Thursday, August 11, 2011
Writers Needed: Complete Lack of Morals Required
Writing really can change the world. It’s true. But that’s not necessarily a good thing.
Public discourse these days comes down to who’s got the best writers.
Who can put drama and emotion in a delivery most effectively?
Who’s the best at glossing over inconvenient facts in favor of raw sentiment, designed to appeal to the biggest possible audience?
Basically, we’re talking about ad men here. Highly skilled professional public relations writers. That’s a rarified breed, right there. It requires a total lack of scruples and a complete devotion to cash.
We’ve been seeing an awful lot of it these last three or four years here in America. The actual concept of “truth” is becoming more and more irrelevant, in favor of what Stephen Colbert calls “truthiness”—that is, the thing that appeals most to the common American who doesn’t want to be called upon to think about the issues too deeply. Sound-bites are required. Homilies needed. “Feel-good” bits of half-baked ideology.
Hey, someone’s gotta write this stuff, yeah? Someone has to perfect the science of distilled bullshitting and sleight-of-hand. Only someone who understands what makes a story work is capable of this. A writer. A lousy, sleazy writer.
Need to defend that corporation polluting the Gulf of Mexico? Hell, with a good writer, you can concentrate on job-growth and turn them into heroes in the public eye. Want to make sure your rich-as-hell buddies don’t pay taxes? Easy—get a writer to espouse about how America was built on free enterprise. Voila… you can make those whiny poor people look like ungrateful Pinko Commies.
And of course, the writer has access to an entire catalogue of hot-button words and phrases that people will respond to instinctively. Socialist. Hey, sometimes that’s all you have to say about your opponent to turn the tables on him. Doesn’t make a whit of difference if it’s true or not. Maverick. If doesn’t matter if you’ve been ass-deep in the political game for forty years, if you refer to yourself as a maverick, you instantly become the “Washington outsider”.
See how easy that is?
Another thing you can do that is highly effective: Tell bold-faced lies. Go ahead, don’t worry. No one in the media will call you out on it, I promise. Example: You can say, “Welfare makes up HALF of our budget,” when, in fact, it makes up only 5% to 12%, depending on how “welfare” is defined. If someone DOES actually try to call you out on it, just say the same thing, only LOUDER. Works like a charm.
Bear in mind, these crazy mad writing skills are not solely in the hands of the Right Wing. The Left is equally guilty of bending the truth and even telling outright lies. The Right is winning this particular race to the bottom of the moral barrel at the moment, though, because they have more money to hire the best talent. I feel absolutely certain that, if the Left was as well-funded as the Right, we’d be dealing with an entirely different set of lies.
Either way, hey, writers are needed. If you’ve got the skills and a complete lack of regard for morality, there’s always a gig waiting for you in the political arena.