Sunday, 21 May 2017

Hoggart's Law versus public relations bullshit

The public relations industry exists to take away your informed consent by messing with your head and crowding out useful information with spurious noise, for the exclusive benefit of the rich and powerful (who are the only people who can afford to pay for this shit). So, definitely evil.

It wouldn't be much of a consolation, but the evil PR business would be slightly less insulting to the rest of us if the diabolical people being paid to mess with our heads were worthy opponents, with subtle, piercing intellects, weaving complex, finely-crafted webs of spin and misdirection so beautiful that we'd be forced to admire the sheer craftsmanship of the people pulling our strings.

But, apparently, they're not. They're as dumb as a bag of hammers. Don't take my word for it. Just look at the blog of a public relations professional. `

Richard Bailey, of prstudies dot com, has been thinking about how to identify the best PR blogs being entered for something called the #bestPRblogs contest. His thoughts, such as they are, occupy the space taken up by this blog post.

Let's put the pronouncements of a PR professional through a bullshit filter. The filter I'm using today is Hoggart's Law™, which states that "If the opposite of a statement is plainly absurd, it was not worth making in the first place."

Richard,  who appears to have a Phd in the bleeding obvious, titles his blog post "In praise of excellence" (as opposed to "In praise of mediocrity").

Let's examine an expert's suggestions for writing an excellent PR blog:
  • "Have a blog" (because not having a blog can negatively impact your chances of winning a prize for having an excellent blog. Who knew? Do go on...)
  • "Be selected for my pick of the week roundup" ("One of the guys judging this contest wants you to impress him, so you can safely ignore him for ever.")
  • "Be consistent" ("Be wildly inconsistent")
  • "Be brilliant" ("Be stupid")
  • "Brilliant writing counts"" ("Write any old rubbish, nobody cares")
  • Quality content has value" (see the opposite of "Brilliant writing counts", above). 
I don't know about his students, but Richard certainly deserves a prize. For nature conservation. So long as we have an ecosystem which supports vast herds of bovine PR professionals like him, the duck-billed platitude is safe from extinction.

Image credit.