Monday, December 01, 2008

Oratoria dello Psilologo

The People’s Rights Festival was your typical uni-town, hemp-clad happening that featured low-grade art, music and “awareness-raising.” An annual celebration that even the most apolitical could enjoy, checking out bands, people-watching and whatnot.
But this year rumour spread that Big Name Orator would be passing through town to grace the stage with his beknighted wisdom.
The excitement that seeped through the crowd was palpable. Folks who wouldn’t be caught dead at this type of event were seen wandering down from their council flats, curious to listen to a Big Name, yet their pudding-like pace trudging down to the stage on Town Square didn’t appear particularly inspired.
A bus pulls up behind the stage -- that must be him! Out he strolls, escorted up the stairs to the mic.
The speech itself, coming from a professional speechmaker, sounded beautiful at first, of course.
But then the template became obvious.
• Feel-good phrases that rhymed like a stale storybook
• Call-and-response platitudes
• Heads dipped in a content-less saccharine prayer

Everyone felt good.
Then it was over. Back onto the bus and off into the sunset.
Folks from the council flats plodded uphill back to their domiciles, their chins no higher nor lower than before.

In the time passed between then and today, what has changed for those who witnessed The Preachening? Apparently, very little.
Wasted words or words of waste?
With empty speechifying and false hope built up upon nil, would it be fair to consider this an ‘anti-sermon’?


POST-SCRIPT: The hippiesque crowd, types normally proud to remind others of their ability at BS detection, swallowed the idealistic yet hollow oration. Those “dumb proles,” judging by their nonplussed gait moping back to the flats, were not quite impressed by the same experience.