Monday, June 13, 2005

Magical Language 2

I could very well have just made one post, but as I said, after that huge excerpt I was tired of typing.

I think everyone needs to be aware of how language can be used to manipulate. Many have pointed this out; Amanda's comment below reminds us that George Orwell was thinking along the same lines in the year 1949. As Cassirer says, "language is the medium in which man lives and moves and has his being," and so someone seeking to control people needs to affect their language.

I think one of the more obvious contemporary examples is the phrase "the war on terror." This phrase twines together two of the basic elemants of propaganda: ambiguity and outrage. This is a "war" in which the enemies are chosen on an ad-hoc basis, and then given a label that is international politics' equivilent to "baby raper."

I hate the phrase, and what really makes me cringe is that I hear reflective dissenters using it from time to time. Even Jon Stewart, King's Fool extraordinaire, uses it without irony.

I'll refer to language and its many uses more in later posts.

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