Saturday, May 11, 2013

Quotes and Quotes Out of Context in Politics

Quotes from politicians or celebrities have a life of its own e.g. "I can see Russia from my house" supposedly from Sarah Palin.

The world of politics is about making catch phrases, good soundbites, and to misquote or better, quote out of context what your adversary said. In social media, bad quotes and quotes out of context can get circulated faster and further. As MP Zainudin found out recently after his quote from Terry Goodkind, the same Terry Goodkind behind the story about Confessors, Richard Cypher and epic fantasy.

The quote in full,

The offending quote in particular, "gang rape is after all democracy in action", which was attributed to Zainudin by the time it spread rather than Terry Goodkind, and repeated everywhere without the entire quote from Terry Goodkind.

Taking Out of Context is an Old Trick

Obviously PAP critics took it out of context which is the way politics happen. Certainly, the simple social media crowd who mostly shoot before they think wanted Zainudin's reputation gang raped figuratively. However, for NCMP Lina Chiam to opportunistically weigh in without thinking, looking at her airhead reputation, again shows that she can shoot herself in her foot all by herself. For that matter, only SPP foolishly raised its hand in protest while the other parties like SDP, NSP or WP wisely knew that it was a low blow to strike that would boomerang back.

Nonetheless, Zainudin is not without blame, despite his damage control and reasonable explanation and he is naive to put such thought-provoking quotes out there without some qualifier like "what do you think" to give himself an escape route, which he needed one now. The PAP should have learnt about the social media's angry simple crowd - Tin Pei Ling's infamous photo with her Kate Spade bag should have been an important lesson. Innocuous personally, but can be twisted out of context politically.

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