We’ve been inundated with speeches this last week. First, we had President Trump’s State of the Union speech last Tuesday, February 4. We also had his speech at the National Prayer breakfast two days later. We’ve had numerous grandstands with the Iowa caucus bru-ha-ha and the New Hampshire caucus last night. Plus, we’ve had another debate in preparation for the New Hampshire caucus. And, finally, we had a whole night of speeches at the Oscars. All of those speeches I just talked about were very scripted in that the person delivering the speeches knew exactly what they were going to say when called on.
Of course, we all expect these things to be scripted but the thing that bothers me is the debate speeches. No, I’m not some naive babe in the woods type. I know those candidates must have some canned answers but sometimes it feels like the whole thing is a canned statement. Almost like a press conference where the PR people have told the talking head, “Hey man just keep repeating this phrase over and over no matter what they ask. If pushed, just reword our key phrase and just keep on trucking.” Back in the B.C. (before children), when I did work in public relations that was exactly the type of thing we’d tell our figurehead when at a press conference. We didn’t want the press asking too many pointed questions and having the talking head going off-script thus making more work for us in the damage control department.
It’s funny, maybe it’s always been like this but I’ve been noticing how everything seems so curated and staged these days. Family, friends, even casual acquaintances have social media posts that seem so staged and contrived. Look at me at this fancy work thing, see me picking up trash at the beach (just doing my part for the environment), see how hard I hustle. It’s not just the selfies but also the words. Personal interactions aren’t much better. The bragging about CrossFit and who has the most ridiculous after school schedule is just absurd. The other night a friend texted that they were at a band concert and the lady next to them was snapping pictures and uploading it to Facebook whilst doing the humble brag about their kid being in the honors band. The school doesn’t even have an honor band program. It’s keeping up with the Jones’s on steroids. The one-upmanship is out of control.
Despite many years in PR, I find that even though I can write this drivel for others, I cannot craft a speech or image for myself. I am way too what you see is what you get and it cannot be helped. This blog and my big mouth are about as close to a speech as I get. And, if you know me in real life you know I just spew it out without a whole lot of thought. I’d love to know the logic behind the social media crafters. Is it attention seeking? Is it poor self esteem and the need for validation? Is this the new currency – instead of flashy cars and vacation homes you show how well you’re doing online? I’m genuinely curious to know how these people tick. Too bad we can’t don a pith helmet and hide behind some bushes and film these folks in their natural habitat like Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom. I fear it wouldn’t be too exciting. It would just be some random person looking down at a phone. Boring!