Friday, January 20, 2017

The Consensus Of Repetition

I've been struggling to discover one redeeming feature in Donald Trump. I think I may have found it. Nonsense. His capacity for talking it (more often than not tweeting it) is matched by a capacity for making the nonsense interesting. Dangerous he may be, totally barking he almost certainly is, but at least DT possesses a perverse entertainment quality which stems from the fact that no one has the slightest idea what lunacy he's next about to utter. Off-message, I guess one calls it. And populist.

DT is symptomatic of a new breed which makes the script up as it goes along. Into this category also fall Nigel Farage and Boris Johnson, for whom one might apply a collective noun for their manic musings - a barrage of Farage, a jocularity of Johnson. If only Boris had stuck to Have I Got News For You. He didn't, and so the joke wears rather thin when one realises that he actually appears to mean what he says and is a foreign secretary, to boot.

All this weird off-the-cuffness is of course designed to appeal to publics suffocated by the alternative brand of nonsense: speaking for hours without ever saying anything relevant, meaningful or remotely entertaining. Gone, therefore, are the days of Campbell-led Blairising. It might have all done the trick in 1997 (in fact did), but by the end you just wanted to reach inside the TV screen and give him a good punch.

All of this brings me to our home-grown political talent, such as it is; and by home-grown, I mean Mallorcan. It was suggested recently that former presidents Jaume Matas and José Ramón Bauzá have generated "antibodies" which will prevent there being a Trump in Mallorca. The theory is that because of corruption (Matas) and the Catalan offensive, among other things, of Bauzá, the political body can no longer be harmed by invading disease. At least I think that's the theory, as I'm not sure that it follows.

But whether there might be a Trump or not, the current lot most certainly do not display any sign of wandering off the carefully scripted path of repetitious irrelevance. This was brought home to me in the course of learning what the president had to say in Madrid about tourism, closely followed by the verbally meandering mayor of Palma. Was it possible, I was wondering, for them to ever refer to tourism without mentioning a) a lengthening of the season, b) the sustainability of tourism, and c) a quality of employment? Seemingly, it isn't possible.

Do they think anyone takes any notice of this stuff? So pre-scripted is it that in rare idle moments (and trust me they are rare), I have penned occasional news reports in advance, and pretty accurate they turned out to be when the actual copy was presented.

With President Armengol there is of course her insistence on "consensus and dialogue" - and yes, you can work this into news stories in advance without too much fear of being inaccurate. Such is the repetition that the Partido Popular now take the rise out of her by parroting it, while when it crops up - time and time again - it gives the impression of parody. Can't she think of some other vacuous remark? It would appear not.

Then we have the news management, the stuff churned out to make political parties, town halls, associations for this, that and the next thing appear to be doing something. Let's take Calvia, shall we. So, and as an example, there's a story about the town hall having an action plan for urban maintenance in order to match efforts being made by hoteliers. Which is fair enough. However, is it not the case that a town hall is supposed to undertake maintenance and improvements? Isn't this a fairly fundamental reason for its existence?

One contrasts this with Alcudia. It recently, via its councillor for tourism and public works, reeled off a list of maintenance and improvement projects which have been done or are in the process of being done. Tedious it may have been, but it was an update on what the town hall had said it would be doing some months previously. And that was all that it was. An update. There were no mentions of resort transformation or anything like that, probably because there isn't one. But in Calvia, such is the need to impress on everyone the fact that there is transformation (well, Magalluf mainly) that minor stories of what the town hall might be expected to be doing are set within this transformational context and typically appended with references to lengthening the season, quality of employment, etc., etc.

We get the message(s) because we can't avoid getting them, but do we listen and take note other than to realise that we've heard them ad nauseam?

No comments: