“The realms of advertising and of public relations, and the nowadays closely related realm of politics, are replete with instances of bullshit so unmitigated that they can serve among the most indisputable and classic paradigms of the concept. And in these realms there are exquisitely sophisticated craftsmen who — with the help of advanced and demanding techniques of market research, of public opinion polling, of psychological testing, and so forth — dedicate themselves tirelessly to getting every word and image they produce exactly right.
Yet there is something more to be said about this. However studiously and conscientiously the bullshitter proceeds, it remains true that he is also trying to get away with something. There is surely in his work, as in the work of the slovenly craftsman, some kind of laxity which resists or eludes the demands of a disinterested and austere discipline.”
This is by (as you probably know) Harry Gordon Frankfurt (born May 29, 1929), professor emeritus of philosophy, Princeton University and is taken from his 1986 essay ‘On Bullshit’.
Something everyone should read.
3 thoughts on “The Philosophy of Public Relations”
Jeremy…am enjoying reading these blogs very much. Your style reminds me of someone i used to know!
Welcome to The Blog That Nobody Reads! (That’s actually no longer quite true, actually, in that I seem to have a persistent hardcore of about three who simply will not go away, no matter how dull, narrow and PR-industry focused I make it. It is possible, I suppose, that they are also hapless communicators, sharing the pain. In which case, I salute them.) This was originally simply a means of letting off a bit of steam, posting a few thoughts into the ether, like releasing helium balloons in the back garden with little postcards attached to them. I now I feel like the small child who did exactly that, quite recently, and received a letter from The Queen. What are the chances, eh? (Not, obviously, that I’m drawing a comparison between you and any sort of Queen, The or otherwise.) Thanks for your kind words – it’s nice to be recognised – hope you’re well.
Good to hear that age has not undone your ability to summon a “persistent hardcore”, a blogger’s version of Mojo, I should think. Very well here physically and mentally… literally never been better, though from a more capitalist perspective, ever so slightly unemployed! oh well, i always thought jobs were overrated at the best of times. Plus I have four children i can cash in if things get really bad… they’re a bit scruffy, but they must be worth something! Would be lovely to catch up, what’s your e-mail/ phone number? are you still in West London?