Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Were We At the Same &$#@! Meeting?


A long time ago, I took a course in which one of the subjects dealt with effectively meeting and sizing up people, then reporting on the substance of the meeting. After the classroom portion, we were put into a role-playing scenario in which each student was paired up with an instructor at a mock cocktail party where we had to identify our target, initiate a conversation, obtain as much information as possible, and lay the groundwork for a second meeting. We would then write up a detailed report which would be evaluated by the person with whom we'd met.

The following morning I went to the office of the instructor I'd met the evening before. He was reading my report when I entered, and he motioned me to a seat in front of his desk. He finished reading the report, laid it down on the desk, folded his hands on top of it, then looked me right in the eye and asked, "Were we at the same f***ing meeting?" He then went on to spend the next half hour or so telling me everything I'd done wrong and every comment of his that I'd misinterpreted ... he did tell me, though, that my report - although worthless - was beautifully written*.

I thought about that humbling episode yesterday when I watched White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer's summation of Donald Trump's nine-day overseas tour ...



You can read a transcript of the event here. One might have thought Mr Spicer's remarks had been written by the North Korean team responsible for the deification of Kim Jong Un. He used the word "historic" six times in a nine-minute monolog, along with comments such as:

"it truly was an extraordinary week for America and our people;"

"It was an unprecedented first trip abroad;"

"The President’s address to the leaders of more than 50 Arab and Muslim nations was a historic turning point that people will be talking about for many years to come;"

"The President’s historic speech was met with near universal praise;" and,

"Those meetings were marked by outstanding success"

I could go on, but I'd just throw up.

Were we at the same f***ing meeting?

A word often used by Mr Trump, and by Mr Spicer when channelling him, is "incredible." They probably should be more careful with word choice, because the Merriam-Webster dictionary offers as the first definition of incredible,

"too extraordinary and improbable to be believed."

It has been said that the first rule of spin is that it has to be believable. This wasn't. Not even close.

We have lost our standing in the world and have all but renounced the leadership role America has played since the end of the First World War. German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron are ready to step forward and fill the gap.

Happily, I speak German. I think I should also take up French.

Have a good day. More thoughts tomorrow.

Bilbo

* I later learned that this particular instructor's nickname among the students and faculty was "Dr Doom."

4 comments:

John Hill said...

Ugh!
(I've noticed I'm using ugh in places instead of sigh much more frequently. Damn)

Mike said...

So according to Merriam Webster we have an incredible president.

Cloudia said...

Thanks, interesting

allenwoodhaven said...

Were we at the same f***ing meeting? is a great question!

And far as meanings go, being incredible is one of Trump's unfortunate characteristics. If only he cared what words actually meant beyond the temporary spin he wanted for immediate gain.

There are too many worthy choices, but for Ass Clown I nominate Congressman Adrian Smith (R, Nebraska) who refused to say he believed Americans are entitled to eat. YIKES!