Urbane Man Column – Issue 31

Apparently, scientific experts, unnamed for their own safety, have found the answer to one of our great existential dilemmas: they’ve discovered the three base elements of that frustratingly elusive human attribute, Charisma.

In extensive tests, some involved bumping into people at an alarming rate of haves and have-nots, the experts have come up with an explanation of why some people are very influential in persuading others to suspend reason, consistency of ethical thought and logic. Apparently, this phenomenon that has genuinely eluded so many great minds, has now been discovered to have a fairly simple and clear formula. Charisma is merely a combination of these three constituents: vacuity, banality and cliché. All three, working in chemical and cosmic randomness, create an unconscious visual haze through which no reasoning, logic or previously individual judgement can penetrate.

This invisible fog envelopes the observer and plays calm havoc with the optic nerves, sets up home in the hippocampus and oversees any synaptic activity that would awaken reason and logic and sense of self that would under normal conditions, reject the subject of attention on moral, ethical grounds. Charisma is a suspension of disbelief based on the three tenets of banality, vacuity and cliché. Charisma is a superficial bad faith that destroys the critical faculties of the observer.

This state of stupor can even overcome a person’s sense of smell, and that’s saying something these days. So, with this disarming allure, the charismatic person can cut swathes through any rational meritocratic environment. Those affected might be able to argue for and defend the charismatic when confronted by unaffected critics and commentators, without any sense that they have been manipulated by ethereal hormonal, notional, subconscious, olfactory impotence. Even when their idol is exposed as charlatan, liar, grubby criminal, these charismatically annulled people will be incredulous in the face of irrefutable fact. ■


It has been said that we should be worried about the proliferation of obeisance in both children and adults alike. Apparently, more and more people are suffering obeisance due to the rapid increase in feedback.

Both adults and children are becoming too fatuous, gorging on, and being dependant on feedback for almost every action and behaviour. Certainly some sufferers are becoming fatheads as a result of the number of prompts for spurious opinion about even the smallest and inconsequential behaviours.

People are not even allowed to go for number twos without some form asking for feedback on the experience.

The fact that we are all urged, sometimes begged, to produce feedback is encouraging laziness and a lack of alacrity in conscious existence. Saturated fatuous is fast becoming endemic, and its effects can be seen in such events as yes/no referenda for very complex issues.

Good news is that this obeisance can be prevented by exercising your own opinion, gleaned and formed by sceptical discipline. also rejecting the seductive surveys that coerce acceptance of multiple-choice questionnaires, especially those presented online.

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