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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
  • Amy Warren, Elizabeth Klobnachar?

    Monday, February 11th, 2019

    [ by Charles Cameron — surrealism in electoral candidates’ declarations ]
    .

    I’m glad I was up and alert at 4.30 am Pacific time today, and could catch these two screen-grabs of candidates for the Presidency in 2020 — a wonderful DoubleQuote in chyron confusion:

    **

    Who’s this?

    Okay, then who’s this?

    **

    Both screen-grabs are from Morning Joe on MSNBC.

    It may be hard for the electorate to tell some of the 2020 candidates apart.

    Today, the anti-Magritte

    Tuesday, January 29th, 2019

    [ by Charles Cameron — curious “sign” sign seen outside today’s Roger Stone hearing ]
    .

    Someone has a sense of humor? of art?

    The statement “This is a Sign” isn’t even paradoxical, unless you remember Magritte‘s un-pipe — but it’s certainly an obvious statement of truth, albeit self-referential, ouroboric.

    In my view, witty, to say the least..

    Two variants on a too obvious DoubleQuote

    Tuesday, January 29th, 2019

    [ by Charles Cameron — Richard Nixon, Roger Stone, defeat signaling itself as victory — and then there’s Sir Winston Churchill ]
    .

    Back then or recently, we’ve all seen the victory sign that President Nixon gave before climbing into the presidential helicopter for his final departure from the White House and the presidency:

    By now, we’ve all been shown Roger Stone‘s back, with Nixon‘s portrait tattooed on it, and know that Nixon was Stone’s hero, and that Stone played what Snopes calls a “consequential role” — though not enough to qualify him as an “advisor” — in Nixon’s re-election campaign, 1972.

    And we’ve seen Roger Stone, just the other day, emerging from court and giving an exultant copy of that Nixon victory sign. It would be all too easy to juxtapose the two, and claim a DoubleQuote — while it also seems just a little strange not to note it..

    Maybe this version of Stone‘s salute — surrounded and indeed haloed by Nixon memorabilia — is sufficiently different to cause some measure of surprise or delight.

    I can’t hope for an in-drawn breath on this one — but a quiet chuckle from some of you, perhaps?

    Or..

    **

    Or how about the great original, Winston Churchill?

    Howzzat for a DoubleQuote with Richard Nixon. Nixon’s sign is victory in defeat — Churchill’s is victory en route to Victory!

    Samson’s dreads and the dread Delilah

    Tuesday, December 25th, 2018

    [ by Charles Cameron — or the curious relevance of the tanakh or old testament today ]
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    I’m half-serious, and that’s an approximation, but not an understatement:

    Samson , upper panel above, was a rough-hewn fellow — my own name, Charles Cameron, means Rough-fellow Broken-nose, so I’m not putting him down — who slew a lion and returned later to take honey from the bees that had gathered in the carcass. He was hirsute to say the least, but the lovely Delilah got a fellow to snip his locks and his masculine rough-hewn ferocity fell away.. warrior no more.

    Same thing, approximately, with Andrew Johnson, lower panel, a dreaded — in both senses — high school wrestler from New Jersey. I don’t think the image in the lower panel is entirely fair to the young woman doing the snipping, because she probably wasn’t the one giving the order — but then Delilah in the upper panel gave the order, but wasn’t the one with the razor — he would come later once Samson has fallen further for her charms and wiles. Which were considerable.

    **

    Sources:

  • Wikipedia, Samson,
  • Guardian, US high school wrestler made to cut dreadlocks or face forfeit
  • **

    That he told her all his heart, and said unto her, There hath not come a razor upon mine head; for I have been a Nazarite unto God from my mother’s womb: if I be shaven, then my strength will go from me, and I shall become weak, and be like any other man. And when Delilah saw that he had told her all his heart, she sent and called for the lords of the Philistines, saying, Come up this once, for he hath shewed me all his heart. Then the lords of the Philistines came up unto her, and brought money in their hand. And she made him sleep upon her knees; and she called for a man, and she caused him to shave off the seven locks of his head; and she began to afflict him, and his strength went from him.

    Judges 16, King James Version

    **

    Just in jest, more or less. More more than less, though…

    It does help to know the myths and scriptures of divers cultures, IMO..


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