The Gore Vidal Sound Bite


gorevidal21 The Gore Vidal Sound Bite

The PR Verdict: “A” (PR Perfect) for Gore Vidal and the aristocratic one liner.

America lost one of its great aristocrats this week.

Writer and historian Gore Vidal passed away in his Hollywood Hills home Thursday, after a long illness. Obituaries praised the life of one of America’s intellectual heavyweights but none could ignore his snappy, grand and imperious tone ;  it’s what stole the coverage.

Gore Vidal was famous for many things – among them his one-liners.  Though he would have hated to be described so, he was in some ways the PR Dream: able to create publicity without looking like he was trying.  A withering one liner guaranteed him centre stage in any debate.

The PR Verdict: “A” (PR Perfect) for Gore Vidal and the art of the perfect sound bite.  In honor of the master, a sample below.  Valuable tips concerning how to live life according to Gore Vidal:

There is no one human problem that could not be solved if people would simply do as I advise.

I am exactly as I appear. There is no warm loveable person inside. Beneath my cold exterior, once you break the ice, you find cold water.

Love is not my bag.

Every time a friend succeeds, I die a little.

It is not enough to succeed. Others must fail.

Never have children, only grandchildren.

Write something, even if it’s just a suicide note.




People! Why Not Speak Clearly?

sounbite1 People! Why Not Speak Clearly?

The PR Verdict: “C” for the use of metaphors and analogies in PR.

Is no one else annoyed by the sound bite that means close to nothing? Yesterday the Wall Street Journal canvassed the usual cabal of M&A bankers for their market outlook on mergers and acquisitions activity.  Of note was their endless use of metaphors and analogies to illustrate simple concepts and trends.  Weirdly overdone.

One of the vogues in PR and media training is to encourage clients to drive home key points by way of illustrative metaphors.  Color your sound bites with analogy and metaphor!  You can’t help but be quoted!

It seems bankers have taken this to heart.  By way of explanation one advised “we need a couple of people to jump into the bath and say the water isn’t cold in here.”   Others added, the European economy continues “in emergency care on life support”, the “seeds of recovery have taken root” but it will be a while before the market is “going pedal to the metal.”  Enough!

The PR Verdict: “C” for the use of metaphors and analogies in PR.  Yes it has its place but what about stating something clearly and unequivocally?

Ideas have their own power.  Metaphors and analogies don’t always need to be used to support an idea.  Besides, the word on the street is that when the balloon goes up there will be blood on the floor, as the use of the metaphor withers on the vine.  See?…We hope we made our point clearly.

For a copy of the WSJ article click here.  (available only to WSJ subscribers)