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"...public opinion deserves to be respected as well as despised" G.W.F. Hegel, 'Philosophy of Right'

Tim Blair's darned sock « Previous | |Next »
February 23, 2004

I'm currently reading Don Watson's Death Sentence:The Decay of Public Language. It got me thinking about writing a post on the eloquence and inventiveness of Australian journalism in reshaping our language. It was to be a little something that played around with the metaphor of electrify, as in madness.

Then I came across this passage in Watson's text:

"Pictures rule. To the extent that TV rules, pictures rule; and to the extent that TV is the most important medium of public life, the public language is at best a secondary consideration, and at works indistinquishable from the language of marketing and entertainment." (p. 64).

And I was sidetracked. I thought: Tim Blair! Our man from the IPA is a classic exponent of marketing and entertainment that disguises itself as good journalism.

Truth is something you don't think of when you read Tim. His words kinda ring true in a strange way, but the rhetoric of truth disguises the political purpose that drives his work.

But I'll give him something though. Fluent Tim is more than a medium for the flows of entertainment. His 'soft talk' markets American Republican politics in Australia with far more finese than we find in Murdock's ragtag Australian. And our Tim is not all gloss. He loves to coerce you into believing that there is no choice but to buy the Republicanspeak and product he's hustling in the media marketplace.

You can't really say that his stuff is as nourishing as mother's milk. Too cynical. It activates our instinct to distrust. Nor does the jokey rhetoric take wing and soar, for all its stylistics and self-concious poetics. It's more a bit of this and that gone stale. Short on depth and ideas, you might say, after a few South Australian wines have made you feel relaxed and comfortable.

After a few more SA wines (ugh the salt!) whilst watching the father of the nation on television expound on nothing in particular, and you start to see that Tim's finely honed words are linked by bits of barbed wire. You detect the dog whistling behind the craft. This is what Watson calls the "...trick of tapping the political potential of suppressed prejudice, fear and envy through apparently harmless but carefully 'coded' words and turning it against the rest of the country."

A few more wines and you start thinking of darned socks, unwashed.

And so it goes........I'll spare you the drunken shift to Bataillian imagery.

You see, I got side tracked. And the stock stuff does not sit too well with petrol, carbon fibre, rubber.

I should have stuck to my post about the filtering of truth in Australian journalism.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 10:44 PM | | Comments (2)


Coerce? Buy a dictionary.

I thought about it and left it in. I would argue that theories can be corecive because they are forms of knowledge/power.