What messages did you get from the Kim meets Don circus? Were there any, or was it just hair spray: all about presentation, unlikely to survive a stiff breeze, and likely to make you feel a bit odd if you inhale it?
By George Hulbert
At Clarity we spend a lot of time thinking about the messages that people and organisations put out – intentionally and unintentionally - and this week we had a doozy of a conversation topic: the historic meeting of Kim Jong-Un and The Don in Singapore.
Two of the world’s greatest self-publicists lured the world’s media to Singapore supposedly for talks on nuclear disarmament and world peace, but what were the messages that really came from this circus of self-regard - apart from the easily punctured fluff on de-nuclearisation?
Message 1: Here Hair Here
We spend time counselling people in the role of media spokesperson, in order to reduce the things that might get in the way of their message: strobing clothes, personal tics etc.
So it was with true delight that we were all able to ogle two of the weirdest hairstyles on the planet, and we’re suspicious that The Don had to stand with his weaker, weirdly-parted side towards the camera – see below on YouTube to judge for yourself):
It looked like Kim had also gone to the trouble of going to the barber for a spruce-up, tuning his already spectacular do and creating a true one-off zig-zag style.
The message? Well, one way of reading it might be that if you are going in for some major political distractions and sleight of hand, make sure everyone is looking at something spectacular – like your hair?
Perhaps The Don could loan Kim some of his hair – or even swap it with him? My favourite image of this possibility is not a new one, appearing on social media and media like The Daily Mail last year, but it’s still magnificent:
Message 2: Does The Don prefer dictators to elected leaders?
You have to wonder why Donald Trump, labelled the leader of the free world and world’s most powerful man, should spend time and energy meeting the leader of a tiny, isolated, impoverished nation like North Korea – whether nuclear arms are involved or not.
Further, he flew there immediately after very publicly criticising the elected leaders of the G7 nations, including his neighbour Justin Trudeau of Canada (‘dishonest and weak’), Teresa May (and her ‘school mistress tone’) and having a stand-off with leaders including Angela Merkel and Emmanuel Macron (who gave The Don a spectacular handshake that left an imprint – see here).
Then, when commenting on the Kim meeting, The Don made the following, incredibly bizarre comment about Kim:
“Anybody that takes over a situation like he did at 26 years of age and is able to run it and run it tough. I don’t say he was nice or say anything about it. He ran it, few people at that age — you could take one out of 10,000 could not do it.”
So we thought we were onto something: maybe, just maybe, The Don admires despots more than elected leaders. So we started searching it. I say ‘started’, because it only took one entry into Google for a blizzard of results on the topic – like this one:
So we weren’t onto something new, but maybe we are onto something. Should this worry us?
Message 3: Sanity is for losers
And, while you’re recovering from that one, let’s walk to the end of the springboard and bounce off into the world of the truly bizarre.
At this time in history, when the world seems to have been turned upside down and norms of behaviour appear to have been all-but suspended, the summit produced some absolutely eye-opening quotes. Try this one from The Don about North Korea as a place:
“As an example, they have great beaches. You see that whenever they’re exploding their cannons into the ocean. I said, ‘Boy, look at that view. Wouldn’t that make a great condo?’ You could have the best hotels in the world right there.”
Wow. Always on the prowl for a new hotel location. But that wasn’t all: for more, check this lot out in this excellent article from The Cut:
And there’s even more. Ivanka Trump also came up with a humdinger on Twitter just ahead of the summit:
Most excellently, it looks like this saying came from the USA about 100 years ago, which drew all sorts of hilarity from the kind folks on Twitter, as you can read in this New Zealand Herald article:
…and good old Dennis Rodman even got in on the randomness
And talking of hot air, my favourite bit of the whole thing was the one and only Dennis Rodman, sponsored (read, sent) by Potcoin.com to join in on the self-promotion-fest.
Not involved in any official meetings, it seemed that Dennis had been sent to Singapore only to be crazy and to try to draw some oxygen away from the summit itself.
In a masterstroke of PR he did this with heroic aplomb by using the time-honoured method of… completely losing the plot when interviewed on CNN:
Oh we just loved the whole thing.
Maybe the only message from all of this is that to get some attention in this nutty world you need to be the nuttiest of them all?