On Manifestos


Manifesto

WARNING: This may turn into a bit of a rant.

What’s with ‘manifestos’? They are popping up in pitches everywhere, not unlike ‘poems’ did some years back or ‘story-telling’. Call me cynical but I see this as just another unhelpful trend that strategy is embracing to try and give ourselves more value.

manifesto (n)
Definition: a written statement declaring publicly the intentions, motives, or views of its issue

A manifesto is supposed to layout a declaration of policy and aims – but most of the ones I’ve read are statements about feelings with rousing language that makes the actual substance of what’s on the page seem more than it is. In other words, manifestos enable us to avoid presenting fact and insight and instead appeal to the emotions to sweep complicated conclusions out of sight.

But my feeling is that they confuse rather than clarify and they certainly don’t lay out policy – though they might lay out a general aim.

And the punctuation Drives. Me. Crazy. Because it’s always. Wrong.(sic)

Now, you can muck about with language and meaning as much as you like in my book. I studied English. I know that words evolve over time. However, punctuation is a code that helps you to understand clearly what is being said and where emphasis lies. All of that is thrown out as the emphatic emotional statements are brought in.

The punctuation changes are clearly being used to mimic speech patterns but if you keep putting full-stops where commas should be you are causing basic confusions.

More importantly you are on the way to corrupting meaning and in this day and age I would argue clarity is more important than ever.

Why aren’t we confident enough to present our thinking process simply? Shouldn’t we be able to boil down our key insights and concepts into something a little clearer? And why are we calling it a manifesto? Isn’t ‘concept’ or ‘theme’ or ‘creative approach’ appropriate any more?

Possibly it’s the word ‘manifesto’ that irks me. I don’t know about you but I have never seen any of them be an actual  manifestos, they’re really concepts and tone setting statements – not statements of intent that truly describe concrete actions but instead lead with emotions.

Possibly there are more important things to worry about but this is one trend I hope to avoid if at all humanly possible.

Let me know if you think otherwise, after all manifestos are usually designed to set out political opinions and what goes best with politics? Debate.

For more on manifestos why not read this brilliant article by The Atlantic and then tell me if the last manifesto you wrote bears any of the hallmarks described here…https://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2014/06/manifestos-a-manifesto-the-10-things-all-manifestos-need/372135/

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.