The calculated scream

The calculated scream
: Dave Winer has a fascinating backstory on the Dean Scream:

I was at Dean headquarters on the night of the Iowa caucuses, and I watched the Dean rant on TV in the office, with the other Web programmers. A few minutes before the speech they had a staff meeting in the conference room. Everyone was there except me and another guest. Not being a staffer, I didn’t belong in the staff meeting. Several times during the meeting a loud crazy-sounding scream came from the room, everyone was doing it, and it was really frightening. The stuff of nightmares. This was before Howard Dean’s rant. I asked Jim Moore what that was about, he said it’s an Indian war yell or something like that, they used to do it in United Farm Workers rallies, and they adopted it at Dean For America. A few minutes later Dean let out the famous scream, it was the same scream I heard in the conference room.

They’re probably not saying this publicly because it wouldn’t seem contrite to do it, and they probably know they’d get roasted for saying the scream and ranting you heard was part of the motivational culture at DFA. Some have compared the Dean speech to a similar rant by Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer that made the rounds of the Net. So Dean gets a bit whacky, but after seeing it so many times, the shock value is fading.

Dave says all this to defend Dean (and, go read the rest, to complain about the scream overload in the press).

But I actually find this more frightening now.

If the Scream had come from a moment of excitement, it’s understandable.

If the Scream was a calculated political move, it reveals numbnutty judgment on the part of the candidate and his staff: “Hey, Howard, go do the Scream; they’ll love it.”

No, what the voters needed to hear was that you were learning to listen, not shout over them.

: But, yes, I should add that I agree with Dave that we’ve all had enough of the scream now. Yesterday’s foible. On to the next foible in NEW HAMPSHIRE, SOUTH CAROLINA, PENNSYLVIANIA…

Sorry. Couldn’t help myself.