How to Read Something Provocative

When you find something to read in a magazine, a newspaper, a shorty story, and so on, you’re looking for the that one sentence title description to reel you into the story. You filter your reading priority by the most intriguing title, by the most interesting and eye-appealing book cover. Our brains function by our most basic and primitive thought, “Look, shiny!”. The decision of not only choosing what we read, but also how we make basic decisions is guided by vanity. I really believe that people have started to pay less attention to content and the real bulk of intellect, and get sidetracked by flashy talking points.

Take for example, the presidential election. Mitt Romney, the multi-millionaire capital investor from Massachusetts, who not only ran a successful consulting firm, but also contributed to rebuilding the Winter Olympics. That is a resume built to spark envy. On the other side of the political spectrum, President Barack Obama came from a modest background and grew up interested in academics. He attended Ivy League schools and eventually taught at them. He comes from a practical upbringing and it is very apparent in his political ideology. Both candidates seem very qualified and represent a range of populace in our country. The successful businessman wrangles in republican support from like-minded business persons as well as wealthy persons in general. A majority of Barack Obama’s supporters are the salt of the earth, middle-class Americans. They build up a portrayal of the American Dream. If you work hard, anything is possible.

From pointing out these differences, it should be easy to determine that most people in America should side with one party. The Democratic Party should be a clear winner, especially in the situation that the country was left in after 2008. What boggles my mind and many others is that the Republican Party has so many more supporters than it should have. This may sound very biased and one-sided, but it’s true. One party clearly favors the wealthy and the other favors social well-being. In particular, there was a clear division between the two. Mitt Romney made it clear that we should revert back to keeping the top percent of the population happy and that will trickle down, while Barack Obama believed in building out. Many of these Americans, who voted for Mitt Romney were part of this build out. Clearly, they had no faith in themselves and believed that the top percent of Americans have the ability and know how to solve our country’s issues. I believe that Americans do not give themselves as much credit as they should. We get distracted by our obsession over image and it starts to mold our decisions. Mitt Romney is that shiny cover, that catchy title, and witty tagline that we, in so many occasions, get influenced by. People failed to read past the headline and into the bulk of the content. They missed out on information that meant much more to them than the well-crafted headline.

A great deal of criticism that Mitt Romney received was that his talking points had no support. He claimed that he could decrease the deficit without increasing any taxes and still be able to increase defense spending. When pried for more information, the Mitt Romney campaign simply responded with, “trust me. The math works out and I’m a numbers guy.” People bought it. Why? To the practical person, Mitt Romney is the clear loser. I believe that Americans have sold themselves out to the “proposition”. Personally, I would not have a problem with being in Mitt Romney’s shoes. He had a good up-bringing, he wears amazing and expensive suits, and had front row seats to the Pacquiao fight. His life shines green with envy. People based their trust in a fancy packaged box, but never opened it to find a lump of coal inside. I understand why some support Romney. They obviously have shared similar experiences and have similar sized bank accounts, but hey Middle-class America, YOU HAD NO REASON TO VOTE FOR HIM! After reading this, you either completely agree with me or completely disagree, based on what political party you tend to side with. I just want to add that this article is completely biased and I don’t completely look into all of the issues the politics faces. I just merely wanted to state an observation from the recent election that I noticed. You can probably tell whom I side with today, but who knows, my ideology could change as I get older and this piece could be totally obsolete from my status quo. After all, I am a Finance professional.

6 thoughts on “How to Read Something Provocative

  1. Permalink  ⋅ Reply


    December 25, 2012 at 4:45am

    The post is titled “How to Read Something Provocative,” but I’m not sure I understand the point. You didn’t really give us any guidelines, just pointed out the differences between two presidential candidates.

    • Permalink  ⋅ Reply

      Brian K

      December 27, 2012 at 9:16am

      It’s a very ironic article in that the title suggests that it will show you how to read provocative articles, yet turns into a provocative article in itself. This in turn results in you reading a provocative article and showing that the way to read anything is very subjective to how you relate to what was written about. Oh, and Rob is a hipster.

  2. Permalink  ⋅ Reply


    December 27, 2012 at 3:31pm

    Yes. I am pointing out differences in the two candidates, but more importantly why are there these cultural differences in the candidates. The title should not have anything to do with the article. If you read the intro, that should help explain why.

      • Permalink  ⋅ Reply

        Nice Man Blog

        December 29, 2012 at 12:37am

        This confusion is probably my fault.

        Rob wrote this article as a stream of consciousness sort of exercise. I broke it up into paragraphs because I didn’t want readers to get any “tl;dr” thoughts popping into their heads.

        The fact that it’s stream of consciousness should clear up some of this confusion. Rob just let this article take its course.

        You all, best.

  3. Permalink  ⋅ Reply

    Heather Rae

    January 1, 2013 at 7:15pm

    Good point, good points. I’m mislead by titles all the time! Most recently when I had found an article about bees swarming NYC. Really thought I was gonna get to see a family trapped in a car swarmed by bees. Totally disappointed. Everyone was fine, WHO WANTS TO READ ABOUT THAT?!

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