Thursday, February 19, 2004

Sight bites

There’s an election coming up in South Africa, and the election posters are up. Seeing the slogans with a visitor’s eye was revealing – the agendas are there for all to see, in sub-sound bite size. Let’s call them sight-bites…

Politicians, if they’re any good, are in tune with their electorate, and political slogans thus reveal voters’ concerns. The DA’s slogan “More Work, Less Crime” make it clear that unemployment is still the key issue for many South Africans. This is a party trying to appeal to both worlds; the poor want work, and the rich want to be safe. (The DA is the Democratic Alliance - the erstwhile white liberal opposition that's trying to broaden its appeal.)

That comma between “more work” and “less crime” is working over-time; the multiple meanings are delicious. It could mean “and”; but it could also mean “which would lead to less”.

The slogan “Let your NNP vote count” suggests that many whites feel marginalized – no news there – and the NNP hopes to exploit their insecurity. (The NNP is the New National Party; though one wonders how “new” the party of apartheid is if it can’t even rid itself of a name freighted with so much baggage.) Another NNP slogan, “Let us be your voice,” strikes me as quite plaintive; the sense would be unchanged if one added the rider, “… pretty please?”

I look forward to looking for sub-texts in campaign materials in the upcoming US elections.

No comments: