Sunday, May 31, 2015

The dilution of a word -- diplomacy: A slightly edited Facebook exchange

We all know that when we go to the supermarket, much of the "food" we buy is deceptively labeled -- from "ice cream" to "chicken."

In all fairness to supermarkets, they have tried to inform the public in more detail as to what it (the public) is actually going to put into its stomach.

As a former diplomat (I still hope the All-Mighty will absolve me of my sins in the world's second oldest profession), I am struck by the dilution (a scholar's word -- see below) of the word/label "diplomacy."

I have been religiously following on the internet the adjectives imposed on the noun "diplomacy" for some time. You name 'em.

So here's an edited Facebook exchange on the latest ad added to dip:

And now we have ... City Diplomacy
Like · Comment · 
  • Comments:

  • --I do see the dilution as a problem -- but its had enough to find diplomacy in foreign ministries these days. 
  • smile emoticon

  • -- In most cities, they call it trade promotion.

  • John Brown And then we have that stupendous State Dept product, "DipNote," where the word "Diplomacy" has had its "lomacy" (sounds like a tumor; or, perhaps "lunacy") surgically removed.

  • DipNote: the official blog of the U.S. Department of State.
    • ...
  • Like · Reply · 28 mins
  • --Comment: So is that the new face of 21st Century Statecraft?

15 Tips That Will Trick Your House Guests Into Thinking You Have Your Shit Together

JB note - I wonder how this amusing piece is applicable to the disappearing "representational" function (at their "home") of US diplomats overseas today, especially those in junior positions without "servant staff." 

posted on May. 28, 2015, at 4:58 a.m.

1. Put a bunch of shit in jars

Put a bunch of shit in jars
Therry / Getty Images
You know when you buy rice, pasta or grains, they come in perfectly good plastic packaging? Well throw them out, pour the contents into big jars and put them on display. This shows that you are a good homemaker with a sense of rustic, country charm.

2. Put some big bottles of mineral water in the fridge

Put some big bottles of mineral water in the fridge
Your guests don’t need to know that you usually drink water out of the kitchen tap. If you really want to wow them, when you give them a glass of water, just give them the sparkling stuff without even mentioning it. They’ll think you drink fancy water ALL THE TIME.

3. Clean your bathroom

Clean your bathroom
Stoupa / Getty Images
That’s right. I said it. Don’t look at me like that. At the very least, squirt some bleach in the toilet, wipe down the mirror and make your sink taps shiny. Admit it, the bathroom was overdue for a clean anyway.

4. Hide your disgusting toothbrush

Hide your disgusting toothbrush
Liubomir Turcanu / Getty Images
When guests come over, it is opposite day for the bathroom. Take all the stuff you actually use off the vanity and chuck it in the cupboard. Then take all the stuff you never use out of the cupboard and display them. Most of these things will be gifts from people who don’t know you that well or miniature hand creams you’ve swiped from hotels. Now’s their time to shine.

5. Put some leafy herbs in jars of water

Put some leafy herbs in jars of water
Olgaorly / Getty Images
Buy some basil, parsley and coriander and then put them in jars of water for that “I totally grew these myself” vibe. Also handy for sprinkling liberally over all the burnt bits of the dinner.

6. Cover your couch with throw pillows

Cover your couch with throw pillows
You can get some custom cushions pretty cheap online that will make it look like you care about colours and design and shit. They’ll serve the double purpose of hiding the stains from when you fell asleep watching Desperate Housewives with a beer in your hand.

7. Put a hardcover book on your bedside table with a bookmark in it

Put a hardcover book on your bedside table with a bookmark in it
Getty Images
You were never going to read Crime and Punishment, but you may as well make it look like you did.

8. Get the biggest bowl in your house and fill it with lemons

Get the biggest bowl in your house and fill it with lemons
Monkey Business Images Ltd / Getty Images
“Better get this out of the way,” you can say just before you sit down for dinner to make sure everyone has seen it, and then never mention it again. Everyone will assume you have jars of homemade lemon curd in your pantry.

9. Show your green thumb

Show your green thumb
Laurent Rozier / Getty Images
See this plant? It’s called a jade plant and it is IMMORTAL. One of your neighbours also has it growing in their front yard and they probably won’t mind if you snap off a couple of branches as you walk home from the bus stop. Then when you get home, stick the branches in some different glass bottles and display them around the house.
If that fails, a collection of twigs in a wine bottle will totally do the trick.

10. Dim the lights

Dim the lights
Fusaromike / Getty Images
If they can’t see the dust, technically it’s not there. Put a couple of scented candles in the bathroom and leave the lights off.

11. Get decent paper napkins

Get decent paper napkins
They’re super cheap from IKEA and they look way better than the roll of paper towel you usually use.

12. Pretend you can’t remember what wine you have

Pretend you can't remember what wine you have
Igorr1 / Getty Images
If you say something like “I think I’ve got some cab sav in the cupboard” it will look like you didn’t just buy that bottle before your guests came over.

13. Cook a roast

Cook a roast
Nothing makes you look more like a Genuine Adult than doing a roast. Put some meat and vegies in one of those disposable foil pans and you can have it in the oven an hour and a half before your guests come. That will give you enough time to wash the dishes and polish off a bottle of wine before they arrive.

14. Don’t bother baking a terrible cake for dessert.

Don't bother baking a terrible cake for dessert.
Boule13 / Getty Images
A couple of blocks of dark chocolate broken into shards and a plate of fresh fruit tastes great, and no one has to pretend they like it.

15. Overwhelm your guests by offering them many types of tea

Overwhelm your guests by offering them many types of tea
Smile !! / Getty Images
“Tea? Sure! We’ve just got green, peppermint, chamomile, lady grey, irish breakfast, elderberry, lemon and mandarin, licorice, jasmine, rooibos, cinnamon or lemongrass.”
Just make up the first ten and end up with the three you actually have in your cupboard, they’ll have forgotten the others by then.