January 19, 2016

"Trump is like a Karass Negotiation Class that's run wild."

Writes Tom, fascinatingly, in the comments to the first post of the day (the one about what Rush said about Trump's complicated relationship to conservatism).

I'm sorry to see that there really is something called a Karrass negotiation seminar. 2 "r"s there, but I think that's what Tom meant. "Karass" in my book — which is "Cat's Cradle" — is "A group of people linked in a cosmically significant manner, even when superficial links are not evident."

I don't know how you could take a class or negotiate about that, but I loved the idea of Trump as a man finding his Karass.

Kurt Vonnegut wrote:
"If you find your life tangled up with somebody else's life for no very logical reasons," writes Bokonon, "that person may be a member of your karass." At another point in The Books of Bokonon he tells us, "Man created the checkerboard; God created the karass." By that he means that a karass ignores national, institutional, occupational, familial, and class boundaries. It is as free form as an amoeba."
One time we talked about this blog that way:
matthew said...
So are the readers here a karass, or is this blog just one giant granfalloon?
12/14/08, 11:25 AM

Ann Althouse said...
Clearly, a karass!
12/14/08, 1:11 PM

BJM said...
The internets are a granfalloon; blog Althouse a karass.
12/14/08, 5:15 PM
I love the idea of speaking and, by speaking, causing kindred souls to assemble. But does it make sense to think about Trump that way? It resonated for me, because I think there's some unusual variety to who responds to Trump. MSM may hope to brand Trumpions as the uneducated and unintelligent. But something more complicated is going on, and — as I said yesterday in a Bloggingheads episode that isn't up quite yet — there's a coming "cascade" of support for Trump when people feel liberated to reveal their affiliation — or, as I'm seeing this morning, their membership in the karass. I know, misreading, but it's that cascade that came to mind when Tom spoke of running wild.


Hagar said...

I have been thinking that if Trump runs off with a substantial part of the Democrat voters, we may indeed be in for an age of the deal, i.e., Republicans and Democrats looking for common ground and compromise; just not in the way that the progressives would like to see it.

Ipso Fatso said...

When I used to fly, I would see the Karrass classes advertised in the complimentary Airline Magazines that would be placed in the storage flap in the seat in front of you. I haven't thought about them in a long time. There was also an ad for a store that sold futuristic electronics or housewares. I cannot remember the name. What would Karrass do?

tim maguire said...

MSM may hope to brand Trumpions as the uneducated and unintelligent. But something more complicated is going on

Which is why the MSM hopes to brand Trumpions as uneducated and unintelligent. They can't allow people to see anything complicated because that will create openings for the educated and intelligent to join Trump. The media desperately needs all this to remain simple and uncomplicated; otherwise, they may be unable to manipulate the outcome.

Expat(ish) said...

I don't know that negotiating style, but I've taken several (work related) seminars on negotiating and have found them tremendously useful in my personal and professional life.

I like "negotiating to yes" best because my work and personality are all about moving forward, but I can recognize other schools and often disengage entirely from people who employ deceptive negotiating tactics. Life is too short.


Ann Althouse said...

The political parties are the checkerboard. What is the karass?

Laslo Spatula said...

"Huma, people are going Trump's way: I can feel it."

"Hillary, the only people going Trump's way are the uneducated and unintelligent."

"Huma, it is just us two here: we can call them blacks."

"And retards, Hillary. Don't forget the retards."

"It's just that the blacks and retards are supposed to support the Democrat! I've spent my entire adult life pretending to help the blacks and retards."

"Hillary, I have told you before: you know I am of Muslim heritage. The Blacks and Jews are the very most ungrateful and lowest of people."

"But I still have the Jews, right?"


"That fucking Bernie! Those are MY Jews!"

"They are a treacherous people, Hillary."

"But Huma, they are the ones with the money."

"I think you have the Muslims, Hillary."

"Great. I get the people who blow themselves up and wipe their ass with their hand."

"Hillary --"

"Sorry, I forgot. I know YOU wouldn't blow yourself up, Huma."

"I would do it for you, Hillary."

"Thank you, Huma. That is very thoughtful of you."

"For the record though: I do use toilet paper when it is available."

"Speaking of which: Am I shitting myself, Huma?"

"Actually, Hillary, no you aren't. ...Oh, wait: now you are..."

I am Laslo.

Michael K said...

"there's a coming "cascade" of support for Trump when people feel liberated to reveal their affiliation"

Yes, there is a preference cascade coming.

This illustrates, in a mild way, the reason why totalitarian regimes collapse so suddenly. .... Such regimes have little legitimacy, but they spend a lot of effort making sure that citizens don't realize the extent to which their fellow-citizens dislike the regime. If the secret police and the censors are doing their job, 99% of the populace can hate the regime and be ready to revolt against it - but no revolt will occur because no one realizes that everyone else feels the same way.

Hillary Clinton may be such a disgusting example of politicians that she sets this off. Obama was virtue signaling run amok. She is something else entirely.

Ceaucescu comes to mind.

The Gold Digger said...

Karrass is the guy who used to (maybe still does) advertise in airline magazines. I had a negotiations class in grad school and my prof cited Karrass, with his zero-sum philosophy, as the guy not to emulate.

Paul Zrimsek said...

Trump couldn't find his Karass in the dark with a flashlight. Trump doesn't know his Karass from a hole in the ground.

Humperdink said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Humperdink said...

I took the Karrass negotiating seminar in the 80's. Worth every penny and then some. Still use today. There are so many angles from which to negotiate.

Here are a couple that left a lasting impression:

1) Everything is negotiable. Everything, including at the fixed price retail stores.

2) Once you know what the opposition needs/wants, as you approach that point, ask for a kicker. Negotiating on a new suit? Ask for tie at no cost.

To avoid being embarrassed, my family members generally flee the area when I get started.

John Henry said...

Question for Laslo:

When Hilary shits herself, does Huma wipe her with her left hand?

John Henry

Michael K said...

"Everything is negotiable."

During my Masters program at Dartmouth in 1994-95, we had one whole course on negotiation. It included a game called "Oil price."

It was amusing to see a couple of members of my team who were recent graduates and totally naive about the world outside the university. I wound up doing the negotiation and they were horrified at some of it. Very amusing.

Later that year, I was one of the Dartmouth people who went to England to help NHS medical offices negotiate contracts with District Hospitals under Thatcher's new Fund Holding program.

It improved care considerably but was immediately reversed by Labour after she was gone.

John Henry said...

I have never been to a Chester Karass seminar but have listened to a couple of his tapes back in the 80s. Negotiation is a skill that can be learned and the better negotiator is going to get closer to what they want than the poorer one.

It is an extremely valuable skill and Karass does a good job of teaching it.

Consider how Trump makes a living. Negotiating for land, negotiating for construction permits, negotiating with builders and contractors and management companies.

He could probably give Karass lessons.

John Henry

Bob Boyd said...

"MSM may hope to brand Trumpions as the uneducated and unintelligent. But something more complicated is going on"

"Beware of the man who works hard to learn something, learns it, and finds himself no wiser than before. He is full of murderous resentment of people who are ignorant without having come by their ignorance the hard way." – The Book of Bokonon

John Henry said...

Blogger Michael K said...

During my Masters program at Dartmouth in 1994-95, we had one whole course on negotiation. It included a game called "Oil price."

I taught in SNHUs business school from 82-2012. One of the classes I taught most years was labor relations and collective bargaining. A big part of the course was a simulated contract negotiation between labor and management.

Students really got into it. Some were much better than others.

One of the funnest classes I taught.

I once had a husband and wife in the class. Not realizing they were married, they wound up in opposing sides. Apparently it caused some dissension when the took the negotiation home with them.

I offered to swap people so they could be on the same side but they both thought it more interesting being opposed.

John Henry

John Henry said...

Now I am going to have to pull down Cat's Cradle and reread it. I liked it a lot in the 70's and read it a number of times. Haven't thought much about it since.

I was a big Vonnegut fan for about 10-15 years but have not read anything in the past 20-25 other than Mother Night which I still read from time to time. The only book of his that has really stuck with me.

The movie with Nick Nolte and John Goodman is terrific as well.

John Henry

Michael K said...

"What role does trust play in this negotiation?
If it is absent, can you do as well as if it is present?"

From "Oil Price" this was the part that completely befuddled the students. They could not imagine making an offer that was not square and honest. Sanders voters today, no doubt.

traditionalguy said...

I like a Karras that can hold Marilyn Monroe, JFK and The Donald, all going wild.

The Secret Service had better hire lots of extra guys, though.

Tom said...

Oh wow - that's my comment!!! I win the internet today!!!

Tom said...

And it seems my typo make for good use.

cf said...

Yeah, John Henry, you are like me. it was a massive book for me in the seventies.

And it is delicious to breathe its air here now, thanks, ann. Makes me laugh to consider the karassness @Althouse.

Last year, I was reminded of my admiration/identification with Mona, and that made me race to find the book to reread after these many years. darn if my old original was Gone! My daughter, the book fiend, no doubt. Simple art in a red field on the cover. Classic.

So I had to schlep to Powell's and they only had newer editions, the cover fussily designed, a template really, the typography being Art Deco style, so misleading in graphic conveyance of meaning.

Oh, but who cares. I opened it, and fell limp drunk at the preamble. Slowly/quickly/slowly I drank that book in last year. Yum.


Cheers, and Godspeed, karasses of America

mikee said...

You have to remember that Bokonon was a complete and utter fraud, his religion a fiction created out of whole cloth solely to satisfy the spiritual needs of people oppressed by an authoritarian government.

When your spiritual adviser is a self-acknowledged fraud, you have problems bigger than one r or two.