“Even when they try to hide [redacted], you’re eyes are still immediately drawn to [redacted]”

The editors of the music video for (G)I-DLE’s “Last Dance” tried to hide something from viewers, which means everyone (at least everyone who discusses in English) talks about it. The title of this blog post is a quote from a YouTube comment. It’s a great example of Cialdini’s principle that censoring something makes it more attractive/appealing to people.

Watch the “Last Dance” video. Can you figure out what the comment is referring to?

I noticed it the first time I saw the video, but I knew what to look for, especially since this wasn’t the first (G)I-DLE music video I’d seen.

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Positivity Risks More Than Denunciation

(content warning: mentions of rape of minors)

Denouncing someone carries little risk. I’m not just talking about social media, or even the internet, I’m also talking about McCarthyism in the 1950s, the Reign of Terror following the French Revolution, and various witch hunts throughout European history. If someone inaccurately accused someone else of being a communist in the United States during the McCarthy era, what was the downside to the accuser?

If someone counters with, ‘look at all the good this person did,’ the accuser can always say, ‘yeah, but this horrible thing they did.’ And if a) the horrible thing is actually horrible and b) the accused actually did it, then the accuser is right to say so.

Identifying oneself with an outgroup carries risk. Communists in the 1950s United States who publicly accused someone of being a capitalist pig in a way which marked themselves (the accusers) as being communist put themselves in hot water. Not being of the denunciation itself, but because of the stigma attached to communists in that time and place.

If you publicly support someone, you’re hitching your reputation to theirs. And if their reputation later falls apart, well…

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If You Actually Want to Cancel Someone, Ignore Them

There’s a comedian who produced some TV content I watched over a decade ago but whom I never felt more than mild interest. He released exclusive content on a streaming service I never subscribed to. The odds of me bothering to watch this were zero.

That is, until the controversy blew up. A controversy which made people talk about this comedy special for weeks. Based on what I’ve read, I’m sympathetic towards the people who claim this comedian crossed red lines. Since I was never a customer, I can’t boycott the streaming service more than I already am. I have no subscription to cancel.

The strange part is: despite my sympathy towards the people calling out this comedian, the odds that I would pay to watch this comedy special have risen from zero to 0.1%. An infinitely large increase!

How is that possible?

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Wuxia and Westerns Are the Same Genre—Is That Why They Reached Peak Popularity Together?

Okay, to be precise, they are both sub-genres of a genre with no widely recognized name. Maybe the “‘Stern” genre?

I’ve said for years that wuxia is closer to westerns than any other genre well-known among English speakers, and I’m far from the only person who says this. That’s why some people refer to wuxia as ‘easterns’ (westerns set in East Asia).

The Story Grid by Shawn Coyne defines different genres. According to him, westerns don’t have to be set in North America. They only need a frontier setting with tenuous ‘law and order.’ This describes much of East Asia at various points of history.

What’s a ‘frontier’ setting? Coyne doesn’t define that, but I can.

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The Only Way to Answer the Question My Grandfather’s Papers Left Us

My uncle inherited my grandfather’s old papers. He would read them all one day, he told himself… he digitized them without reading them… because he would read them later… and then one day, over 25 years after my grandfather died, he started reading my grandfather’s autobiographical writings. One of the first stories he stumbled on grabbed him so hard he organized the autobiographical scribbles into a memoir.

So far, I’ve only read Volume 1, which includes the story which lit a fire under my uncle’s butt. What’s makes this 15-page story strong enough to end decades of procrastination?

I also just finished reading The Story Grid by Shawn Coyne… which has an explanation.

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