On bullcrap - Macleans.ca

On bullcrap


On the occasion of British Labour leader Ed Miliband achieving a state of talking point perfection, Charlton Brooker mourns the loss of both humanity and sanity.

You might say it symbolises everything that’s wrong with everything. The modern world suffers from a cavernous reality deficit. You know it, I know it. Even “they” know it. Reciting the same line over and over like a Countryfile presenter practising a piece to camera, Miliband must have felt twice as mad as Green. Two men locked in a shared hallucination while the camera rolled.

It’s no surprise that politicians gabble pre-scripted taglines in order to dodge awkward questions and avoid having off-the-cuff comments inflated into a full-blown gaffe. And it’s no surprise the media routinely colludes in this surreal pantomime. But it’s only when you stand back and watch the rushes that you see how crazy the situation has become. Honestly, it gives you vertigo.


On bullcrap

  1. I’m not sure why this is suddenly an issue.  It’s been going on for years.

    Bush called it ‘catapulting the propaganda’.  Harper calls it ‘staying on message’

    Since people have the attention span of a gnat,  it’s necessary to repeat the same ‘talking points’….and/or slogans… over and over again.

    And politicians learned long time ago not to ‘freelance’ or give a fresh or different answer…the media will immediately pounce and rip them apart

  2. “You might say it symbolises everything that’s wrong with everything. The modern world suffers from a cavernous reality deficit.”

    Wherry – I read Brooker column yesterday and I thought of you, Kady and other Parliamentary reporters. I honestly have no idea how you can write The Commons day-after-day without going barking mad because I would have gone postal long time ago. 

    This is not fault of individual journos but Canada’s msm culture/belief that reporters should be neutral at all times is not helping at all. Someone needs to hold different layers of Government to account but no one is. All public receives now is reviews of pols daily performance.

  3. And yet here, the Conservatieves have raised the practice to an art form.  Christian Paradis is but the latest egregious example with his mindless repetition regarding asbestos.

    And yet a large part of our media and Parliamentary Press Gallery talk instead about the Conservatives stay on message and “win” the news cycle.

    Terry Milewski gets shouted down by partisan hooligans for the temerity of trying to get some answers.

    Oh yeah, Canada is back …

    • Of course “politics for the simple-minded” is not a Conservative or Republican or right-wing thing. It’s a political thing. All parties used themed backdrops, vapid talking points, and droning repetition. 

      It was Roméo LeBlanc, the Liberal “Codfather,” who observed that “if you can’t read it on a barn door driving 60 miles an hour, then it didn’t happen,” and the Liberals have certainly delivered their share of patronizing rhetoric in the current campaign -notably their policy “family pack” (comes with coleslaw and fries) and the slogan “we choose families, not jets” (although the official policy is to buy jets).


      • Probably true, its just we Liberals are so bad at it (currently) that its like our hearts aren’t in it.  Hell, I’ll come right out and admit my heart isn’t in Talking Point Propaganda.  For example, I’m a Liberal but I never once remember hearing the actual line, “we choose families, not jets.”  And I’ve paid attention and attended stuff and all that.  On the other hand, in spite of actively trying to avoid any sound/type of it, I certainly know “Stable, something something Majority Conservative Government”

  4. I had no idea Charlie Brooker’s first name was “Charlton”.  I always assumed it was Charles.