Archive for July, 2005

Make Way for the Spinpeople

Friday, July 22nd, 2005

With a society afflicted by spinspeak, lookspin and soundspin, it was inevitable that we would sooner or later have spinpeople.

And now we do. According to the Wall Street Journal (“Who Did Her Personality?”), one of the latest, highly-paid “professions” is lifestyle designing – the spinning of an entirely new and presumably superior, improved and fashionable persona based on “make-over” selections by your personal life-style designer. These include on the short list: your clothes, accessories, cars, restaurants, menu choices, residences, furniture, tableware, personal trainers and exercise equipment, travel, hotels, and all special event arrangements such as weddings, funerals and dinner parties.

Not a bad package for only $450 an hour.

It is not clear where or how you get credentialed as a lifestyle designer. The WSJ reports “the barrier to entering the field…is relatively low.” It says “backgrounds range from bankers to former swimsuit models…some have degrees in fashion or the arts”

Presumably, the resulting spinpeople have already acquired a full spinspeak vocabulary along with plenty of soundspin and lookspin. If not, plenty of that expertise is certainly available.

Spinning the Latest Language Corruption Gambit

Monday, July 18th, 2005

When the Red Sox beat the Yankees, even the most ardent Yankee fans did not suggest that their team’s problem was lousy communications.

No one in the mournful New York bars believed that all that was needed was an expensive language adjustment to darken the skies over Boston with Yankee homerun hits.

Not so, the liberal Democrats: the spinspeak mantra – we just need “better communications” – has been trotted out continually since the Democratic debacle in the 1994 congressional elections. As Hillary Clinton put it: “We failed to articulate the vision.”

The latest communications salvation magic being sought by Democratic liberals is to be achieved by the magic of “framing“ — a cloudy form of Hegelian superspin that supposedly will win the day by incorporating a lot of ordinary spin that isn’t working into a much bigger, broader spinball that the voters might like better.

The NEW YORK TIMES MAGAZINE (“The Framing Wars” by Matt Bai) reports that the Democratic leaders particularly like the concept because the roots of “framing theory” lie in the academic jungle thickets of linguistics. As Bai points out: “If you wanted Democrats to pay attention, who better to do the job than an egghead from Berkeley (Prof. George Lakoff) with an armful of impenetrable journal studies…”

But Bai, who clearly understands the difference between spin and fact-based substance, notes: “The right words can frame an argument, but they will never stand in its place.”

How Spinspeak History Is Made

Wednesday, July 13th, 2005

When spinspeak is a total success, it has become accepted as absolute fact. For example, it is incorporated into crossword puzzles: Faux history is triumphant.

For more than 50-years enormous doses of spin have been injected into the espionage case of Alger Hiss, high State Department official, FDR advisor, favorite of elitist liberals, convicted perjurer and documented Soviet spy.

Now in a puzzle in “Random House Crostics Vol. 4” you are asked under item “T” to identify in two words and nine letters a “Truman bureaucrat falsely accused by Whittaker Chambers.”

This use of word puzzles to rewrite history opens up major possibilities for truly High Spin.

For example, the following sample questions could be “placed” in the famous New York Times Sunday crossword puzzle:

  • Important democratically-elected European leader later called by his enemies an anti-semitic tyrant. (Six letters)
  • Revolutionary War hero who chose to take early retirement in England. (14 letters)
  • American island mistakenly attacked by Japanese immigrants seeking political asylum. (4 letters)
  • If you answered Hitler, Arnold and Pearl Harbor, you get a Spinspeak Mushhead Award.

    Some Fresh Air from Germany: Appeasement by Any Other Name Is Guess What after All?

    Tuesday, July 5th, 2005

    Matthias Dapfner, Chief Executive of the huge German publishing house Axel Springer AG, writes in DIE WELT:

    Rather than protecting democracy in the Middle East, European
    appeasement, camouflaged behind the fuzzy word “equidistance,” now countenances suicide bombings in Israel” and Iraq… ignore (s) nearly 500,000 victims of Saddam’s torture and murder….and react(s) to the escalating violence by Islamic fundamentalists in Holland and elsewhere…by suggesting that we really should have a “Muslim Holiday” in Germany.

    Appeasement? Europe, thy name is Cowardice.

    Of course, as Dapfner makes clear, many Europeans prefer to do their appeasing and marching under the brave spinspeak banner emblazoned with “equidistance.”