Spain’s prime minister Mariano Rajoy lives installed in the ‘reification’. For him all is thing, all are things. ‘Thing’ is the pet word who chairs his discourse. If accuracy is one of the fundamental characteristics of language, any language that seeks to communicate effectively, what Rajoy does is, manifestly, an open resignation to that aspiration. It is rather an attempt to subvert it, diluting in it any hint of transparency.
- “Things that generate discomfort” [On the success factors of Podemos]
- “A few things are not 46 million Spaniards” [About his party –PP– corruption].
- “Not true, except some thing that the media have published” [denying illegal bonuses in PP].
- “What is fashionable are things that we had not heard to talk about” [Relating to economy].
- “Because they do things.” [Why he likes Catalans].
- “Behind the demagogues and populists of all signs are millions of people who are not, who want things normal humans”.
To which I incorporate some more recent examples:
- “One thing are commentators and other thing those who govern” [On the presence of candidates on TV’s talk shows].
- “When people votes another thing that is not PP, they can be voting PSOE” [About C’s growth].
- “Spain is a great country that does important things and has Spaniards” [ Spain and Spaniards ].
- “We have things to change and we will,” [Referring to the loss of votes for PP in the last elections].
‘Cosismo‘ -abuse of the word ‘thing’ (‘cosa’ in Spanish)- is one of the most common signs of linguistic poverty or sloppiness and, although its use is permissible in certain cases in which, usually, addresser and adressee know exactly what they are speaking about, it is a vice to be avoided.
And I would talk of ‘cosismo’ if I were analyzing other areas different of political communication, but in political communication nothing is free, almost nothing is due to chance. The use of the word ‘thing’ in Rajoy’s discourse has a clear intention, a studied purpose of uncertainty in order to avoid calling things by their name. A protective shield against the shock waves of his own ideological position and his decisions. So I prefer to talk about ‘reification’ –’Objectification‘ if you prefer so– instead of ‘cosismo’, intentionality rather than neglect or improvisation.
Speech is a reflection of thought -“The word is man himself” (Octavio Paz)-, and the caller ‘thing’ to all for the sake of the confusion is likely that basically hold the belief that everything and everyone, indeed, are things: evictions and the homeless, cuts in health and sick, attacks on public education and teachers and students, labor reforms and the unemployed, the opposition parties, corruption, corrupt persons and those who tolerate it, the democratic aspirations… He says ‘thing’ and avoids going into detail, name difficulties, specify the errors, list solutions, see faces, identify dramas…
He lives in a parallel world guarded by the word, which allows him withdraw from reality and execute plans without accountability to consciousness, a dehumanized world, an ideology of the thing, of everything and nothing, ambiguous and abstract it decomposes as dandelion with the minimum puff of authenticity. Not only discourse is ‘reified’, is the politics, the policies, the same social project. Problems are things, people also maybe.
Like the Wizard of Oz, Rajoy thought possible keep their government flaunting its quest to fend off witches of East and West, hidden in the Emerald City behind a discourse of smoke and bad effects of legerdemain that hide its true face. But, as happened in the novel of L. Frank Baum, was enough to pull a little rope for that all this network of plasma, euphemism and ‘reification’ fell apart. His particular world of Oz enters crisis, as any world built on farce and with its back towards citizens’ expectations.
A ‘reified’ discourse can be very useful in times of overall numbness, but manifestly counterproductive in these current times. It is offensive, denotes ambiguity, opacity and improvisation, is a discourse no ability to seduce, convince, influence and give hope. A discourse definitely called to failure because, although to be premeditated, transmits low intellectual level, and in the case of the leader of a country it is certainly worrying.
“Pay no attention to the man behind the green curtain” -Wizard of Oz begged after being discovered.
But how not to pay attention to the man who holds in his hands the fate of the country? Not the reflect that he wants to show us through his discourse, but the man barricaded behind him, the ruler, who orders and commands, the real one. The man who by dint of ‘reify’ all has finally become a thing himself in the eyes of the inhabitants of this absolutely not wonderful land. In an indefinite, misleading, timid, dull and gray man. That thing behind the green curtain.
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