08 December 2009

Talking Points

The robots on the commentary programme listed their usual diatribe without much thought for logic and reason and everybody enjoyed themselves for some reason. A life well spent I suppose. Later that day my friend-in-law decided to grace us all with his divine wisdom. He repeated what one of the robots said earlier almost verbatim.

It all made sense. My friend-in-law sounded like somebody who could write for one of those programmes because he got all of his material from just such people. Every diatribe where he enlightened the rest of us weaker minds probably came from some other self appointed expert. But at least they were being obnoxious for a reason. That is their job. My friend-in-law does it for free.  


Bill said...

They're not called "dittoheads" for nothing.

Jo said...

You're a brilliant writer. It's refreshing to read an intelligent blog for a change. You have not yet been taken over by "the ladies of the tea parties". :-)

Sasha said...

All opinions are false unless stated by me!

Mia said...

Sasha, I agree completely.

Thanks Jo, but aren't you worried that I'll change now that you've said that?

Bill, I've never understood why they're proud to be called that. When I first heard it I thought it was an insult but that's what they call themselves.

Taco said...

Bill's comment was cutely smug, but as one who enjoys your blog and has some experience in the area, I thought I would add something useful. In the U.S., the various arms of the two political parties regularly produce "talking point memos," hence the name of the site of the same name. The people who write them distill "message" from policy people and political leadership. They are then e-mailed to a list of people who are likely to show up on TV, including officials, think-tankers, university types, op-ed journalists, and other hangers on. One of my wonky hobbies is flipping through news channels and watching multiple people say exactly the same thing. For the most part, these people believe what they are saying. They are just picking up well crafted rhetoric for use, much like your friend-in-law.

By the way, for those that don't know, Rush Limbaugh fans call themselves dittoheads because when the radio show first started, the host faced the problem of people soaking up limited air time saying "I love your show, blah blah blah." To cut that wasted air, he asked people to just say "ditto." That evolved into his listeners calling themselves dittoheads. I've had liberal friends dismiss dittoheads because of this apparently pejoratively implication. I remind that that smugness is a neccessary precondition for underestimation, a cardinal sin in politics.

Bill said...

Taco, do you appreciate the irony of warning against smugness at the same time as apparently rationalising the behaviour of Rush Limbaugh and his fans?

Limbaugh's show goes for three hours. The word "ditto" has two syllables. Why not say "yep" or "ugh" and increase their efficiency by 100%?

All due respect, but I think it is naive to suggest that all who parrot talking points believe what they say. A fan of a particular football team is always going to say his team will win, even when the logical, rational side of him knows they're going to be beaten. Their objective is not to believe but to make others believe. They would have to be dead inside to believe half of what they say - which is equally possible.

Opinion writers are paid to express their own opinion, not to get it on a drip from the parties.

Mia said...

When I talk to somebody I want to hear their thoughts, not what they heard on TV. I want to know what they think whether they agree with the talking points or not. What I don't like is when people repeat what the TV says but can't express that opinion in their own words.

I never knew about the origin of "dittohead". It sounds less insulting that way. I also didn't know Rush had a 3 hour show. That seems a bit much to me. If they said "yep" they'd have to call themselves yeppies. That's just not right.

Sasha said...

Americans are mindless sheep. None can form their own thought or express an opinion not pre-approved. They all think they're intellectually superior to everyone, but they need the mobile phone to tell them their opinions.

Mia said...

That's nonsense. I got an e-mail from Obama telling me so.