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View Diary: It's time for Us to use THAT word! (with UPDATE) (270 comments)

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  •  Granted.... (none)
    I'm all for knowing your audience.  I'm also for talking to people like they're intelligent, and for using language that doesn't reinforce ridiculous concepts, like "un-American".  I grant most of your observations, none which, separately or together, leads to the conclusion that we should employ the term "un-American".  Aristotle has nothing to say on the use of this term, by the way, for obvious reasons.

    There is no "magic bullet" -- i.e., that one turn of phrase that is going to make our side instantly more attractive to those we need to reach to turn the tide.  We can, however, start with some ground rules, primary among which should be the rule that we treat our audience like they're adults and deserving of respect.  Any phrase, such as "un-American", which is McCarthyite in the extreme, fails that test, in my opinion.  Who knows, the public might respond to the claim that "God is on our [the Democrats'] side," as well, but I would blast any Democrat who started mouthing such inanities.

    So, there you go.  Do what you want, of course, but part of the mission here, in my opinion, is to elevate the discourse beyond what politics in this country has usually been -- a competition among marketers to find those images and words that more effectively manipulate public perceptions and support.  Someone will always come along to trump your ad copy, if all it's based on is jingoism, kindergarten concepts and empty phrases, instead of real ideas.

    "When the intellectual history of this era is finally written, it will scarcely be believable." --Noam Chomsky

    by scorponic on Sun Apr 17, 2005 at 05:35:28 PM PDT

    [ Parent ]

    •  Why... (4.00)
      Why is it necessary to have either one or the other? Why can't we have both?

      I agree that the level of debate needs to be raised. However, there is a point where a rhetorical device like repition: "a major rhetorical strategy for producing emphasis, clarity, amplification, or emotional effect. Within the history of rhetoric terms have been developed to name both general and very specific sorts of repetition" is necessary to get a point across.

      Also...

      I think that the point of this particular diary is related to locating, through rant, the "10 word counterstatements" to declarations that call those who engage in political dissent as Traitor, Anti-American, and such.

      And Aristotle, being dead for quite a while, has little to say on the term Unamerican. However, he has boatloads to say on appealing to an audience...and much more. Don't discount him cause he's ancient. He came down pretty hard on the use of torture as an inartistic proof.

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