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June 07, 2009


Posinoia is a neologism being promoted by Mickey Kaus. I really enjoy his blog, KausFiles, generally considered the second major political blog in America.

Posinoia (per Kaus) is "the nagging suspicion that people in power are doing seemingly bad things for secret good purposes". I think it's not a dark suspicion as much as a hope-against-hope that we're reluctant to speak for fear of exposing our own naivete.

Posinoia tempts the same willing suspension of disbelief that fiction relies upon, and - even better - it's a self-inducing delusion!
Over-wrought example: "Obama had to embrace the Muslim world and acknowledge Iran's right to nuclear energy - so he can set the stage for his exit strategy. I think he has an exit strategy. Don't you?"


I also enjoy Kaus' technique of staging his own dialogue by providing inline comments from his non-existent editor. This led me to suggest to my friend Mark that an interesting narrative technique would be to present a fictional blog written by several characters, each in their own voice and perspective, who were all purporting to be real. It would be sort of a multi-voice, blog-based Turing Test.

This notion of the multi-voice uniblog was also inspired by Pittsburgh's own Mindbling. How do you know they're all real people? (Because I met Mindbling, Wormy, and Cousin at BlogFest 17. Definitely real. - ed.)

Mickey Kaus has coined another other new term, the Feiler Faster Thesis, referring to the acceleration of news cycles, the compression of election cycles, and the public's comfort with the resulting change in the velocity of public discourse.

The measure of Kaus' excellent writing is that I enjoy his blog and I usually disagree with him.


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