How to Listen to Authoritarians (Without Losing Your Mind)
umair haque

2 excellent pieces by Masha Gessen about authoritarian leaders and their communication style:

The Putin Paradigm

Autocracy: Rules for Survival

Basically, it’s all about exhibiting power, not passing information (whether correct or not). Think your parents when you were a kid or your boss, especially authoritarian parents and a bossy boss. “Don’t bother coming on Monday, you’re fired” or “You’re not going to that party” don’t mark a future possibility. Lying for them is to assert power over media and truth itself. I am the boss, and “fake news” is whatever doesn’t match my own “alternative facts”. Can’t those stupid serfs… oops, linguists rewrite the dictionary for me?

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