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.

About

Dr. Dannielle Blumenthal is an author, independent brand researcher, and adjunct marketing professor with 20 years of varied experience. An avid researcher and prolific, creative writer, Dr. Blumenthal's interests span communication, marketing, qualitative media content analysis, political rhetoric, propaganda, leadership, management, organizational development, and more. An engaged citizen, she has for several years worked to raise awareness around child sex trafficking and the dangers of corruption at @drdannielle on Twitter. You can find her articles at Medium, www.AllThingsBrand.com and www.DannielleBlumenthal.com, and she frequently answers questions on Quora. All opinions are Dr. Blumenthal's own.