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October 2016
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Cognitive dissonance, coercive persuasion and the Arsenal…….

……..Don McMahon

Following up on recent posts by our resident psychiatric adviser Dr. Billy the Dog McGraw and by Tony, et al, I came to the conclusion that there is a definite correlation between what the aaa, the discontented fans and the media seem to be suffering.

As an actual certified psychologist, I know that there are two forces at work in the self-deception, lemming-like shared mindset and unquestioning convictions that these unfortunate sheep have in common.

The first one is what is termed cognitive dissonance. The APA defines it as; ¨psychological conflict resulting from incongruous beliefs and attitudes held simultaneously¨.

Basically it refers to, in the anti-Arsenal circle, as the inability to rationally accord their ¨support¨ of their team with their dislike of the current manager and the Board, as well as the owner and even some players.

Despite their continuous denial that supporting their Club has nothing to do with supporting the manager or the other elements, at a subconscious level (and likely at a conscious level) they know that such vitriolic hatred is in direct conflict with their club loyalty and that this conflict puts them in a classic approach-avoidance dilemma. They want to be fans of the Arsenal but do not want to be in a Club that supports this manager etc.

The second element is the coercive persuasion the media, and the aaa blogettas and websites try to exercise over the less intelligent fans, who are so easily manipulated by these forces that they will begin to take fiction for fact and ignore the clear evidence that refutes the media, aaa and blogetta’s invented crisis stories and rants. I use the phrase coercive persuasion rather than brainwashing, since research has shown that brainwashing does not work, has never been a significant factor in altering people’s perceptions or behaviour and, like neuro-linguistic programming, has been thoroughly discredited as a psychological theory.

How are these two phenomena tied together and what effect do they have in combination?

Looking at a typical aaa disciple, we see that they eschew rational and fact-inspired dialogue, preferring to ¨argue¨ about their view of the Arsenal based on ubiquitous generalizations, unsupported innuendo and media inspired fabrications, often in a very aggressive and demeaning manner.

There is genuine anger and angst expressed and a profound incredulity about how ¨anyone with eyes can see the obvious¨.  This anger and angst usually derives from the cognitive dissonance they feel because their views are isolated, untenable and counter-intuitive, yet having so heavily invested in this worldview, they find themselves unable to alter their opinions.

They are ¨encouraged¨ in this worldview by a generally critical media meme that constantly repeats the same general theme: Wenger is a fool (or worse), Arsenal are being mismanaged, Kroenke is hoarding his wealth and skimming from the top, the Board are complicit in all of this and the Club underachieves compared to where it ¨should¨ be.

I would admit that UA seem to be fixated on this minority and spend, in my view, an inordinate amount of time and effort trying to debunk their pessimistic and often irrelevant views of the Arsenal, but since the squeaky wheel often gets the grease, perhaps UA’s efforts can be justified. IMHO we would be better off taking a more positive tact and discussing the reality of our EPL and Cup adventures, the worldwide corruption ingrained in FIFA and EUFA’s management  AND the very real dissonance we see between what the PIGMOB does and what the LAWS require.

It is my personal opinion(and based on empirical observations) that some of these miscreants come on UA with a coordinated agenda to bait our more rational readers and to transmit the media’s twisted message, in the hopes that eventually they will throw enough feces at the wall that is UA, some of it might stick. The proof of the pudding is that they don’t start their mud-slinging until AFC lose or draw and when challenged to back up their claims by writing an article or at least offer factual evidence, they disappear like snow in the tropics.

So there we have it…… has only to read the latest media reports of AFC’s CL game in Paris, to see the spin much of the media has put on a difficult away result. One has only to read the posts now showing up on UA and other more anti-Wenger websites about what a mess the Club is in because of Wenger, the Board, the owner etc.

It is not simply a glass half empty attitude versus a glass half-full, It is truly a seriously manipulated and irrational worldview that taints these people’s attitude towards the Arsenal and all things associated with our Club.

Recent Posts

An event to remember

  • 14 September 2009: Eduardo’s two match ban for “deceiving the referee” was annulled after it was not established that the referee had been deceived.  The precedent of challenging, changing and then un-changing the referee’s decision was set.




13 comments to Cognitive dissonance, coercive persuasion and the Arsenal…….

  • nicky

    Thank You, Doctor.

  • Gord

    Thanks from me as well.

  • Menace

    Don – these big words you use have baffled the aaa!! they can’t cope with words bigger than 6 letters.

  • omgarsenal

    Menace…..I promise I won’t write another article with more than two vowels and consonants in any word therein!

  • Gunnerjoe

    This is true, we have played 5 games this season and of the 4 players new to the club there are blogs all ready saying the are failures.
    Two of these players have only been with us for 2 games.
    1 of them them has only played 60 minutes and this footballing expert has said the they will fail.
    Give me strength some peaple and their opinions

  • Brickfields Gunners

    Very nicely and aptly put, Don . Really enjoyed it . A pity that most of ‘them’ will probably not be able fathom its meaning and message. Or choose not to !

    Re your comment that ” I would admit that UA seem to be fixated on this minority and spend, in my view, an inordinate amount of time and effort trying to debunk their pessimistic and often irrelevant views of the Arsenal,……” , I do believe that in the beginning most of us AKBs were trying sincerely to educate ‘them’ in the errors of their ways .

    But after a few years of their repetitive crap , most of realised that they were just scum and not worthy of our good aims and attention . So each of us took different tacks . Me with humour and laughing at ‘them’ for their inanity and stupidity .

    We long ago also decided that they are NOT Arsenal fans at all , but some clowns with a lot of time on their hands . Not to mention unlimited idiocy in their heads, and arses ! Most have taken to bash them at every opportunity with very wicked humour and class .

    Thinking along your lines , I too have taken to diagnose their ailments and shortcomings , as well as treating them ! I have already sent Tony another ‘medical’ article on diseases and treatment during the interlull , that I was hoping that he’d be able to use on here .

    Tony ?

  • Fishpie

    Sorry to suggest this guys, but do you have any idea of how arrogant and superior this article feels and some of the comments too? I kind of feel this article, a bit like Brexit, has triggered a nastier side to be given voice; “Miscreants”, “Can’t cope with words bigger than 6 letters”, “Repetitive Crap” “Scum” “Laughing at them” etc.


  • omgarsenal

    Fishpie……….I can assure you that writing this article did NOt mean that I wanted to be arrogant or superior, I’m a normal Gooner just like you and most of the Gooner world. That said, I wrote this in the spirit of being positive rather than bleating on about Brexit or WOB or the aaa, or even the WKB acronyms bandied about on UA.
    Tony approved it for publication so I guess he didn’t find it either arrogant or offensive in any way. If you do, my apologies as it isn’t directed at your average Gooners, who are most decent people. It IS aimed at the blinkered whiners who often come on a website supporting the team, the manager and all others associated with the Club’s running and diss everything about Wenger, the board, the owner, many players, the overall management of the Club WITHOUT making the slightest effort in supporting their arguments with anything other than rumours,innuendo and vitriolic opinions.
    Here is my challenge to you mate; write an article that you post on UA about anything topical, and, if Tony accepts to publish it, then welcome to the UA contributors… will prove to you and anyone else that you are capable of adding something positive to the dialogue and that you are not an itinerant vendor of stale media inspired BS.

  • Fishpie


    I have had articles published by Tony and, with great respect to Tony, he publishes them even though I tend to hold a glass half full perspective. I have used stats ( not always) and try to argue logically about my concerns about Arsenal. While I have come to appreciate how well Mr Wenger did in the Austerity years, I have a great deal of empathy for fans who are frustrated and angered by the club’s inability to make progress even with more money. They have a right in my view to express opinions as long as they are not abusive. They have the right to argue and express their anger just as you do to express your expert insights. Both of these perspectives should be heard, listened to and respected.

  • omgarsenal

    Fishpie……while I don’t agree with your assessment that AFC have not progressed despite increased resources, I do agree that anyone stating their opinions in a respectful and rational manner are welcome on UA. What I am angry about are those posters who diminish other UA members, repeat or copy and paste nonsense they see on the web without regard to supporting evidence and those who come here to bait UA readers and then play hide and seek once they are flamed. I don’t consider you one of those types and you are welcome to your glass half-empty philosophy, afterall the UA community is a diverse one, and all the better for it.

  • Yellow Canary

    Agree with Fishpie, extremely arrogant and condescending article. One minute you say their views are isolated, this is the fictitious AAA, and the next you say their view are shored up by the media which implies they’re not isolated in said views. Untenable views too apparently although there is plenty of proof of Kronke’s owned teams as being rather poor in the sporting arena. Of course some people want change at Arsenal, and some of these people are hysterical and irrational but then some of those who hold the opposite view are too.

    It seems that your views are somehow superior to anyone who holds that the club may need a fresh approach, your views being based on evidence apparently. What evidence you don’t actually express; it’s just good enough that you have access to this evidence and lesser mortals don’t.

    Some may argue that Arsenal have barely moved forward in the last five years despite having Wenger at the helm and plenty of funds. An incontrovertible fact is that we gleaned fewer points than last season and have not progressed at all in the CL for five straight years. I’m sure there are many mitigating facts for this as you will duly point out or maybe you’ll just resort to vitriol.

    Whatever your response I’m safe in the knowledge that I’m an Arsenal fan and also that I think Wenger has done a very decent job but maybe it is time for a new man at the helm. That doesn’t mean I loathe the manager or think we are doomed etc., whatever happens in the next few years the club will remain a constant with or without Arsene. May I add that I sincerely hope our manager can win one glorious league title before he retires.

  • omgarsenal

    Yellow Canary…..interesting nom de plume (excuse the pun)! I cannot fathom where this perception of arrogance comes from as I am simply pointing out what you also did; ¨some of these people are hysterical and irrational but then some of those who hold the opposite view are too.¨ Neither extreme is desirable nor helpful. Nobody on UA believes Wenger is infallible, nor do we subscribe to a rosy picture of what he has achieved.
    Contrary to your opinion, I find evidence that AFC have progressed, in their gradual rise up the EPL table, remaining in the top 4 since 2003 despite very poor officiating in the EPL. The fact that we have remained in the CL for 19 years, despite injuries and setbacks every season since 2005 is progress that many other clubs would envy. In that time we have won 2 FA cups and 2 Charity Shields and played some great Football. Keep in mind that our competitors have not remained static and have pumped in serious money to try and win the title, and yet Liverpool, Tottenham, United, City and Chelsea have found the going tough as well.
    I don’t see what being an Arsenal fan has to do with anything. I am one as well and share the same hopes as you, that when Wenger decides to hang up his spurs, we will find someone as good to replace him. He is the first to admit that the Club is more than him and that , while he’d like to win the title one more time (or two?), his major concern is to leave the Club better off than when he took over in 2007.
    You should consider writing an article for UA as you seem to be more coherent than your average glass half-empty blogger:)

  • sukebe

    I agree with don,

    Yellow cannary and fishpie, you two should write for ua,

    I think UA need some healthy debate over contradicting smart article.

    If you guys do write for UA, i am predicting you guys would see the ones we call aaa….

    …the ones that runs their rotten mouth (hands) cursing and spitting nonsense just to vent out their desperation, in a very moronic ways of thinking.

    Against that lot, i should say The SUPERIORITY of all writers here, justified. For ALL the writers in UA are FAR more SUPERIOR than those le wankers.


    Over and out

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