Sunday, November 01, 2009

Name Calling

This is a guest post by reader O Bloody Hell:

Lately, the Left Media invents names to avoid the issues. The latest instance is a triple play:
MSNBC’s David Shuster openly hoped: "Have centrists been frightened away from the Republican Party by the right-wing birthers, Tenthers, and town hall screamers?"
Once you've "named" them sneeringly enough, just repeat the label until it's evident that they're beneath consideration. Never mind reporting on their issues, arguments or positions at all. They've been labeled. . .

To the above trio, of course, add the scornfully applied "tea-baggers." This term, btw, is gay slang for a sexual act. Notice how the mainstream media reserves the right to disparage gays when useful (it's clear by the application to the tea-party groups that they think it has derogatory meaning already), while typically chest-thumping in support the rest of the time? It's inconsistent and illogical.

There's a century-old phrase for a world where words are infinitely mailable--Through the Looking Glass:
'I don't know what you mean by "glory",' Alice said.

Humpty Dumpty smiled contemptuously. 'Of course you don't -- till I tell you. I meant "there's a nice knock-down argument for you!"'

'But "glory" doesn't mean "a nice knock-down argument",' Alice objected.

'When I use a word,' Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, 'it means just what I choose it to mean -- neither more nor less.'

'The question is,' said Alice, 'whether you can make words mean so many different things.'

'The question is,' said Humpty Dumpty, 'which is to be master -- that's all.'
Today's Left Media is the master--apply a previously unrelated term to some conservatives, say it with a sneer, and repeat as necessary until listeners become biased. Then, apply the label to the larger group and get guilt-by-association. Presto-chango: no actual debate necessary! So a single sentence writes off around 40% of the population as unreasonable and unworthy of serious consideration. Quick and convenient: nice work if you can get it.

Given the Democrats' declining fortunes, other opposition organizations surely will arise. And the press will want to apply a similar punishment. To that end, I offer a list of potential derogatory terms for the next targets of this tactic:


I'm not even sure what some of the names might mean. But they sure sound like "a nice knock-down argument." And there's enough of them to last through the first (and, hopefully, only) Obama administration.


Geoffrey Britain said...

To label something is to name it.

To name it is to define it,

To define it is to say what it is and what it is not.

Once that is accomplished all else is nuance.

Assistant Village Idiot said...

Naming creates a framework which constrains what may bhe said and thought.

You haven't got the touch on the naming, OBH. Conservatives tend to be too aware of denotative meanings to wring the full connotations of sounds.

OBloodyHell said...

AVI, you take my over-the-top, tongue-in-cheek name suggestions too seriously. In at least some cases I was deliberately being silly.


Hey, another name for the list thanks to Word Verification:




Assistant Village Idiot said...

How many decades have we had discussions and news stories that begin "Have centrist/moderates been frightened away from the Republican Party by (fill in the blank)?"

Talking heads stroke chins. Deliver pronouncements on the subject. No one cries foul.

OBloodyHell said...

> No one cries foul.

Oh, we cry foul. All the time.

The specially Helen Keller-trained media flacks respond as if they were carefully trained for the task...