Notes on the Atrocities
Like a 100-watt radio station, broadcasting to the dozens...

Tuesday, July 01, 2003  

And then there's this wonderful analysis, from another reader:

George W. Bush is generally regarded as a mangler of the English language. What is overlooked is his mastery of emotional language--especially negatively charged emotional language--as a political tool. Take a closer look at his speeches and public utterances, and his political success turns out to be no surprise. It is the predictable result of the intentional use of language to dominate others.

The author, Renana Brooks, is a psychologist who works for the Sommet Institute for the Study of Power and Persuasion "and is completing a book on the virtue myth and the conservative culture of domination." I should immediately refer you to the article, which is better read as a whole than excerpted, but I can't resist this paragraph:

Bush's political opponents are caught in a fantasy that they can win against him simply by proving the superiority of their ideas. However, people do not support Bush for the power of his ideas, but out of the despair and desperation in their hearts. Whenever people are in the grip of a desperate dependency, they won't respond to rational criticisms of the people they are dependent on. They will respond to plausible and forceful statements and alternatives that put the American electorate back in touch with their core optimism. Bush's opponents must combat his dark imagery with hope and restore American vigor and optimism in the coming years. They should heed the example of Reagan, who used optimism against Carter and the "national malaise"; Franklin Roosevelt, who used it against Hoover and the pessimism induced by the Depression ("the only thing we have to fear is fear itself"); and Clinton (the "Man from Hope"), who used positive language against the senior Bush's lack of vision. This is the linguistic prescription for those who wish to retire Bush in 2004.

This, of course, is a vanity citation, allowing me to mention that I had similar analysis in my Three-Point Plan. But then, blogs are fueled by vanity, so what can you expect? (Do read the article; it's fresh analysis you won't have encountered.)

posted by Jeff | 3:27 PM |
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