    My criticism is that you didn’t do this work in one of the assigned formats, Storify for example. In using Storify, I fell into the linear narrative template, however, there are two other templates, a grid, for one example and I wonder if that might have helped you craft a more story like approach moving from point to counterpoint in your evidence for example. It isn’t my assignment to make but I would love to see you migrate your work here into Storify and focus more on showing then telling.

    The weakness of that is that it depends on the reader to come to similar conclusions as you and that is a real worry in your narrative since your narrative is vexed by a mistrust of readers and their abilties. Trump devotees are not the only folks guilty of letting their stories go untroubled by facts… perhaps that is the phenomenon that we need to be grappling with holding, all value sets accountable in that same way? Perhaps, examples of liberal, and conservative and Trump set side by side might achieve the objectivity you seek and get at the deeper logical fallacy?

  3. Carolyn,
    First off, very captivating post. I liked the way you organized your material for this project and included videos. It was easy to read and follow throughout. I agree with you in how we should always look at the facts and try not to be misinformed by fake information. Your last two paragraphs really brought this piece together for me. We must hold them all to high standards to represent the best we can be as a country. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

  4. Carolyn, very timely topic. You make a very persuasive argument.

    “According to an article in Business Insider, “As a rule, misinformed people do not change their minds once they have been presented with facts that challenge their beliefs. But beyond simply not changing their minds when they should, research shows that they are likely to become more attached to their mistaken beliefs. The factual information “backfires.” When people don’t agree with you, research suggests that bringing in facts to support your case might actually make them believe you less.” Very interesting quote, I am not seeing the reference and would like to explore this more. Could you add your source?

  5. “Yet the function of storytelling within contemporary culture is beginning to change thanks to the rising popularity of social media.”

    This is a provocative and far-reaching statement that has prompted a personal ongoing internal dialog. I’m still thinking about its implications. Since it’s not cited, I assume it’s a result of your own observations. I think I largely (totally?) agree with this notion, and you’ve done a masterful job of supporting your contention with some very relevant and persuasive evidence.

    If there is one element that is clear about contemporary culture, it’s that people respond to stories more viscerally than to facts. Politicians create a story about what the American Dream should be, and people buy the story often without regard to any factual or logical basis. Where I get confused about this issue seems to lie at the convergence of storytelling vs propaganda vs outright lying. The refugee situation is a good example. One story centers on the need for compassion for largely harmless people seeking asylum from horrific conditions. For the very same set of circumstances, a different but equally prevalent story centers on the need for protection of our safety and basic liberties from evil ideologies bent on our destruction. There seems to be very little interest in culling factual information out of the situation. We react to the stories.

    I want to think that the function of storytelling is more or less a constant throughout human history—that it serves a basic human need to connect, teach, learn, and pass along information and cultural values. We’re clearly witnessing something different these days, particularly in the geopolitical realm and regardless of which set of stories you choose to (or are compelled to) believe. Certainly it’s the case throughout history that people—particularly those in power—have used stories to justify persecution, prejudice, and their own claim to power. Perhaps we’re not witnessing anything other than a change in the scale and scope of storytelling through social media?

    That’s what my internal dialog keeps telling me, anyway.

    Very powerful and thought-provoking narrative.

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