The Ostrich & the Flame Thrower: Crisis Storytelling in the Chaos Era? by Willi Paul, Principle, newmythologist.com
Earthjustice, a San Francisco environmental NPO, is looking for a Campaign Manager who will need to “drive the development and implementation of strategic communications—including dynamic storytelling, media and public outreach, advocacy and coalition-building—to support key litigation and legislative advocacy in our clean air docket. … to build the Earthjustice brand.”
The big question here is how do non-profits, corporations and other organizations nurture and disseminate their stories in a global climate of chaos? Can Occupy protests, nightly corporate TV news and environmental justice web sites plant “non-GMO seeds” for new stories and new myths?
How does crisis communication play in this corral? Crisis communication “is designed to protect and defend an individual, company, or organization facing a public challenge to its reputation. To emerge with its reputation intact, an organization must anticipate every move and respond immediately and with confidence. Companies facing such a threat will often bring in experienced crisis communications specialists to help prepare and guide them through the process.”
Crisis communications are short-term scams in larger and longer scams in protected mass media channels.
In sharp contrast, Storytelling “is the conveying of events in words, images and sounds, often by improvisation or embellishment. Stories or narratives have been shared in every culture as a means of entertainment, education, cultural preservation and to instill moral values. Modern storytelling in its traditional forms (fairytales, folktales, mythology, legends, fables etc.), has extended itself to representing history, personal narrative, political commentary, and evolving cultural norms. Contemporary storytelling is also widely used to address educational objectives.”
I wonder if Monsanto, Occupy Oakland or Earthjustice – in their 24/7 Earth slugfest – are producing anything close to “cultural preservation or morality!”
Stories are best transmuted in a person to person / group setting, voice enriched, attention focused, theatric vs. a street protest jeer anger. New myths are fragmented before you can Joseph Campbell!
How do we rise above the disconnected, hyper-political, proprietary mass story killing in this era?
[A] Look for new sources of values and traditions. I recommend the Transition Movement for their Tales and good vibe for creativity.
[B] Seek out small groups and local gatherings and share your own themes and build new stories, poems, songs and new myths together. Local = Sticky!
[C] Idea > Journey > Community! Any idea that could eventually end-up as a new myth needs shared initiations, rituals and much group mixing to become a community resource.
[D] Join your Joseph Campbell Foundation Roundtable!