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Words are weapons

"Unspeak is language that deliberately loads the dice. War on Terror. Weapons of mass destruction. Climate change. Failed asylum seekers. File sharing. Austerity measures. Oil spill. Erectile dysfunction. Once we tune in to unspeak we start seeing and hearing it everywhere" -- UK journalist Steve Poole's book Unspeak has been turned into a six part interactive documentary series by Dutch new media group Submarine Channel, narrated by Poole himself. [more inside]
posted by MartinWisse on Oct 31, 2013 - 37 comments

 

The Metaphor Program

Daniel Soar on the militarisation of metaphor: Spies aren’t known for their cultural sensitivity. So it was a surprise when news broke last month that IARPA, a US government agency that funds ‘high-risk/high-payoff research’ into areas of interest to the ‘intelligence community’, had put out a call for contributions to its Metaphor Program, a five-year project to discover what a foreign culture’s metaphors can reveal about its beliefs.
posted by jack_mo on Jun 27, 2011 - 41 comments

Hasta la vista, Gertrude Chataway.

Veto is a four-letter word (google quickview, here's the PDF):.Governor Schwarzenegger of California, at odds with the state legislature but ever the poet, vetoes Assembly Bill 1176 with a nice little acrostic.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane on Oct 28, 2009 - 72 comments

The Economist: The World in 2009

In 2009, a remarkably gifted politician, confronting a remarkably difficult set of challenges, will have to learn to say "No we can't", Guantánamo will prove a moral minefield, economic recovery will be invisible to the naked eye, governments must prepare for the day they stop financial guarantees, we will judge our commitment to sustainability, scientists should research the causes of religion, we will all be potential online paparazzi, English will have more words than any other language (but it's meaningless), Afghanistan will see a surge of Western (read: American) troops, Iran will continue its nuclear quest while diplomacy lies in shambles, the sea floor is the new frontier, we should rethink aging, (non-)voters will continue to thwart the European project -- but cheap travel will continue to buoy it -- though it has some unfinished business to attend to, and a Nordic defence bond will blossom.

The Economist: The World in 2009. [more inside]
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane on Nov 27, 2008 - 31 comments

Negating a frame activates that frame

Don't Think of a Maverick! George Lakoff offers some tips on framing to the Obama campaign.
posted by homunculus on Sep 12, 2008 - 57 comments

“The fact of storytelling hints at a fundamental human unease, hints at human imperfection. Where there is perfection there is no story to tell.” –Ben Okri

"Political content aside, the discussion provided a lovely example of how a term from literary theory has established itself in American political discourse." via Language Log

"We may expect the following. Language will be carefully crafted. Advertisements will focus on personal narratives. The campaign will employ “attack” advertisements that emotionally sway voters. Policy will be sketchy with vague descriptions that emotionally satisfy Americans while offering scant details. The emphasis will be on creating narratives that resonate with the values, beliefs, and identities of prospective voters."
– Literary Gulag, on Lakoff, Nunberg, Westen, and the narrative of the 2008 presidential election. [more inside]
posted by iamkimiam on Sep 9, 2008 - 26 comments

Capitol Words - US Congress In A Word A Day

Capitol Words allows you to see what the most often used word was on any given day in the U.S Congress. [via mefi projects]
posted by Effigy2000 on Jun 21, 2008 - 23 comments

Naughty!

There are 7 words you can't say in kindergarden. Caution: contains foul language and political thought.
posted by growabrain on Jul 16, 2005 - 41 comments

Everyone Who Cares About the Future of America Should Read This Political Playbook

Frank Luntz GOP Playbook Now Online: No Downloads, Searchable Text I can't stress enough the importance of reading this document. It is absolutely amazing how politicos co-opted so much of our language and led us down the path to THEIR agenda.

Unfortunately, the monstrous PDF file previously available for download made that a 'challenging' endeavor. Thus, I thought it was very important to bring to everybody's attention the existence of an online, readable, searchable, text version of Frank Luntz’s Playbook. It is a masterpiece of manipulation and an historic political document.
posted by jb_thms on Mar 3, 2005 - 85 comments

State of the State of the Union

The State of the Union Parsing Tool is an interactive transcript and visualization of the last five State of the Union addresses, and a special address given to Congress on Sept. 20, 2001. Noteworthy features are a great interface and the ability to highlight the use of arbitrary and specific phrases. For instance: Iraq vs. Afghanistan, liberty vs. freedom, health care vs. social security, and the lone appearance of 'axis of evil.'
posted by fatllama on Feb 3, 2005 - 10 comments

For those of you in the 'Anyone but Bush' camp.

Slate translates Kerry to English. A lot of the argument lately is that Kerry doesn't really offer up a concete stand on his viewpoint. This article from William Saletan sums up what he believes Kerry is trying to say based on the speech he gave in New York earlier, and how he really stands in opposition to President Bush. Thoughts?
posted by daHIFI on Sep 21, 2004 - 32 comments

Verbal, if not literate.

Sure, it's just more Bush-bashing, but it's gussied up durn pretty. Philip Gourevitch on Bushspeak.
He is grossly underestimated as an orator by those who presume that good grammar, rigorous logic, and a solid command of the facts are the essential ingredients of political persuasion, and that the absence of these skills indicates a lack of intelligence. Although Bush is no intellectual, and proud of it, he is quick and clever, and, for all his notorious malapropisms, abuses of syntax, and manglings or reinventions of vocabulary, his intelligence is—if not especially literate—acutely verbal.

posted by grrarrgh00 on Sep 10, 2004 - 87 comments

TPM on the importance of words

This is precisely the sort of inane mumbojumbo that will -- perhaps literally -- get us all killed....The importance of words is a conceit of wordsmiths, certainly. But they are important -- especially when they bleed through into thought and action, which happens more often than you'd think.,

TPM is becoming almost too widely-read to be postworthy, but Josh really puts things into perspective with this post. For an example of what all this jingoistic gibberish can result in, see the post below it.
posted by jpoulos on Apr 15, 2004 - 63 comments

The Bush Dyslexicon

The Bush Dyslexicon Ever since the presidential campaign, George W. Bush's adventures in the English language have alternately amused and horrified the nation. But according to media scholar Mark Crispin Miller's scathing new book, The Bush Dyslexicon, to conclude merely that Bush is dimwitted would be a grave mistake. The President's linguistic fumbles, argues Miller, mask a deep and shrewd political vindictiveness; at the same time, the shallowness revealed in Bush's unscripted remarks has been largely ignored or coddled by a national media more interested in soundbites than in political substance.

I don't know what is more frightening: that this guy is right, and we have much more to fear about Bush, Jr. than we thought...or that he is wrong, and we do indeed live in a land whose president is an imbecile.
posted by mapalm on Jul 31, 2001 - 54 comments

Welcome back, state's rights.

Welcome back, state's rights. As if Dubya's comments following his "ethnic" Cabinet appointments wasn't enough retrograde logic -- roughly: if blacks and hispanics (would only?) work hard and make the right choices in life -- he's now using language that has been used to mask agendas based on race from before the Civil War through the fight against integration. And it looks like that fight ain't over, if you read "states rights" in today's context to mean the right to spend public funds on getting (primarily) white kids out of (primarily) black schools.
posted by subpixel on Jan 6, 2001 - 13 comments

Moron alert!

Moron alert! For those missing J. Danforth Quayle, your best bet for continued hilarity in the executive branch of the US government would be to vote for George W. Bush. Although some of the quotes listed in this link are simply Shrub getting tongue-tied, others are truly fascinating. Apologies for linking to the evil Slate.
posted by norm on Aug 25, 2000 - 13 comments

CatchPhrase BuzzWord of the NanoSecond

CatchPhrase BuzzWord of the NanoSecond - issue terrain i.e.: "The issue terrain favors us enormously." LOL! I can't stop laughing! issue terrain! What? They have men sitting in little smokefilled rooms coming up with these things? "The political climate is bad for Gore (brrr!), but how about his issue terrain?" "Oh that's good! No one knows what that is yet cuz we haven't defined it, so naturally his issue terrain is good!" ROTFLMAO!
posted by ZachsMind on Aug 14, 2000 - 4 comments

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