From Ascription is an Anathema to any Enthusiasm, on the rebroadcasting of ideas:
"The cartoon phase is what happens as the ideas are repurposed to serve
the goals of actors further down the supply chain. What Paul Krugman
calls the âPolicy Entrepreneurs.â Hereâs a typical sentence that
illustrates how he finds this species distasteful â am also unable to
pretend to respect âpolicy entrepreneursâ, the intellectually dishonest
self-proclaimed experts who tell politicians what they want to hear.â
These actors are no different than the rest of us; they are looking of
a place to get some positive feedback. If you frame an idea in certain
ways you get a commercially viable product. Frame it another you get a
fat book deal. Frame it another you a durable notch in the belt of your
reputation. Frame it as a open source project with sufficient
worse-is-better affordances for other people to play and you create a
bloom of activity that is really fun to watch."
But, perhaps all of those are necessary to support each other cf. Google Answers posts on Vonnegut’s "Bluebeard", which I suspect are to a question posed by Webb, who first brought the passage to my attention a few years back when arch-cartoonist Gladwell’s "The Tipping Point" was causing a fuss:
"Catching up on some reading which had gotten by me I came across a passage in Vonnegut’s Bluebeard wherein one of his characters (Slazinger) has written a book titled "The Only Way to Have a Successful Revolution in Any Field of Human Activity." Supposedly extracted from a study of history this ‘only’ method requires a team of ‘mind openners’ to break people out of their current mindset, regardless of how unrealistic or dumb that mindset may be.
This team of ‘mind-openners’ consists of three people:
1)An Authentic Genius: a person with seemingly good ideas not in general circulation. He adds "A genius working alone. . . is invariably ignored as a lunatic." (copywrited in 1987)
2)A highly intelligent person in good standing in the community who will stand up and attest that the genius is not mad.
3)A person who can explain anything, to anyone."
I’m guessing from Krugman’s remarks that it’s not that often that types (1) and (3) get along, as (3) gets the big book deal…
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as (3) gets the big book deal…
with John Brockman as the agent.