When a politician addresses the media why are they now invariably flanked by two people whose sole purpose is to nod? It all seems a little creepy and weird. These background nodders look like they have been lobotomised or given some heavy duty mind altering medication which helps them to agree with every imbecilic utterance that exits the politician’s mouth.
The nodders were most likely the invention of genius media advisors – probably the same ones who discovered the magical powers of repeating three word slogans and assiduously avoiding answering any direct questions. Somewhere along the way, they decided to unleash the amazing power of the nod.
With two people visibly agreeing with the politician in the form of a nod, they reasoned that the gormless public would never again question whether their message was just a steaming pile of horse manure. If the serious-looking nodders in the grey suits agreed so wholeheartedly, we would surely believe every word is true.
Unfortunately those clever media advisors forgot the public also value authenticity and that relentless sycophantic nodding never quiet seems real. Most of us suspect the nodders are bored senseless of hearing the same tired lines and just want the press conference to end quickly so they can finally go to the toilet. Their nodding performances look tortured and are sharply lacking the authenticity we crave.
Strategically placing two nodders behind the leader is no doubt supposed to engender an image of party unity. We are supposed to believe political parties are big happy families where everyone is always in complete agreement. Given recent political history this does not exactly ring true. It seems more likely our leaders are just paranoid about back-stabbing and want two people forming a protective wall behind them at all times.
The main impression given by all this nodding is that political parties are weird cults. Leaders can say anything and their followers must only gaze upon them in awe and nod along in complete devotion. It’s not the kind of role which would make a free thinking person seek a place in parliament. Who wants a job where the two main responsibilities are nodding and remembering not to pick your nose?
Being a nodder is a job which could be easily replaced. They would just have to buy a few dashboard toys from the two dollar shop and make sure to jiggle them every now and then so their heads keep bobbing up and down. Instead we are still paying hundreds of thousands of dollars for the salaries of all these professional nodders. It is bound to get even worse. Pretty soon half of Canberra will be putting in compo claims for nodding induced RSI.