LONGLISTED FOR THE ORWELL PRIZE 2017
How do we discuss serious ideas in the age of 24-hour news? What was rhetoric in the past and what should it be now? And what does Islamic State have in common with Donald Trump?
We’ve never had more information or more opportunity to debate the issues of the day. Yet the relationship between politicians, the media and the public is characterised by suspicion, mistrust and apathy. What has gone wrong?
Enough Said reveals how political, social and technological change has transformed our political landscape – and how we talk about the issues that affect us all. Political rhetoric has become stale and the mistrust of politicians has made voters flock to populists who promise authenticity, honesty and truth instead of spin, evasiveness and lies.
Featuring Ronald Reagan and Sarah Palin, Tony Blair and George Osborne, Silvio Berlusconi and many more star performers, Enough Said shows how public language is losing its power, and how an ominous gap is opening between the governed and those who govern. The result of decades of first-hand experience of politics and media, this is an essential, brilliant diagnosis of what we should stop doing and what we should start doing in order to reinvigorate Western democracy.
[A] superb book… Thompson’s own experience in the media is brilliantly deployed throughout for insight… Thompson is a sharp and entertaining analyst of political language itself.
He writes restlessly and compellingly… [An] intricately but also urgently argued book.
Thompson’s great virtue in this book is his steady and cool-headed historicism… Thompson is lucid, well read, level-headed and thoughtful. His range of reference is wide…He has a robust familiarity with the history of scholarship on rhetoric, and scatters his text with easeful and on-point references to Max Weber, Martin Heidegger and Marshall McLuhan… The detail is excellent. Enough Said’s particular glories, to this reader, are Thompson’s frequent and sensitive close readings of particular instances of public language.
[An] important study ... [Thompson] usually advances his case in cool, nuanced and forensic prose, but he is a blistering flame-thrower about the consequences of the digital revolution.
Ranging masterfully from Aristotle and Pericles to the age of Trump and Twitter, Mark Thompson makes the case for political rhetoric as a democratic art. This vividly-written, trenchant book is a much-needed antidote to the miasma of spin, incivility, and "truthiness" that afflicts politics today.