Chapter 4   Leave a comment

Chapter 4 was another chapter that particularly struck home with me.  I found that I really agreed with much of the information that Seitel provided on influencing, motivating, and understanding public opinion.  In stark comparison with the chapter on measuring the effectiveness of public relations chapter, I found this chapter was much more forthcoming with in depth theories and real world examples.  Specifically, the methods of modifying public opinion interesting.  I thought that Abraham Maslow’s “Hierarchy of Needs” theory very convincing.  Maslow has proven to be very knowledgeable of human nature because his five classifications of human motivation methods was very accurate.  However, I feel as if some of his rankings were incorrect.  Specifically I think that he was mistaken to put sex in the least effective motivating method.  For example, Sarah Palin is considered by many a bumbling stuttering puppet to be used and abused by the Republican Party.  However, despite her own personal faults, I knew many people who voted for her because they thought that she was attractive, and there was just something sexually appealing about a woman with a gun over her shoulder and a dead moose in the other.  It is simply incredible how much of an emphasis the American culture puts on sexual activities.  Look at any advertisement campaign for Abercrombie and Fitch, cologne, musical artists, or alcohol and I will show you sexual undertones intended to persuade people that if they use/by this product then the opposite sex will be more attracted to them.

Abercrombie and Fitch is notorious for using sexually suggestive poses for their advertisements, despite how little clothing they actually show off

There is a new sense of carnal instinct that has swept the nation, starting with the young adults of this country.  No longer are we confined to the social order of the more wholesome nuclear families of the 50’s.  To move on to the section about effective persuasion, in a country where men still hold the majority of power (this is rapidly changing, but look to congress, there are many more men than women in capital hill), women hold an incredible amount of power.  Look to Margaret Mitchell’s Scarlett O’Hara or Ayn Rand’s Dagny Taggart.

A ruthless woman, Scarlett often uses her own means to persuade the incompetent men around her for her own gains

These are two of the most prominent women protagonists in two of America’s most celebrated novels, and both use their feminine charm to outsmart and manipulate the men around them for their own personal gain.  Through a combination of sex appeal and charm, these fantastic representations of women have proven that they can effectively make their own personal fortunes through persuasion.  Seitel does a great job of summarizing the potential power of effective persuasion, and these characters throughout American history have proven his theories.


Posted June 3, 2011 by Thinking&Drinkin in Reading Notes

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