Showing posts from August, 2018

On Boris, burkas and the quest for unity

One of my favourite lines is from the Russian writer Mikhail Bakhtin:
“My voice gives the illusion of unity to what I say.”
I reckon you could write a book on that sentence alone. There is so much in it and so much it can be applied to.
It immediately makes me think of someone talking confidently, perhaps on TV, maybe with a presenter deferring to them as an expert. They feel comfortable, at ease, and this is reflected in their voice, which is clear, calm and authoritative. In order to get on to the sofa in the first place, their voice probably had to sound this way. In order to enter into the situation of being deferred to, to be treated as an authority in front of millions of people, they had to look and sound the part of someone who knows what’s going on. They had to fit in with this sort of situation of people who go on TV and talk confidently about things.
There is a sort of unity in this situation: of the authoritative voice matching up with the deference of the presenter on a …