Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Plebs, Yahoos and Muppets Andrew Mitchell , Jonathan Swift ,Greg Smith and William Shakespeare


Careless talk  can cost Sales, damage reputations , upset stakeholders and lose customers .
The word 'Pleb' is a case in point at the moment in the UK.

The Chief Whip bicycles to work
 in London as do more Londoners
 click here
The Gates at No 10 have become  almost as iconic
 as the black front door
 An extract from the police log of the incident in which the bicycling Conservative Chief Whip Andrew Mitchell abused police officers at the gates of No 10 Downing Street reads

.....There were several members of public present as is the norm opposite the pedestrian gate and as we neared it, Mr MITCHELL said: "Best you learn your f------ don’t run this f------ government...You’re f------ plebs." The members of public looked visibly shocked and I was somewhat taken aback by the language used and the view expressed by a senior government official. I cannot say if this statement was aimed at me individually, or the officers present or the police service ...."

 A piece by Ben Milne in  BBC Magazine section of their website carried an article  asked “ who uses the word pleb nowadays?"

The post ended  Last year, a government agency released a newsletter highlighting the problem of what it described as People Lacking Everyday Basic Skills. “

The description was dropped, when people spotted it could have become an acronym

People Lacking Everyday Basic Skills.  OUCH!!!

T'was ever so !  

Jonathan Swift  in Gulliver Travels of 1726 described Yahoos as being filthy and with unpleasant habits, resembling human beings far too closely for the liking of protagonist Lemuel Gulliver.

The Yahoos are primitive creatures obsessed with "pretty stones" they find by digging in mud, thus representing the distasteful materialism and ignorant elitism Swift encountered in Britain.  Some might argue they still exist.

Hence the term "yahoo" came to mean "a crude, brutish or obscenely coarse person”

Yet today to describe another as a Yahoo   to somebody unfamiliar with the word being used in a derogatory sense, they might search for its meaning on Google and would only identify the use as an insult on entry No 5 after the four above claimed by “Yahoo – the world’s most visited home page”!
Before we in business get to smug about the shortcomings of politicians' careless talk and their mindset , such vocabulary can risk our undoing. For example:-

Should Goldman Sachs have bewared "the ides of March 2012" ?

( Strictly the 15th March not the 14th.... but hey)

Do you remember that article in the New York Times by Greg Smith, the disgruntled former employee of Goldman Sachs, back in March this year ?
Apparently it struck a nerve and three million were on line within 24 hours.
In the March 14 opinion piece  “Why I Am Leaving Goldman Sachs,” Smith announced that he had decided to leave the firm after 12 years because the culture had become “toxic and destructive.”
Employees were alleged by Greg Smith as callous about “ripping their clients off” and Smith had seen five managing directors refer to their own clients as “muppets” .
Grand Central Publishing, a division of Hachette Book Group, intends to release Greg  Smith’s book on October 22.
 It plans to print 150,000 hardcover copies in the first run, according to Jimmy Franco, Grand Central’s publicity director.
One expects the bank's spokespeople will be already exercising a PR damage limitation exercise and challenging both Mr Greg’s importance whilst at the bank ( "a mid-level derivatives salesman " - is that a  'pleb' in banking speak ?) and the accuracy of his memoir. 

I wonder how they will handle the 'muppets' allegation.

Will  the memoir "  Why I left Goldman Sachs" be as damaging to Goldman Sachs as a policeman's notebook to the UK Coalition Government ? Lets not be too quick to judge.

Shakespeare’s  play  "Julius Caesar" Mark Anthony's famous speech to the plebs  in Act 3 Scene 2 concludes:

“….O judgment! thou art fled to brutish beasts,

 And men have lost their reason. Bear with me;

 My heart is in the coffin there with Caesar,

 And I must pause till it come back to me.”

Marlon Brando as Mark Anthony  Click here for clip Black and White movie but magnificent .

Related Links

Andrew Mitchell, the Tory MP and former cabinet minister at the centre of the “Plebgate row” lost his high court libel trial on November 27th 2014

The Daily Telegraph published the full the 442-word police log of the incident in which the Conservative Chief Whip Andrew Mitchell abused police officers.

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