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cui bono

(19,926 posts)
1. "worries about the public perception of a decision more than the substance of the decision itself."
Sun May 31, 2015, 02:55 PM
May 2015

I get your point, but not sure that 'appearances' is any better, as optics is about how things appear, with no regard for how they actually are. The word 'optics' in politics is used for strategizing or attacking without regard to the content/substance/factors of what is actually going on.

If people want to be honest about a situation they won't conflate the optics of it with the content/substance/intent/meaning of it among other things.

If writers refer to 'the optics of a situation' they are talking about the way a situation is perceived by the general public; how an event, course of action, etc. 'looks' to others. This trendy new metaphor's journey into popular use has been kick-started by the current conflict in Libya, as for example illustrated by this recent quote from Canada's Toronto Star: 'U.S. President Barack Obama temporized for weeks, worrying about the optics of waging war in another Arab state after the Iraq fiasco.' (19th March 2011). In other words, Obama was concerned about how a decision to become involved in the Libyan conflict would be perceived by the man on the street, especially in the wake of the country's arguably misguided involvement in the 2004 invasion of Iraq.

Though military debate has brought optics into the spotlight, figurative use of the word is not confined to this domain, as the first citation at the beginning of this article shows. Politics is however, predictably, the most common context of use (after all, who could be more worried about 'how things look' than a politician). The word is becoming a popular euphemism for referring to the 'impression' that a particular decision or course of action gives to the people who, in an ideal world, you would prefer to 'keep on your side'. In a nutshell, the use of optics characterizes a situation in which a person or organization worries about the public perception of a decision more than the substance of the decision itself.

http://www.macmillandictionary.com/us/buzzword/entries/optics.html


BrotherIvan

(9,126 posts)
2. If candidates are more worried about optics than substance, we will sink further into this quagmire
Sun May 31, 2015, 03:07 PM
May 2015

of lies and goddamn lies.

 

nadinbrzezinski

(154,021 posts)
4. I really do not understand where people come up with this anger
Sun May 31, 2015, 03:39 PM
May 2015

the term, in this particular use, has been around since at least Reagan. I will not use it in my reporting, but it is a standard every four years in the political press.

Orrex

(63,338 posts)
5. Whatever its age, it's a smarmy corporatist buzzword.
Sun May 31, 2015, 04:01 PM
May 2015

It positively reeks of insincerity and affected cool.

For what it's worth, I also find the phrase "sea change" grating and overused, but Shakespeare himself thought it was just dandy.

 

nadinbrzezinski

(154,021 posts)
9. Because it came out of academic writing actually
Sun May 31, 2015, 04:45 PM
May 2015

it is not corporate. Optics has been a theme of analysis for a long time.

It did not come out of the press, they adopted it. It did not come out of think tanks, they are late adoptees

It is not smarmy. It is just not descriptive, at least imho.

But anger over that word is, imho, a waste of time. Tweety, for example, like he does every four years, will extensively use it. It is these days lazy how often it is used.

Orrex

(63,338 posts)
12. We're going to have to disagree
Sun May 31, 2015, 05:33 PM
May 2015
it is not corporate. Optics has been a theme of analysis for a long time.
Doesn't matter. All kinds of academic jargon bubbles around in that incestuous pool without being thrust into public consciousness. They're harmless in that specific purpose-specific evironment. "Proactive" was around for many decades before corporatists decided to coopt it and make it vile.

For that matter, "optics" would have been nauseating even if (especially?) used in an academic context to make a paper, speech or presentation seem more smarter.

It did not come out of the press, they adopted it. It did not come out of think tanks, they are late adoptees.
Doesn't matter. They're its parents now, so they're responsible.

It is not smarmy. It is just not descriptive, at least imho.
It's smarmy for the reason I mentioned above--it's expressly used to give an air of intellectualism where none might be justified.

But anger over that word is, imho, a waste of time. Tweety, for example, like he does every four years, will extensively use it. It is these days lazy how often it is used.
Well, that's one of those YMMV things. With respect, you've raised a few points over the years that seem flatly meaningless to me, but that's how it goes. I'm sure I've posted plenty of stuff that's of no interest to you, too.

Orrex

(63,338 posts)
7. George Carlin famously commented on exactly that word.
Sun May 31, 2015, 04:30 PM
May 2015

"Ghengis Khan had an active, outdoor lifestyle."

FSogol

(45,635 posts)
8. What if they wear a flag pin for the optics during their appearances?
Sun May 31, 2015, 04:31 PM
May 2015

Do they cancel each other out?

nichomachus

(12,754 posts)
11. Optics doesn't mean appearance
Sun May 31, 2015, 05:23 PM
May 2015

It means the science of light and how it affects things and how it is affected by things.

It doesn't matter who used it first, using it to mean appearance is wrong and stupid, like all other jargon and buzzwords that people use because they think it makes them sound smart.

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