|Microphones. It was either that or another Daily Mail headline.|
(photo by Stefano Tambalo)
Noun & verb. Late Middle English.
[Latin captio(n-), from captat- past participial stem of captare frequentative of capere seize: see -TION.]
An attempt to acquire something, especially dexterously;
the making of an ad captandum appeal.
Any effective orator, broadcaster, debater or leader will use strategy to win over an audience, tailoring his arguments to whatever demographic he's specifically aiming for at that point in time. The line at which convincing, skilful rhetoric crosses over into captation ad captandum vulgus - "designed to appeal to the emotions of the rabble" - is a fine one, perhaps completely indistinguishable in the hands of skilled speakers, spin doctors and propagandists. It is a line that politicians, religious leaders and journalists are especially fond of crossing, and not just lightly stepping over but gleefully charging past, waving appealing promises and enticing, reassuring slogans. As the public, their audience, the baying rabble, we too must share responsibility and must be wary of lazily swallowing such captations as are designed to capture our votes, loyalty, sympathy and beliefs.
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