Diaries Magazine

Suit Your Audience?

Posted on the 10 January 2022 by C. Suresh

Avai arindhu aaraaindhu solluga sollin thogaiyarindha thooimaiyavar - Thirukkural

The pure and learned man picks his words to suit his audience - Loose Translation

Wow! I knew it! Our ancestors had all the knowledge that the world has ever seen or ever will see. And what foresight! I knew Tiru was one heck of a wise man but to see how far back he had anticipated the necessity to tailor your facts to suit your audience is truly astounding! In an era where the only tweeters flitted from tree to tree and Facebook would have meant reading those things with a couple of eyes, nose and all...you know, just above the neck...reading the expressions on that thing to see if what the mouth is saying is what the mind is thinking...where was I? Ah! In THAT era to anticipate the need to create facts to suit your audience!

But...WAIT a minute! We may have had nuclear weapons at the time of the Mahabharat and, at least, one prototype aircraft from the days of the Ramayan, yes, but I certainly do not think that Tiru knew, all those many days ago, the importance of creating FACTS to suit his audience. Or even that it was possible. Those were, you know, more...err...innocent days when they still believed that a fact was a fact, regardless of who your audience was. AND he actually talks about the 'pure and learned man', the sort we have relegated to books of fantasy. (Not even there? We now only believe in the existence of a***holes of various degrees, even in fantasy? Alas!)

So, then, exactly what could Tiru have been going on about when he says to pick the words you are saying based on your audience? Probably something much less creative than making up information as you go along.

Perhaps he was only meaning that there is more than one way of saying the same thing. AND, possibly, there is always a way to say it that will appeal to the specific audience you happen to be addressing. AND, maybe, that you can muck up even good news by the way you say it. Somewhat like that tale about the astrologer who told the king, "All your relatives and friends will die before you" and got jailed for making such a terrible prediction. Only to be saved by the request of another astrologer who got rewarded for giving the King the wonderful news that he would outlive all his friends and relatives.

Like, I have had people who believed that their devotion to God would save them from all these corona-voronas and they had no need for vaccines and all. There was this rationalist friend of mine who told them, "All that is stupid superstition. Believe in science." Of course, they all nodded assent and queued up for vaccines. NOT. How would they when the message translates to them as 'Taking a vaccine means I'm an atheist since I'd consider God to be a superstition'?

They did queue up though, later. Not all of them, that would be expecting too much. But most of them, thanks to another, less idiotic friend. (Or, perhaps, the first person only wanted to talk down to them without caring a hoot about whether they got vaccinated or not. Who knows? People, these days, do not waste any opportunity to preen and nothing helps you feel so superior as to be on the side of 'science'.)

Anyway, the other friend, who was more keen on getting them to vaccinate themselves than to abolish their beliefs, said, "Don't you see that God HAS helped? Helped by making humans produce vaccines. Now it is up to you to make use of His help."

THAT, apparently, is the sort of thing Tiru means when he says that you should pick your words to suit your audience. Tell it to them in a manner that they find palatable rather than trying to change them into clones of yourself so that they will automatically adopt all your own beliefs and attitudes.

Alas! And I thought that we had found out all about social media, and the way to make use of it to create facts to suit your audience, way back in history!

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