I think I can thank my lucky stars that I never was part myself of the so-called ‘social networks’, such as Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.
Their really ‘unsocial’ character is proven daily. I watched a documentary on a prestigious TV channel the other day and the amount of dirt used to discredit journalists or political opponents makes me shudder.
I know for a fact too, that younger and inexperienced people may suffer serious damage and pain from such hunts. That is tragic.
As a blogger and part-time writer I safely can say: If there was any shitstorm raised from some corner of those nets against me – it would be a sign only that I had hit a weak spot of such a politician:
Trump in the US, Salvini in Italy and Bolsonaro in Brazil come to mind. Each of them just interested to manipulate those that are too simple-minded to be able to know the truth.
Facts can be checked, there is no interpretation possible of facts.
That kind of recognition by reactionary representatives of an actual silent minority of too rich and too selfish groups in society would actually make me proud.
Once upon a time there was a fairy and a tale… They met, the fairy looked at the tale and decided she wanted to make it pretty and alluring. She raised her magic wand, murmured a few strange words – and suddenly the tale was grand and wonderful to look at and to hear told.
That was the day ‘fairy tales’ were created…
You don’t believe it?
Marketing professionals and travel agents have learned from fairy stories: Make the incredible into a story, tell it, sell it – and call it ‘perfection’.
The fairy tale is one of the earliest genres of human story telling: An old oral tradition that exists all across the globe in practically any culture that is known to and has been researched by humans since the dawn of time.
Looking at travel agents’ brochures – online pages more, these days – one is reminded of that first fairy… (I made her up by the way… 😉 )
I have got the impression that to some extent cross cultural understanding might be hampered this way:
The average person, a librarian, let’s say, or an accountant, will look up their next holiday trip location. The description is full of praise and glory:
“Wonderful views, the city full of dreams, the landscape like a painting, your accommodation close to the ski lift / beach / city centre, quiet, 4-star furnishings and excellent service…”
Since they pay for it the average person when arrived will certainly use this description as basis for evaluation; and they will complain if their expectations are not met….
As a host you might be tempted to think that they judge based on conditions at home.
They don’t. They judge based on a marketing text. On the ‘sublime’, the ‘perfect’.
That’s why perfection as a concept to my mind is what we owe to marketing:
The fairy tale that is part of the image being sold…
Most of us past teenage years have seen and experienced misunderstandings. Some can be tragic, some can seem funny even, looking back, some are funny – and some are rather mundane, really.
What can make it difficult can be situations such as the following, a nice example I came across the other day, paraphrased here:
A group of people were scheduled for a training of communication. Everybody arrived in time, wore casual clothing as per agenda and was quite relaxed, chatting and waiting for the training to begin. A little while into the day’s itinerary, a young man who everybody had been wondering about, arrived far too late. He was very quiet, wore a business suit that obviously had been expensive and showed a rather withdrawn behaviour.
The group decided that he seemed rather arrogant and they felt annoyed and treated with a lack of basic politeness.
It took a while to find out that he had been to a funeral, unexpectedly and of a close person and barely had found time to arrive at all…
This little anecdote makes it clear nicely how easily unrelated events can be made into a chain of misunderstanding.
Keeping an open mind and realizing that our interpretations can be wrong in spite of appearances can be the first step towards real understanding.