What we've been reading: narrative gravity, memes and Haiti

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Good morning! You've made it through to yet another Friday.

To celebrate, here's some of BusinessZone's favourite content this week from around the web.


The Invisible Force That Warps What You Read in the News

How come Elon Musk, the Mars colonising, electric car magnate, has escaped any criticism for his association with the Trump administration? Other business people have excoriated for less.

It’s all about narrative gravity, writes Aaron Zamost. “The Law of Narrative Gravity posits that the public and press are drawn to narratives, and the more widely accepted (or massive) a narrative, the more it attracts and shapes the perception of facts.”

Musk, a zany futurist who gets compared to Tony Stark, inhabits a separate narrative galaxy to someone like, say, Uber’s Travis Kalanick, who was hounded into quitting Trump’s business advisory council. Musk is still a member, and yet criticism is fairly muted.

“Though Musk’s membership didn’t fit a negative narrative about Musk — if anything, it advanced the idea that he’s a bit mad — Kalanick’s participation hit the ‘Uber is bad’ sweet spot. He had to step down,” explains Zamost. “Yes, life is awesome in the positive narrative universe.”

World War Meme

This will make me sound like an old man but: I still remember a time when memes were mostly benign. Boy, how things have changed.

Memes have become weaponised; irreverent vectors of political and social ideas. The internet is literally brimming with them and all sides - from neo-Stalinist communists to alt-right trolls - are getting in on the act.

It’s a fascinating (and terrifying) thing to witness. Consider this Politico article as a primer on World War Meme.

How US Crop Dumping Keeps Haiti Poor and Dependent

Spare a thought for your entrepreneurial counterparts in the island nation of Haiti. Frequently, they’re forced to compete with a price point of zero.

Inspired by good intentions, foreign governments - particularly the US - ship tonnes of free food to Haiti. The beneficence is admirable but destructive, hampering Haiti’s economy.

What’s happening far away in Haiti is a parable for how government can destroy free enterprise. Sometimes things should just be left to develop. Perhaps our government could learn a thing or two.

Prof Robert Kelly and the interrupted interview - take two

Here’s the adorable family behind 2017’s most sublime viral moment so far. For those who missed the first interview - watch it now!

The sheer mortification that washes over Kelly’s face as his carefree toddler shimmies into the room is gold. It’s been a heartwarming event in a year that has sorely lacked some unironic wholesomeness.



About Francois Badenhorst


Francois is the deputy editor of BusinessZone and UK Business Forums.


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