Tags: Evil Dictator, Freshness, IDentity, Irony, Just War, Kosovo Crisis, Leadership, Nami Hitou, NATO, Normalness, Personality, Public Facade, Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei, Sense of Change, Serbia, Style, Tony Blair, War, Wartime Leader
NAMI HITOU (日塔奈美)
Birthday: 31 March
A girl whose only trait is that she is completely ordinary (relative to her classmates) ; however, she takes offense at being called “normal,” which she considers boring and undesirable. Her name derives from the Japanese term hitonami (人並み), meaning “run-of-the-mill.” Although it has not been referenced in the present, she attended elementary school with Kafuka, who may have been the first person to call her normal. She was originally planned to be the heroine. (MAL)
MODERN LEADER IDENTITY
As contemporary politics has become increasingly centred in the media, the prominence of leaders in the political process has increased. Political parties and governements are now more strongly identified in terms of the individuals who lead them than ever before (Thatcher and Blair in Britain, Reagan, and Clinton in the USA). This public visibility can certainly give a misleading impression of what goes on in politics and government. Nevertheless, no political analysis can ignore the political identity and personality of the leader; and identity and personality centrally involve language, rhetorical style.
Blair the ‘normal person’
Leader identity in contemporary politics is generally built upon a tension between the public office and the private individual, the extaordinary position of the leader and the ‘ordinary’ person who holds it. In terms of language, this means a tension between the public language of politics and everyday language….. According to his political biographer, ‘a central component of Blair’s appeal in the two years before he became leader was that he was recognisably a human being, that he did not sound like a politician…an impression he sought to reinforce when he became leader….The sort of ‘normal person’ that Blair comes across as is crucial in defining his leadership style, and to his popularity. ‘Freshness and a sense of change’ ; Blair belongs to a different generation from that of previous political leaders. He belongs to the generation that grew up in the 1960s and early 1970s. Part of that generation’s experience is a discomfort with traditional forms of publicness, including traditional forms of political charisma and rhetoric and a corresponding preference for forms of publicness which are personnally open and reveal people’s ‘normality’ rather than disguising it behind a public facade.
Blair the wartime leader
There is a certain irony in the fact that the leader who could be perceived as ‘too soft and not tough enough’ has been widely perceived during NATO air attacks on Yugoslavia as the toughest and most resolute of NATO leaders. Here is an extract from a major speech on ‘the doctrine of the international community’ delivered during the Kosovo crisis :
This a just war, based not on any territorial ambitions but on values. We cannot let the evil of ethnic cleansing stand. We must not rest until it is reversed. We have learned twice before in this century that appeasement does not work. If we let an evil dictator range unchallenged, we will have to spill infinitely more blood and treasure to stop him later….
Norman Fairclough, New Labour, New Language?, 2000, p95