Ex-Communists are clapped out
Friday 30 August 1996
The subordination of political substance to an atmosphere that blends soap opera, rock concert, cup final and Christian revival meeting ensures maximum suspension of critical thought. How else to explain the rapt wonder with which the conventioneers listened to the charismatically challenged Al Gore? The Vice-President is a man who delivers a speech as if he has difficulty reading, with the consequence that in each sentence he places the rhetorical emphasis on the wrong word. No matter. His job was to herald the Second Coming of the President, and the audience willingly suspended its disbelief. Thus the crowd listened open-mouthed to his phenomenally wooden narration of how he lost his sister to cigarettes, and cheered as if a goal had been scored at every ill-judged pause.
Every convention speaker, however inept, knows the secret of transforming dross into gold. You just chuck in one of the stock phrases guaranteed to elicit a Pavlovian response. "Restore the American Dream"; "the future of America's children". These words, in these combinations, induce chemical reactions in the brain which translate into feelings of well- being. Brezhnev knew the trick. He used words like "the downfall of bourgeois capitalism" and "the dictatorship of the proletariat".
No phrases resonate more widely in America than the ones coined by the advertisers. Take Nike's slogan, "Just do it". At an anti-abortion rally in Parking Lot E, the designated "protest zone" 200 yards from the convention, a man was wearing a T-shirt that read, "Don't just do it! Do it for the Lord!" On the other side of the family-values divide, a young man was spotted strolling along Michigan Avenue, Chicago's Oxford Street, with his arm around a woman. His T-shirt message? "I just did it".
- 1 Nathan Collier: Montana man inspired by same-sex marriage ruling requests right to wed two wives
- 2 People all over the world are getting semicolon tattoos to draw attention to mental health
- 3 Van driver who comforted Clark Carlisle and called 999 after suicide attempt dies age 24
- 4 James Blunt was special guest on the highest-rating Top Gear episode ever
- 5 The biggest first date turnoff has been revealed
Nathan Collier: Montana man inspired by same-sex marriage ruling requests right to wed two wives
Greece crisis: IMF was pushed around by Angela Merkel and Nicholas Sarkozy – and now it is being humiliated
'I wish the BBC would stop calling it Islamic State' – David Cameron unleashes frustration at broadcaster
Forget little green men – aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert
Girl, 7, stares down hate preacher at Ohio festival with pro-LGBT rainbow flag gesture
Sickness and disability benefits could be reduced by £30 a week as part of £12bn welfare cuts
£17000 - £21000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...
£17000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...
£17000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: If you are fluent in Japanese a...
£16000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...