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Old 31 May 2018, 09:09 AM
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Richard W Richard W is offline
Join Date: 19 February 2000
Location: High Wycombe, UK
Posts: 26,361

I'm reading a book that's relevant at the moment too - it's called Enough Said: What's gone wrong with the language of politics? by Mark Thompson (former director general of the BBC and current CEO of the New York Times Co.)

I've not had time to read the whole thread and offer any thoughts yet though...

(eta) One related thought I've had for a while, which isn't to do with the book, is related to those "XXXX Bingo" games that go around ("Sexist Bingo" or "Gun Control Bingo" or "Alt-Right Bingo" or whatever) where you're meant to cross off all the stereotypical phrases that the "other side" might use, and declare yourself to have won (the argument?) when you've got them all.

Apart from being pretty unhelpful in general, one set of phrases that tends to crop up on those a lot - especially "Alt-Right" ones, maybe - includes things like "Logically..." or "Speaking rationally...". These are presented as annoying things that people say which are a cue to ignore them. I find that completely unhelpful; apart from the dismissive attitude, I'm absolutely not prepared to concede that "our side" (meaning the lefty one, or "my side"!) has no rational or logical arguments in its favour and has conceded that style of argument entirely to the "other side". That's just wrong, and completely counterproductive. No doubt some would argue that it's not meant to be taken like that, and that they're just spotting these phrases as fun shorthand, or something - but it's a clear implication of the meme. It also suggests that the people expressing it don't actually understand - or can't be bothered to engage with - any arguments, which is also unhelpful.

There is actually something in the book that touches on this, and it's to do with the conflict between "rhetorical rationalism" and "authenticism", but it's more complicated than just applying the labels, and as I said I've not thought it through yet.

Last edited by Richard W; 31 May 2018 at 09:20 AM.
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