Are you a victim of push-button phrases?
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28-08-2011, 10:26 AM
RE: Are you a victim of push-button phrases?
It makes my skin crawl when people use knee jerk reactions like 'LIBERAL!' or 'UNAMERICAN!' 'FEMINIST!'

The use of labels is a strong indicator of a weak argument... at that point I'm pretty much thinking the person has nothing else to say, and this is grasping at straws.

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28-08-2011, 11:31 AM
RE: Are you a victim of push-button phrases?
Mine too, I always feel a bond with you Monkey =p though it's hard for me to picture you not looking like Farnsworth =p You fit the character so well. The worst part about people who scream labels is that sometimes they actually do have good statements but it's lost by their demanding of the labels. I'm into linguistics and agree that language matters, but when you use loaded words you have to remember that they're loaded. When someone says feminist/feminism it's now akin to chauvinist and pig. People are going to make an assumption on labeled groups so just put your idea out there without really demanding it be part of some group. Especially since most ideas are meant to be shared by all people not just a niche group.

I'm not a non believer, I believe in the possibility of anything. I just don't let the actuality of something be determined by a 3rd party.
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29-08-2011, 11:15 AM
 
RE: Are you a victim of push-button phrases?
Here are a few more of my favourites (I just love to hate them):

ground zero
changed forever
moral credibility
sanctity of life
enhanced interrogation
support the troops
free world
Russian Bear
American Eagle
godless communists
american values
invisible hand of the marketplace
welfare mom
free enterprise
hearts and minds
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13-09-2011, 06:44 AM
RE: Are you a victim of push-button phrases?
I've had this exact discussion with many of my friends when we've noticed how politicians and just people in general are trying to change the meaning of words to discredit their opponents and their ideas.

In Sweden there's a few of the same words that you have used here like socialist, communist and feminist that seem to mean "anything that is to the left of my views and so bad that you shouldn't even try to argue against my point".
I've been dragged into several discussions only because I had to ask people how on earth they can deem a specific thing to be socialist, and a couple of times I've actually managed to get them to stop using the word incorrectly Smile

I have become more and more annoyed at this phenomena since I realized that it is actually making many things I stand for a lot harder to talk about. We had quite a big debate in Sweden a couple of years ago when the leader of our left-party happened to mention that he called himself a communist, that the basic ideas of the ideology are good (which I agree to even if they're utopian). Immediately the media was saying he wanted Sweden to be just like the old USSR or Pol Pots Cambodia. It didn't matter how many times he tried explaining that those places never followed the ideology of communism and that he thought they were despicable dictatorial countries and so forth. Eventually he had to make a statement saying he wasn't a communist and that he was wrong to have followed a communist ideology...

After this debate he and the party has been fairly discredited and their numbers have been going down. I thing they are now getting somewhere between 3-5% in most polls. In an election if a party gets more than 4% nationally they get to be part of the government (but the collective parties that have more than 50% run the country) and luckily they have managed to keep above that in all elections. I still don't understand how our only Christian party has managed though... they always seem to get around 4-6% :-(

Anyway, to mention a few more of these words and expressions that people seem to put far more weight on that they're worth:
free market
globalization

I'd also like to add things like when the media is covering e.g. a peaceful demonstration with thousands or even hundreds of thousands of people protesting and there is a small group of violent people, then the normal coverage would be that there are terrorists on the streets or if they're feeling nice they'd just call them rioters and vandals... I'm a bit biased here from the Gothenburg riots in 2001 during the EU summit and president Bush's visit here. There were more than 100k people peacefully demonstrating and around 100 people rioting and all the coverage were on the rioters.

Sorry if I got a bit OT, I tried to stay on target as much as I could Smile
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13-09-2011, 07:23 AM
 
RE: Are you a victim of push-button phrases?
Thank you for sharing this with us MAD.

I lived in Sweden briefly in the seventies and am still interested in what is going on there.

Smile
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13-09-2011, 07:49 AM
RE: Are you a victim of push-button phrases?
(13-09-2011 06:44 AM)MAD Wrote:  I'd also like to add things like when the media is covering e.g. a peaceful demonstration with thousands or even hundreds of thousands of people protesting and there is a small group of violent people, then the normal coverage would be that there are terrorists on the streets or if they're feeling nice they'd just call them rioters and vandals... I'm a bit biased here from the Gothenburg riots in 2001 during the EU summit and president Bush's visit here. There were more than 100k people peacefully demonstrating and around 100 people rioting and all the coverage were on the rioters.

That happened in Toronto last summer. And everywhere. It's better television to show one police car burning - show it over and over and over, until the audience has in their mind a hundred burning cars, and it's all they can see - not the police brutality toward peaceful marchers.

The media are very much to blame for installing push-button phrases and responses in the audience, because they have the power to enter our senses and minds all the time, without our noticing. The human brain is wired to experience events singly, sequentially, and form a history. Media brings information in clusters, simultaneously, so that it feels - and is stored in memory - as if there were a large number of similar experiences. So, a trivial news report, repeated with slight variation on ten channels and five web-sites, can make a far greater impression than a real event one had witnessed on the street.
The same thing happens with speech. When we read a book or listen to lecture, it's a single, sequential, unique event, with a logic and meaning that we can follow and evaluate. But a debate or interview that's televised is received quite differently, with each news agency broadcasting "highlights" - the bits they want to emphasize, out of context and uncritically - more or less at the same time, so that's your memory: three sentences, a flubbed cliche, a sneer, in ten almost (not quite identical: this lends it fake verisimilitude) perfectly superimposed versions.
And anything that sounds pithy, apt, slick, supercilious is picked up and repeated ad nauseum, until it becomes part of the national vernacular - without anybody once questioning what it actually means.

tin-foil hat conspiracy theorist
the job-creators
elitist
get a life

the most recent American one is

class warfare
i sincerely hope this one backfires

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13-09-2011, 08:29 AM
RE: Are you a victim of push-button phrases?
ooh, the job-creators... That's a good one. The politicians always make it sound like any privately owned company will do their utmost to create jobs to benefit society and they seem to do this almost without any regards to their own profit, because that's how companies work Rolleyes

Peterkin, unfortunately I know it's the same everywhere when the media covers these things. They never care about the actual issues, why people are demonstrating they just try to show shocking footage to make it seem more dramatic. At least that's the nice version... they could have their own agenda and decide not to show the issues because they don't want to, but I'm not that much of a conspiracy theorist yet Cool

One of the things that scares me in the media is all the pundits (I'm mostly talking about the US now) trying to make it sound like the media is slanted to the left. I know there's a lot more bias both ways in the US media but it always seems that whenever there's discussions or news footage where they try to be objective and factual people seem to pronounce that as left-biased. It might be my bias showing, but I do think e.g. Amnesty International and scientific journal like the Lancet is fairly impartial but whenever they publish something they get accused of being left-biased. This isn't quite a push-button phrase but I think it merges with the same phenomena...

The truth has a well-known liberal bias
-Stephen Colbert

Zatamon:
I would've asked you what you were doing here and all that stuff but I think that would be way OT, if you want to know anything else about Sweden just start a new thread (if you think there's any general interest) or PM me and I'll answer Smile
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13-09-2011, 08:50 AM (This post was last modified: 13-09-2011 08:58 AM by Peterkin.)
RE: Are you a victim of push-button phrases?
Agreed (with deep sorrow and trepidation) on all counts, except

Quote:I know there's a lot more bias both ways in the US media

I hear this a lot, but don't hear many references to who owns all of the media. Hint: it's not communists.

Quote: media.... pundits trying to make it sound like the media is slanted to the left.

What is wrong with this picture?
Even what's supposed to be public tv and radio stations rely heavily on corporate sponsorship and are utterly dependent on current political mood for their government funding. So they have to be careful whom they piss off. (My prediction: they'll be shut down or sold off within the next five years. In Canada, too)

and i would like to add
on both sides
to the list of push-button phrases without a firm foundation

In the US these days, there is only one side. The left has been smothered in its cradle; the center has been pushed out into left field and demonized, labour movement cut off at the knees, student protest stifled, academics muzzled, intellectuals exiled, and even the near-right is in imminent mortal danger.
Warren Buffet is a socialist now.

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14-09-2011, 01:44 AM
RE: Are you a victim of push-button phrases?
(13-09-2011 08:50 AM)Peterkin Wrote:  hear this a lot, but don't hear many references to who owns all of the media. Hint: it's not communists.

True, but there's still stations like MSNBC and I have heard there exists left-wing radio Smile
In Sweden we hardly have anything even similar to pundits and this type of slanted news. When any channel is reporting news they at least try to be as objective as possible (even if they sometimes go to far in presenting "both sides" to a story when one side is utterly ridiculous) and yes sometimes they can report more heavily from one side or the other but normally they show fairly objective news.

Quote:
Quote: media.... pundits trying to make it sound like the media is slanted to the left.

What is wrong with this picture?
Even what's supposed to be public tv and radio stations rely heavily on corporate sponsorship and are utterly dependent on current political mood for their government funding. So they have to be careful whom they piss off. (My prediction: they'll be shut down or sold off within the next five years. In Canada, too)

The system we have here is that everyone who owns a TV or a computer with Internet-connection have to pay a TV-licence fee. All of this fee goes to our state-TV (not controlled by the state though) and is used for producing original TV-shown, make news-programs and investigate politicians and the society in general. All in all this works fairly well and normally we get good TV and investigative journalism on two channels that don't have any commercial breaks and does not have to answer to any corporations.

I do see your point, even if a channel is supposedly leftist they still have to answer to the corporate sponsors and make sure they don't publish anything that is actually true and might hurt the revenues of say Haliburton or some other nice company Smile

Quote: and i would like to add
on both sides
to the list of push-button phrases without a firm foundation

In the US these days, there is only one side. The left has been smothered in its cradle; the center has been pushed out into left field and demonized, labour movement cut off at the knees, student protest stifled, academics muzzled, intellectuals exiled, and even the near-right is in imminent mortal danger.
Warren Buffet is a socialist now.

Yes, I'm guilty of using 'on both sides'... but I do try not to use it when there's no foundation. Apparently you didn't quite agree with me this time, but that might be because I see it from a Swedish perspective... and I am in no way saying that the left-slanting media in the US has any sort of power (and it's also in a lot of cases still a bit to the right of of our ruling right-wing party here Big Grin)...

Maybe I shouldn't get too much OT so I'll try to steer us back a bit, I was thinking that most of these phrases we've been discussing are the ones I disagree with, that I believe 'the other side' is using to discredit my agenda, and I tried to come up with some phrases that 'my side' might be using and trying to change the rhetoric in other discussions. I have to say that either I am not very perceptive or just very indoctrinated but I didn't really manage to come up with that many. It could also be that 'my side' is more honest and doesn't use this dirty method of fighting Rolleyes

The ones I did think of though:
settlements (speaking of course of Israeli settlements on Palestinian land)

Hmm, ok, that was only one. But I'm still thinking Smile
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14-09-2011, 11:25 AM
RE: Are you a victim of push-button phrases?
Oh, the settlements are lovely - bucolic orange groves with red-cheeked sabras working and loving... You hardly ever hear that they're illegal and surrounded by tanks.

I wonder how Swedish tv reported on that Turkish relief ship the Israeli commandos attacked and abducted in international water. Canadian public television kept showing the video with Israeli propaganda graffiti all over it - even on a split screen while interviewing - quite aggressively - one of the passengers. I was mortified! That's probably the moment i began to understand just where the current trend in governance is going; how bad it will get before the final collapse.

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