August 17, 2004

George Lakoff is the man. A professor of linguistics and cognitive science at the University of California Berkeley, is a specialist in the technique of "framing," a communication tool that creates a "frame" for a message that defines the terms of the debate. Discussed many times Here I wouldn't have known about him any other way I don't think. Good lessons for Monkeys of all stripes.

Also here and here (scroll down). This makes more sense to me that almost any other political ideas I've heard in the last 3 years. I also like his take on where "conservative" and "liberal" notions begin. and no, it's not a second post of the day because the first one doesn't count so there too *pfftthhhbb*

  • BRANCACCIO: At what point do we, as voters, notice that being used on us? Whether or not we're conservative, whether or not we're liberal? LAKOFF: Only when it's framed in the right way. A lot of liberals believe that the facts will set you free. It's in our inheritance from the enlightenment. Where, in the enlightenment that everybody is a rational person, all you have to do is just tell them the facts, they'll reason to the right conclusion. It's false. And the Republicans have learned that it's false. They've set up a frame, they set up a narrative, and they set it up in terms of their values. And they get it as part of normal, everyday language and normal everyday thought. Once they've done that, the facts are irrelevant unless the Democrats can learn to re-frame the issues from their point of view, and then make the facts fit other frames. frickin' brilliant.
  • Once they've done that, the facts are irrelevant unless the Democrats can learn to re-frame the issues from their point of view, and then make the facts fit other frames. Wow. George Lakoff has decovered what spin and talking points are. Bill Clinton in Rolling Stone.
    "Do you know what the first two items on the congressional agenda are after the recess? Constitutional amendments to ban gay marriage and flag-burning. There's a reason for that. That doesn't have anything to do with what Congress will later do, or what the president will do, or any decisions. It's to get people to stop thinking about the decisions that Congress actually will make, and the actual consequences of those decisions on Americans' lives. It's clever political strategy, but it's not good for America."
  • Damn good links, pete. I'm not through 'em yet, but I'm enjoying them. Thanks!
  • Nicely framed post. ;-)
  • This makes me think of the old Heinlein story, I think it was one of the later ones in The Past Through Tomorrow, where psychology and speech writing had progressed to the point where you could analyze speeches mathematically for their ability to provoke or to get a point across or what have you. It's not that Progressives didn't know about spin, it's just that they weren't necessarily so good at using it. Also, Lakoff is good at analyzing the bits that go into it. Many people feel that spin is an intuitive endeavor, the realm of the few wordsmiths who are both good at it and willing to do it. Lakoff is trying to determine the science of it, and make it a more analytical skill.
  • With all due respect Col. Sully, I think spin is not the same as framing. Spin is applied whereas a frame of an issue is an inherent quality to that issue which is planned out in advance. Talking points are repeated points, also different from the inherent understanding of a given point. i.e. a framed issue can be repeated but a repeated issue is not necessarily framed.
  • The word "progressive" is itself an attempt to begin re-framing political debate. I prefer utopian democratic socialist myself, aka pinko.
  • wow. Hm. Googlehack or GOP framing exposed?
  • This Choco-Ration, it is up?
  • Hit #5 is good.
  • I didn't see "nigritude ultramarine" on any of those pages.
  • Abortion is an issue that is all about framing. If it is about choice, then one is pro-abortion. If it is about life, then one is anti-abortion. One side never convinces the other because the two are not arguing about the same thing. One is arguing about choice, while one is arguing about life. If you want to try to make an abortion-related point with someone, the best thing to do is to use the other person's frame to try to make your point. I am admittedly pro-abortion. When I talk to someone on the other side, I do not mention "choice" because they are not even talking about that. Instead, I use their frame and ask them why abortion is wrong. It is killing? Okay. Is it murder? Yes? Then everyone who has an abortion should be convicted of murder? No? That doesn't work? So it's not really murder? Then what is it? And why is it a crime? I do not believe that these people even believe that it really is murder. If I thought it was actually murder, I would be doing a hell of a lot more than holding up a sign to stop it. I am not pretending that I change people's point of view on this issue. I am just explaining how I try to use the framing of the issue to engage people. Hopefully, I am able to make people think about something that they had not previously thought about. That is really the best that I can ask for.
  • dang. Tha freaky linkah be slammin'.
  • You ol' (H-)dogg you! Even I didn't remember this thread . . . Language matters, because it can determine how we think and act. For a few hours after the towers fell on 9/11, administration spokesmen referred to the event as a “crime.” Indeed, Colin Powell argued within the administration that it be treated as a crime. This would have involved international crime-fighting techniques: checking banks accounts, wire-tapping, recruiting spies and informants, engaging in diplomacy, cooperating with intelligence agencies in other governments, and if necessary, engaging in limited “police actions” with military force. Indeed, such methods have been the most successful so far in dealing with terrorism. But the crime frame did not prevail in the Bush administration. Instead, a war metaphor was chosen: the “War on Terror.” Literal — not metaphorical — wars are conducted against armies of other nations. They end when the armies are defeated militarily and a peace treaty is signed. Terror is an emotional state. It is in us. It is not an army. And you can’t defeat it militarily and you can’t sign a peace treaty with it. I wonder if the language used in the medium of television determines anything about how we think and act.
  • What has been the result? Domestically, the “War on Terror” has been a major success for the radical right. Bush has been returned to office and the radical right controls all branches of our government. They are realizing their goals. Social programs are being gutted. Deregulation and privatization are thriving. Even highways are being privatized. Taxpayers’ money is being transferred to the ultra-rich making them richer. Two right-wing justices have been appointed to the Supreme Court and right-wing judges are taking over courts all over America. The environment continues to be plundered. Domestic surveillance is in place. Corporate profits have doubled while wage levels have declined. Oil profits are astronomical. And the radical rights social agenda is taking hold. The “culture war” is being won on many fronts. And it is still widely accepted that we are fighting a “War on Terror.” The metaphor is still in place. We are still taking off our shoes at the airports, and now we cannot take bottled water on the planes. Terror is being propped up. This is an excellent article. Well articulated as one should imagine. Thanks again.
  • Gratsi, Monsignor H-dogg, gratsi.
  • Don't Think of a Maverick! What, not even Bart?