Where's there's a hot topic issue, the Republicans will come out in lockstep with voices on the same wavelength. They use clear and simple language with a single antagonist. In the really big battles they even coin phrases like 'Obamacare', 'Death tax', & 'energy exploration', that succinctly convey their point of view. Each of those phrases will be used repeatedly by every Republican on TV, until their opponents (Democrats) even adopt the same language they've invented.
This why I like that 'shoplifter in the store' analogy. Its pretty simple and relatable to just about anyone. On the topic of language though, the opponents of SOPA should be creating their own word/phrase. If we refer to SOPA as 'online piracy', then we've already conceded more ground that we need to.
This is the word: Prohibition. It's our "death panels".
This is how you tell it to grandma:
- The music & movie industries want a Prohibition on user-created content.
- When radio was invented, they wanted a Prohibition on it.
- When cable TV was invented, they wanted a Prohibition on it.
- When the VCR was invented, they wanted a Prohibition on it.
- Now Youtube and many other websites have been invented.
- Youtube is very entertaining; you can watch funny cat videos all day long.
- They want the Government to create a Prohibition on Youtube.
If I had to paint in broad, evocative strokes, I'd claim the industries are using the government to prop up their outdated business models by destroying competition from users.
So I'd suggest 'Monopoly.'
The key thing to focus on is the imbalance of power SOPA creates and how that will end up getting in the way of Uncle Art's evening entertainment. So far the shoplifting shutting down the store analogy is the most pointed I've heard, but still not a catch phrase.
My hope with the term 'Prohibition' is to turn it around and put the focus on the evil being done by the media companies. They want the government take away your rights, because they don't want to compete fair and square with web technologies.
Here's an analogy I've been using that might work: "They're tying your hands behind your back so you have to pay them to feed you."
"They want the Government to create a Prohibition so they can have a Monopoly on content"
That said, I do think 'Prohibition' is an accurate description. SOPA may well be the first step in a 'War on Piracy' that does have strong parallels with '20s prohibition and the drug war. SOPA is a futile attempt to stop normal human behavior - sharing of content. It won't work. The fact that it won't work could lead to even more draconian blocking measures, creating a self-reinforcing loop of ever-escalating restrictions and punishments. 'Prohibition' conveys that futility and extremeness pretty well for a single term.
Yes- they are so good at this, its a great lesson in conveying with power.. George Lakoff beautifully explains how they do this in his book- "Don't Think of an Elephant!: Know Your Values and Frame the Debate".. You also mention they get the other political parties to use "their" terminology as well, George Lakoff goes through this in the book as well. I found a ton of communication lessons in the book, and I dont think the tone will alienate anyone, even though its clear the author doesn't lean too far to the right. A great book to read if anyone is at all interested in how the Right owns the game...
If some kids at a mall talk about shoplifting, all the malls that company owns get shut down without a trial.
We know and understand user-created content because we've been using it (and creating it) for years. That's the thing we need to get across to the great masses - not that websites should be penalised for giving out unauthorised copies (which they'll largely agree with), but that a huge percentage of the websites they use and love are no more in constant control of what appears on every page of their websites than malls are able to control every last thing that happens within them, and that the penalties should be organised accordingly.
The real metaphor is, "If you own a pawn shop and let obviously dirt broke people come in and sell you stolen Rolexes all the time, you may be shut down."
It is like you own this huge supermarket. Lately some shady guys have started putting flyers with information on where you could buy pirated merchandise from China for cheap.
With SOPA this would mean the Governmnet could shut down _your_ supermarket because someone found one of these flyers at your place.
I think this runs at odds with what some people are trying to do, which is educate the electorate on why this kind of thing is a bad idea so that these types of issue branding tricks can't get past the public.
All that being said, I'm not sure that much of the electorate can be educated in this way, which probably does account for the success of this sort of thing.
Not to get to OT with politics, but another important part of the "Republicans are better at messaging" thing is that in general conservative positions tend to be very simple, e.g.
"drill for more oil" vs. "if we create a market for greenhouse gas emissions we can incentivize a market-based transition to a cleaner...."
"get tough on crime" vs. "focusing on incarceration ratherthan rehabilitation for certain classes of crimes actually increases crime by decimating minority communities and perpetuating a cycle of...."
"the government is bloated" vs.
(And you never throw the baby out with the bath water!)
"SOPA is Internet Mutilation"