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Declare War on the War Metaphor

 
 
Reply Mon 9 Apr, 2012 07:08 am
Rep. Emanual Cleaver the chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus and a pastor of the United Methodist Church, rightfully, condemned the use of over overheated rhetoric in the political sphere, and, refreshingly, included Democrats in his chastisement.



Note the headline of this article. It isn't news that a Democrat might condemn Republican use of the war metaphor, but it is noteworthy when one condemns his own for that use. (The same dynamic would apply if the politician were a Republican).

Not surprisingly, this has led Rep Cleaver to come under attack from some on the Left:

http://my.firedoglake.com/scarecrow/2012/04/08/good-news-for-women-dem-leader-cleaver-says-theres-no-gop-war-on-you/

The blogger's argument is, essentially, that Republican uses of the metaphor as respects "Obama's War on Religion" is false and divisive, Democrats' use, on the other hand, as in "War on Women" is entirely legitimate...because it's true.

Whether or not there is agreement that political rhetoric needs to cool down, it would be great if everyone agreed to discard the use of the War metaphor, if for no other reason then it is so overused it's nauseating.

Even when it's used in the context of a proposed or perceived united effort: The War on Drugs, Poverty, Cancer et al, it's ridiculous in that it invariably describes Wars that are never won.

With the number of actual wars we've engaged in that were or will not ever be won, you'd think politicians would realize the metaphor is hardly the winner they believe it to be.
 
JPB
 
  1  
Reply Mon 9 Apr, 2012 07:10 am
I agree on all counts.
0 Replies
 
ehBeth
 
  2  
Reply Mon 9 Apr, 2012 07:18 am
I'm curious what language he's recommending (can't see the clip here, so don't know if it is in there) to replace "war on".

Since the whole "war on" thing is a bit worn out, it seems that almost any other language used would end up sounding stronger and more aggressive.

I guess I'm somewhat more interested in the language side than the political.

At the federal government level in Canada, several of the parties made a pact to be more courteous (at least inside the House of Commons). It definitely hasn't decreased use of attack ads.
0 Replies
 
fresco
 
  1  
Reply Mon 9 Apr, 2012 07:19 am
@Finn dAbuzz,
Smile
Somebody has obviously not read Lakoff's "Metaphor Theory".

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conceptual_metaphor
0 Replies
 
JTT
 
  1  
Reply Mon 9 Apr, 2012 12:21 pm
@Finn dAbuzz,
Quote:
Whether or not there is agreement that political rhetoric needs to cool down, it would be great if everyone agreed to discard the use of the War metaphor, if for no other reason then it is so overused it's nauseating.


It's become that way, Finn, because of the US's use of 'war' to describe their myriad illegal invasions of other countries. But you already know that.
FreeDuck
 
  2  
Reply Mon 9 Apr, 2012 12:47 pm
@JTT,
JTT wrote:

Quote:
Whether or not there is agreement that political rhetoric needs to cool down, it would be great if everyone agreed to discard the use of the War metaphor, if for no other reason then it is so overused it's nauseating.


It's become that way, Finn, because of the US's use of 'war' to describe their myriad illegal invasions of other countries. But you already know that.


Well, not just that. War on Poverty, War on Drugs, War on Terror, etc... I agree with Finn in this instance but I do think it's kind of interesting. When the war term has been used as in my examples, it's usually in order to get the public behind it. We love us some war. It's not until someone is accused of waging one that they would rather not claim or that is not really true -- War on Christmas, War on Women, War on Religion -- that it becomes time to retire it. Still, if it gets retired that will make me happy.

I'm not a big fan of overblown rhetoric because it's too easy to reject. Republicans should have to answer for their specific actions -- introducing and voting for bills that roll back reproductive rights and remove access to health care for women. And though it may not be a war, it is certainly an organized, coordinated, and concerted effort to make drastic changes country wide which will affect a very large number of women and families for no legitimate government purpose. And that should be reported on and examined. If we need to put a handy name on it, we can probably find one that doesn't contain the word "war".
maxdancona
 
  2  
Reply Mon 9 Apr, 2012 12:47 pm
@Finn dAbuzz,
Let's make a list.

The Republicans/Conservatives refer to
The war on Christmas
The war on family values.
The war on drugs.
The "invasion" of Mexican immigrants.

The Democrats/Liberals refer to
The war on women
And the now defunct war on poverty.

By my count the Republicans are ahead, but my list is obviously incomplete.

Help add to the list.
maxdancona
 
  2  
Reply Mon 9 Apr, 2012 12:49 pm
@maxdancona,
oh, of course... I forgot the War on Terror(tm) which adds to the Republican side.
0 Replies
 
maxdancona
 
  1  
Reply Mon 9 Apr, 2012 12:53 pm
@Finn dAbuzz,
For the record, I don't have any problem with the metaphor as a straightforward way to advance a political argument. The problem is that the right has used it so much to a sometimes ridiculous extent (i.e. the War on Christmas nonsense) that it has lost much of its punch.

I think it interesting that labeling the current assault on woman's rights as a "war on women" turns out to rather powerful. I think that is partly because the Democrats haven't overused the metaphor.

And partly because there is truth behind this message.
maxdancona
 
  1  
Reply Mon 9 Apr, 2012 01:08 pm
On the Democratic column... Republicans are accused of waging a "War on Science".
0 Replies
 
Finn dAbuzz
 
  1  
Reply Mon 9 Apr, 2012 01:52 pm
@maxdancona,
Spoken like a true leftie.
Joe Nation
 
  4  
Reply Mon 9 Apr, 2012 02:01 pm
I recommend that we start using "The GOP's Smacking Around of Women"

It fits their attitude and it's how they would describe it if the question ever arose concerning their behavior towards an estranged spouse.

Joe("I never really hit her, your Honor")Nation
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Mon 9 Apr, 2012 02:04 pm
Partisan polemic ? ! ? ! ?

What a surprise ! ! !
0 Replies
 
JTT
 
  1  
Reply Mon 9 Apr, 2012 02:15 pm
@FreeDuck,
Quote:
We love us some war.


True dat, FreeDuck. And if those "wars" get retired, that will make a whole lot of people in a whole lot of countries a whole lot of relieved and happy.

I agree, at least partially, with Finn too. But I wonder how he can get his panties in a bunch over such a tiny issue but he's not the least bit concerned about the millions dead, the tens of millions whose lives have been destroyed, the countries ruined just to better position US business interests.

Perhaps the part that bothers Finn the most is that the gigantic, sordid propaganda efforts used to launch the illegal invasions of other countries tend to besmirch the good uses like the War against Women being conducted by the Repubs/conservatives.





Foofie
 
  1  
Reply Mon 9 Apr, 2012 06:16 pm
In my opinion, the war metaphor might be apropos for "the war on right to life," since every abortion could be metaphorically seen as "take no prisoners."
0 Replies
 
Foofie
 
  1  
Reply Mon 9 Apr, 2012 06:19 pm
@JTT,
JTT wrote:

Quote:
We love us some war.


True dat, FreeDuck. And if those "wars" get retired, that will make a whole lot of people in a whole lot of countries a whole lot of relieved and happy.

I agree, at least partially, with Finn too. But I wonder how he can get his panties in a bunch over such a tiny issue but he's not the least bit concerned about the millions dead, the tens of millions whose lives have been destroyed, the countries ruined just to better position US business interests.

Perhaps the part that bothers Finn the most is that the gigantic, sordid propaganda efforts used to launch the illegal invasions of other countries tend to besmirch the good uses like the War against Women being conducted by the Repubs/conservatives.




Did you compare the number of annual abortions worldwide to the number that die in wars annually worldwide?

You seem to focus on those that die, but not on those that could have lived, if there were no abortions. Well, according to those that do not want war, many could have lived if there were no wars. Do you see the algebraic equality, with an equal sign?
maxdancona
 
  1  
Reply Mon 9 Apr, 2012 06:19 pm
@Finn dAbuzz,
Thank you Finn (as long as there is no "War on Lefties").
0 Replies
 
JTT
 
  1  
Reply Mon 9 Apr, 2012 07:33 pm
@Foofie,
Quote:
Did you compare the number of annual abortions worldwide to the number that


say die in traffic accidents. No, Foofie, I haven't made that comparison. Nor have I made the comparison to the number killed by various gangsters around the world.

Why? Because they have nothing to do with each other. The war crimes/the terrorism of the United States has to do with one thing - the war crimes/the terrorism of the United States.

Instead of making excuses for these ongoing war crimes, this ongoing terrorism, you might want to consider speaking out against it, instead of funding it and supporting it.
Foofie
 
  1  
Reply Mon 9 Apr, 2012 07:55 pm
@JTT,
JTT wrote:

Quote:
Did you compare the number of annual abortions worldwide to the number that


say die in traffic accidents. No, Foofie, I haven't made that comparison. Nor have I made the comparison to the number killed by various gangsters around the world.

Why? Because they have nothing to do with each other. The war crimes/the terrorism of the United States has to do with one thing - the war crimes/the terrorism of the United States.

Instead of making excuses for these ongoing war crimes, this ongoing terrorism, you might want to consider speaking out against it, instead of funding it and supporting it.


I don't have to speak out against anything. I am not inclined to lead the world in any direction. If I would take up any cause it might be that more people should read for enjoyment, rather than do other activities that are sort of wasteful, time wise, in my opinion.

Did you notice that this thread was about the metaphor, "war on women"? Perhaps, you are inadvertently leading this thread off-topic?
roger
 
  1  
Reply Mon 9 Apr, 2012 07:58 pm
@Foofie,
Inadvertently? I rather doubt that.
0 Replies
 
 

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