Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Why Does It Matter Who Calls It What?

The reason it's so important is that this is indicative of the overall Republican strategy of using emotional language to slant issues, like 'death tax' instead of 'estate tax'. Once their own phrase (courtesy of Trent Lott) began testing badly for them, they immediately assigned it to the Democrats.

What is so galling is that the media aid and abet them instead of doing their job, which is to try to report what's really going on, not take the talking points straight out of the Karl Rove/Frank Luntz playbook.

'Words don't matter'? What are the media but words? Believe me, every word and phrase that is spoken in politics is carefully chosen, honed and crafted for a specific emotional intent, that may be the opposite of the literal meaning of the word or phrase (can you say 'Clear Skies'?). So to say that it doesn't matter who says 'Nuclear Option' is disingenuous at best. And we deserve better from the media than the laziness of taking everything said at face value.

10 comments:

Mike said...

I checked my comment, and I didn't say "words don't matter", so I guess you're not responding to me. Of course words matter, but in this case they're not nearly as damaging as "We know where they are. They're in the area around Tikrit and Baghdad and east, west, south and north somewhat," as Rumsfeld said when describing the location of all those WMD that didn't actually exist but for which we've lost over 1,600 young Americans and slaughtered over 100,000 innocent Iraqis. To me THAT matters.

Alicia said...

You're right, Mike - when I put 'words don't matter' in quotes, I was not quoting you. And I agree that the words that were bald-faced lies and killed our soldiers and innocent Iraqis matter most of all.

Those are overt lies and easily identifiable once revealed as lies. My subject is a little different, in pertaining to 'shades of meaning' which seem innocuous on the surface, but have an effect nonetheless that is intended not to be seen.

Alicia said...

...and I hope I didn't imply that you subscribe to the 'words don't matter' theory. From what I've read of your blog, you are a thoughtful, analytical and intelligent person. I was trying to articulate why I'm upset about something that seems picayune when compared with the big issues you address.

Gothamimage said...

The Bushbots are commanded by men with a firm command of language games. They have sense of words as commodities - in a Marxist sense, and they are very post modern that way. This part of the intellectual inheritance some brought over from the left - a belief in radical methods, but to uphold the old order, rather than radical ends,.

Gothamimage said...

Rumsfeld is very post-modern. His use of words calls to mind the descrete minimalism of some archetects - when he says something, it's like quicksilver on truth - just kills it - but, maintains a thin veil- Rumsfeld said what he said because he could say that at the time and he must know that he could just say he was wrong and then use his fake certainty of his earlier comments as something to point back to as 'proof' that he really thought there were weapons- even though he didn't bother sending troops to real actual nuclear areas.

wanda said...

I'm beginning to think the time has come for bloggers to take up the baton and do the media's job for them. Clearly they either don't intend to or are too incompetent to do so. We can no longer depend on them to report what needs to be reported nor to insure that what they report is the truth. Step aside O'Lielly, and Newsweek, we're taking over! We'll show you what fair & balanced REALLY means!

Alicia said...

I think you're right, Wanda - the old guard is through. I think that due to the Internet and the digitization of media, especially music, we are in the middle of the biggest paradigm shift since Gutenberg, and media as we know will not be the same.

BTW - glad the comments are working for you again!

Marie said...

Words matter. Political phrases are meant to run through your head over and over like a TV jingle.

At the advent of the Internet/World Wide Web we heard that the Internet would replace magazines and newspapers. I couldn't see it then. But wasn't it the truth.

Alicia said...

Marie, I figure that it will take about 10 years for the Internet to really settle into itself, and maybe another 10 to find a business model that works with the new technology (the old one is totally useless - you can't sell individual hard copies of anything when you're dealing with ones and zeroes).

My hope and dream is that the people will finally get a real voice - in information, in music, in politics. My fear is that someone (as usual) will find a new way to steal it for themselves.

Unfortunately, my political philosophy can be summed up in two words:

sh** floats.

Wouldn't it be great if, just this once, the good-hearted people (of all political affiliations, religions, and walks of life) could find a way to coalesce with the opportunity this technology affords?

Gothamimage said...

Word!