Occasional musings, Geistesblitze, photos, drawings etc. by a "resident alien", who has landed on American soil from a far-away planet called "Germany".
My thoughts today center on Rachel Maddow's segment exposing the latest GOP scam cloaked as "Motivational Seminars"...Relating to that persistent strain in US pseudo-psychology, I'd mention Barbara Ehrenreich who was on BookTV today. Author of the book Bright-Sided, she speaks of G W Bush as a smiley Cheerleader, (which he was in school) -- not a Leader. She notes delusional aspects in relentlessly promoting "positive thinking", or rah-rah magical thinking, as opposed to facing reality. "We need to see clearly what is dragging people down, not ignore their concerns -- or just coerce them into covering up." People at Lehmann Bros. who warned about the burgeoning housing bubble were fired, for example! She goes farther, into the harmful results of American "triumphalism" which is gaining some traction abroad as well.Another interesting author who just appeared on BookTV is Ellen Ruppel who wrote Cheap, in which she explores many reasons why we constantly grab at "deals" that are actually no bargain at all, the language gimmicks used by successful promoters and our reactions to the thrill of the great "find". Who hasn't been there?
Omission above -- the second author is Ellen Ruppel Shell... I mislaid her last name!
Thank you for raising the topic. I think it is enormously important to understand how language can be used to deceive. Aside from "Big Brother watching", perhaps the best known part of Orwell's 1984, even for people who have never read it, is his description of how language can be turned into an instrument of pure propaganda, become "Orwellian", where words no longer mean what they are supposed to mean. I am reminded of this a lot these days when I hear politicians from the right talk.They have certainly mastered over the last 20 years the art of using carefully chosen labels to appeal to emotions--a "death tax" sounds so much more ominous than an "inheritance tax", and "socialist" can apparently be slapped on anything one doesn't agree with--it has no longer any specific meaning in this usage.The Democrats have not caught on yet. To me, the problem with the planned "health care reform" started with this very name. "Health insurance reform" would have been both more accurate and less threatening, while putting the focus exactly where it belongs.I'll come back to this...
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