On the cromulency of pedancy and other questions of English languacy, a quest for our common joy and enlightenment.


Phlyra

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I would argue that a spin doctor's role is not exactly to lie, elaborately or otherwise.

"Spin" (I think) refers to sports in which you can make the ball spin when hitting it, so that its trajectory/behaviour surprises your opponents. That is, a spin doctor takes a politically-unpopular truth, and reframes it to make it seem better.

For example, a government which is planning to reduce funding for public services might announce "A streamlining of essential community assets, ensuring support for those who need it most while being fiscally responsible and saving taxpayers' money."

It's not a lie, but it isn't truthful either!
On the other hand there are multiple documented occasions when govt. spin doctors have indeed tried to dress up demonstrable lies to make them seem like more palatable truths...
 

Binky

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On the other hand there are multiple documented occasions when govt. spin doctors have indeed tried to dress up demonstrable lies to make them seem like more palatable truths...
Why should a lie need dressing-up? If truth isn't on the agenda, you can just say whatever makes the voters happy and leave it at that.

Surely the art is in being truthful enough to withstand formal scrutiny while still misleading the casual observer?
 

FBnil

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Or say nothing. Covering things up and doing like nothing has happened is also part of a "lie", even though technically it isn't; it's just an omission.

For example: All that new digital money (like bitcoin) is being cashed out into dollars. For this, and other bailouts and whatnot (nobody checks this) the USA'ean government has been printing new money. As much in the last year as in the previous 20 years combined. That's a lot of money that will inevitally crash the dollar (superinflation and what not). But it's what they have been doing for a while. Just print money to use and into blackbudgets and friends.

source:
 

pyrat

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Why should a lie need dressing-up? If truth isn't on the agenda, you can just say whatever makes the voters happy and leave it at that.
Because most people like to be sold lies if they look pretty enough.

Surely the art is in being truthful enough to withstand formal scrutiny while still misleading the casual observer?
That's old policy. We're past that now. Not that it can never again be done like that, but not often. Today is post-truth time.

I've finally put "spin doctor (lie embelisher)".
What I don't like much about "spin doctor" is that it sounds too much like a real job. I guess it must be against guild guidelines to use "spin doctor" as the job title for a spin doctor, but there are many real spin doctors whatever their titles.
It's supposed to be all fantasy jobs, after all.
 

levi

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Why should a lie need dressing-up? If truth isn't on the agenda, you can just say whatever makes the voters happy and leave it at that.

Surely the art is in being truthful enough to withstand formal scrutiny while still misleading the casual observer?
I'm not sure what was at all true about the 350 million GBP lie that convinced a lot of people here to vote leave. Yes they dressed that up by printing it on the side of a red bus and driving it around.
 

Binky

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I'm not sure what was at all true about the 350 million GBP lie that convinced a lot of people here to vote leave. Yes they dressed that up by printing it on the side of a red bus and driving it around.
I don't think that counts as spin. It's just brass-faced tactical lying!

Wikipedia, for comparison, suggests the following modes of spin:
  • Cherry-picking quotes and examples
  • Denials that don't actually deny anything important
  • Apologies that don't actually admit fault
  • Distancing yourself from the problem
  • Using unproven assumptions
  • Avoiding the question
  • Burying bad news with better news
  • Declaring only the least-bad parts of a scandal
  • Favouring journalists who say nice things about you, excluding those who don't
 

levi

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To me those read as the sort of bread and butter work most PR bods spend their time doing. Sure, the 350million quid thing was the most egregious lie I can bring to mind, but to me that's the tip of the iceberg.

And originally the definition we were looking for was for people who obfuscate lies. Boris's reiteration of that stat in spite of the evidence against it were examples of him fibbing. Of course, we don't traditionally label politicians as spin doctors, that term is more reserved for those in the civil service, perhaps because we expect politicians to lie from time to time, although Boris has brought that to a new level.
 

matzesu

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I wonder where the English Therm for "Gebüsch" comes from? "Shrubbery", heard this first when i saw Monty Python and the Holy Grail in English and im a bit confused..
Wasnt English a Germanian Language? You know "Angelsachsen".., and Sachsen is in Germany..
 

levi

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I think the Germanic link mainly affects word ordering. We have a few words that come from old german, but probably more that come from French and a few that came from the vikings. Apparently shrub is Norwegian in origin, so came from the vikings I guess, and shrubbery is an evolution of that
 

ClockworkCoder

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I should imagine the meaning of this is religious in origin; it being unscrupulous to exhume a body in most (?) religions?
I don't think one needs to be religious to have a valid objection to folks digging up relative's graves and poking their skulls...

Although considering mine are ashes, I guess it matters not.
 

Phlyra

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I don't think one needs to be religious to have a valid objection to folks digging up relative's graves and poking their skulls...

Although considering mine are ashes, I guess it matters not.
Sure but, historically, those condemning others for such practices as being unscrupulous would probably have been doing so from a religious perspective. IIRC, weren’t some scientists/forensics decried as being heathens and sorcerers for wanting permission to exhume?
 

levi

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Maybe heathens but unlikely sourcerers as we're talking mainly 18th and 19th century here, aka well after the enlightenment. Calling them scientists is also a bit rich as they were mainly entertainers, cutting up bodies for the amusement of the audience and only writing scientific papers as an aside. Grave robbers was the more usual term, although I think the most famous grave robbers never actually dug anyone up, but got their bodies other ways.
 

pyrat

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IIRC, weren’t some scientists/forensics decried as being heathens and sorcerers for wanting permission to exhume?
I thought so also, but I tried to confirm, and wikipedia seems to deny it. Some curious extracts below. I'll put them in an spoiler because it migt be slightly unsettling to some. I mean, I know furthering anatomy and doctors learning it is only good for mankind, and I'm glad that some people like it or endure it to help the rest of us, but it's still a bit disgusting for me that don't need to learn that.
The study of anatomy begins at least as early as 1600 BC, the date of the Edwin Smith Surgical Papyrus. [Egypt]
Galen [ 2nd century CE] compiled much of the knowledge obtained by his predecessors, and furthered the inquiry into the function of organs by performing dissections and vivisections on Barbary apes, oxen, pigs, and other animals. [...] Galen served as chief physician to the gladiators in his native Pergamon.[Greece] Through his position with the gladiators, Galen was able to study all kinds of wounds without performing any actual human dissection.

While it was claimed by 19th century polemicists that dissection became restricted [in the Middle Ages] after Boniface VIII passed a papal bull that forbade the dismemberment and boiling of corpses for funerary purposes and this is still repeated in some generalist works, this claim has been debunked as a myth by modern historians of science.
Leonardo [da Vinci] dissected around thirty human specimens until he was forced to stop under order of Pope Leo X.[citation needed]

In 1540, Vesalius [Leuven, Flemish Bravant and Padua, Italy] gave a public demonstration of the inaccuracies of Galen's anatomical theories, which are still the orthodoxy of the medical profession. Vesalius now has on display, for comparison purposes, the skeletons of a human being alongside that of an ape of which he was able to show, that in many cases, Galen's observations were indeed correct for the ape, but bear little relation to man.

Anatomical theatres became a popular form for anatomical teaching in the early 16th century. The University of Padua was the first and most widely known theatre, founded in 1594. As a result, Italy became the centre for human dissection. People came from all over to watch as professors taught lectures on the human physiology and anatomy, as anyone was welcome to witness the spectacle. Participants "were fascinated by corporeal display, by the body undergoing dissection".[36] Most professors did not do the dissections themselves. Instead, they sat in seats above the bodies while hired hands did the cutting. Students and observers would be placed around the table in a circular, stadium-like arena and listen as professors explained the various anatomical parts. As anatomy theatres gained popularity throughout the 16th century, protocols were adjusted to account for the disruptions of students. Students moved beyond simply being eager to participate, and began stealing and vandalizing cadavers. Students were thus instructed to sit quietly and were to be penalized for disrupting the dissection. Moreover, preparatory lectures were mandatory in order to introduce the "subsequent observation of anatomy". The demonstrations were structured into dissections and lectures. The dissections focused on the skill of autopsy/vivisection while the lectures would center on the philosophical questions of anatomy. This is exemplary of how anatomy was viewed not only as the study of structures but also the study of the "body as an extension of the soul".[37] The 19th century eventually saw a move from anatomical theatres to classrooms, reducing "the number of people who could benefit from each cadaver".[6]

In 1752, the rapid growth of medical schools in England and the pressing demand for cadavers led to the passage of the Murder Act. This allowed medical schools in England to legally dissect bodies of executed murderers for anatomical education and research and also aimed to prevent murder.[...]Since few bodies were voluntarily donated for dissection, criminals that were hanged for murder were dissected. However, there was a shortage of bodies that could not accommodate the high demand of bodies.[42] To cope with shortages of cadavers and the rise in medical students during the 17th and 18th centuries, body-snatching and even anatomy murder were practiced to obtain cadavers.[43] 'Body snatching' was the act of sneaking into a graveyard, digging up a corpse and using it for study. Men known as 'resurrectionists' emerged as outside parties, who would steal corpses for a living and sell the bodies to anatomy schools. [...]During the 17th and 18th centuries, the perception of dissections had evolved into a form of capital punishment. Dissections were considered a dishonor. [...]
The view of anatomist at the time [1832], however, became similar to that of an executioner. Having one's body dissected was seen as a punishment worse than death, "if you stole a pig, you were hung. If you killed a man, you were hung and then dissected."
 

Confuzzled

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Probably nothing to do with skulls, more likely from the Scots word sculduddery/sculduderi ( https://www.dsl.ac.uk/entry/snd/sculduddery ) with scul/sculd possibly coming from the Norse word relating to guilt.
 
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