Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Plain talk (and Lakoff's Frames)

Time on Bush,
President George W. Bush has always done the Middle East his way. When he became the first President to formally call for the creation of a Palestinian state, it was at least partly because he gagged on such conventional but tortured constructions as "a place for the Palestinian people to carry out their aspirations." When aides drafted a speech with such wording, the President challenged them, demanding, What does that mean? An aide explained that this was how the matter was generally formulated. Bush, a senior Administration official recalls, asked, "Well, do we think there's going to be a Palestinian state?" When his aides said yes, he continued, "Then why don't we say that there should be a Palestinian state?" With that, the groundbreaking words were delivered.
And Nick Cohen Looking for Lucidity,
Among the many reasons why a candidate from the Left can’t win the Labour leadership election, let alone a general election, is that the Left can’t talk in a way that convinces outsiders that it is honest. The distortion of language in the past generation has become one of the main reasons for the success of the Right. All those creaking gags from P J O’Rourke that so tickled the tummies of Anglo-American conservatives in the 1990s, all the conservative denunciations of the bossiness of a political correctness that, in the words of George Bush senior in 1991, declares ‘certain topics off-limits, certain expressions off-limits, even certain gestures off-limits’, have succeeded beyond their authors’ wildest expectations.
And more... proof Bush is indeed the Radical,
Obfuscation has historically been the vice of those who want to keep the social order as it is by preventing the public from seeing it clearly. A paradox of radicalism is that true radicals are linguistic conservatives because they have an urgent and overriding need to be understood.
Something these Lakoff Frame (i.e. spin) advocates should reflect on...per Jess Walker:

"The problem is that he has a frame of his own to sell, a model that may have some explanatory power but which he has stretched far beyond its limits. The difference between left and right, he argues, is best understood as a split between two concepts of the family. Conservatives follow a "strict father" morality; liberals favor the "nurturing parent" approach. Both project their preferred ideal onto the nation.... [but] For now, we're left with an elaborate variation on the ancient libertarian joke that Republicans want the government to be your father, Democrats want the government to be your mother, and libertarians want to treat you as an adult.... Except that Lakoff's frame doesn't have room for the third option, or for any variations of the left or right that call the parental metaphor into question.” -- Jesse Walker

I'll stick with Bush's good sense to gag on the older order's mumbo jumbo.

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