Waving. And drowning.

Have you noticed that thing more and more politicians are given to doing now – bouncing on stage and not just waving, but pointing at someone they ‘recognise’ in the audience, smiling even more broadly and waving even more strenuously at them in particular, before returning to the general business of waving in a general way at everybody else in general.

When you stop to think about it, the waving is quite weird in itself. When you’re a lone individual on a speaking engagement in front of, say 2000 people, there really isn’t much need to wave at them as you get up on stage – you already have their attention, they can see you and you can’t hope to see them with the spotlight on you. There’s something bizarrely infantilising about it – they used to get Miss World contestants to line up and wave at us. As if what? As if they knew us? Or were they signalling distress?

But the pointing thing is weirder still. Because that person they’re pointing and grinning and waving at isn’t actually there. It’s an imaginary friend. And pointing, grinning and waving at them like that is intended to suggest familiarity, legitimacy and possibly even intimacy – if you’re taken in by it, that is. It’s fake; they’ve been trained to do it by media coaches. It’s a visual form of rhetoric that’s as empty as the vast quantity of bloated, vacuous hot air that is about to issue forth from their mouths.

Rhetoric used to mean eloquence. Now it means something to hide. Roll over Aristotle.

No comments: