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Kurt Vonnegut, RIP

By Michael J. Smith on Thursday April 12, 2007 10:50 AM

My neighbor Kurt Vonnegut is dead at 84. Never a huge fan, but I was sorry to see him go. We're all indebted to him for the concept of the granfalloon:
A granfalloon, in the fictional religion of Bokononism (invented by Kurt Vonnegut in his 1963 novel Cat's Cradle), is .... a group of people who outwardly choose or claim to have a shared identity or purpose, but whose mutual association is actually meaningless.... The most common granfalloons are associations and societies based on a shared but ultimately fabricated premise.... A more general and oft-cited quote defines a granfalloon as "a proud and meaningless association of human beings."
This Wikipedia item goes goes on to impart some information I hadn't known:
research ... found that strangers would form groups on the basis of completely inconsequential criteria, such as the flip of a coin. Subjects within such meaningless associations ... act towards other members as if they were kin or close friends. The granfalloon technique is a method of persuasion in which individuals are encouraged to identify with a particular granfalloon, such as a pressure group or political campaign, as a means of securing for that group the individual's loyalty and commitment through adoption of its symbols, rituals and beliefs.
Well, that explains Daily Kos.

Comments (3)


needs to be a regular here at SMBIVA

we need a granfaloon meter

DKo$ buries the needle on the granfaloon meter.

Would someone who falls victim to a granfalloon technique then be, as Bugs Bunny often said, an "ultramaroon"?

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