Gayblack Canadian Man

Foreign Policy Analysis
The Language of International Diplomacy

The Language of International Diplomacy


THE TRAINING THAT GOES INTO
BEING A STATE DEPARTMENT SPOKESMAN, FIRST OF ALL,
CONSISTS OF LEARNING TO SPEAK AN ENTIRELY DIFFERENT LANGUAGE. WHILE YOU’RE DOING THE
BRIEFING IN ENGLISH, IT’S A PECULIAR VARIANT CALLED FOGGY
BOTTOM ENGLISH THAT’S SPOKEN IN THE LANGUAGE OF INTERNATIONAL
DIPLOMACY. AND TO GET THAT RIGHT AND TO
MAKE SURE THAT EVERY WORD WHICH CARRIES SOME KIND OF
NUANCE IS CORRECTLY USED, REQUIRES SOME FORMAL TRAINING. SO YOU GO THROUGH A LOT OF
EXERCISES IN MOCK PRESS BRIEFINGS WHERE YOU GET PELTED
WITH QUESTIONS THAT MIGHT LIKELY ARISE ON A GIVEN DAY AND
THEN YOU GET TO SORT OF GO AND BREAK DOWN THE ANSWER AND
SAY, DID YOU GET IT RIGHT OR DID YOU CREATE AN INTERNATIONAL
SCANDAL? AND, OF COURSE, I WENT THROUGH
MANY OF THESE MOCK BRIEFINGS AND WOULD GET
FRUSTRATED SOMETIMES, AND PUT DOWN MY PEN, AND SAY
SOMETHING THAT WAS UTTERLY INTEMPERATE AND, YOU KNOW, YOU
CAN HEAR THE SHATTERING CLANGING THROUGHOUT THE HALLS OF THE
STATE DEPARTMENT. SO, NOT UNTIL I WRUNG EVERY BIT
OF PERSONALITY OUT OF MYSELF, WAS I ALLOWED TO GO AND DO THE
FORMAL BRIEFING EVERY DAY. AND IT TOOK ABOUT TWO MONTHS OF
PRACTICE, DAY IN AND DAY OUT, TO REALLY LEARN HOW TO KIND
OF STAND THERE, HOLD FORTH AND NOT MAKE A SCENE
INTERNATIONALLY.

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