In my spare time, I follow political discussions as best I can, primarily because politics influence all of us in ways both large and small, including the taxes we pay and the way our collective dollars are spent. The past several years have provided a wonderful opportunity for noticing how linguistic framing influences the way we think about the decisions politicians are making about how our money is to be spent. The best way to know what’s really going on in politics is by understanding the rhetorical concept of framing.
The word frame applies to discourse in basically the . . . → Read More: Language Matters
Perception is a strange thing. We can’t always see what is “right before our eyes,” and because perception is fraught with deletion, distortion, and unwarranted generalization, what we “see” may not be what is actually “there.” Self-perception may be among the most distorted of our perceptions. The classic question, “Does this dress make me look fat,” is a variation of the question asked by the Queen in Snow White: “Mirror, mirror on the wall / Who in the land is fairest of all?” The Queen doesn’t like it when the mirror proclaims Snow White the fairest in the land. The . . . → Read More: Does This Mirror Make Me Look Fat?
CBS News recently ran a segment about the TV show “All in the Family,” which was a hit back in the 1970s. The theme of the segment was about the way the show represented political discourse at the time. Archie (played by Caroll O’Conner), who was an archconservative, and “Meathead” (played by Rob Reiner), an ultra-liberal. I had watched the show with regularity when it was popular, and the aspect of the CBS segment that came as a huge surprise to me was how slender Archie Bunker looked. Back in the 70s, I had thought of him as fat.
. . . → Read More: Weighty Issues