Red Wine Gums blogger is the guest blogger today. Check out his blog at Random Reflective Rantings. This blog post is going out (now) in the morning. Fluffy links will be the afternoon treat instead.
“Don’t ever put any facts into a speech.” “Even if you have three separate sources for it?” “No, they only cause trouble.” As a then political science student I would have thought the basic scientific triangulation principle would have counted for something. “I wrote speeches for the President a few years back. Put in all the flowery bullshit and they loved it.” He paused to take a bite of his mini spring roll. “All the papers were going on saying how great it was. Not one fact. People aren’t interested in facts. You save yourself trouble if you don’t mention facts.” The other piece of advice to a work placement student from a public servant with over 30 years experience was to always make sure you were near the door at a State function. You get fed quicker.
I hope to be able put the latter piece of advice in practice again some day but the former has stuck with me. The more I think about it, the more I realise that the facts matter very little in current discourse. The reality is no-one gives a toss. The oft cited “My mind is made up. Don’t confuse me with the facts” resonates among those who have seen decisions taken that fly in the face of all the available evidence. It doesn’t matter who said it first. All that matters is that it was said. The passive voice pervades life, even for those of us not overly au fait with matters grammatical. It comes back to what everyone expects the Government to do when a crisis presents itself – Something! How many times have you heard on the radio or television the phrase: “The Government must do something to fix this situation as it’s very serious and the people down here…”?
Not that it’s important that something is actually done. Merely that something is seen to be done. Preferably as a closure on the news story with a nice photo call of Bertie/Bush/Brown bringing beautiful, bountiful, billions to said local area in an iconic image that will have the Sunday papers debating the politics of spin rather than the substance of the issue. All alliteration attempts are average and abject of course compared to those tremendously tearful tabloids. The voices of the nation, they be. Those of us in the Irish blogging community may remember some of the more amusing glimpses of nose hair from those so much better than us.
My blog gets into the low double figures on a good day. Does that make me insignificant? I could become one of those forgotten greats who will only be acknowledged after my passing, or I could be delusional. It’s not that I don’t care about readers, hits or unique visitors. It’s that I primarily blog for myself. If I wanted a load of hits I could do what some newspapers do and start putting a whole load of naked women on the blog as well as pandering to racial stereotypes in some of my posting. If I genuinely wanted more hits, I could mention some of the places I’ve worked and I can guarantee that would make me the bubble gum flavour of the week. But people don’t really want to know about my life. I’m OK with that and don’t really want it to change either. Like Sweary mentioned on this blog, I probably could have picked a better name but what matters is that my real name is somewhat hidden although I’m sure a determined person could find it.
This is not a cynical poke at politics and the media… well not entirely. The public relations mantra that perception is reality carries weight in an era when the soundbite matters more than the speech. Where the idea matters more than the evidence to back it up. When Paris Hilton takes precedence over Iraq in the news. When the media sets up the parents of a missing white 4 year old girl for a fall and forgets to reminds us of the thousands of black 4 year olds dying because they don’t have enough food.
It doesn’t matter what the truth is or what the facts are. What matters is how what you write makes people feel . Whether I pander to my readers’ prejudices is irrelevant. Whether you read my blog after this is irrelevant. If I’ve made your day that little bit brighter I’m content.
Thanks to Red Wine Gums, who as mentioned blogs at Random Reflective Rantings. Read his blog and subscribe if you want.