Friday, January 27, 2006

Real World Double Speak


Some call it spin. Some call it political correctness, but that's a bit off the mark. It's political, but it's anything but correct.

What am I going on about? Dangerous (but carefully chosen) choices of words that galvanize people. Words that sum things up neat and tidy so that people can feel smug in their rightness.

Here are some choice examples:

Pro-life.

This loudly proclaims, "Hey, what kind of sick perverted nutcase would be against something like LIFE???"

Wow gee golly, put that way, I guess'n you're right, Cletus! Damn libruls are against life! Not only that, they're FOR killing babies!

Do I really have to point out that it's more complicated than that?

Pro-choice.

While I am for a woman's right to govern her body (and therefore choose whether or not she wants an abortion), I think this response to "pro-life" is tragically just as inarticulate. It's a LOT more complicated than that.

Conservative Christian

I'm still not really certain what this means. It implies someone that is combining their political / financial beliefs along with their religious beliefs to make a statement that sums said person up in two words.

It would also imply that said person believes in the teachings of Christ, such as "love thy neighbor as thyself", and all of that hippy peacenik crap that those damn libruls spew on about all the time.

As David Letterman might say, "nothing could be further from the truth".

Support Our Troops

Can I ask a question to alllll you kind people who have this little gem stuck to your car? What are you doing, besides sticking some ridiculous piece of plastic to your car, to support our troops? Sending your money to Chinese manufacturers is supporting our troops?

Terrorism

This would imply say, someone that spreads fear and / or a political agenda through the use of terror (i.e. fear).

Hey uh, what color is the "terror alert" today? Chartreuse? Anyone? Anyone? Cheney? Bueller?

*****

Okay, the cotton candy is coming back in to cloud the synapses. Please feel free to add to this rant in the comments. Also, come check me out on my blog.

Peace.

17 comments:

Karen said...

Boy, do I EVER AGREE with every word in your post! Damn rethugs, repukes, call 'em what you want; they know how to twist words around to make 'em sound 'holier than thou'.

I want 'em outa here! Ever since bushie baby got us into this so-called war, I'm fightin' mad & have been tryin' to control my blood pressure.

And, I'm sick & tired of the Dems not standing up & shouting them down!!! and, and, and, and, ...

...better end my rant before you kick me out! :)

Matt Vella said...

Kick. ;)

Mike V. said...

wow, good post.
I'm going to have to work hard to top that when I get back my brain from cisco land..

debambam said...

damn right all of it is more complicated than two words!! Unfortunately most (not all, i'm not one to generalise) people turn their two words into "i'm right" or "your wrong"....

Matt Vella said...

It's beyond that in that fighting for what amounts to "mindshare" is as easy as creating a slick slogan.

It's really, really easy to be taken in - whatever stance you may choose to take - by this type of marketing.

Caveat emptor!!!!

LA said...

Ahhh... politicizing language. Yes indeed, one of my favorite topics. Allow me to add another phrase and accompanying lengthy rant:

Stem cells. Despite what "Christian Conservatives" would like you to believe, "stem cells" does not mean "cells from little babies who were ruthlessly and violently aborted by wicked liberal whores."

From Dorland's Medical Dictionary, 18th edition, stem cells - 1) any precursor cell. 2) a blood cell progenitor, or mother cell, having the capacity for both replication and differentiation, and giving rise to various morphologically recognizable precursors of different blood cell lines.

Nope, there's not a single mention of abortion in the definition of stem cells. How do you like that?

The reason this one is a hot button for me is as follows. I am a medical transcriptionist working for a large teaching hospital in LA County. My job basically entails accurately transcribing medical reports dictated by the physicians in the hospital. One of my "esteemed colleagues" approached me at the office one day to ask me if was aware that our hospital did "stem cell research." Since I knew that we DON'T do stemm cell research, I asked to see the report from which she gleaned this information.

It turned out to be a pediatric cancer patient for whom "stem cells were being harvested" so the patient could have treatment for his leukemia. I looked at her point blank and asked her if she understood a fucking word she ever typed. I went on to explain that if she took her head out of her ass long enough to stop getting her medical information from right wing politicians, she would have known that this simply meant that her patient was going to receive a bone marrow transplant. I went on to prove this to her through various documentation on the patient as well as medical literature.

This is a woman who has been a medical wordsmith for 20 years yet does not understand something as basic as "stem cells" because she has been so brainwashed by her church and the politicians they've bought. What chance does the average lay person have in understanding even slightly complicated concepts if they're open to propaganda and deliberate misinformation?

Critical thought seems to have fallen out of fashion, and it's a damn shame.

I'll save the "partial birth abortion" rant for another day.

Great topic, Matt Vella!

Adam said...

I agree with you exactly! It's impossible to squeeze most Americans into either the "pro-life" or "pro-choice" category and neither label says anything substantial. And if you really support the troops, send them money or letters- numerous charities can get you in touch with the specific needs on the ground. None of the soldiers I know give a damn about someone's magnet.

Matt Vella said...

LA - definitely, that's a big hot button with me, as well. Stem cell research has become evil in the eyes of people who have no idea about what it really is, let alone how much it will benefit humanity in the long run.

We stand to fall far behind in this research due to this very type of ignorance.

LA said...

Matt - My dad died of Alzheimer's disease, so you can imagine how passionate I am about this one.

BTW, I think it would be fun to re-categorize the "terror alert" colors with new all new colors. I like your excellent suggestion of chartreuse. I also nominate puce and ecru.

Matt Vella said...

LA - Yes - puce, ecru and burnt umber all should have a place on the terror alert scale.

"Today's reason to be scared shitless (so go buy somethin' at Walmart!!!!1) has been brought to you by the federal gubmint and the color puce!!!"

Sar said...

Excellent post, Matt. I'm just as bothered by the "support our troops" magnets as I am by the American flag magnets. You're right it's all part of showing off which side of the with us/against us team you're on. Big caveat being I don't support Bush, his administration of croonies or his war...but...I do support our troops who are stuck fighting on behalf of this dishonest admistration and without the proper supplies and protection they need no less.

Hey Mike, welcome back (I think)!

Mike V. said...

thanks, Sar!
yea, I'm back home.
and I'm bummed that Shea didn't post anything, but I also note that he didn't post anything on his blog either. maybe he had to go outta town or something.

more to come..

Matt Vella said...

Thank you, Sar. :) I'm glad you enjoyed it.

Billy Jones said...

Clever and oh so dead on target.

Mike V. said...

Man, I'm such a dork.
Shea totally posted a great one.
Man, I am fried..

Toad734 said...

Ironically the pro-life people are almost always pro-death penalty. So agreed, that term is a bullshit spin.

Conservative Christian is pretty redundant to say the least.

Owning a SUV that gets 15 miles to the gallon is doing the exact opposite of supporting our troops whether you have a yellow ribbon magnet on it or not.

Terrorism is what brown people do; liberating is what white people do.

The one you forgot is the Death Tax. This used to be called an Estate Tax levied on less than 2% of the population that applied to estates worth over 1.5 million dollars. This tax never exceeded 50% and the rest of the money was given to the heirs of the deceased who did nothing to earn it. The funniest part about this is the people who are opposed to it are people who earn less than 50,000 per year. The Republicans have done a good job convincing poor people that people who don't work for their money are bad unless it is someone like Paris Hilton who clearly deserves her wealth. What these people don't realize is that they will never be this rich and this Estate Tax will only benefit the rest of society and hurt no one. If we can't tax dead rich people who can we tax?

Matt Vella said...

What I don't think a lot of people realize that it's all about control. Control of your opinion. Get enough people behind your agenda, and suddenly black is white, war is peace and ignorance is knowledge.