The Popcorn Stand: Pontificating about pontificators

I have to admit I have a lot more respect for Norwegian prime minister Erna Solberg right now. It seems during a heated debate during a Parliamentary meeting on Tuesday, Solberg was caught playing Pokemon Go. Clearly, she has her priorities straight.

Without knowing any of the particulars, I have it in my mind Norwegian politicians were just pontificating, so Solberg found a proper way in my opinion to pass the time.

So apparently the fad of Pokemon Go is still going strong, or at least it seems to be in Norway. I was wondering — and still wondering — if Pokemon Go had already become a passing fad here in America.

But that’s not what I wanted to write about. I identify with Solberg because in my time as a reporter covering meetings over the years, I’ve dealt with my share of board members, supervisors, etc., who are experts in the art of pontificating.

And whenever one of these public servants had something to say like, “and now my statement for the media,” I always made sure to start doodling and not pay attention. Where was Pokemon Go when I needed it?

To be sure the vast majority of people in public service I’ve dealt with have been sincere in their efforts to serve their communities and are good people.

Of course meetings covering controversial subjects generally bring out the pontificating side of all of us to a certain extent.

Which is different from most circumstances in which most of us have a fear of public speaking. I read somewhere most of us fear public speaking more than dying, so we would rather be in the box than giving the eulogy.

I have to admit there have been times I’ve covered meetings in which I wished the people I was covering had that fear.

— Charles Whisnand


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