All posts by Noel Turnbull

It’s all different now – not!

In June next year the International History of Public Relations Conference (IHPRC) will celebrate its 10th anniversary.

As well as having a gala dinner (Australians always think of it as a galah dinner given the behaviour at some PR dinners) the conference will look not only at PR history and related subjects but also the history of the conference itself. read more

The better angels of our nature

Yeats more downbeat verse, as the Irish writer Fintan O’Toole said recently, is increasingly used to characterise our contemporary problems. Perhaps, given that context, it is unsurprising and sad that another famous quote, from Abraham Lincoln and which inspired Walt Whitman, is less often heard today. read more

When in dire need

When communicators were in dire need – confronted by legislation or projects their bosses and clients opposed – there were some simple phrases and tactics they often fell back on. The problem today though is the extent to which they are now ineffective or just archaic.

The blog has noticed that variants of some of them are being increasingly used in Federal politics as the Government sinks further into chaos and the Labor Opposition, remarkably, seems committed to announcing progressive policies which would be considered mainstream in much of Europe (and even perhaps the UK) if not in Australia or the US. read more

We need to talk about Scott – just as we needed to talk about Kevin

It’s probably too early to indicate a trend but it appears from recent polls possible that the more the Australian public sees of our new Prime Minister the less they like him. Nevertheless it may not be too early to start deconstructing why that might be.

Now the blog has an inbuilt concern about a Pentecostal like our PM. Having been to Oberammergau to see the new production, stripped of its anti-Semitism partly due to the scholarly deconstruction by James Shapiro of the old version but with a lot of help from others, the blog in one of the meal breaks sat with some families who had children working in Sydney at Hillsong and other evangelicals. read more

The pause in the commemoration thriller story

There is an oft-used technique in thriller films – after what seems like a shattering climax there is an almost pastoral passage in which your blood pressure drops back down and your pulse rate returns to normal only to be forced back up again as a new climactic event bursts across the screen. Clint Eastwood in Play Misty for Me is probably the best example of the phenomena. read more

Pontifical postscript

Friends have been busily giving the blog further examples of dumb/erroneous statements by conservatives which have been sadly (sorry that’s a joke which doesn’t remotely qualify as irony) exposed as nonsense.

The most frequent example cited was The Australian’s pontifical Paul Kelly who greeted Julia Gillard’s announcement of a Royal Commission into child abuse as “a serial exercise in populist policies and policy ignorance” saying the exercise was also “a moral crusade (aimed at) systematic dismantling of the Catholic Church.” “If only” would cry the victims of 2000 years of persecution and abuse cry from their graves, torture chambers and auto da fes. read more

Rewards for being stupid

One of the quickest way for advancement in conservative parties is to perfect the sneering and/or smearing put down when someone on the other side comes up with a new and different policy.

In Australia the greatest recent example is then Treasurer, Scott Morrison, saying “It’s nothing more than a populist whinge” in response to a call for a Royal Commission into the banks. read more

Pestilential postscript

Why do we remember and commemorate wars but not epidemics? The blog asked that in its last post focussing on the differences between commemorating Australia’s WWI dead and those many more who died in the world flu epidemic immediately after the war.

Yet in one of those serendipitous events the blog came across some significant work on just how prevalent epidemics have been in history, how they have been forgotten and some lessons for today. read more