Tuesday 14 December 2010

Speak up!

Dear Blogees, I have had the stark realisation that genocide and other crimes against humanity may not be the only legacy left by Adolph Hitler, as if they were not enough. Another more diabolical dower struck me recently; Shouting. Mr Hitler didn't invent shouting, admittedly but he did a lot for popularising it as a political tool and by political I mean in its broader sense, as a means to manipulate and influence the populous. Our own Churchill flirted with shouting as a oratorical tool but due to his obvious lack of oral dexterity went back to his pontificant enunciation for his 'fight them on the beaches' speech. Lenin before him had gotten his underclothes in an undulation from time to time but it was the Führer who got it to the masses and really showed its potential to the world.

Up until the beginning of the twentieth century leaders didn't have to shout, they didn't have to convince anyone of anything, they had the power you didn't; no need to shout about it. Anyone wishing to convince you of their ideologies did so with reason and persuasion. Socrates, Aristotle, Jesus and Mohammed appealed to the people's sense of understanding. Nowhere does it mention and lo sprayed with the spittle of Christ's vitriol did the apostles go out among the people, no the prophets and philosophers of old were a reasonable bunch. They may have played a half-truth here and there and been quick with the lexical chess but they did credit the listener with the ability to, well, listen.

Two areas where its use has proliferated is comedy and religion, two unsettlingly influential areas of cultivation. In the prior we laugh and ponder the astute observation of the comedian while also finding it quite empowering to laugh at someone quite obviously displaying aggressive and threatening body language. The latter conditions us to associate yelling with righteous conviction, quiet piety is for wimps give me fire and brimstone. Both give their message weight along with volume and lets face it we don't shout and swear for no reason, do we?

Democracy and free will have done a lot to advance the rant. Those who wish to influence you feel they need to try that much harder, although the majority of ranters have done their best to persuade you, through the intensity of their convictions, to give them your power to curtail your democratic rights.

Sincerity and honesty are rare elements of our advanced society, we are lead to believe that we have less and less time to wait for an answer. Rhetoric has become the new conversation, ironic in an age with so many mediums of communication.

late 14c., from O.Fr. comunicacion (14c., Mod.Fr. communication), from L. communicationem (nom. communicatio), noun of action from communicare "to share, divide out; communicate, impart, inform; join, unite, participate in," lit. "to make common," from communis (see common).

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