Monthly Archives: September 2013

To speak as an oracle…

‘Subsequent to my jokes, the evening took a peculiar turn. Like the illusion of sophistication had been inadvertently disrupted by the exposure. It had the vibe of a wedding dinner where the best man’s speech had revealed the groom’s infidelity. With Hitler’

Following on from Russell Brand’s GQ acceptance speech and his excellent riposte in the Guardian last weekend (cited above), it is worth underlining both the irony and absurdity of a ceremony that celebrates a person as an ‘oracle’ while simultaneously censoring what they have to say.

Brand’s article briefly refers to the status of the oracle in ancient Greece, but to speak as an oracle is not merely to deliver a neatly packaged prophecy (from the gods, or whoever) for others to easily consume – as anyone who has ever watched The Matrix can testify, people generally dislike, reject or actively work to silence what the oracle has to say. Moreover, to speak as an oracle is not necessarily┬áto-speak-the-Truth (capital ‘t’) it is merely to say what the listener needs to hear at any given moment – hence Neo is told he is not the ‘one’ – or, true to the form of the Oxford English Dictionary, the speech offers ‘a┬áresponse, decision, or message […] especially one which is obscure or ambiguous in meaning’.

To say what the listener needs to hear, to inadvertently disrupt through exposure, to speak as an oracle… or, in other words, just because you are offended, does not mean you are right.