Wednesday, September 08, 2004

Watch Your Language

Alternet has an excerpt from George Lakoff's newest book Don't Think of an Elephant. He had an article somewhere on the web several months ago that talked about some of the ideas in the excerpt so it may seem familiar to you. The book is about the way language is used to frame political discourse:

Framing is about getting language that fits your worldview. It is not just language. The ideas are primary — and the language carries those ideas, evokes those ideas. There was another good example in the State of the Union address in January. This one was a remarkable metaphor to find in a State of the Union address. Bush said, "We do not need a permission slip to defend America." What is going on with a permission slip? He could have just said, "We won't ask permission." But talking about a permission slip is different. Think about when you last needed a permission slip. Think about who has to ask for a permission slip. Think about who is being asked. Think about the relationship between them. Those are the kinds of questions you need to ask if you are to understand contemporary political discourse.
A timely book as we start to look forward to the presidential debates next month.