October 30, 2003

From the water is wet stuff dept.

Via dipnut comes this (unintentionally) hilarious example of Deep Political Thought, Berkeley-style. Short synopsis: did you know that conservatives use (gasp!) language to communicate their ideas in order to "dominate" political discourse?

Now, now -- calm down, I know this is a shocking idea. (Quick -- someone administer smelling salts to Oliver Willis.) I know that the traditional way to dominate political discourse has always been the way the "left" has done it -- by putting out awful teevee movies that "subtly" dis conservative icons and holding badly-attended parades featuring large papier-maché puppets. I mean -- language, ideas -- (shudder)... what horrid Dead White Male Europpressor (from Bad Old Europe, not New, Good Europe) concepts. What on earth is the "left" to do?

Update: link to Ollie's site fixed. (I'm sure he won't mind me calling him Ollie. He's a liberal! They're tolerant!)

Posted by Andrea Harris at October 30, 2003 06:38 AM

It is rather funny that even with having Chomsky (probably the world's most influential living propagandist -- the socio-political equivalent of P.T. Barnum) on their side, the progressives usually come up with stuff like "Bush=Hitler" and "War is bad for children and other living things."

[BTW: The Oliver Willis link is wrong, it points to the news release.]

Posted by: Lynxx Pherrett at October 30, 2003 at 12:37 PM

I think it was John Cole that said "Oliver is neutered and approaching 1 1/2 years old". But he might have been talking about his cat.

Posted by: David Perron at October 30, 2003 at 01:46 PM

Smelling salts! Hang on, I think I wet my pants...

Posted by: dipnut at October 30, 2003 at 02:25 PM

Hilarious? That is not hilarious, it is chilling. For what - thirty? forty? years liberals have wrangled the language to their own ends, asphyxiating common sense, hijacking meaning and developing their own academic dialect.

Now with the Left on the floor, they are portraying themselves as victims to some kind of rightist language conspiracy, behind which is 'money'. Like, it wouldn't be common sense or some kind of connection with the real world of everyday issues.

That is pathetic, and they are losers. Academia has had the money - the real money - people's taxes - and has presided over forty years of divorcing themselves from common sense and contructing their own reality. Now it all falls down around them, and it's the right's fault for not playing fair with language.


Posted by: ilibcc at October 30, 2003 at 06:36 PM

Well, he got one thing right: The Democrats don't stand for anything and don't have anything to offer the voters. Of course, even a blind squirrel stumbles across an acorn once in a while.

Posted by: BarCodeKing at October 30, 2003 at 08:24 PM

Orwell warned of the left, Double-speak was their methodology of subverting truth and here we have a prof pitching that because people reject the failed ideology of the left it's because of how the Conservatives 'frame' their truth...

This is classic projection. As the 'left' subverts so they assume that their own failure must be explained by the 'Right' being better at their own tactics... certainly it couldn't be that the 'Right' is... right.

Posted by: DANEgerus at October 31, 2003 at 02:29 PM

Henry Kissinger, in the 1970s, complained that the left's great strength was their control of the terminology we used--same basic thing this guy's talking about.

Examples of it abound: "peace," "compassion," "paying your fair share," "entitlements," "social security," "medicare" (note the "care"), "tax cuts for the rich," "deadbeat corporations," "big business," "social justice," "participatory democracy," and so on.

"Welfare" used to be such a word--it was brought in to substitute for "relief." They used to talk about "government relief for the poor," and so on, only "relief" took on a bad odor so it was switched to "welfare." After a couple of decades got the same bad reputation as "relief" used to have, and now we've all but forgotten "relief," which means it may make a comeback I suppose.

I think all this fellow has noticed is that the Right, which used to be unable to play this game, now is able to play it. Thus I think he's already off on the wrong foot; the best he's going to be able to do is update some of the metaphors and phrases that the left first invented that have become out of date.

Posted by: Dean Esmay at November 2, 2003 at 06:48 AM