A Doctorate In Spin

Doctorates are not just handed out willy-nilly. You have to pay for them. In reputable universities you pay with long years of research and thought, culminating in a careful presentation of your thoughts – and anyone who has contributed components of their thought to it must be acknowledged. Accurately.

Your evidence may be hearsay, and inadmissible in any magistrate’s court because of this, but you must at least be able to prove from whom you heard it.

In the dodgier institutions you can get a doctorate by paying money – in some cases to the school itself and in others to selected members of staff. These hardly ever include the cleaners or gardeners.

Whichever path you follow to get a PhD or other fine set of letters, you will learn something as you go along. In some cases it will be honest skill in doing and thinking. In others it will be devious ways in which to twist truth and opinion to support yourself. A doctorate in spin can be awarded to nearly anyone who cares to bend down far enough to pick it up.

Once you have it – and it can be as easily added to a science degree as it can to an economics or arts one – you can seize upon anything, bend it to serve your purpose, and fasten it upon the public. If you’re a scientist you sometimes get pulled up by your peers when they smell a rat. The artists and economists can slip by this scrutiny and get away with pretty much what they like. In many cases what they actually do….when they actually do anything…is never noticed anyway. The spin they apply is so light as to be harmless.

Not so when they start to engage in politics – particularly unsavoury associations and harmful assertions. Then spin can become pretty destructive. Applied with care and malice, it can go on for quite some time before society calls it out. And there will always be a portion of any society who approve of the worst of both excesses and dishonesty – if only for the chaos it causes.

Calling shenanigans is a good way to point out when the spin has become evident – it does not explode a mine but it does let the spinner know they have been detected.

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