Skip to main content

Sycophancy, The Breakfast Of Fools and Killers

Photo of Hitler (may his name and memory be erased forever and ever), left, 
with his propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels, right, via Historical Times

During the Holocaust Joseph Goebbels served as Hitler's Minister of Propaganda. Hitler who famously said

"By the skillful and sustained use of propaganda, one can make a people see even heaven as hell or an extremely wretched life as paradise."

Goebbels loved Hitler, unconditionally, and served him with a fanatical loyalty that has been described as "the emotional essence of totalitarianism." 

The world they inhabited was a thicket of lies.

Their association did not end well for Goebbels. He and his wife killed themselves and he arranged for the murder of all their children on May 1, 1945.


Goebbels was an extreme example of a sycophant. 

But this quality is also very common. As they say, "flattery will get you everywhere" and so many people try it as a means to achieve self-esteem, popularity and success (screenshot below via Google).

Remember Sally Fields' famous Oscar-winning speech? Who can ever forget it - she said:

"You like me, you really like me."


The funny thing is, when you act like a sycophant, people always know you're doing it. And they generally always know why, too.

Needless to say, this doesn't make you look good. Thus a definite career-limiting move. So actually the strategy doesn't work all that well.
Screenshot via Urban Dictionary

Boot lickers are a constant feature of the movies. Remember Effie Trinket from The Hunger Games?

Screenshot of Elizabeth Banks, left, as Effie Trinket in The Hunger Games 
(with Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss, right) via The Hot Hits

Effie wasn't totally bad.

She, like the rest of us, was just trying to survive in a system that seemed far more powerful than she was - or could ever be.

But at the end of the day you have to ask yourself whether the sacrifice of your most personal soul is worth it. 

Maybe it's better to have a little less flattery in the world. And a little more objectivity. A life you can look back on and say, "At least I lived my real, personal truth."

* All opinions my own.

Popular posts from this blog

What is the difference between brand equity and brand parity?

Brand equity is a financial calculation. It is the difference between a commodity product or service and a branded one. For example if you sell a plain orange for $.50 but a Sunkist orange for $.75 and the Sunkist orange has brand equity you can calculate it at $.25 per orange.

Brand parity exists when two different brands have a relatively equal value. The reason we call it "parity" is that the basis of their value may be different. For example, one brand may be seen as higher in quality, while the other is perceived as fashionable.

________________
All opinions my own. Originally posted to Quora. Public domain photo by hbieser via Pixabay.

What is the difference between "brand positioning," "brand mantra," and "brand tagline?"

Brand positioning statement: This is a 1–2 sentence description of what makes the brand different from its competitors (or different in its space), and compelling. Typically the positioning combines elements of the conceptual (e.g., “innovative design,” something that would be in your imagination) with the literal and physical (e.g., “the outside of the car is made of the thinnest, strongest metal on earth”). The audience for this statement is internal. It’s intended to get everybody on the same page before going out with any communication products.Brand mantra: This is a very short phrase that is used predominantly by people inside the organization, but also by those outside it, in order to understand the “essence” or the “soul” of the brand and to sell it to employees. An example would be Google’s “Don’t be evil.” You wouldn’t really see it in an ad, but you might see it mentioned or discussed in an article about the company intended to represent it to investors, influencers, etc.Br…

Nitro Cold Brew and the Oncoming Crash of Starbucks

A long time ago (January 7, 2008), the Wall Street Journal ran an article about McDonald's competing against Starbucks.
At the time the issue was that the former planned to pit its own deluxe coffees head to head with the latter.
At the time I wrote that while Starbucks could be confident in its brand-loyal consumers, the company, my personal favorite brand of all time,  "...needs to see this as a major warning signal. As I have said before, it is time to reinvent the brand — now.  "Starbucks should consider killing its own brand and resurrecting it as something even better — the ultimate, uncopyable 'third space' that is suited for the way we live now.  "There is no growth left for Starbucks as it stands anymore — it has saturated the market. It is time to do something daring, different, and better — astounding and delighting the millions (billions?) of dedicated Starbucks fans out there who are rooting for the brand to survive and succeed." Today as …