Friday, September 11, 2009

Subliminal Heresy

One of the things that seems to get missed in all the analysis of Obama's speeches are the subliminal aspects of them. By that, I'm referring to body language, inflections in tone and overall temperament.

I can take a discussion at work and cut through all the BS to grasp the content of the subject being discussed. That same thing cannot be said for everyone, however. I've had countless conversations with subordinates who "read" something into what was was said and then reacted in a very emotional and personal way.

On certain occasions, I can also react very strongly to body language and inflections in tone. I have also been known to read things into someone's communication with me, especially when the subject is personal. Despite my record at work, I have not had the same experience at home. The question is, what makes the difference?

We have evidence of this phenomenon in the halls of Congress. We saw it in Joe Wilson's outburst during Barack Obama's speech on Wednesday night. His simple exclamation of "You lie" spoke volumes about his state of emotion during that speech. He reacted to more than the spoken word. He reacted to the subliminal message of Obama's speech. In his defense, he is a junior Congressman. He has not been hardened against the obfuscations and subliminal messaging that goes on in politics.

Joe Wilson reacted in about the same way that I have reacted to my teenage daughter's verbal jabs in front of her friends. I don't just listen to the words, which, truth be told, are relatively benign. I also "see" the subliminal messaging going on and, subject to my interpretation, respond in kind. It's a no-win situation. My interpretations are always met with the same derision as that of Joe Wilson's. Even worse, there is NEVER any acknowledgment that my interpretation had merit. In essence, I've always been left to twist in the wind.

There is much to be said about Barack Obama's speaking skills. There is very little said about the subliminal aspects of his speaking. Maybe its just me, but it seems that most in the mainstream media are hesitant to go there. That is not to say, however, that those subliminal messages don't exist. They are often couched in phrases like "nuanced" or "thoughtful".

How do you respond to his speeches? Do you get agitated? If so, do you consider yourself an emotional misfit? If not, why are you denied an emotional reaction toward something that is an affront to your being? Are you not one of the "enlightened" ones? Are you (shudder) a Tea Party participant?

For myself, I worry not. I'm just reacting to a subliminal heresy that is ripping at my sensibilities. What about you?

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