Outsiders and the group
Political activist Paul Weyrich on NPR yesterday:
It has been known for many years that Congressman Foley
was a homosexual. Homosexuals tend to be preoccupied with sex – the
idea that he should be continued, or should have been continued as
chairman on the Committee for Missing and Exploited Children, given their knowledge of that is just outrageous.
What’s the point of such outrageous homophobia? Even if he believes what he’s saying, why say it? Why go out of your way to demonize 10% of the population?
Not just in politics but in other forms of marketing, there’s a frequent need to identify and demonize the outsider. If there are outsiders, after all, then you’re an insider. Apple Computer worked hard to make IBM PC users into outsiders.
At the same time, there’s a similar but opposite impulse: to do what everyone else is doing. That’s part of the reason the iPod is so successful… because it’s so successful. The Times reported on Wednesday about teenagers who are buying other, lesser MP3 players just so they can avoid being part of the masses.
Playing insider/outsider games is dangerous indeed. But it’s been part of marketing for thousands of years–tribes and religions have used it forever. The game of inclusion is, in fact, more effective, more powerful and more profitable. It’s just harder. The challenge is to define your niche so that you actually have a chance to be everyone’s brand…