Sunday, June 19, 2005

Impressions Management

Butterflies and Wheels says the obvious:
This is, I believe, one of the most powerful rhetorical moves that can be made, precisely because it cannot be pinned down to errors in logic or dodgy inferences. It is hard even to establish that the move has been made. Because this is all about impressions created, not statements made, it can be claimed that anyone who interprets the mood music unfavourably has simply got the wrong impression. My perceptions, it will be argued, only reflect my prejudices.

However, it is no secret that the Conservatives are using the so-called “dog whistle” technique: saying things that deliver messages only the intended audience can hear. Since this whole strategy relies on there being implicit as well as explicit messages, the claim that things are being implied which are not actually being said can hardly be denied. The room for disagreement concerns only what those implied messages are.

Which makes you wonder just how long the plethora of die-hard liberal blogs out there will go on.

On a rather unrelated note: Call it sentimental and nostalgic (or "pre-ironic") if you must, but I still maintain the jerkiness and quirkiness of the French New Wave films (as well as their later-day manifestations such as Gilliam's "Brazil") to be a virtue, for precisely the reasons given here. Need it be said that there is no respect for disquieting silences (for the potential of silences) in Jim Carey movies such as "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind"? Every silence is plugged full, with a face frozen, hyper-extended in exaggerated expression. Which, let's face it, after a while makes for a boring, predictable genre movie, rather unworthy of 'philosophic' investigation. Unless of course, one is about to analyze how this genre-reflexivity itself functions as a sort of deadening, psychic safety valve in consumer society (Zizek on the cynicism of the perpetually ironic viewer). In which case, you know, good luck competing with Zizek, who simply does the 'kynicism' thing best (or rather who did, somewhere back in the 80's).

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