"Lay Off of My PERSUADE Shoes" Presentation to Amarillo Ad Club

"Lay Off of My PERSUADE Shoes (4/22/2009)

These video clips were made from my Powerpoint presentation with narration added. (Read the script here.)

The program announcement read: "The 'Persuasion Industry' was headed for trouble even before the current economic meltdown. With the advent of the Internet, Craigslist, TiVO, and on-demand digital TV, advertisers have struggled to figure out new forms, formats, and formulas that will add to, rather than deplete, their clients' profits. And Public Relations experts are just beginning to deal with the brave new media world of YouTube, blogs, Twitter, and Facebook. Their heavily-massaged "messaging" is now just one of many sources that shape the public's views of the companies, industries, organizations, and individuals who are paying the PR bills. For one observer, what's bad for the purveyors of persuasion is good for the rest of us. Steve Stockdale provocatively suggests that it's time for persuaders from all walks to reconsider their purpose and methods in his presentation, Lay Off of My PERSUADE Shoes."

Read the Fort Worth Star-Telegram column, "Semantic pollution fouling the airwaves": One of the overlooked and under-reported aspects related to drilling in the Barnett Shale is the negative impact to our local linguistic environment. We're not talking particulate matter here. I'm talking about the worrisome increase in measurable propagandulate in the lower levels of what is technically referred to as the "purchased mediasphere." This semantic pollution poses immediate and long-term threats to the sustainability of what Stephen Colbert calls "truthiness." I'm talking about Chesapeake Energy's full-frontal, body-slamming, leg-whipping, arm-twisting, head-butting propaganda blitz on behalf of the Barnett Shale. [more]

Read "Response Side Semantics" (pdf): From the July 1, 2005, National Public Radio broadcast of the Diane Rehm Show: Here is an interesting email from Steve, who's the Executive Director for the Institute of General Semantics. He says: "These kinds of panels invariably concentrate on the supply side of political talk — the spin, the propaganda, the doublespeak. Seldom does anybody bring up the listener's or reader's individual responsibility to critically, sometimes skeptically, evaluate the messages they hear and read. Why isn't there more emphasis on educating people as critical thinkers and evaluators?"[more]

Here's Something About GS cover

Here's Something About General Semantics:
A Primer for Making Sense of Your World

ISBN 978-0-9824645-0-2; 290 pages. FREE!
Available in eBook format (PDF) for immediate purchase and download.

Hereís Something About GS provides a thorough yet accessible overview of this misunderstood and under-appreciated discipline, reflecting work Iíve done in learning, teaching, and writing about general semantics for more than 13 years. It explains and demonstrates principles that promote an ongoing awareness of differences that make a difference. Learn how language and other symbols influence how you perceive your world, how you respond to your perceptions, and how you think-and-talk about your responses.

As a former student wrote: "This class was so much different from any class I've taken in college thus far. In my opinion, it was a class teaching us how to think, rather than what to think."

For example, some of the topics commented on include:

  • A fence sieve language
  • Eating menus
  • Definitions vs. meanings
  • Tips for playing roulette
  • Defending the swastika (ooh, controversy!)
  • Making a federal case out of bad words (ooh, more blanking controversy!)
  • Word magic
  • Calling out the symbol rulers
  • Lay off of my persuade shoes
  • Symptoms of language misbehaviors
  • Semantic pollution
  • The bridge at Neverwas

The book is filled with examples, quotes, and has over 50 illustrations. It includes 13 pages of Notes and Sources and an Index of Names with over 250 entries. It has links to additional online material to augment the content, including links to more than 150 video clips. Itís written for a general audience, but could be especially useful for teachers who want to introduce GS principles to supplement a secondary school curriculum, or even as a module in a college-level humanities or social sciences course. Iíve included some introductory materials for those who know nothing about GS; some more in-depth explanations and descriptions including published articles, newspaper columns, and presentations I've made; and some history about the people and organizations that have been involved with GS over the years. Click here to read an excerpt, review the Contents, order, and download now!

Interested in an excerpted video? Check out the Bib-Vid-liography listings here.


We discriminate against people to the degree we fail to distinguish between them.—Irving J. Lee
We think that is which appears to be.—Henry David Thoreau
To a mouse, cheese is cheese. That is why mouse traps are effective.—Wendell Johnson

More Quotes to Consider

Learn About ThisIsNotThat

Fundamental Aspects

By, About Steve Stockdale