Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Un-charismatic analysis of charisma

Behold, it is a great mystery. So saith Joseph Nye, Jr. in an op-ed today, analyzing the Obama phenomenon in particular while barely naming names. After asking whether "charisma originate[s] in the individual, in the followers, or in the situation," he explores some research behind it.

First: "Charisma proves surprisingly hard to identify in advance" - because, according to political consultant Dick Morris, it doesn't actually exist. It may be evanescent depending on the success of a given *charismatic* individual. As a result of this non-existence, so to speak, "charisma scales that predict votes...have not proven fruitful." In addition, it is often used after-the-fact. Proverbial nonexistence can lead to more unfortunate consequences: "In practice, the word charisma is a vague synonym for 'personal magnetism'" (emphasis added).

In the end, says Nye, it's all in the nonverbal communication. This *unscientific* (non-measurable, non-predictable) phenomenon of charisma may have more effect in elections than other, *scientific*, factors such as the strength of the economy. What does this mean? Answer: Science isn't everything.


No Compromise said...

Yes, it's how well one can emotionalize an audience isn't it? Is that a word? Well, if it isn't it is now.

If one can rev up people to an experiential state then the rever is charismatic. It's all about emotions doncha know?!

I think I made two new words for my new New World Order Dictionary. Check out my blog for the answer to that mystery.

Haven't heard from you for awhile. I hope all is well with you sister!


WomanHonorThyself said...

youre so right!..how this racist has charisma though is beyond me Hannah!!

Hannah said...

Thanks, NC and WHT. Just for future reference, though, I wouldn't want to call Obama a racist, even with good reason - there's always a small risk of that becoming an ad-hominem argument, which I want to shy away from.