Sunday, September 14, 2008


In previous centuries, rhetoric was a major academic topic. As an essential part of their education, many a real gentleman became masters in this art. The “art of saying nothing in flowery language”.

Today, and ever since the rise of advertising executives, “communication” is it. Yet the art of “mad men” is essentially not much different from that of past orators. Only their palette is much richer; beyond words, they add in images and sound. Maybe this is why they increasingly taking themselves seriously, thinking their marketing matters more than the product itself.

Across the world

The news feeds are full of such examples. The best example is found in the United States where the Democrats, having dropped a solid contender for a hyped-up longshot, are growing angry at the Republicans (and themselves) for beating them at their own game. As the campaign heats up, vacuous talk about “change” is met by no meaningless jibes about lipstick as the campaign is moving away from real issues and degrading into a high school popularity contest.

Thanks GK for the vid link...

And the World is Emulating Them

Others are “communicating” as well. Iran’s oil money is being put to good use in Photoshop launches. Venezuela’s oil wealth is allowing him to invite a few Russian pilots and sailors for a tour of Caracas… And now, we Lebanese have found the way forward for dialogue; not a round table, but a rectangular table. As the leaders gather around to sit, one may suggest they turn the table over, dispense with the chairs. They will at least know how the average Lebanese citizen feel.

Those gimmicks will get us all nowhere fast. The United States elections will not change the fundamental dynamic of a complex economy. No Russian sailors can save Chavez’ legacy; his cash will run out before his oil does.

Closer to Home…

As for Lebanon, what was true yesterday remains true today; our “leaders” can fool some people (and themselves) all the time, and all people some of the time. But their best efforts at rhetoric or “communication” will fail on the long run;

They have yet to devise a way to fool all the people.

In this regard, Hezb’O is trying hard. But they’re finding increasingly hard to hide the blood on their hands.

Reality will bite soon enough...


Gus said...

The "solid contender" that you refer to is a representative of a selfish clan that will never shy away from any means for the sake of a political victory. Fortunately many of the Democratic primary voters were able to distinguish between the pretenders and the genuine article that you wish to denigrate by calling hyped up. This hyped up person is the only major political figure , not only in the US but even the world, who has the courage and the intellectual capacity to call fora new politics. McCain and even Hillary belong to "your fathers politics" while Barack is the future.

As for the Palin, she is a strange product of misrepresentations and madison avenue kind of lies. I will be a giraffe (put my neck out) and predict that her stardom will self distruct in short order; have you had a chance to see her amateurish performance in the only interview that she has dared give so far. (She was for the bridge before she was against it, she has no idea what the Bush doctrine is, she used earmarks but she also opposes them....)

I will even make another prediction based on my interpretations of the electoral map, The Democratic ticket will win over 300 electoral votes and possibly as much as 320!!! (But even if they don't where is it written the the best shall always win, GW has won two terms after all:-)).

Jeha said...


Guilty as charged; I have gained some respect for the like of Hillary and McCain, warts and all.

Still, I agree that the Dems may well win; profiles like Obama may well be the future of the United States. But I am skeptical of the whole situation, as it reeks of the Segolene-Sarko duel, heavy on style and short on substance.

Ever once in a while in history, some politician shows up that claims to change things. Then they fail to do so, and thus either ask for more power to so, or are undermined by events and kicked out too soon.

All politicians are the same, across all primate species. And we're the top primate on the block

Anastácio Soberbo said...

Hello, I like this blog.
Sorry not write more, but my English is not good.
A hug from Portugal

R said...

unfortunately, in Lebanon no single "leader" needs to fool all of the people all of the time... There are sufficiently many "leaders" that if each manages to fool some of the people some of the time, you have a population of fools for all eternity :).

Anonymous said...

Great comment R.

Gus, we put up with enough cheerleading from our own politicians' sheep to not have to put up with it from American politicians' cheerleading sheep.

O baaaaaa baaaaaa baaaaaaa ma