I am fairly sure that I rather dislike Public Relations. And the people doing the job of course. They manage to remove all information they might receive and replace it by short, easy to understand sentences that contain too many fancy-sounding adjectives. Empty waffle, that certainly doesn’t aim to be a service to the recipient. As such it is crap.
As crap things go - the ‘meritocracy’ of capitalism with its magic ‘market’ of course determined that it’s good. Where by ‘good’ I mean successful. Keeping people uninformed while giving them the impression that they’re informed helps you sell stuff. And as we all know, selling stuff is good, very good. I call it lying. They call it ‘PR’.
An interesting article in Die Zeit last week outlined the role of this in culture and the arts - or
Kulturbetrieb as its more business oriented participants would say. There, people may actually be not sufficiently indoctrinated to equate success with having a large audience and they may feel dirty for using ‘PR’. They also appreciate having an audience. It’s a thin line to tread.
An interesting point made in the text was that while I would label PR people as liars by default, that may be going to far. Frequently these people are so far removed from the ‘issues’ they ‘handle’ that they have literally no idea what they’re talking about. They’re just good at finding the ‘right words’. They are neither interested in what they are talking about, they may not even understand it - but they will sound sincere. Fair enough. I guess I should have taken into account the good old
never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity principle. Which, to my eyes, doesn’t make things any better of course.
Amusing tidbit in the same subject area: Mr Jobs apparently insulting some journalist on the phone and then telling him stuff ‘off the record’. A mean, great, so what? I always had the impression that the ‘off the record’ stuff is mainly there to make the journalist feel very important. So who cares. And I guess Mr Jobs could be twice the billionaire if he had a dollar for every time he makes people think he’s a jerk. What I keep wondering about is why the press is putting up with that crap. Who gives a damn about Mr Jobs’ moods? And who in the general gives a damn about his intestines or health in general. Are those people in their right mind?
And don’t give me any crap about shareholders. Most of them are idiots anyway (the 90% rule) and I keep having the impression that they are a major reason - or at least a major excuse - for companies to not do good things. After all their shareholders could be upset or something and fire them. But, in the case of Apple at least, the shareholders seem to think of Mr Jobs as a god or something. So I was wondering - if Mr Jobs was only half as much a jerk as he is greedy he could have a great deal of fun playing this game and trying to alienate ‘his’ shareholders. Thinking differently, so to speak.
Amusingly Ex-Fake-Steve Jobs Dan Lyons picks up the insulting as well and is quite amusing an occasionally spot-on while doing so. He also drops a bit or two on PR. I do wonder, though, whether all that is really as important or sophisticated as he makes it out to be. Who in their right mind would care?
And ‘thinking’ about PR, I am always reminded of the impression you get from PR people: women in black. So here we have one of the scummiest jobs and voilà women get to do them. Now whether that’s just women being better qualified at lying or self-delusion, or whether it is because the decision makers their messages are aimed at are still men who will react more willingly to said messages when they’re served with a nice pair of tits, may be open for discussion. So please prove my impression wrong and show me a list with an average percentage of ugly fat men on the PR staff of Fortune 500 companies.
..please prove my impression wrong and show me a list with an average percentage of ugly fat men on the PR staff of Fortune 500 companies.
That would be hard to report. But I can say that the father of public relations was a man called Edward Bernays…
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