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» The Ornery American Forum » Ornery Writers Workshop » Do You Write Propaganda?

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Author Topic: Do You Write Propaganda?
guinevererobin
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I ask this in the most light hearted fashion. Not trying to bring an argument over from another thread, but I was reading the debate over what constitutes "propaganda", and it got me thinking about whether or not we all, indirectly, write propaganda.

Propaganda seems like far too loaded a word. But we all write from our own worldview, which is certainly going to affect how we portray our characters, their actions, and the results of their actions, and which is going to ultimately convey our own values as being the correct values in the context of the created world. although I guess this is distinct from propaganda, as we really can't write any other way, then the way we think reality works .

I was thinking about this in terms of my own novel-in-progress, because I know there are quite a few bits of my own worldview which are imposed, indirectly, on the reader. I don't write about religion or politics (I want to be publishable [Wink] ) but there are issues like underage sexuality, lying to protect others, assisted suicide, etc, the ramifications of which form the core of my novel. sooo, obviously I'm asking the reader to accept those same ramifications in terms of the story, even though they might not have the same moral viewpoint.

Has anyone else ever thought about this in terms of their writing? any examples?

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DaveS
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I think the difference between propaganda and other related terms like advocacy, argument or opinion is the notion of bias. Also, while the other three are used to sway another person's view or push them to act, propaganda implies deception or that the ends justify the means so strongly that dishonesty is appropriate.

Someone might say that advocacy or exposition of a point of view they will not consider or made by a person they don't respect is propaganda, but I think that reflects more on the person than the position they are branding.

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guinevererobin
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Yeah.... I agree that there is a lot of nuance in terms of the word "propaganda" beyond the dictionary definition, so it's really too strong a word. I was thinking more of bias - I watched "Children of Men" the other day and to me it seemed like there was a strong political bias; I was just thinking if my personal biases are strongly evident in my writing (hopefully, though, the reader is distracted by good story and snappy dialogue).

anyway, I was really hoping to spark some discussion about writing over here (talking about writing is just so much easier and more enjoyable than actually writing), but apparently I was unsucessful. my current online writing group has been, unfortunately, dying a slow death recently, and I was hoping this one would perk up just a little. [Smile]

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winkey151
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Isn't propaganda when you purposely write things that are not necessarily true or leave out contrary information, so that you can achieve a specific political agenda or promote some cause?

Isn't writing your opinion on a subject different than that?

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WarrsawPact
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Propaganda doesn't necessarily imply deception. Any time you actively disseminate information or arguments for the purpose of advancing a cause, that's propaganda. But the truth can be a powerful tool of persuasion, particularly if people know/suspect that other sources of information are deceptive.

It's true, the word has become loaded with connotations, but that was bound to happen. It's sensible to suspect that any people who take it upon themselves to disseminate information for a particular cause are less likely to include relevant information that suggests doubting that cause, and to suspect that they may even be actively deceptive. State-backed propaganda was notorious for its power in the 20th century.

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RickyB
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I used to be a political operative (fringe, but the hours suck just the same...) and sure, I've written some damn good propaganda. Most of my blogging is propaganda for my point of view [Big Grin]
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JRS
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I write rhetorically sometimes. I should have a piece about Buddhism and Self-Defense written for the Concealed Carry Magazine website soon.

Like OSC has said, fiction can express truth even better than factual writing...

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