Andrew (perspectivism) wrote,

on spokespersons

Then again, the new spin-meisters aren't expected to make anything understood. They are expected to speak for those who can, but really shouldn't, speak for themselves: the suspect, the blundering, the accused. They are hired to not tell the truth while not lying; or to lie with such straight-faced authority that the meaning of "truth" itself is called into question. They are artists of irrationality and negation. There is no modern job so dadaist as spokesperson, and no dadaist job so modern.

"I'll give you these words," the spokesperson seems to say, "and you can do what you want with them. You can take them at face value, you can take them at their opposite, you can fashion them into an attractive neckerchief." It's up to you.

It's an interesting approach to communication, and no doubt a burgeoning field. In fact, spokeshuman may be one of the world's fastest growing postmodern vocations. After all, people are accused of things every day -- murder, emotional dishonesty, sluttishness -- and most do a piss-poor job of defending themselves. They panic, they react, they allow themselves to be tormented by stories about George Washington and trees (a classic example, incidentally, of Early American spin.) A deft spokesperson can take the guesswork out of fending off allegations and presenting even the guiltiest in the best possible light. After all, a spokesperson is a trained professional. She has all manner of rhetorical tricks up her sleeve.

"When people hear the name O.J.," Galanter tells Jordan, "a lot of words come to mind. But not 'family man.'"

When people hear the name "Charles Manson," a lot of words come to mind. But not "sushi chef" or "seminarian" or "teal." See how it works? Now you try it.
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