Figure of Speech: eunoia, disinterested good will. From the Greek, meaning “well mind.”
It’s not “almost” ethical, Clive. Rhetorically speaking, fan interaction is ethical. It enhances one’s ethos, or public image.
If you want a group of people to follow you, make them believe you’re willing to sacrifice for them—that you’re disinterested, unbeholden to any interest other than the audience’s. Rhetoricians call this benevolent strategy eunoia. It’s the only term in English that contains all five vowels. It’s also one of the essential characteristics of a persuasive ethos.
In our increasingly self-centered culture, we mistakenly use disinterest as a synonym for “uninterest.” Thank the gods for one rock guitarist who instinctively knows the difference. Tad Kubler, who plays with the rock group Hold Steady, has a page on MySpace. He’s such a devoted blogger, answering messages personally, that the audience chants his MySpace screen name, “Koob,” at concerts. Having “friended” him, they’re part of one big Koob tribe.
Blogs in general tend to be more of an ethical medium than a logical one — more tribal than analytical. People desire a bond with the successful blogger at least as much as they want to learn from him. Figarists, of course, are the exception that proves the rule; which makes you a member of a very exclusive tribe.
Snappy Answer: “Ah, the virtuous rock star.”
For more on eunoia, see chapter 8 of Figaro’s book.
One of the first emails replying to this post was from Figaro’s own wife, who pointed out that “facetious” has all the vowels—in order. Figaro should have said that eunoia contained all the vowel PHONEMES—combinations of letters that form distinct sounds.