Climate blogger Joe Romm shows how Senator Al Franken naturally follows the ABT structure in grilling non-climate scientist Rick Perry. You want to be non-boring and non-confusing, bring in a comic writer — their brains are shaped in the ABT mold.
COMIC WRITERS DO MORE THAN WRITE JOKES
A year ago, when I was trying to offer advice to Hillary Clinton’s campaign through my connections via James Carville, one of my suggestions was for them to hire some comic writers for her dreadfully dull speeches. The idea was NOT to have her tell jokes — it was to realize that few people grasp narrative structure at an intuitive level as well as comic writers. Their entire livelihood depends on knowing how to be non-boring and non-confusing. The phrase, “Now bear with me on this …” is generally not in their arsenal.
They bore or confuse, they starve to death. THEREFORE … it’s not surprising that former comedian Al Franken would converge on the ABT structure for interrogating a doofus like Rick Perry. Joe Romm wrote this nice piece about it yesterday.
And then you look at the recent “Communicating Science Effectively” report issued by the National Academy of Sciences and ask whether they might be tapped into this way of thinking. Um, no, they’re more concerned with cognition, framing and perception (as I revealed back in February).
I used to complain about how so much of science communication consists of the blind leading the blind. It’s nice that NAS provided such a solid example of this. I wish I had time to hire a team of comic writers and make a short film about their communication efforts. There’s a Monty Python element to what they do. “Right, I make a motion that we put together a committee to look into the possibility that communicating really goodly is determined by how you frame your perception of cognition.”
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