Dancing around the issue – of metaphors of hope(lessness)

We think in metaphors (or I do and people around me seem to), but those metaphors can take us to bad places and (therefore) need to be interrogated, and challenged.

So, as the old study showed, if you frame crime as evilness you get one lot of policy proposals being popular, if you frame it as a public health problem, you get another. [see also]. The excellent short book “Energy Fables” is good on this (see review here).

Today had a call with someone who explained their “dance” imagery for the interplay of business, government and ‘civil society’.

I pointed to the question of who is writing the music, who is playing it, the nature of the dance hall. And I threw in the novel “They Shoot Horses, Don’t They?” written and set during the Great Depression, with couples entering a ‘dance till you drop’ competition, with the winning couple getting a significant prize. It’s bleak af, obvs (I should watch the movie someday).

And so yes, we ‘dance’, but we’re chained to others, the music is so loud we can’t think, the dance hall is curved so your chances of climbing out are low (and ‘where to?’ and also there are people who will drag you back in, like the crabs in the bucket). You’ll dance till you drop, and there’s huis clos.

Always try to test your metaphors, I guess.

Other dance metaphors I am too tired/uninterested to integrate.

“You’ve got to dance with the one that brung you”

The Hans Christian Anderson story “The Red Shoes”

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