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To weaponize metaphors.. thoughts as clothes, clothes as thoughts

Monday, May 13th, 2019

[ by Charles Cameron — if i may be a bit presumptuous, language is a topic for the wise — in this case, how language can be used as a knife ]
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I was reading a Vice News piece, Leaked chats show white nationalist group’s plot to infiltrate Turning Point, and was struck by the phrase “weaponize metaphors” in the paragraph:

Part of Identity Evropa’s strategy now relies on its ability to weaponize metaphors to make their white nationalism seem more acceptable, like referring to “European heritage” — which white nationalist often use as a euphemism to mean “white” — or seizing on mainstream conservative issues like immigration.

I frankly don’t see”metaphor” and “euphemism” as equivalents, but at least we’re looking at the language used to convey a political stance, albeit an abhorrent one.

**

Semioticians won’t be surprised to see that clothes can also be a mode of signalling — of conveying meaning — every bit as much as verbal language. In fact, to paraphrase my title, we can see here that thoughts can be viewed as clothes, clothes as thoughts.. Indeed, in the paragraph immediately before the one I just quoted, we read:

According to the leaked Slack chats, about 200 members were expected to attend a secret Identity Evropa conference in Kentucky last weekend. Consistent with their brand overall, the event had a fairly strict dress code: Attendees were urged to wear “dress slacks or chinos” — no jeans. Some attendees fretted about whether they had enough time to get their suits dry-cleaned.

Clothes as thoughts, thoughts as clothes..

**

Speaking of semioticians — Charles Sanders Peirce, the father of semiotics, coined the phrase “the play of musement” which I’ve been toying with recently. Here’s a play, a musement of my own:

  • There’s the music of the spheres, around and within us.

  • Then there’s the boundary layer, the troposphere, the ozone layer, the stratosphere, the mesosphere, the thermosphere, the exosphere and so forth, space, deep space, and deep deep space —

  • or if you’ll believe the brilliant jazz comedian Lord Buckley riffing on Albert Einstein — we should also add “the zonesphere, and the vautisphere, and the routesphere, and the hippisphere, and the flippisphere, and the zippisphere, and the gonesphere, and the way-gonesphere” — hey, the “way-gonesphere” has a distinctly Prajnaparamita feel to it, no? —

  • or better yet, there’s the atmosphere, which includes equally both the sphere of weather out the window and the realm of emotional tensions within a room, group or event..

  • and what Dylan Thomas calls “the weather of the heart”..
  • **

    But really, listen to the whole Hip Einie thing, Buckley gets into the 1905 Annalen der Physik and more:

    And consider the profound beauties of the Heart Sutra with its mantra, and Dylan Thomas marvelous poem:

  • Prajñaparamita, Gone, gone, gone beyond, gone utterly beyond, Enlightenment hail!
  • Dylan Thomas, A Process In The Weather Of The Heart
  • Next, 25

    Wednesday, March 20th, 2019

    [ by Charles Cameron — a quarter century of chyron and metaphor posts — Booker, 81 at Stanford, is now a legit sports metaphor for politics — finishing up with Beto and the Cult of the Dead Cow !! ]
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    Ari Melber, the Beat 3/18/2019:

    My notes on what happened which day are seriously confused at this point. I hope I can go back and rescue a chyron “Trumped” from the very start of this show, ami I right?

    Quotes:

    he sits at the center of a crime syndicate ..
    John Flannery: to pin the tail on the donkey, the [ .. ] in the West Wing ..

    Hardball 3/18/2019:

    Cory Booker:

    just another example of his moral vandalism ..

    Ron Reagan:

    What is it about John McCan that sets him off? John McCain was everything Donald Trump isn’t. John McCain wasa man ofn integrity and a man of great courage.

    Meghan McCain:

    My father waas his kryptonite in life, and is his kryptonite in death..

    We now need, more than ever after this President, more than ever we need a revival of grace in our country, a revival of civic grace in our civic spaces..

    I suppose this image is now a sports metaphor for politics

    I got into Stanford because of a 4.0, 1600 — 4.0 yards per carry, 1,600 receiving yards..

    at 27, not on my download to verify: I see this as whiffle-ball ..
    at 38/9, sonny liston vs muhammad ali
    40, we want to see some white smoke, some hope
    40, the goose-eggs add up
    59 steve king?

    **

    Uncertain sources &c:

    The house is just going to be a bear-pit ..
    kasie:it’s a home game for him, not an away game
    does he have what it takes to go the distance ..
    i wasn’t born to run, but i am running ..
    we are not trying to hide the ball here at all ..

    **

    Three that I may have posted before, forgive me:

    **

    And saving the best [??!!] for last:

    As “PsychedelicWarlord,” O’Rourke spent most of his time posting thought-provoking essays, song lyrics from punk albums, and the occasional poem. At one point, he and another member interviewed a neo-Nazi. And in one post, he gave “The True Story of Cult of the Dead Cow,” in which he claimed authorship of the name..

    Header for a Beto poem:

    ____________________________________

    Lethal Mass Partisanship, and more

    Monday, March 18th, 2019

    [ by Charles Cameron — from propensity to act, and from individual act to outbreak ]
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    The NYT the other day had a stunning, terrifying and or terrific piece by Thomas B. Edsall titled No Hate Left Behind. That’s almost pure slick-bait. The sub-title gives us the sense that we’re talking now and soon, that the article is both a current assessment and a warning: Lethal partisanship is taking us into dangerous territory.>

    This article will likely interest Zenpundit readers.

    **

    Let me offer a quick personal side-note before addressing the substantive issues Edsall‘s piece raises.

    Edsall quotes Steven Pinker as saying:

    Certainly there is a tribal flavor to political polarization. Men’s testosterone rises or falls on election night, depending on whether their side wins, just as it does on Super Bowl Sunday.

    American politics, in other words, is like American football — like enough, IMO, to richly justify the use of football metaphors to describe political outcomes — and vice versa. I’ll return to this theme in the tail-end of this post.

    **

    Okay, No Hate Left Behind.

    Edsall‘s article is a grim one — grim not because the writer is grim by nature, although that may or may not be the case, I’m no psychiatrist — but because it contains statistical evidence, measurable scientific evidence, of our propensity towards a violent response to the 2020 elections — a propensity which is:

  • stronger in well informed voters than in those less so
  • currently stronger in the Democratic electorate than the Republican
  • and which on election night will be

  • stronger in the supporters of the victorious candidate than those of the other party
  • Oy.

    **

    Edsall‘s piece in turn draws on the paper Lethal Mass Partisanship: Prevalence, Correlates, & Electoral Contingencies by professors Nathan P. Kalmoe and Lilliana Mason.

    Their abstract notes that historical accounts of partisanship “recognize its contentiousness and its inherent, latent threat of violence,” but that “social scientific conceptions of partisan identity developed in quiescent times” and “have largely missed that dangerous dimension” in their researches. Nathan P. Kalmoe and Lilliana Mason aim to “rebalance” that tendency. Their findings can be found in detail and with appropriate nuance in the body of their paper, but it is their Conclusions that I will note here>

    **

    The authors open their conclusions with a deft touch of historical background:

    Two and a half centuries ago, American founders worried about the lethal consequences of partisanship and hoped to avoid the pernicious development of parties. After ultimately founding parties themselves, their worst fears were realized in the extraordinary partisan violence of the American Civil War and the lesser violence before and after, carrying body counts in the hundreds rather than the rebellion’s hundred-thousands.

    They continue by describing how their own work explores the propensity for political violence in our own times::

    We conceptualized and measured three aspects of lethal partisanship: 1) partisan moral disengagement that rationalizes harm against opponents, 2) partisan schadenfreude in response to deaths and injuries of political opponents, and 3) explicit support for partisan violence.

    Them’s fighting measures to put to scientific test.

    **

    Selected quotes:

    The challenge for democracy, as always, continues to be how to procure the political goods that parties provide while staving off partisanship’s most sanguinary pitfalls — the ones identified by Madison but seemingly forgotten in modern behavioral scholarship.

    Madison seems to be the name that keeps popping up as the father of essential American wisdom..

    Here are three paragraphs worth considering, each in turn bringing us closer to en understanding of how the propensity to tolerate violence “comes to the boil” in action, either on the individual scale — incidents of mass shooting — or in an uprising somewhere between civil unrest and war:

    In two nationally representative surveys, we found that large portions of partisans embrace partisan moral disengagement (40-60%) but only small minorities report feeling partisan schadenfreude or endorse partisan violence (5-15%). Even so, their views represent a level of extreme hostility among millions of American partisans today that has not been documented in modern American politics.

    Ultimately, these results find a minority of partisans view violence as acceptable acts against their political opponents. Many times more embrace partisan moral disengagement, which makes the turn to violence easier if they have not made it already. As more Americans embrace strong partisanship, the prevalence of lethal partisanship is likely to grow

    Finally, experimental evidence showed that inducing expectations of electoral victory led strong partisans to endorse violence against their partisan opponents more than expectations of electoral loss.

    **

    Let’s end on a lighter note.

    I said above that American politics is sufficiently like American football to justify metaphorical use of one to describe the other — and just as the Republican and Democratic parties holds primaries and National Conventions to determine each party’s candidate in the Presidential election, so the respective American and National Football Conferences hold games culminating in championships to determine each conference’s contenders in the Super Bowl.

    Perhaps, indeed, the President-elect should face off against the Super Bowl MVP in a grand culminating match to establish the testosteronic Super-Person. Heaven alone knows where such a match would be held, but the opportunity to discover whether football is a more passionate and partisan sport than politics should not be missed..

    2019: Super Bowl MVP Julian Edelman vs sitting President Donald Trump?

    It’s snowing metaphoric chyrons, ignore unless interested 4

    Saturday, February 16th, 2019

    [ by Charles Cameron — manufactured, seized, slammed, gagged, shot down, bled, died — more marvelous & terrible metaphors &c ]
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    Here we go again..

    **

    Melber, The Beat:

    0 This is going to be a metaphysical, legal, rhetorical debate we’re going to be having for a while..
    7 You have the hammer being dropped on Paul Manafort ..
    11 You are saying we can do the over under with anyone who wants to play ..
    13 Look, I think the judge’s instruction has shown she is quite serious about not turning her court into a circus.
    You can’t go onto the steps of the courthouse, where witnbesses might be coming in, or prospective jurors, and turn it into a circus by holding big press conferences ..
    And we’re not going to turn it into some kind of reality show set ..
    19 More people in the mosaic are coming together
    32 Ralph Peters: So many people have died and bled for that Constitution, the least the Republicans can do in the Senate would be to risk a Primary challenge. It’s not exactly Omaha Beach..
    Ari: How can I say it fairly? Making the case against this being an emergency at his announcement of the emergency .. [paradox, ourob]
    41-2 Malcolm Nance: I think he {Sen Menendez] was signaling what people have been asking for about three years now. Listen, you know, that it’s finally filtered its way up to the halls of Congress, ton where questions like this, which we have been talking about every night for two and a half years non-stop, to where it can be put into the Congressional Record the query, What does a foreign power have over our President? now will lead out into the investigations which must happen. Clearly Donald Trump is in debt to Russia for something.
    Well, you mentioned the way information and politics, and I’m sure to some degree in the work you focus on, Where do people’s ideas about things come from..
    This is very serious pool ..

    Hardball:

    00-1 Trump: Everyone knows that walls work .. Everyone knows — that, Nancy knows it, Chuck knows it — it’s all a big lie, it’s a con game — if we have a wall we won’t need the military, because we’d have a wall ..
    Noah Rothman: The Maadisonian scheme is falling apart. No longer is Congress a jealous guardian of its own authority ..
    I don’t want a ‘two can play at this’ game type of political maneuvering that’s happening right now ..
    The wall is a McGuffin ..
    Power is a one-way ratchet ..
    Ann Coulter re AOC: She’s off the reservation, but everyone understands that ..
    Jeremy Bash: That meeting was a Russian government delegation meeting with the high command of the Trump campaign to talk about sanctions relief ..
    Their histories {Stone, Manafort] sort of follow around each other.. [dbl helix?]

    All In, Chris Hyes:
    California is prepared to call this what it is, which is Theater of the Absurd. California is prepared to continue to remind the American people this is a manufactured crisis ..
    We don’t want to participate in this show any more ..
    We don’t want to play. We don’t want to be part of this. We don’t want to be part of this theater. We don’t want to be part of this political misdirection ..
    maxine waters: He’s up against the wall ..
    coulter: forget the fact that he’s digging his own grave ..

    **

    Oddments:

    Tecovas western boots ad: Value is one of our values .. [ourob]

    It’s snowing metaphoric chyrons, ignore unless interested

    Wednesday, February 13th, 2019

    [ by Charles Cameron — thug, pit bull, face-off, head-to-head, hardball, hard-charging, trolling, dueling, jabbing, ripping, hammering, gutting, hit job.. ]
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    **

    Those are the screen-grabs — here are some of my fallible transcriptions of spoken snippets with metaphoric or other interest:

    From the Whitaker hearinn:

    Congressman, I’m not a puppet to repeat what you’re saying ..

    2/11/2019, Chris Matthews, Hardball:

    00 We’ve got an explosive show for you tonight ..
    We’re also following the face-off in El Paso, TX, where President Trump and Bedo O’Rourke are holding dueling real-time rallies over the border wall .. ***
    11 Mimi Rocah, More, more dominoes, more chips to fall ..
    39 This is getting to be quite a cage match between a lot of people and his guy, Trump ..
    53 Klobachar: You have to pick your battles with him ..

    **

    The dismissive / offensive Trump tweet reference to the Trail of Tears:

    **

    2/11/2019, Ari Melber, The Beat:

    Building a case like this .. it’;s sort of like Impressionism.

    When you get up close, not sure what you’re seeing, when you step back, aha!

    It also raises the question of whether Rudy Giuliani’s style is more Cubist ..

    Or Jackson Pollock, just throwing stuff at the wall ..

    It’s surreal, it’s surreal. And by the wayu that’s the painting school, I think, Giuliani is in. It’s surrealism, surrealism, pure Dali ..

    And so you say, melting clocks all around — that makes good sense to me ..

    Great conversation!

    Donald Trump ploughing all kinds of time watching television and tweeting at critics, who say he spends too much time watching television and tweetierng at critics. —
    Andrew Weissmann is a very, very powerful weapon in the government’s arsenal ..
    Trump and Beto O’Rourke holding dueling rallies near the border ..

    Hallie Jackson 2/12/2019

    27 We never thought we we were going to find a contract between Trump and Vlad saying, Hey, let’s collude ..
    President Trump and Beto O’Rourke do their owb kind of Texas Two-step there, split-screen style, in El Paso, Texas .. *****

    Nicolle to Brennan:I feel like you just exploded what I call a truth bomb ..

    **

    I’m closing this post here and taking the remainder of my chyrons &c into a new post, making this look very much like the beginning of a series. We’ll continue with posts on other topics from strategy to imagination, and those not interested in my collection of metaphors, chyrons and headlines can safely ignore this series.


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