The Power Of Gestures

Have you ever found yourself standing in the middle of the street in Istanbul with walk rage? Yes, I’m referring to yelling at some jerk who tried to run you over because you were walking on the green walk light and made him slow down for a fraction of a second.

I can’t understand how a person is so self-consumed that they believe their importance has precedence over everyone and everything else, such as a pedestrian in the street. And it doesn’t stop there! They honk at you to ensure you drop of fright right in front of them, and then blame you that you got run over. Ugh!

Conversely, do you want to sign up for more Turkish classes, so you can eloquently yell out your obscenities? I know I do. Just once, I would like them to know exactly how I feel. Right now, I’m reduced to “yaya yol ver, aptalin!” (give way to pedestrians, stupid).

Well, if you need some real words acclimating to crazy Istanbul or other places in Turkey where culture shock defines a new range of existence, then check out Turkish Class. TC is a friendly exchange for expats and Turks to help each other out with language, culture and other salient issues. No experts (well, maybe a few), just people wanting to help each other. Kind of social research in progress.

For the really heavy duty stuff, though, that will make your eyes pop, Fazile Zahir, one of my newly discovered and much admired writers, expounds on gestures. She even offers subsections for each type. Yes, Zahir is a name to remember if you want to be informed, entertained and even enlightened, especially about how many ways not to use language. Aahhh, no verbals, no language required.

I recently met Fazile Zahir on one of my reading world ventures and came out the other side feeling validated and understood. How did she know my inner thoughts? I don’t know but I bet it was from shared experiences.

She gives a perfect rendition of what birds, arms, fingers and feet all have in common with language today. Simply stated, she gave the primer on, umm, sign language.

Pop quiz, readers. Recalibrate your synapses, set your faces to stunned and prepare for linguistic splashdown. Feast your eyes on this smorgasbord of gibberish and pick out the runt of the litter:

“Building a strategy will allow us to visually see our complete marketing ecosystem and bake in our communication throughout all touch points.”

“First, by socializing all media, the engagement experience is cyclical and ongoing. Second, by identifying conversation groups (social graphs) and tapping directly into them and then connecting them together, the long tail of niche market segments become your mass or ‘mainstream’ media play.”

Develop a multi-faceted communication program utilizing both traditional media and truly interactive social media channels, where listening and acting upon your human being’s wants is KING”

“A multimedia mix framed to spark conversations requires a compelling message concept that can work across a multimedia platform.”

“…Package the compelling message (internal marketing, external marketing and social network marketing) into an organized dashboard that exponentially expands website real estate, then push the content in real time to all product/service distribution points…”

Which of these abominations were written with a straight face, by real people with working brains? And which is the fraudulent imposter, demanding to be bound in the back of a transit van, driven to a remote woodland clearing and shot at close range through the back of the head? Well, are you sitting down?

Because, remarkably, they are all genuine. And to someone somewhere they really do mean something. To those displaying the characteristics of sentient and evolved human beings, however – upright, opposable thumbs, a rational mistrust of Scientology and men with winter tans – they are nothing more than a dreadful noise. A low, humming dreadful noise. And as someone who sat through much of the Guantanamo Bay-inspired torture purporting to be cutting-edge insight, from the industry’s “leading thinkers” at this year’s Cannes Festival, like a latter day, hairier Martha Gellhorn I can report from the frontline that this sort of smoke-and-mirrors propaganda is not restricted to the written word.

People actually say this stuff, too. And other people clap. Loudly. Something is rotten in the state of Denmark. Or, to put it less succinctly, the Danish vertical has become un-synergized from the positive engagement factor of the mainstream virtual/emotional experience vector.