All posts tagged: script

Safety of sticking to the script

Yesterday in his post Could Your Congressman Pass a Turing Test? Kevin Drum lamented how today’s politicians only seem to talk in “poll-approved talking points”:

…the other day I happened to watch a few old clips of politicians being interviewed (in this case, “old” = 30 years ago) and it reminded me &#151 again &#151 of just how mind-numbing their descendents are. This has become such a routine part of our daily lives that most of the time we barely even notice it, but honestly: everything, and I mean every last word, that comes out of politicians’ mouths these days is predigested boilerplate. It’s just an unending stream of stale, endlessly repeated, poll-approved talking points. Democrats and Republicans alike. Every single time. They simply never speak like normal people anymore.

…every few months I happen to notice this phenomenon again, and it seems freshly creepy every time. It’s easy not to think about it, but when you do, even for a few seconds, it’s pretty obvious that this just isn’t natural. Politics has always been partly about acting, but even politicians are supposed to be human beings for at least part of their lives. Within living memory they were, but no longer. What the hell has gone wrong with us?

Then today, as if answering Drum’s question, Kevin Cirilli of the Centre Daily Times digs into what happened when P.J. Crowley, former spokesman for Hillary Clinton, failed to stick to the talking points.

Breaking from the Script

In Sports & Political Fetish I discussed how when an urge is taboo, it may attach itself to something else. []

I talked about sports as an obvious example.

But what about less obvious examples? A highly counter-intuitive place to look for political fetish objects would be in the overt political sphere itself, but I believe it would be a mistake to not look there. Might we be so conflict-averse/conflict-suppressive that even within the context of overt political struggle, we send out signals that we do not intend to actually pose a threat or cause alarm to the established order? As a person who has thrown myself into the center of political struggles for the past 17 years, I believe that the answer is unequivocally yes. To fully break with the script between established power relationships, I believe, strikes terror in most people’s hearts. It is such a dangerous and unpredictable venture, that most people avoid it at all costs &#151 even most people who are involved in overt political struggle, most of the time. Instead we engage in a dance of mutual accommodation with the powers that be. We may even go so far as to engage in arrestable acts of civil disobedience&#151we may even go to jail and to court&#151but there is often even a script for that now.