Friday, June 1, 2018


I get a lot of email from PR firms pushing their products, some of which are actually related to topics that might interest me, like LGBT-themed films.  Some, though, are odd, like the one I received today announcing a museum show celebrating the life and career of a "Famous and Beloved Publicist."  I'm not going to identify this beloved figure or the agency that promoted the event to me, which would just be giving them attention.  I'm just bemused by the use of public relations to promote a public-relations figure who, however honored by the media, is probably unknown outside of his field.  If I were to promote it further, that would just be one more step of meta.

Even better, the release tries to dress up its subject in high seriousness: "While today’s frenetic social media stream and the 'fake news' phenomena turn the news industry upside-down, [X]’s straightforward brand of public relations hearkens back to a time when a handshake and a gentleman’s agreement meant so much more."  (The bold face emphasis is in the original.)  Public relations is one of the direct forerunners of today's "fake news."  Indeed, "public relations" was the public relations name for "propaganda,"  and a reminder that that kind of relabeling sometimes works.  Of course, rewriting reality in that way is what the field is all about.